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Auckland to New Plymouth Road Trip

6
Days
761
Kms
6
Stops

Looking for the best New Zealand road trip route? One that packs plenty of punch without having to drive too far, for too long? For those wanting to book a campervan hire in Auckland, this one is simply unbeatable. The drive from Auckland to New Plymouth takes just a few hours. But you’ll want to plan a full week to make the most of all the great highlights along the way. 

There’s simply no better way to make the most of this awesome roadie than to travel by campervan. With an Apollo campervan hire, there’s no need to book motels, plan where to eat, or worry about check-out times. All you need to do is choose from Apollo’s great range of campervans and you’re all set. Create your favourite home-cooked meals in your motorhome kitchen. Forget about public loos, you’ve got your own on board! Need a nap? No worries, climb into your comfy bed for a snooze whenever you need to. 

To make it even easier to get started, we’ve put together this Auckland to New Plymouth travel itinerary packed full of fun and adventure for the whole family.

 

Image: Tourism New Zealand

 

Day 1: Auckland

Ready to get started on an awesome Auckland to New Plymouth road trip? The first item on your travel itinerary is to pick up your pre-booked campervan hire from Apollo’s Auckland branch in Manu Tapu Drive, Mangere. It’s super handy to the airport if you’re flying in.

Today is all about exploring the City of Sails. And there are plenty of great activities to do and sights to see. 

See Auckland from a great height with a trip up the Sky Tower. This Auckland must-do was recently awarded the #1 Attraction in Auckland by Tripadvisor.
The 338-metre-high tower offers 360-degree views up to 80 km in every direction. It’s a must for any visitor to this beautiful city. 

Shop til you drop at Britomart. You’ll find plenty of well-known Kiwi designs including Trelise Cooper, WORLD, and Zambesi. After perusing the shops, treat yourself to a special lunch. Sample the local seafood at kingi and follow up with a decadent dessert from Miann.

Discover Auckland’s rich culture and fascinating history. Auckland Museum is regarded as one of the best in the Southern Hemisphere. Learn the story of New Zealand and its rich Māori heritage. It’s easy to spend at least half a day wandering the exhibitions.

Tonight, park up your Apollo camper beachside at the popular Takapuna Beach Holiday Park. Just 20 minutes from central Auckland, this lovely campground is a beautiful spot to rest and prepare for the next leg of your journey. 

 

Day 2: Auckland to Waitomo

Travel time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Distance: 200 km

Today, you’ll be heading out of the big smoke and travelling through New Zealand’s rural heartland. Along the way, plan a stop in the city of Hamilton, where you can visit the award-winning Hamilton Gardens. These incredible gardens are also another Tripadvisor winner for 2023, having been recognised as the Traveller’s Choice Best of the Best award winner. 

Once you’ve stopped to smell the roses, it’s time to continue on to the unmissable Waitomo Caves. Illuminated by thousands of tiny glowworms, the cave system was carved from ancient limestone into caverns and passageways filled with stalactites, stalagmites, and other peculiar formations. For a truly unique experience, take a Legendary Black Water Rafting trip through the caves. You can also take a short walking tour to see the galaxies of glowworms and other subterranean highlights. 

Top your day off with an unforgettable walk through a forested gorge on the Ruakuri Walk. This 1 km loop tracks follows a stream and then winds around a network of limestone outcrops before descending to the Ruakuri Natural Bridge viewing platform.  

Park your Apollo camper at Waitomo Caves TOP 10 Holiday Park – it’s just 600 metres up the road from the caves. And if you’re looking for a good spot to enjoy the flavours of New Zealand, head next door to the Huhu Café.

 

Day 3: Waitomo to New Plymouth

Travel time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Distance: 170 km

Sitting on the far reaches of the North Island’s west coast, beneath the majestic beauty of Mt Egmont / Taranaki is the vibrant town of New Plymouth. Plan a stop at the halfway point of picturesque Mokau Beach, known for its stunning coastal views and rock formations.

