WAITOMO CAVES – AUCKLAND (via Hamilton)
Travel distance is approximately 195kms (121 miles).
Allow at least 3 hours drive time (not including stops).
Part of the Thermal Explorer Highway.
Spend the morning enjoying the remainder of fabulous Waitomo activities you didn’t have time to experience yesterday before driving north towards Hamiltn on State Highway 3.
The road trip towards Hamilton boasts picturesque rural views of the lush, prime farmland of the Waikato region, while a detour towards the West Coast will lead you to Kawhia. At Kawhia you can witness the natural phenomenon of hot water bubbling up through sand. If you are travelling during the summer season a stop in Te Awamtu is a must to view the beautiful rose displays.
Rejoin State Highway 1 at Hamilton to arrive in Auckland late afternoon.
Some notable stops along the route to Auckland include:
KAWHIA OCEAN BEACH NATURAL HOTPOOLS
A detour to the West Coast to Te Puia hot pools is worth the time out in your travel schedue! How often do you get to witness hot water that bubbles up out of the sand onto the beach? Once one of Kawhia’s best kept secrets, the secret is out with many more visitors discovering the rejuvenating ocean hot-springs.
Enjoy lunch at one of the many awesome cafes now open in Hamilton before taking a quick stroll through Hamilton Gardens.
Auckland enjoys a warm, humid climate and a unique combination of ultra modern city life and exceptional outdoor lifestyle. Famous for it’s stunning aqua surrounds and volcanic cones, one of the best ways to get out and about is to escape to one of the many islands of the Hauraki. Travelling no more than 40 minutes by ferry from downtown Auckland, visitors can escape to an island experience – Waiheke, Motuihe, Rangitoto – or journey a little further to Tiritiri Matangi, Kawau or Great Barrier.
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.
Rainbow’s End – New Zealand’s premier theme park is popular with kids and adults alike and offers a great selection of adrenalin rides and other fun attractions. Be prepared to spend at least a 2-3 hours enjoying the park.
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.
Sail NZ – Your chance to experience America’s Cup yachting aboard NZL 40 and NZL 41 as you sail on the stunning Hauraki Gulf. Sailings available daily, departing from the Viaduct Basin.
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