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 Auckland bungy under harbour bridge

12 of the Best Road Trips to Take from Auckland

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With a diverse landscape encompassing volcanoes, a stunning harbour, and plenty of green spaces to embrace the outdoors, Auckland offers an endless variety of places to explore. The region is made up of almost 4,000km of coastline with no shortage of world-class beaches where you can unwind and embrace the sunshine.

Oysters Couple Salad

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By starting your road trip in Auckland, you are spoilt for choice in which direction to head to experience New Zealand’s incredible sights. With so much to see and do in Auckland, we recommend you spend some time in the City of Sails before leaving your road trip. Discover art and culture at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, indulge in world-class cuisine, explore rugged beaches along the west coast, and browse some of Auckland’s bustling markets to stock up on some fresh produce for your adventure!

After exploring a sample of what Auckland has on offer, head off and discover the rest of Aotearoa. Collect your maui motorhome from our Auckland branch and get out on the open road! We’ve got lots of fantastic tried-and-tested motorhome road trips starting in Auckland. Check out our list of the best below.

The Northern Lights - Auckland to Northland Loop

Open your eyes to the magic that is Northland New Zealand. The Northern Lights itinerary will take you through some of the many highlights of the upper North Island. Embrace the laid-back New Zealand lifestyle and soak up the spectacular coastline scenery made up of sparkling harbours and pristine beaches.

Trip Length: 8 days

Finish Destination: Auckland

This road trip takes you north to the beautiful beaches of Mangawhai, Langs Beach and Waipu and on to Tutukaka and the Bay of Islands. It’s a water-lover’s paradise, with fishing, diving and kayaking on offer, as well as islands to explore and dolphins to spot.

There’s plenty of history to explore too, from diving the wreck of the famous rainbow warrior to exploring the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Travelling to the far north, you can spend time at Houhora, Ahipara and 90 Mile Beach before heading to Hokianga where you can go tobogganing down giant sand dunes and explore the Waipoua Kauri forests. A stop at Kerikeri Wineries is a must! When you’ve had your fix of golden sand beaches, head back to Auckland via Kai Iwi Lakes or Baylys Beach.

Some must-do activities along the way:

  • Try diving at Poor Knights Marine Reserve
  • Take a Rare Sights Dolphin Cruise
  • Don’t miss the Cape Reinga Coach Tour
  • Trek to Cape Brett for unbelievable sights

2. Cultural Upper North Island Road Trip

Learn all about the cultural history that builds the foundation of Aotearoa New Zealand on this 5-day itinerary, and take in the incredible natural beauty of the North Island on your way.

Trip Length: 5 days

Finish Destination: Auckland

This road trip will take you from the mystical Waipoua forest to see the largest living kauri tree in New Zealand, to the scenic Hokianga Harbour, as well as the historic town of Russell, known for its spectacular sunsets.

As well as scenic sights and nature encounters, visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds for your dose of cultural history. Visit the grounds and embark on an interactive tour as you learn about the Māori cultural history with visits to museums, Māori cultural performances, and dining on local produce prepared in a hangi (nature's oven).

Some must-do activities along the way:

  • Take a Waka ride up the Waitangi River with Taiamai Tours Heritage Journeys Indulge in a meal at the historic
  • Duke of Marlborough Experience
  • Pakiri Beach Horse Riding

3. Twin Coast Discovery - Auckland to the Far North Loop Trip

The Twin Coast Discovery Highway will lead you from Auckland to the far north of New Zealand's North Island. If you like to fish, learn about local culture or explore pristine, private beaches, take this road trip and experience the incredible natural beauty that lies along the Twin Coast Highway.

Trip Length: 5 days

Finish Destination: Auckland

Following the Twin Coast Discovery route, you’ll be taken past a range of iconic Northland highlights. Located in the Whangarei Scenic Reserve is the Whangarei Falls, only around 2.5 hours north of Auckland. Follow the easy walking path to reach the upper fall lookout point, suitable for all abilities. This walk is perfect for getting some fresh air and stretching your legs mid-road trip. Some other must-see falls on this road trip are the Haruru Falls in Paihia and Rainbow Falls in Kerikeri.

If you’re looking for a picturesque coastal setting to spend an afternoon in the sun, make a stop at Matauri Bay. With crystal clear waters and golden sands, this bay is a water lover's paradise. Another popular spot along the way for all things water-related is the iconic Kai Iwi lakes. Spend your time here swimming, fishing, hiking, or unwinding in the subtropical temperatures of Northland.

