ROTORUA – AUCKLAND (via Cambridge & Hamilton)
Travel distance is approximately 237kms (148 miles).
Allow at least 3 hours and 35 minutes drive time (not including stops).
Part of the Thermal Explorer Highway.
Time permitting, squeeze in some last visitor attractions in Lake Rotorua before getting back on the scenic Thermal Explorer route back to Auckland city.
Enjoy a fabulous self-drive tour through the heart of the North Island via the Thermal Explorer Highway and the Waikato region. The Thermal Explorer Highway is a popular driving route with plenty to see and do along the way, including Maori culture, exciting outdoor pursuits, geothermal attractions and breath-taking landscapes.
Part of the Great New Zealand Touring Route, the Thermal Explorer Highway will take you from the geothermal area of Rotorua, through the Waikato region before arriving in New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland – The City of Sails.
Some notable stops along the route to Auckland include:
A short journey from Rotorua, the the quaint town of Tirau is famous for for ‘over-the-top’ icons, including the largest the largest corrugated iron sheep and sheepdog in the world!
Known as the thoroughbred and equestrian capital of New Zealand, Cambridge (also referred to as the Town of Trees and Champions) welcomes you with a picture perfect tree-lined entrance into the township. Check out Equine Stars Walk of Fame in the CBD.
The heart of the Waikato region, this lush countryside of bush and farmland is a wonderful place to base yourself for a Central North Island holiday. If you are planning on spending some time in Hamilton, you will find yourself spoilt for choice when it comes to visitor attractions and activities, including the stunning Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo and Waikato River Cruises.
Arriving back into Auckland, you can choose to say in this fabulous city and make the most of city and surrounding attractions, shopping and activities, or simply stay for a night while planning your next self-drive itinerary.
Highly recommended Rotorua tourist attractions include…
Buried Village – Visit the Museum of Te Wairoa and take a special journey as the fascinating story of the village of Te Wairoa unfolds, including the voyages to the Pink and White Terraces and the eruption of Mt Tarawera.
Hells Gate Thermal Reserve – Rotorua’s most active thermal park and New Zealand’s only mud bath complex with geothermal mud and therapeutic water.
Agrodome Sheep Show & Farm Tour – Enjoy an hour long live show of working New Zealand sheep and dairy farming in an interactive and truly enjoyable display.
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland – Located a 20 minute drive out of Rotorua, this is one of areas most visited geothermal areas. From the world famous Champagne Pool to bubbling mud, large volcanic craters, steaming ground and the daily eruption of Lady Knox Geyser, this is a ‘must see’ on your Rotorua itinerary.
Rotorua offers a plethora of cultural experiences, including genuine Hangi and Maori performances, geothermal marvels and for nature lovers, lakes and forests galore for fishing, mountain biking, hiking, rafting, tours and much more!
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