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6-day road trip from Auckland to Wellington

Auckland to Wellington itinerary

This exciting six-day journey from Auckland to Wellington is sure to inspire your wanderlust. Explore the lovely city of 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

The Auckland skyline is one to remember.
The Auckland skyline is one to remember.

Auckland highlights

  • Known as one of the most liveable cities in the world, Auckland has become a hotspot for tourists travelling to New Zealand. The city is famous for its stunning coastlines and pristine beaches, which are often featured in Hollywood films.
  • Try bungee jumping at AJ Hackett Bungy, or enjoy a night at the Sky Tower. At 328 metres tall, you’ll 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

Don’t forget to drop in on Hobbiton.
Don’t forget to drop in on Hobbiton.

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 explore the captivating secret gardens at Waikato's most visited attraction, the Hamilton Gardens.
  • 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 Lord of the Rings.

Day 3: Go surfing at Mount Maunganui in Tauranga

Catch some waves and relax.
Catch some waves and relax.

Tauranga highlights

  • Boasting a dramatic coastline, Tauranga is popular for its sailing, surfing, diving, and fishing communities.
  • Make sure to check out the incredible street art and the colourful murals in Tauranga. The Tauranga Art Gallery is also worth a visit.
  • While in Tauranga, you can also take a trip to McLaren Falls Park, kayak with the glowworms, sample wine at Mills Reef, and shop at the local markets.
  • Only a 15-minute drive from Tauranga, you'll find one of the most popular beach towns in New Zealand: Mount Maunganui. Papamoa and Waihi Beach are two popular options.

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

The online maritime volcano in New Zealand.
The online marine volcano in New Zealand.

Whakatane highlights 

  • This beautiful coastal paradise is packed with options for all looking to take a holiday break. From the beach to the mountains—fine dining to outdoor food markets—you’re sure to make memories here you won’t soon forget.
  • 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

Enjoy Napier’s Art Deco architecture.
Enjoy Napier’s Art Deco architecture.

Napier highlights 

  • If you love the Art Deco period, there are plenty of guided tours that highlight the town’s architectural history.
  • Napier is also the hub of the Hawke’s Bay region, with wine tours and crawls available. If you’re in the mood for something different, though, we recommend a visit to the Napier Prison.
  • If you’re dreaming of your 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

Take a ride in Wellington’s cable car.
Take a ride in Wellington’s cable car.

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.
  • Catch a live performance any night of the week, get up close at Wellington Zoo, or visit the famous Katherine Mansfield's birthplace.
  • Movie fans will find plenty to do in the city, as Wellington is home to the Weta studio, which was central to the filming of Lord of the Rings. If you’re looking for other great places to explore, we suggest checking out Lower Hutt, Porirua, Wairarapa, and Martinborough.
  • No trip in Wellington is complete without a ride on the historic Cable Car, which runs from downtown Wellington to the suburb of Kelburn and the Wellington Botanic Gardens.
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