Some must-do activities along the way:

  • Fish up some fresh kaimoana (seafood) at Whangaroa Harbour
  • Take a bus trip along Ninety Mile Beach
  • Explore the Kaitaia Walkway
  • Get your adrenaline fix with sand dune surfing at Opononi
  • Experience quad biking at Dargaville

4. Native Parks North Island Road Trip

Exploring the very northern part of New Zealand is a classic motorhome road trip. Home to an abundance of epic native parks, pristine beaches, and action-packed activities, follow this itinerary and soak up all the wonderful sights that New Zealand’s North Island has to offer.

Trip Length: 5 days

Finish Destination: Auckland

Amongst all your sightseeing, it’s important to stop at some restaurants and bars along the way to sample some local, delicious sustenance. McLeod’s Pizza Barn is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. Sample some incredible pizzas alongside delicious beers to beat your hunger after a day of driving. Another popular spot to try is Ake Ake Vineyard and Restaurant. This boutique vineyard specialises in growing and making award-winning wines from grapes best suited to the Far North’s subtropical climate. The Vineyard Restaurant is renowned for serving fresh seasonal produce to complement its wines for a delicious dining experience.

Other places to visit on this road trip include the Kerikeri historic Stone Store, the picturesque Hokianga Harbour, and the largest Kauri tree in New Zealand, Tane Mahuta.

Some must-do activities along the way:

  • Sample local delicacies at the Art of Cheese Cafe
  • Try surfing at Waipu Cove
  • Explore the incredible native parks
  • Peruse the Bay of Islands
  • Farmers Markets
  • Witness a live bee exhibit at BeesOnline Honey Centre & Cafe

Bay of Islands

5. Pacific Coast Highway - Auckland to Hawkes Bay 

The Pacific Coast Highway plays host to an abundance of spectacular views along the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Connecting the Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, and Whakatane with Auckland in the north and Hawke’s Bay in the south, this itinerary is packed full of epic scenery and action-packed adventures. Tantalize your taste buds with some of the world’s best seafood, and create unforgettable experiences as you explore arguably some of the best beaches in the country.

Trip Length: 5 days

Finish Destination: Napier

This road trip will take you through an abundance of natural highlights and icons in New Zealand. Once you arrive in Coromandel, explore the historic Coromandel Town and get a glimpse of the unique character and ambience it has, set against an amazing coastal backdrop. Other popular spots in the Coromandel include the Port Jackson campsite sitting at the northern tip of the peninsula and Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own natural spa.

For your dose of natural wonders on this road trip, be sure to check out Urewera National Park in Hawkes Bay where you can marvel at the vast collection of striking lakes, forests, and mountains.

Some must-do activities along the way:

  • Miranda Hot Springs
  • Thames Museum
  • Surfing at Whitianga
  • Round of golf at Pauanui
  • Dive tour in Whangamata
  • Gisborne wineries

Hot Water beach Coromandel New Zealand

6. North Island Winery Tour - Auckland to Wellington 

New Zealand’s North Island is home to a rich pedigree of light and fruity wines dating back to the 1800s. Local wine-makers and vineyards are known for their incredible wines. Experience a winery tour by campervan as you make the trip down the North Island from Auckland to Wellington, sampling locally produced wines and discovering epic experiences as you go.

Trip Length: 7 days

Finish Destination: Wellington

As this road trip is all about wineries, it makes sense that the top places to stop along the way are the incredible wineries that carve the path of this itinerary. Located in Cooks Beach, overlooking the stunning Mercury Bay, Mercury Bay Estate is the perfect location for a relaxing long lunch or wine tasting for your dose of Coromandel sunshine. Linden Estate cellar door is another perfect setting for your tasting experience, located in Hawkes Bay. Don’t miss Coney Wines in Martinborough, the hidden gem that makes for a quintessential vineyard experience.

If you’re looking for a dose of nature during your road trip, we recommend exploring Hot Water Beach for a sunset soak in a natural spa that you can dig yourself, Pureora Forest Park to discover some incredible walking tracks through towering native rainforests and the mighty Pohutu Geyser in Rotorua.

  • Some must-do activities along the way:
  • New Zealand Rugby Museum
  • Cycling at the Karangahake Gorge
  • Goldfields Vintage Railway
  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Waitomo Glowworm caves

7. Thermal Explorer Highway - Auckland to Rotorua Loop Trip (H2)

Bursting with natural wonders including crystal clear lakes and streams, natural spas, ski fields, Māori culture, and wineries, the Thermal Explorer Highway will take you through epic destinations on New Zealand’s North Island.

Trip Length: 7 days

Finish Destination: Auckland

The perfect place to stop off for some beachfront relaxation before you depart Auckland, Mission Bay is a waterfront haven that is celebrated by locals and visitors alike. As you make your way down the North Island, ticking off all of our must-do activities as you go, make sure you visit Te Mata Peak in Hawke’s Bay, renowned for the spectacular panoramic views it offers. Standing at almost 400 metres above sea level, the views from the summit peak have to be seen to be believed.

