Experience the quintessential New Zealand with this 5 part road trip journey starting and ending in Auckland that will keep your jaw dropping and eyes popping for the whole journey.
Experience New Zealand’s North Island
Even as you’re preparing to leave on your next RV road trip, you can feel the excitement building as you imagine looking back on the memories you’re going to make. This journey will be no different – heading through the East Cape of New Zealand’s North Island, from Auckland to Auckland, you’ll certainly enjoy plenty of happy experiences for you and your loved ones to treasure for years to come.
As you venture along the coast and through the interior of the island, you’ll take in some of the best views New Zealand has to offer – in between dips in hot pools, suntanning on the beach, and exploring some of the best hiking in New Zealand. And with its consistently mild weather punctuated by bright sunshine, the North Island is the perfect destination for a motorhome adventure no matter what time of year.
Leg 1: Auckland To Coromandel
Estimated drivingtime: 3.5 hours
This part of thetrip only covers a short distance, but includes a ton of interestingattractions. Ideally, you’ll want to go slowly – spend as muchtime as you can in each area before moving on to the next one. Thebest part about traveling by motorhome is that you can always stayanother night, and you might need to if you want to fit it all in!
Basically, this city is New Zealand in a nutshell – all of the country’s best elements condensed into one spot. You’ll find fine dining, cafes and pubs,wineries, great hiking trails, and tons of opportunities for adventure. To make the most of your time here, spend some time gliding around the harbour on a sailboat cruise, or visit Waiheke Island to sample some wines. Just 45 minutes from downtown, the Waitakere Ranges hills are a beautiful location for an afternoon hike
You can expect to spend a couple of days here before heading out, but when you’re ready to get out the city, take State Highway One south until you reach Pokeno. This little town might not look like much, but their “Pokeno Takeaways” store is famous for their incredible ice cream – in fact, they’re listed as one of the country’s top five ice cream shops. After a short break to enjoy a cold treat, head north again and take your first right.
Firth of Thames
Even if you’re not much of a bird watcher, it’s worth stopping at the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre, located just 30 minutes from Pokeno. It’s easy to see why so many birders flock to New Zealand once you’ve experienced this spectacular display. On a good day, you can expect to see more than 10,000 shorebirds here – even some species that are unique to New Zealand. And since you’ll likely encounter more of these birds as you drive along the coast, take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about them.
(Image courtesy of Department of Conservation, Flickr)
After another quick drive (just about five minutes), you’ll discover a small town called Miranda,on the Firth of Thames – thermally heated mineral pools that you can experience for yourself at the Miranda Hot Springs. Here, you’ll be able to relax and unwind in one of three separate pools, including one for kids and one for adults, kept at a higher sauna-like temperature. You can indulge yourself even more by renting one of four private spas – spending a few hours blissfully melting your cares away before hitting the road again.
(Image courtesy of Colin Bowern, Flickr)
Take a step back in time with a visit to this historic mining town – first established in 1867 after the discovery of gold nearby. Thames is located further down the coast, and provides plenty of opportunities for history buffs to learn more about the site’s fascinating past. Visit some of the old buildings, and take a stroll down the Thames Coastal Walkway.Or, to fully immerse yourself in this unique area, head to the northern end of town to try the Gold Mine Experience. You’ll be guided through an operational 19th- century Stamper Battery, where you can give gold panning a shot, or you can venture through the museum on your own – checking out mining relics videos, and photos to see what this historic town was like during the gold rush.
(Image from Aftab Uzzaman, Flickr)
But don’t stay too long – the rest of your journey to Coromandel Town is poorly-lit at night, and driving down the western coast of the Coromandel Peninsula provides some impressive views during the day. Either stay the night in Thames before continuing on, or leave yourself plenty of sunlight to help you reach Coromandel.