WELLINGTON – NEW PLYMOUTH (via Wanganui & Hawera)

Driver Information
New Zealand ItinerariesTravel distance is approximately 354kms (222 miles).
Allow at least 4.5 hours drive time (not including stops).
Part of the Surf Highway 45.

Today is the day to ‘hang ten’ as you leave Wellington city behind and enjoy the scenic journey up to New Plymouth, via the Surf Highway that runs between Hawera and New Plymouth. Part of one of New Zealand’s Themed Highways, Surf Highway 45 isn’t just for the surf board lovers, this is also the touring route for Egmont National Park.

Before you reach the Surf Highway, you will have enjoyed the picturesque delights of the Kapiti Coast on your travels to Wanganui, and then onto the coastal delights via Hawera, onto New Plymouth, where you can relax and enjoy an over-night stay.

Some notable stops along the route to New Plymouth include:

Only 40 minutes from Wellington and the Hutt Valley finds you in the Kapiti Coast with its stunning beaches, lush bush clad hills and nature reserves. There is plenty of sights, attractions and shopping on offer along this 40km stretch of coastal paradise.

New Zealand ItinerariesLocated 5km off-shore on the Kapiti Coast, Kapiti Island is home to internationally famed nature reserve protecting some of the world’s rarest and most endangered birds. There are 2 public tracks on the Island, and there are plenty of tours running via sea and air for those only having a quick stop. Alternatively, enjoy a 3 hour return walk to the top of the Island.

The museum is located at the rear of the De Molen Windmill on the Main Street in Foxton. View working machinery and historical displays, including a flax stripper designed in the 1930’s and was capable of stripping 16 tons of green leaf in a day.

Located in Wanganui, the Bason Botanic Gardens is considered a ‘Garden of Regional Significance’ by the New Zealand Gardens Trust, and is well worth a visit to stretch your legs and enjoy some fresh air on your journey. Year round your senses will be delighted, from camellias, daffodils and magnolias in spring to roses and perennials in summer. Follow the walking trails around the gardens and the original homestead.

Renowned New Zealand golfer Michael Campbell learned to play golf at this club that boasts panoramic views of the Tasman Sea and Mt Taranaki/Mt Egmont. Golf lovers will enjoy this challenging 18 hole links course. Visitors always welcome to enjoy this easy walking country style golf course.

Located in Hawea and acclaimed as the best private museum in New Zealand due to impressive life size exhibits and scale models to present our heritage in a series of super realistic and engaging displays.

Your final stop for the night, the cit of New Plymouth is proud of its beautiful gardens and parks. There is also a strong art community, which makes this a great opportunity to view some unique current exhibitions. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes to cater for your dining requirements, as well as a good choice of accommodation to suit most budgets and sleeping arrangements!

Highly recommended New Plymouth tourist attractions include…

Puke Ariki – This world-class, striking two-wing complex is a unique combination of library, museum and visitor information that tells the stories of Taranaki – past, present and future. Enjoy changing exhibitions, displays, collections and interactive technology.

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery – Welcome to New Zealand’s premier contemporary art museum. From the stunning exterior design to the contemporary art collection, exhibitions and events, this is one place you have to visit during your stay in New Plymouth.

Egmont National Park – Covering a whopping 33,534 hectares and home to the volcano Taranaki. Plenty of walking tracks to cater for those wanting easy short walks as well as more experienced walkers and climbers. Walks, waterfalls, tramps, picnics, photography, skiing, mountaineering and rock climbing, it’s all catered for here!

Brooklands Zoo – Family friendly zoo that has a unique mix of farmyard animals and more exotic animals including an endangered red panda, otters, lemurs and both capuchin and cotton-top tamarin monkeys, as well as a selection of colourful birds and Parma wallabies inside a free-flight aviary.

Lake Mangamahoe – 10 minutes drive south of New Plymouth city on SH3. Enjoy a lake circuit walk as you meander around Lake Mangamahoe through production forest and up to impressive lookouts. There is also a picnic area, toilet facilities, plenty of car parking plus a mountain biking area.

Pukekura Park – Referred to as ‘The Jewel in New Plymouth’s Crown’, this world-renowned park is located in the heart of the city and covers 128 acres. Enjoy a diverse landscape of plants, including exotic specimen trees and formal gardens along with lakes and walking trails through native bush.
New Zealand Itineraries: North Island Suggested Itineraries

Our modern self-drive travel Itineraries have routes specifically for the North Island as well as the South Island, ranging from 5 to 11 days, plus there are some travel routes that take in both the North and South Island’s. Our range of travel itineraries include information regarding travel distances and time to ensure that you can make the best of your time in New Zealand, no longer how short your visit!

  • 5 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
  • 6 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Coromandel, Coromandel – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua and Rotorua – Auckland
  • 6 Day Itinerary (route 2): Auckland – Dargaville, Dargaville – Kaitaia, Kaitaia – Paihia, Paihia – Whangarei and Whangarei – Auckland
  • 7 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Napier and Napier – Wellington
  • 8 Day Itinerary: Wellington, Wellington – Masterton, Masterton – Wellington, Wellington – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim and Blenheim – Christchurch
  • 9 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Coromandel, Coromandel – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Gisborne, Gisborne – Napier, Napier – Taupo, Taupo – Rotorua, Rotorua – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
  • 9 Day Itinerary (route 2): Auckland – Whangarei, Whangarei – Paihia, Paihia – Hokianga, Hokianga – Auckland, Auckland – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
  • 11 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua, Rotorua – Gisborne, Gisborne – Napier, Napier Taupo Napier, Napier – Wellington, Wellington – New Plymouth, New Plymouth – Waitomo and Waitomo Caves – Auckland