Our most populated and northernmost island certainly has its fair share of things ot boast about. From wild coastal drives, to natural thermal springs and the biggest lake in the country, there’s plenty to see and explore in the mighty North Island. Don’t leave without driving these special routes.
A very much secluded part of the North Island doesn’t stop the East Cape from being rich in culture and history. Find pristine beaches and forest walks where it sometimes feels like you’re the last person left on the planet! From Opotiki round to Gisborne, there’s plenty to marvel at, and with low numbers on the road, you can take your time here.
Auckland – Coromandel
Roughly a two and a half hour drive from Auckland, the easy trip to Coromandel means you can pick up a renal in the morning, and be beachside by afternoon. Once you’re out of the super city, it’s not long before this become a spectacular coastal drive, and once in the Coromandel there’s every reason to pull over and put your toes in the water. Soak up the serenity and the laid back nature of locals, no one is in a hurry here, so you needn’t be either.
Rotorua – Tongariro
When you’ve finished bathing in the idyllic natural hot pools that Rotorua has to offer, it’s time to hit the road and head south to Tongariro. The two and a half hour drive will take you past New Zealand’s biggest lake in Taupo (where there’s plenty of good spots to stop and eat) and alongside beautiful forest parks. A national park itself, Tongariro has plenty of keen trampers walking its tracks from dusk till dawn, so if getting outside and seeing the infamous Blue Lakes for real take your fancy, this is the place for you.
Taumarunui – Stratford
Nicknamed the Forgotten World Highway, the 150 km journey from Taumarunui to Stratford is a rugged and roller coaster type experience, where various mountain saddles and a deep gorge form part of the landscape out the window. If getting off the beaten track is your thing, then this iconic drive is for you.
Wellington – Castlepoint
Another easy coastal location to reach from a big city, Castlepoint takes travellers from Wellington over the rolling hills of Wairarapa and onto the thin edge of the east coast where rugged beaches are a dime a dozen. A getaway that’s popular with surfers, swimmers or those just wanting a bit of peaceful outdoor time, Castlepoint is a must see for the North Island traveller.
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