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6-Day Road Trip from Auckland to Wellington

auckland to wellington itinerary

This exciting 6-day journey which travels from Auckland to Wellington can inspire your wanderlust. Explore the lovely Hamilton, surf at Mount Maunganui in Tauranga, do an Art Deco Tour in Napier, and ride the famous cable car. To help you embark on this journey, start comparing rental cars at VroomVroomVroom to find the right vehicle for your road trip. HIDE ME


Auckland to Wellington Itinerary:

  • Day 1: Auckland
  • Day 2: Hamilton
  • Day 3: Tauranga
  • Day 4: Whakatane
  • Day 5: Napier
  • Day 6: Wellington

Day 1: Spend the day exploring Auckland

stunning view of auckland in new zealand

Auckland highlights

  • Known as one of the most liveable cities in the world, Auckland has become one of the favourite spots for tourists travelling to New Zealand because of its surfing and sailing activities. The city is also famous for its stunning coastlines, especially pristine beaches which are often used in the Hollywood movie scene.
  • Try bungee jumping at AJ Hackett Bungy or enjoy a night at the Sky Tower. At 328 metres tall, you get a bird's eye view of the city which makes for a fantastic photo opportunity. 
  • For a taste of New Zealand, dining spots such as The Ponson by Road Bistro and The Sugar Club are definitely worth a visit.

Day 2: Experience the magic of Hobbiton

hobbiton movie set entrance

Hamilton highlights

  • Hamilton is just a two-hour drive from Auckland via State Highway 1. Known for its stunning green hills and limestone caverns, make sure to wander through the captivating world of secret gardens at Waikato's most visited attraction - the Hamilton Gardens.
  • In the mood for adventure? Try black water rafting or ziplining through the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.
  • Just a short 45-minute drive from Hamilton is the magical  Hobbiton. Find time to immerse yourself in the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of The Shire, as featured in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Day 3: Go surfing at Mount Maunganui in Tauranga

mount maunganui beach nz

Tauranga highlights

  • Blessed with a dramatic coastline, there are plenty of things to do in Tauranga. These include sailing, surfing, diving, fishing or dolphin watching. Only a 15-minute drive from Tauranga, you'll find one of the most popular beach towns in New Zealand, which is Mount Maunganui. Papamoa and Waihi Beach are two popular options.
  • Offering a number of tracks, hikers will enjoy climbing the top of Mount Maunganui. Make sure to check out the incredible street art and the colourful murals in Tauranga. The Tauranga Art Gallery is also worth a visit.
  • Other exciting and fun things to do in Tauranga include a trip to McLaren Falls Park, kayaking with the glowworms, wine tasting at Mills Reef and walking around the local markets.

Day 4: Get up close to the only active marine volcano

white island volcano nz

Whakatane highlights

  • This beautiful coastal paradise is packed of options for everyone looking to take a holiday break. From the beach to the mountains, fine dining to outdoor food markets, you will have fond memories here you will never forget.
  • You can join on a day tour from Whakatane to explore the only active marine volcano in New Zealand - White Island.
  • If you want to experience nature, the Ohope Scenic Reserve is the perfect place to be. Ready for whitewater fun? Whakatane is also a great place for sea kayaking.

Day 5: Do an Art Deco Tour in Napier

art deco architecture of napier nz

Napier highlights

  • If you love the Art Deco period, there are plenty tourism operators which offer guided tours so you can experience the city.
  • Napier is also the hub of the Hawke's Bay region. You can go on a wine tour here. In fact, there are several tour operators like Vines and Views which can take you on a winery crawl from Napier. If you want to get spooked, make sure to visit the Napier Prison.
  • If you are dreaming of the next great adventure, some amazing experiences await you in Napier! These include white water rafting on the Mohaka River, stand-up paddle boarding and climbing the top of Te Mata Peak.

Day 6: Ride on the famous Wellington Cable Car

wellington cable car landmark nz

Wellington highlights

  • Providing an extraordinary mix of heritage, culture, fine food, and lively arts and entertainment, you can't miss the culture capital of Wellington. Truly a must-see stop for anyone travelling in New Zealand, you'll find plenty of things to see and do in Wellington city. Catch a live performance any night of the week, get up close at Wellington Zoo, or you can visit the famous Katherine Mansfield's Birthplace.
  • Known for its fabulous local cafes and restaurants, and wealth of film experiences, movie fans will find plenty of things to see and do in the city, as Wellington is home to the Weta studio which was central to the filming of the Lord of the Rings. If you are looking for other great places to explore just within a couple of hours of the city, visit Lower Hutt, Porirua, Wairarapa and Martinborough.
  • Of course, no trip in Wellington is complete without taking a short ride on the historic Cable Car which runs from downtown Wellington up to the suburb of Kelburn and Wellington Botanic Garden. Note that you can also visit the Space Place Observatory here.
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Map of Auckland to Wellington Road Trip

Do you know that you can download this map directly to your phone? Press the box symbol located on the top-right corner of this map to open in your Google Maps app. Now you can easily access this map on your next road trip adventure from Auckland to Wellington.

Travel time: 7 hours and 48 minutes (643.2 km) via State Highway 1 and State Highway 1

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