WHANGAREI – AUCKLAND (via Warkworth & Orewa)
Travel distance is approximately 162kms (101 miles).
Allow at least 2.25 hours drive time (not including stops).
Hopefully you have spent your final night in Whangarei enjoying the excellent selection of restaurants and evening entertainment in the bars and nightclubs.
This morning is your last chance to enjoy the fabulous activities and attractions in this beautiful harbour side city. Perhaps a final visit to the popular Quayside Town Basin for a cafe breakfast and a look through the speciality shops, art galleries and craft stores is on the itinerary before you commence the final stage of your self-drive journey back to Auckland city.
Some notable stops along the route to Auckland include:
MARSDEN POINT OIL REFINERY
Just out of Whangarei you can take a short detour to the Marsden Point oil refinery. View New Zealand’s only oil refinery works with a free tour through the informative Visitors Centre. Interactive 3D display, scale model and dramatic light and sound show make this an educational and entertaining half hour tour.
Before reaching the rural service town of Wellsford you might want to consider a side trip to Pakiri Beach. The pristine white sandy beaches are a major draw-card, however the beach is also well known for horse rides along the beach and the surfing.
This picture pretty town is located on the banks of the Mahurangi River and offers a varied choice of local attractions, from surf beaches to vineyards, wildlife and marine sanctuaries to golf courses and islands. The Warkworth and District Museum holds many colonial artefacts and is located in the Parry Kauri Park.
GOAT ISLAND MARINE RESERVE
Also known as the Leigh Marine reserve, this was New Zealand’s first established marine reserve in 1975. The reserve covers 547 hectares of shore and sea spanning from Cape Rodney to Okakari Point, including the waters around Goat Island. Snorkelling or diving is the best way to enjoy the magic of the marine life in this area.
Just 45 minutes North of Auckland, the historic township of Puhoi is a great place to indulge your tastebuds! Visit the Mustardmakers for gourmet mustards, condiments, chutneys, luxury jams and marmalades. Cheese lovers will recognise the name ‘Puhoi’ as part of the delicious New Zealand Puhoi Valley Cheese brand. The Art of Cheese Cafe & Store is located in in a park-like setting and offers you the opportunity to enjoy a great lunch with a glass of wine. Watch cheese making through the big windows and taste some of the Puhoi and other brands of cheeses.
WAIWEREA HOT SPRINGS
Waiwera Infinity Thermal Spa Resort is a very popular natural hot mineral pools located just 35 minutes north of Auckland on the picturesque Hibiscus Coast. A great way to unwind on your journey, enjoy a relaxing hot mineral pool soak, massage or beauty treatment. Other facilities include water slides, cafe plus picnic and BBQ areas.
With only 25 minutes drive time left before you reach Auckland, why not stop and enjoy the beauty that is Orewa Beach, in the heart of the Hibiscus Coast and Rodney district. A bustling holiday resort town with some of the best beaches in New Zealand, this is a refreshing place to enjoy some sunshine, sea and shopping!
New Zealand’s largest city, ‘The City of Sails’ is a fabulous place to end your North Island self-drive journey. Vibrant and exciting, it wont be long before you are feeling recharged and ready for some of the action and attractions on offer. A plethora of accommodation options is available to suit your budget and requirements.
Highly recommended Auckland tourist attractions include…
Devonport – Located across Auckland harbour, historic Devonport is a wonderful way to experience local charm and character. Pretty wooden colonial villa’s line the streets, mixing surprising well with the cafes and boutique shops selling crafts, antiques and collectibles.
Villa Maria Winery – Set in 40 hectares of landscaped grounds planted in Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Merlot grapes, Villa Maria offers an unique wine experience combining the traditional elements of European viticulture and winemaking within a fabulous New Zealand setting. The Winery & Vineyard Park is conveniently located only minutes from Auckland airport and the cellar is open daily for tasting award winning wines.
Minus 5 – Located in the bustling party heart of Auckland’s waterfront precinct, this is a great place to ‘chill’ out for 30 minutes as an ice guide takes you on a tour of truly unique proportions! Rug up warm in the jackets and gloves provided before heading into the ice lounge where everything is made of ice, including the walls, the seats, sculptures and even the glass you sip your vodka cocktail from!
Auckland Museum – Considered the cultural and spiritual touchstone for the many races that inhabit New Zealand, this is a ‘must do’ for anyone wishing to gain an insight into New Zealand and its remarkable people.
Auckland Zoo – Enjoy a day at the zoo with some awesome native and exotic animals. A range of experiences is available for you to get up close to the animals at Western Springs, Auckland.
Sky Tower – Towering a whopping 328 metres over Auckland city, Sky Tower is the tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere, offering breath-taking views for more than 80 kilometres in every direction. There’s always something happening at Sky Tower including a range of unique adventure activities such as Sky Jump.
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