Experience the amazing destinations that are located between Auckland and New Plymouth for a once in a lifetime North Island road trip, taking you from The Hakarimata Scenic Reserve to Mount Taranaki. For the ultimate road trip, book a car with VroomVroomVroom and take in New Zealand at your own pace.
Stop 1: Just shy of Hamilton, the Hakarimata Scenic Reserve is the first stop on your Auckland to New Plymouth road trip. The Waikato region is a stunning area filled with waterfalls, rainforests, and epic views. There are an abundance of interesting walks and sights to see throughout the 1,850 hectares of protected forest.
Stop 2: A popular walk is the Summit Track, which features a 1,349 step climb that many people challenge themselves to complete.
Stop 3: Another standout is the Hakarimata Kauri Loop Track, where you’ll find the Kauri tree. Once covering 1.2 million hectares of land, these trees are now scattered throughout the area.
Stop 1: Located on the Waikato River, Hamilton is a city of stunning visuals. The award-winning Hamilton Gardens are a standout here, with millions of tourists visiting this breathtaking location every year. Another place to check out is the Waikato Museum, which is in the heart of Hamilton’s cultural precinct.
Stop 2: Just a short 45-minute drive from Hamilton is Matamata. The Lord of the Rings set known as The Shire is located here, too. You’ll be blown away by the movie set tours and the scenery of this place.
Stop 3: From there, you may want to visit the Waitomo caves. They are a cluster of underground caves filled with stalagmites, glow worms, and pointy rocks. For the best views, we recommend a boat tour.
Stop 1: The blue springs are filled with the freshest water you’ll ever see. Being filtered through the Mamaku Plateau for 100 years makes this water extremely pure. To get to the blue springs, you’ll need to follow the Te Waihou Walkway.
Stop 2: Check out Ngarunui Beach, which is famously known for its black sand and great surf.
Stop 3: See the 55-metre high waterfall, Bridal Veil Falls, located in the Waireinga Scenic Reserve.
Stop 1: Just a 25km drive southeast of Hamilton is the Pirongia Forest Park. This native forest offers a great hiking trail for beginners.
Stop 2: The Ruapane Lookout Walk. The air is fresh, the rainforests are green and lush, and the streams are clear and clean.
Stop 3: Mount Pirongia Summit Tracks. This place is a must-visit on your Auckland to New Plymouth road trip, because each and every attraction you visit is different.
Stop 1: If you picture New Zealand’s mountains as ice-capped apexes with lush native greenery, then Mount Taranaki is for you. Surprisingly, this mountain is actually an active volcano, though there haven’t been signs of activity since the 1850s. A highlight is the Pouakai Crossing, which is a walk that takes about one day. Aside from the stunning sights of the mountain itself, you’ll get to see lava columns, the Kokowai stream of red water, and panoramic views from the summit.
Stop 2: For an unforgettable experience, you can also take a helicopter ride around Mount Taranaki for full 360-degree views.
Stop 3: Named the second-best region in the world for surfing by Lonely Planet, Taranaki is worth a visit if you’re a fan of the ocean. If you’re a beginner, you can take a surfing lesson right here in one of New Zealand's most popular locations.
Stop 1: You have made it to the stunning New Plymouth! Filled with culture and things to do, this place is full of gorgeous gardens, restaurants, and beaches.
Stop 2: Check out Pukeiti Gardens, an internationally recognised location due to its array of many plants and trees.
Stop 3: If you want to be by the water, New Plymouth is the place to be. Watch the sunset and eat fish and chips—a New Zealand favourite—and reflect on the amazing road trip you have been on.