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NZ North Island 8 day drive?

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
2 posts
3 reviews
4 helpful votes
NZ North Island 8 day drive?

Hi there,

A friend and I are landing will be landing in Wellington late in the day and have rented a campervan to drive between Wellington and Auckland. Excluding the first day, we will have 8 days left. Would love to hear your suggestions of which way to drive - we are hoping to visit the snow for one day, do ziplining and some moderate hikes. We'd also like to visit Glowworm caves and other activities like the hot water beach. Thanks so much!

3 replies to this topic
Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
Level Contributor
43,145 posts
460 reviews
194 helpful votes
1. Re: NZ North Island 8 day drive?

What time of year is this trip? You mention snow, so assuming you are coming in winter I hope you are prepared for cold nights & are renting a well-heated camper van, not a "mattress in the back of a tradie's van". Is it self-contained or will you need to stay in camp grounds every night? Do you have time to explore Akld city after you drop the camper?

The basic 8 day itinerary would be something like this:

Day 0. Arrive WLG

1. Explore WLG a bit; pick up van & groceries in the afternoon and drive a short distance out of the city before rush hour traffic - eg Foxton Beach, Otaki or even Palmerston North.

2. Drive to Ohakune (2N)

3. Snow day

4. Drive to Rotorua via Taupo (1-2N)

5. Explore thermal parks, hot pools, redwood forest (possible to continue on to Waitomo Caves in the late afternoon depending on time of year/daylight hours)

6. Drive to Waitomo Caves & then to Hot Water Beach or Hahei (1-2N)

7. Check tides for your visit to Hot Water Beach (low tide is required); Continue on to AKL or stay another night.

8. Return CV in Akld.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
2 posts
3 reviews
4 helpful votes
2. Re: NZ North Island 8 day drive?

Hi there, thanks so much for replying. We are coming in July this year and have rented a Jucy camper van and we’re planning on bringing extra blankets and sleeping bags and thermal clothes. We will be staying at a caravan park each night so we’re able to have showers. And on our last day, we don’t need to return the van in Auckland until 5:30pm so we will have most of the day :)

Thanks again!

Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
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19,991 posts
130 reviews
82 helpful votes
3. Re: NZ North Island 8 day drive?

I'm not a fan of Hot Water Beach in winter. I think that your interests are better served avoiding the Coromandel Peninsula entirely and instead drive out to Raglan to enjoy a real surf beach. Stay there for the night following a Waitomo Caves extended visit, and Bridal Veil falls.

Less distance to drive and more rewarding getting to Auckland, earlier to stay at Ambury Park to explore greater Auckland more. Piha is awesome in winter, and so too are the other west coast beaches if you prefer a more natural setting.

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