During this adventure, be sure to make a stop at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Located under the rolling hills of Waitomo, lie the labyrinth of underground cave systems. Taking a walking or boat tour through these caves is your chance to get up close and personal with the dazzling displays of the magical glowworms who live within these caves.

Some must-do activities along the way:

  • Tongariro Crossing
  • Explore the Art Deco and Spanish mansion architecture
  • Watch the Gannets
  • Taupo Hot Springs
  • Tongariro Crossing if the weather is fine
  • Polynesian Spa, Rotorua
  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Tongariro crossing

8. Central North Island Adventure 

Looking for an action-packed adventure? Touring the Central North Island on a New Zealand campervan trip will get you up close to national icons, and incredible native scenery. Embrace adventure as you embark on this Auckland return loop, and discover all the adrenaline-pumping experiences the Central North Island has to offer.

Trip Length: 4-5 days

Finish Destination: Auckland

Located in New Zealand’s iconic geothermal region, Rotorua should be a bucket list destination for anyone completing a road trip through the North Island. Spend some time here ticking off all the incredible things to do, whether you’ve got a taste for adventure, looking for some me-time or want to explore the unique landscapes of Rotorua. Heading further south, witness the phenomenon of natural hydropower at the iconic Huka Falls in Taupo.

Some must-do activities along the way:

  • Rotorua Luge Wairakei Terraces
  • Huka Falls Jet
  • Tongariro Alpine Crossing

9. Cultural Central North Island - Explore Rotorua 

Discover the middle of New Zealand’s North Island with 4 days of culturally enriching experiences. With an action-packed itinerary and very little driving, this itinerary will immerse you in iconic New Zealand landscapes and experiences.

Trip Length: 4 days + the drive down from Auckland

Finish Destination: Although our Cultural Central North Island Tour starts in Rotorua, we think it’s well worth the drive from Auckland to start it. The drive from Auckland to Rotorua is about 3 hours.

Rotorua is home to an abundance of natural and cultural attractions. Spend your time here exploring natural wonders like Lake Rotoiti, Te Puia, Rainbow Springs, and the Wairakei Terraces. No matter what kind of experiences you are looking for, you’re bound to find a dose of adventure, relaxation, and nature during your time exploring the North Island with this road trip.

Some must-do activities along the way:

  • Rafting adventure down the Kaituna River
  • Waka ride with the Tamaki Brothers
  • Visit the local Te Raukura Gallery
  • Huka Falls Jet

10. Northern Explorer - Options for shorter road trips 

Nestled between two sparkling harbours, Auckland is the perfect starting point for a spectacular coastal getaway. With such an array of fun things to do, you can easily tailor an itinerary to suit your preferred travel time. Turn a long weekend into a four to five-day trip, or stay a little longer and make the most of all the wonderful attractions and destinations along the way.

Trip Length: 4-7 days

Finish Destination: Auckland

Travelling by motorhome is the best way to explore the coastal paradise of New Zealand’s east coast. Stop in at the incredible beaches of Mangawhai Heads, Paihia, Cape Kidnappers and Ocean Beach and explore the charming towns you’ll encounter along the way.

Some must-do activities along the way:

  • Cream Run ferry trip around the Bay of Islands
  • Explore Russell by foot
  • Kauri Museum

11. Coromandel, Tauranga, and Hawkes Bay - Options for shorter road trips 

Trip Length: 6 days

Finish Destination: Auckland

Taking in all the highlights of this road trip, make sure to visit all the bucket-list destinations along the way. Tick off the cultural icon of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds before exploring the charming town of Katikati. Head further south along and marvel at the awe-inspiring Te Puia Geysers before heading towards Hawke's Bay to explore the local beaches of Cape Kidnappers and Ocean Beach.

Some must-do activities along the way:

  • Karangahake Gorge cycling
  • Waihi Museum
  • Tamaki Māori Village
  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves
  • Hobbiton

Hobbiton

12. Southern Splendour - Options for shorter road trips

Trip Length: 5 days

Finish Destination: Auckland

This road trip is full of natural highlights. Kick off your beach hopping with a visit to the incredible but rugged Raglan beaches to catch an iconic sunset. Looking to stretch your legs with some epic walking tracks? Challenge yourself with the Mount Taranaki Summit Track or visit Tongariro National Park to have a go at the iconic Tongariro Crossing.

Some must-do activities along the way:

  • Explore the Hamilton Gardens
  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves
  • Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth

Hamilton Gardens New ZealandImage source: TNZ visual library - Camilla Rutherford

Ready to book your next motorhome road trip?

Hire your campervan from maui and pick it up in Auckland to discover the incredible sights waiting to be explored in Auckland and beyond. Book your maui Motorhome now.