40 Day Driving Itinerary for North Island, New Zealand

My husband and I started our North Island adventure in Wellington in March 2016. For a list of where we stayed each night, go HERE.

Days 1 and 2 (Explore Wellington):

  1. Old St. Paul’s Cathedral
  2. Parliament Buildings free tour
  3. Wellington Cable Car
  4. Wellington Botanic Garden
  5. Cable Car Museum
  6. Treasury Museum
  7. Te Papa Museum

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Day 3:

Start driving North on 1

Day 4:

  1. Levin Adventure Park (fun playground in Levin)
  2. Foxton (Dutch windmill)
  3. Whanganui (cool downtown with historic buildings, good view from War Memorial Tower)
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Whanganui

Day 5:

Tawhiti Museum in Hawera

Day 6:

  1. Hollard Gardens
  2. Mt. Taranaki
  3. Dawson Falls
  4. Wilkie’s Ponds through Goblin Forest

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Day 7:

  1. Opunake (great surfing area)
  2. Cape Egmont Lighthouse
  3. New Plymouth (Puke Ariki, Coastal Walkway, Wind Wand, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery)

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Day 8:

  1. Pukekura Park
  2. Stratford (glockenspiel clock tower)
  3. Forgotten World Hwy

Day 9:

  1. Forgotten World Hwy
  2. Moki Tunnel
  3. Taumarunui

Day 10:

  1. Tongariro National Park
  2. Tawhail Falls
  3. Chateau Tongariro Hotel
  4. Lake Taupo
  5. Taupo
  6. Waipahihi Botanical Reserve
  7. Opepe Historic Bush Walk
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Chateau Tongariro Hotel

Day 11:

Explore Napier

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Day 12:

  1. Wairoa
  2. Gisborne
  3. Longest wharf in NZ

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Day 13:

  1. Anglican church in Raukokore
  2. volcanic beach at Te Kaha
  3. Whakatane (Wairere waterfall, Muriwai cave)

Day 14:

  1. Te Puke (Kiwi 360)
  2. Main Beach in Mt. Maunganui
  3. Katikati (murals, Haiku pathway)

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Day 15:

  1. Victoria Battery
  2. Owharoa Falls
  3. Karangahake Gorge (windows walk, old railroad tunnel)

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Day 16:

  1. Waihi (Martha Gold Mine, 100 year old Cornish Pumphouse)
  2. Whangamata

Day 17:

  1. Hot Water Beach
  2. Cathedral Cove

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Day 18:

  1. Coromandel
  2. Stuart and the Wild Pigs
  3. Waiau Falls
  4. Waiau Kauri Grove

Day 19:

  1. Matamata
  2. Rotorua (Kuirau park-free foot pools, free geothermal area)

Day 20:

  1. Green Lake and Blue Lake
  2. Lake Tarawera
  3. Whakarewarewa Forest
  4. Okere Falls, Hinemoa’s Steps, Tutea’s Cave
  5. Rotorua Museum and Gardens
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Rotorua Museum and Gardens

Day 21:

  1. Waiotapu Thermal Area
  2. Kerosene Creek Thermal Area
  3. Waiotapu (free hot pool)
  4. Waikite Valley Hot Pools and Thermal Area
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Waiotapu Thermal Area

Day 22:

  1. Aratiatia Rapids
  2. Wairakei Geothermal Power
  3. Huka Falls

Day 23:

  1. Spa Thermal Park (free hot pool)
  2. Taupo

Day 24:

Spellbound Tour in Waitomo

Day 25:

Hamilton (Hamilton Gardens)

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Day 26:

Driving day to Northland

Day 27:

  1. Waipu Caves
  2. The Kauri Clock Factory
  3. Botanica Whangarei
  4. Abbey Caves

Day 28:

  1. Uretiti Beach
  2. Whangarei (Town Basin, Hatea loop walk, Quarry Arts Centre, Whangarei Falls, AH Reed Kauri Park)
  3. Lookout near Ngunguru
  4. Beach at Matapouri
  5. longest footbridge in the Southern Hemisphere
  6. Otamure Bay
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Uretiti Beach

Day 29:

  1. Kawakawa (Hundertwasser toilets)
  2. Paihia (lookout in Opua Forest, Haruru Falls)
  3. Kerikeri (The Stone Store, The Kemp House, Rainbow Falls)

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Day 30:

  1. Mangonui (Courthouse, Heritage Trail)
  2. Cable Bay (pinkish sand)
  3. Maitai Bay

Day 31:

  1. 90 mile Beach
  2. Cape Reinga
  3. Tobogganing on the Te Paki Sand dunes
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Cape Reinga

Day 32:

  1. Ancient Kauri Store (Kauri Staircase)
  2. Kaitaia

Day 33:

  1. Opononi at Hokianga Harbour
  2. great lookout outside of Omapere
  3. Waipoua Forest (Giant Kauri Trees-Tane Mahuta, Te Matua Ngahere, Four Sisters)

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Day 34:

Driving day headed South

Day 35:

  1. Wellsford
  2. Helensville
  3. scenic route through Waitakure Ranges Regional Park (great view of Auckland)
  4. Whatipu (black sand beach)

Day 36:

  1. Whatipu Caves
  2. Whatipu Black Sand Beach
  3. lookout at McLachlan monument
  4. Puponga Point

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Days 37-40 (Explore Auckland):

  1. great view of skyline near Okahu Bay
  2. One Tree Hill
  3. Mt. Eden
  4. Auckland Domain (Winter Gardens)
  5. Albert Park
  6. Auckland Art Museum
  7. Skytower
  8. Kohimarama Beach
  9. Mission Bay
  10. Silo Park
  11. Ferry Building

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