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New Zealand ItinerariesTravel Distance is approximately 82kms (52 miles).
Allow at least 1 hour drive time (not including stops).
Part of the Thermal Explorer Highway.

The journey from Rotorua to Taupo is relatively short; therefore you will be able to enjoy a morning of cruising the highway with plenty of stops for photographs and general sightseeing.

The scenery between Rotorua and Taupo is entertainment in itself thanks to the unique volcanic geography and spectacular forest plantations.

Some notable stops along this colourful geothermal route include:

If you didn’t get a chance to visit this fabulous ‘hot spot’ while staying in Rotorua, make sure you stop for a visit on your way to Taupo! Located approximately 20 minutes from Rotorua along State Highway 5, this thermal wonderland is open from 8.30am – 5.00pm daily and offers visitors the opportunity to walk around the geothermal park and experience the world famous champagne pool, boiling mud, hot springs and huge volcanic craters, along with the daily eruption of the Lady Knox Geyser at 10.15am.

Also located approximately 20 minutes from Rotorua, this is eco-tourism at its finest! Stretch your legs with an easy walk within the native flora and fauna, or take a boat cruise experience ranging in duration from 45 minutes to over 4 hours at Waimangu.

The road to Orakei Korako does require a detour from your main route towards Taupo, but is worth the journey, considering Orakei Korako is only accessible by boat (which is included in the admission fee and run on request throughout the day). The tour includes viewing of the Silica Terraces, active natural geysers, boiling hot springs, mud pools and the thermal Ruatapu Cave.

Plan to arrive in Taupo by midday so you have plenty of time to enjoy the fabulous activities and attractions on offer in this popular New Zealand tourist resort.

Taupo has the honour of being located on the edge of New Zealand’s largest lake and with natural hot springs, Tongariro National Park, ski-ing and forests galore, it’s no surprise that Taupo is a favourite playground for outdoor enthusiasts and those that just want to relax and unwind.

Highly recommended Taupo tourist attractions include…

Tongariro Crossing – This World Hertiage Site is considered one of the best world famous one day 17km treks. Starting at Mangatepopo, the mountainous hike rises to 1600m above sea level and finishes at Ketetahi. Seriously breath-taking views and landscape abounds, including tussocklands, volcanic formations, alpine plants and more. The trek takes approximately 9 hours.

Huka Falls – Enjoy a jet boat view that takes you within a few meters of the bottom of the final stage of the majestic Huka Falls.

Maori Rock Carvings – Located at Mine Bay on Lake Taupo, these stunning carvings are over 10 metres high and only accessible by boat. As an important cultural attraction for the region, the carvings offer a peaceful and cultural beauty, best viewed in a setting sun.

Wairakei International Golf Course – Hire your clubs, shoes and golf cart and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty on this 18 hole championship golf course with driving range, golf shop, on-course N.Z.P.G.A. Golf Professionals and clubhouse.

Huka Prawn Park – New Zealand’s only Prawn Park is open daily from 9am and is something ‘a bit different’ from the normal New Zealand attractions! Enjoy a guided walk that includes hatchery tour, Hook-A-Prawn fishing, interactive water features, riverside nature walk, trout feeding and geothermal foot bath. Don’t forget to enjoy some prawns in the stunning riverside restaurant!

Taupo is the perfect holiday destination with something for everyone, from the excitement of bungy jumping to ski-ing, mountain biking, hunting, white water rafting and sky diving, to more relaxing sports such as trout fishing, scenic walks, geothermal spas, golf, lake cruises, Maori performances, tours plus bustling cafes and restaurants.

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