Hit the road and discover the best sights of New Zealand’s North Island with a 7-day Auckland to Wellington road trip. Enjoy the freedom of a campervan as you traverse through stunning landscapes, cultural hotspots, and natural wonders.

Our itinerary includes popular destinations such as Waiheke Island, Rotorua, Taupo, and Hawke’s Bay. Take in the breathtaking views, immerse yourself in local cultures, and experience the adventure of a lifetime. Travel comfortably and conveniently with our campervans, and let us help you make memories that will last a lifetime.

Auckland to Wellington Road Trip Distance

The journey spans over 900 kilometres, but if you’re up for it, the views and experiences along the way make it well worth the 14 hours and 15-minute drive. From winding highways that hug the coastline to charming towns and pit stops, there’s so much to see and do that you’ll never be bored.

Quick stats

900km trip distance

7 day roadtrip

Campervan recommended

road trip map

Day 1: Auckland to Waiheke Island

Travel time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Auckland cityscape, New Zealand

Embark on an unforgettable 7-day New Zealand road trip from Auckland to Wellington, starting with a visit to the picturesque Waiheke Island. Despite being a winter activity, Waiheke Island boasts a tranquil atmosphere that is perfect for unwinding and taking in breathtaking views.

From toasting to special occasions with the island’s renowned wine to exploring the vast expanse of nature, Waiheke Island promises a unique and memorable experience. With this stop, your road trip is off to an excellent start.

Sightseeing #1: Oneroa Beach

If you’re looking for the perfect beach escape, make sure Oneroa Beach is on your list of must-visit destinations. Situated in the main town of Waiheke Island, just a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland, this stunning beach offers views that are truly second to none. Take in the crisp white sand and sparkling water while perusing a variety of arts and crafts shops, souvenir shops, and excellent eateries that line the beachfront.

Sightseeing #2: Man O’ War Vineyards

Man O’ War Vineyards, located at the eastern end of Waiheke Island, is a must-visit destination on any Waiheke itinerary. With 75 vineyards spread across 4,500 acres of picturesque landscape, this idyllic location is a wine lover’s paradise. Sample the vineyard’s current release Flagship and Single Vineyard wine range, as well as limited library stock wines, in their Winery Tasting Room – the only one on Waiheke that’s on the water and New Zealand’s only beachfront tasting experience.

Day 2: Waiheke Island to Hamilton

Travel time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Palm Beach view, Waiheke Island - New Zealand

Hamilton, a city located between Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment, should definitely be on your list of places to visit on your 7-day Auckland to Wellington road trip. Known for its industrial heritage, Hamilton has a unique urban feel that seamlessly merges with its natural surroundings.

This city offers incredible access to nature walking trails, parks, and waterfalls that will leave you in awe. The vibrant arts scene, museums, art galleries, and bustling downtown will keep you thoroughly entertained. And let’s not forget the incredible shopping and dining experiences that await you in this city.

Sightseeing #1: Bayfront Park

Tucked away close to downtown, the park’s asphalt pathway is perfect for a variety of activities, whether you prefer cycling, skating, or simply strolling. You’ll also find plenty of benches and picnic tables here, making it an ideal spot to stop for lunch or a snack. And with access to the waterfront area, as well as naturalized areas filled with wildflowers and trees, there’s plenty to see and appreciate.

Sightseeing #2: Hamilton Gardens

Located in the city of Hamilton, the Hamilton Gardens offer visitors a unique experience, unlike any other botanic garden. Rather than just showcasing plant collections, this stunning attraction focuses on telling the story of various garden styles developed throughout history. With immaculate attention to detail, the gardens perfectly capture the distinct character, context, and significance of each garden design. Whether you are a history buff or a nature lover, the Hamilton Gardens offer the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in an unparalleled garden experience.

Day 3: Hamilton to Rotorua

Travel time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Thermal Wonderland Rotorua, New Zealand

After spending two exciting days in Waiheke Island and Hamilton, it’s time to hit the road towards our next destination – Rotorua. This city is known for its unique geothermal activity, hot springs, and rich Māori culture. As we drive towards Rotorua from Hamilton, we’ll enjoy the stunning views of the countryside, including lush green pastures and rolling green hills.

Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted with the unmistakable smell of sulfur in the air, a telltale sign of the city’s geothermal activity. From relaxing thermal baths and spa treatments to adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities like white water rafting and zorbing, Rotorua is sure to hit you with an unforgettable experience.

Sightseeing #1: Te Puia

This geothermal wonderland is like nothing else on earth, with bubbling mud pools, towering geysers and a unique cultural element, with traditional Māori carvers and weavers practising their craft at national schools. Keep your eyes peeled for the legendary Kiwi bird, and be sure to indulge in a delicious meal at our world-famous restaurant, Pātaka Kai. Te Puia is sure to leave you awestruck and inspired by the natural and cultural wonders of New Zealand.

Sightseeing #2: Polynesian Spa

If you’re looking for a completely revitalizing experience in Rotorua, the Polynesian Spa is the way to go. This spa is a true icon of New Zealand, providing exclusive access to both acidic and alkaline natural mineral springs. The unique minerals and geothermal properties of the water provide a truly restorative experience that you won’t find anywhere else. Plus, with the added bonus of day spa therapies, you can come out feeling completely refreshed and rejuvenated.

Day 4: Rotorua to Taupo

Travel time: 1 hour
Campervan parked next to thermal pools in Rotorua, New Zealand

As you hit the road on Day 4 of your Auckland to Wellington road trip, get ready to be mesmerised by Lake Taupo. This stunning lake boasts crystal-clear waters perfect for activities like water skiing, sailing, and kayaking.

But the real gem lies in the Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay, nestled on the lake’s cliffs. You can only see them from the water, making for a truly unique experience. Whether you take a boat trip or paddle your way there on a kayak, you’re in for a treat!

Sightseeing #1: Lake Taupo

As New Zealand’s largest lake, Lake Taupo offers a spectacular sightseeing opportunity for those visiting the area. But there is so much more to discover than just the stunning natural beauty. Rich in Maori culture and history, Lake Taupo boasts a number of cultural experiences for travellers who want to learn more about the region’s indigenous culture. By visiting the Maori rock carvings, attending a cultural performance or taking a guided tour with a local Maori guide, you can fully immerse yourself in the traditions and stories of the land.

Sightseeing #2: Tongariro National Park

One of the park’s major draws is its diverse scenery, which makes it a hub of outdoor activity. There are plenty of opportunities to hit the slopes with skiing and snowboarding available in winter, while the summer months are perfect for mountain biking. Beyond the adrenaline-pumping activities, Tongariro National Park is home to ancient forests, crater lakes and rugged peaks to explore.

Day 5: Taupo to Hawke's Bay

Travel time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Rotoaira and Taupo lakes, Tongariro national park, North island of New Zealand

Get your taste buds ready for a treat as you hit Day 5 of your Auckland to Wellington road trip and head towards Hawke’s Bay region. From Taupo, you’ll venture into an area known as the ‘fruit bowl’ of New Zealand, where orchards filled with apples and kiwi fruit stretch across the countryside.

Hawke’s Bay’s climate is ideal for horticulture, making it a perfect destination for foodies looking to sample some of New Zealand’s freshest produce. Whether you’re in the mood for a juicy apple or a succulent kiwi fruit, you won’t be disappointed with what Hawke’s Bay has to offer.

Sightseeing #1: The National Aquarium of New Zealand

For all the aquatic enthusiasts out there, the National Aquarium of New Zealand is a must-see destination while travelling through Hawke’s Bay. With the largest display of aquatic life in the country, visitors can expect to see a diverse range of creatures, from sharks and stingrays to kiwi birds and tuatara. The aquarium boasts a great learning opportunity for both children and adults alike, making it a perfect activity for the whole family.

