Driver Information
New Zealand ItinerariesTravel Distance is approximately 139kms (87 miles).
Allow at least 1.75 hours drive time (not including stops).
Part of the Thermal Explorer Highway

After a what will no doubt be a truly refreshing and enjoyable stop-over in lovely Taupo, there is still some time to catch any last minute activities or attractions that you couldn’t quite cram in from the day before, however don’t forget to enjoy a delicious brunch at any of the fabulous cafes before getting back behind the wheel towards our next destination… Napier – the Art Deco Capital!

The route between Taupo and Napier is well known for its great range of scenery, from green lush valleys, to rolling plains, rugged hills and endless spaces, there is a bit of it all on this route. Basking in a Mediterranean climate, Napier is part of the Hawke’s Bay region and is known for its wine, food and fabulous scenery. Over 30 vineyards offer visitors a wine tasting and alfresco dining experience. Napier and Hastings, the two main centres in the region, have a high concentration of Art Deco and Spanish Mission architecture. Following a major earthquake in 1931, the towns were rebuilt in these unique styles.

Some notable stops along the route to Napier include:

There is nothing commercialised about these hot spring pools located in the middle of the bush on the main highway between Taupo and Napier. Enjoy a relaxing dip while listening to the surrounding nature.

Nestled between the hills on the Napier-Wairoa highway, this is a lovely and serene sanctuary for birds and a magical mecca for keen anglers of all ages and abilities. Birdlife at the lake includes scaup, grey ducks, black swans, little white-throated shags, black shags, white-face herons, pukeko, fantails, New Zealand wood pigeons, swallows, kingfishers and much more.

Napier is internationally renowned for its 1930s Art Deco architecture and its fabulous seaside location. Basking in a Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine, this is a popular year-round visitor destination due to its fabulous Marine Parade that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is home to the world’s largest mainland gannet colony, Ocean Spa Hot Pools and the National Aquarium of New Zealand. Upmarket cafes, restaurants and established wineries and vineyards are also major draw cards for the area, along with fabulous shopping.

Highly recommended Napier tourist attractions include…

National Aquarium of New Zealand – Spend a couple of hours or an entire day! Very ‘family friendly’, everyone will enjoy a tour of the National Aquarium, which can include handling of some animals. Watch the divers feed the fish in the Oceanarium, dive with the sharks or buy some cool stuff in the gift shop.

Cape Kidnappers Gannet Reserve – The Plateau and Saddle Colonies can be viewed by taking an easy 20 minute walk from the Department of Conservation Rest Shelter. We recommend you take a guided tour that includes informative commentary.

Art Deco Walks – Take a daily guided Art Deco Walk with an accredited guide. Enjoy an easy stroll through the Art Deco Quarter and learn more about the fascinating architecture of the area. All walkers receive an informative Art Deco Walk booklet. Complimentary refreshments and a video screening are available afterwards.

Hawke’s Bay Museum – This is where you can experience the best of Culture, Heritage and Art in the Hawke’s Bay region. From fascinating collections to excellent exhibitions and displays of New Zealand treasures. This is a must do.

Napier Wineries – Take a visit to one of the many award winning vineyards and wineries located in the sunny Hawke’s Bay. Alternatively, arrange a Wine Tasting Tour with one of the local tour guides.

Napier is a truly fantastic place to stay for a night, couple of days or a week or two! The combination of unique architecture, fabulous, balmy weather, ocean views and attractions that rival those elsewhere, you have a great selection of accommodation options as well as some superb restaurants, swanky cafes and superior inner city shopping.

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