Once you reach New Plymouth, you won’t have to look too far for fun things to do and see. Fancy a walk? New Plymouth’s Coastal Walkway spans 13.2 km, offering the perfect opportunity to enjoy the scenery while getting some fresh sea air. The path runs between Port Taranaki and the eastern end side of Bell Block Beach. A highlight along the way is the captivating Te Rewa Rewa Bridge which resembles a crashing wave.

Be sure to set aside some time to explore the Pukeiti park. This botanical gem is nestled at the foot of Mount Taranaki and is home to one of the world’s biggest and most diverse collections of rhododendrons. You’ll also find a great range of rainforest walking tracks ranging from 0.7 km to 1.9 km. 

Another must for garden enthusiasts is Pukekura Park. This park covers 52 hectares in the middle of the city. Wander through the fernery and display houses, see the water lily lake, and the Kunming Garden. You may even want to time your visit to take advantage of the Taranaki Garden Festival in late October / early November.  

Tonight, book yourself into the Fitzroy Beach Holiday Park. This great holiday park has excellent facilities and is located right on the beachfront.

 

Day 4: Explore New Plymouth

Make the most of your day today to explore more of New Plymouth. 

If you’re keen to soak up some culture and history, you’re in luck. New Plymouth has some excellent museums and galleries worth a visit. Top of the list is the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand's contemporary art museum and home to The Len Lye Centre. Located on New Plymouth’s Queen Street, it’s hard to miss this amazing art gallery. The unusual curved stainless-steel exterior makes for some fun photography opportunities. 

Another great museum, although a little further out in Hawera (about an hour’s drive from New Plymouth), is Tawhiti Museum. This innovative museum features thousands of life-sized exhibits and scale models. 

If you’ve got a Holden fan in the family, you won’t want to miss the Hillsborough Holden Museum. The museum has an enviable collection of Holden's ranging from early to late models as well as memorabilia. There’s also a luge, mini golf, and café. 

For those who love a good hike, the Pouākai Crossing is an excellent choice. This fantastic trail offers a 7.5-hour journey through the breathtaking landscapes of Mt Taranaki's lower slopes. 

Enjoy another night beside the beach at Fitzroy Beach Holiday Park.

 

Image: Tourism New Zealand

 

Day 5: New Plymouth to Raglan

Travel time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Distance: 263 km

Before you head off on day five of your New Zealand road trip, enjoy a hearty breakfast at Monica’s Eatery on the corner of King and Queen Streets. 

Well rested and fed, it’s time to hit the road again and head to New Zealand’s surfing mecca, Raglan. Along the way, you’ll drive through Otorohanga – the 'Kiwiana capital of NZ'. Plan a stop to stretch your legs along the Ed Hillary Walkway. This fun, interactive walk includes 26 exhibits that offer a tribute to some of New Zealand’s national icons. You might also like to visit the Otorohanga Kiwi House where you can meet New Zealand's national feathered icon.

Once you reach Raglan, it’s time to kick back and make the most of your last night in your Apollo camper. Unwind with an evening of fish and chips on the beach or explore some of the boutique shops. There are also some great walks to enjoy in Raglan. One of the most popular is the 10-minute walk to the top of Bridal Veil Falls.

Tonight, relax and enjoy the peace and quiet at the Raglan Holiday Park

 

Day 6: Raglan to Auckland

Travel time: 2 hours
Distance: 155 km

It’s day six already, and time for your final leg back to Auckland. Take your time this morning and enjoy a home-cooked campervan breakfast. Or, if you’re after a good brekkie out, head to The Shack and indulge in some great coffee and tasty food.

As you drive back to Auckland, you’ve still got time for a stop along the way though. We suggest calling into the Pōkeno Whisky Company, New Zealand’s largest single malt distillery. Located on Gateway Park Drive, Pōkeno, the distillery is open for tours and tastings on Saturdays, but you’ll need to book ahead.  

The last stop on your seven-day road trip is to drop off your campervan at Apollo Auckland. Before you leave, you may like to have a chat with the friendly team about planning your next New Zealand road trip itinerary – there are plenty more to be had!

 

Ready to explore New Plymouth?

Have we got you excited to plan an Auckland to New Plymouth road trip? Don’t put it off any longer! Book your Apollo campervan online today and get ready for the holiday of a lifetime. 

 

 

 

 

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