Sightseeing #2: Te Mata Peak

Te Mata Peak is a treasured landmark and a must-visit spot for anyone sightseeing in Hawke’s Bay. Looming over the Heretaunga Plains at a height of 399 metres, this natural wonder offers unparalleled panoramic views of the bay, stretching from Mahia to Cape Kidnappers. Te Mata Peak is more than just a pretty sight; it boasts unique topography, geology, flora, and fauna and has a rich cultural history dating back to the Māori people. Visitors can learn about the area’s fascinating heritage while enjoying the stunning natural surroundings.

Day 6: Hawke's Bay to Martinborough

Travel time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Vineyard rows in Napier Hawkes Bay New Zealand

Day 6 of your Auckland to Wellington road trip brings you to Hawke’s Bay, where you can indulge your taste buds in the charming town of Martinborough. This colonial gem boasts more than 20 wineries, offering a plethora of Pinot Noir and excellent restaurants that will leave you in a state of pure bliss.

You will be in wine heaven, surrounded by mostly family-owned vineyards, making it a key stop on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail. You can opt for a guided wine tour or take a self-guided cycling tour, as several bike hire companies can be found in the village. Make sure to visit the local visitors centre for a helpful map to plan your vineyard-hopping adventure.

Sightseeing #1: Martinborough Brewery

Nestled in the heart of the Martinborough community, this brewery is bursting with character and flavour. As a small-scale microbrewery, they take pride in expertly crafting their brews to keep things interesting and varied. From their tried and true favourites to the newest creations, they showcase the best of what the local area has to offer. Come and sample their selection of perfectly carbonated, refreshing beers that will have you wanting to stay awhile.

Sightseeing #2: Putangirua Pinnacles

The Putangirua Pinnacles, located in Martinborough, is a remarkable natural wonder that has fascinated visitors for years. As a testament to the forces of nature, they have been shaped by the Putangirua Stream over thousands of years. Besides their geological significance, they were also featured in the ‘Paths of the Dead’ scene in the Return of the King, making it a great spot for movie lovers. With three different routes to explore and stunning views of Lake Onoke and Palliser Bay, the Pinnacles are a must-visit spot for both nature and movie enthusiasts.

Day 7: Martinborough to Wellington

Travel time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Wellington NZ cable car

On the final day of your Auckland to Wellington drive, take the scenic drive from Martinborough to Wellington. New Zealand’s capital city is full of energy and has a lively atmosphere that’s contagious. There are so many things to do in Wellington that you might need to extend your stay, such as riding on the famous Wellington Cable Car.

Check out Te Papa, a world-renowned museum with exhibits that will leave you awestruck. If you’re a film buff, you can join tours that will take you through some of Wellington’s movie magic. Wellington also boasts a flourishing craft beer scene, fantastic shopping, and an excellent selection of restaurants. Your road trip is wrapping up, but Wellington is a great place to finish – it’ll have you wanting to come back for more.

Sightseeing #1: Wellington Botanic Garden

A visit to the Wellington Botanic Garden is a must for any nature lover or curious traveller seeking to delve deeper into the wonders of the natural world. This majestic garden boasts an impressive collection of flora from across the globe, carefully tended to by our team of experts. Marvel at the colourful blooms of the Rose Garden, or take a leisurely stroll through the scenic Lady Norwood Rose Garden. Whatever your preference, the Wellington Botanic Garden will leave you feeling inspired.

Sightseeing #2: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Located on Wellington’s spectacular waterfront, the museum offers breathtaking views and a truly memorable visit. With interactive exhibits and bold, innovative displays, Te Papa offers a unique, engaging experience that inspires you. Whether you’re interested in New Zealand’s natural environment, unique flora and fauna, or its dynamic art heritage and complex history, you will surely enjoy your time at this amazing museum.

Happy Exploring!

Person jumping next to campervan with view of New Zealand lake and mountains

For more information on hiring a campervan in Auckland, speak to the Travellers Autobarn Team or get a free online quote today!

For other amazing road trip ideas on the New Zealand North Island, please visit our North Island Road Trip section. Happy Exploring!

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