Two Week NZ Camper-Van Route (North Island)

Day 1-2 Auckland

Based around two large harbours Auckland is a multicultural hub for all things food, music, and art. Known as the “City Of Sails” and rightfully so the harbours are filled with superyachts and the docks lined with bars and cafes. Most likely one of the places you’ll land when coming to New Zealand this makes for the perfect place to start your trip.

What To Do?

Visit Waiheke Island

A short 40-minute ferry ride away lies the second largest island in the gulf. Home to some of the most amazing wineries one can ever visit but not only that Waiheke offers a range of activities such as diving/snorkeling, ziplining and yacht charters!

Waiheke Island

Visit Aukland Museum 

Filled with rich Maori history and culture indulge yourself into more than 1000 taonga (treasures) of the major tribes.  Such as waka (canoes), Small artifacts and even a full-size replica meeting house.

Kayak to Rangitoto Island

Paddle across Waitemata harbour to visit Auckland’s Largest Volcano although it is dormant you can hike to the summit roughly around 2.5km (1.5 miles) to get an extraordinary view of the harbor and city

Where to stay?

Low Budget

Haka Lodge

With a range of sleeping options from large dorms to private rooms with en-suites for the low budget travellers. Each bed provides privacy curtains and power points for all your gear

Mid Range

Auckland harbour suits

Centrally located with views of Waitemata harbour. Rooms are equipped with full kitchens as well as laundry and free-wifi

Luxury

Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Positioned on the marina rooms include floor to ceiling windows and oversized bathrooms as well as balconies that open up to amazing views of the city.

Day 3 Piha

About a 50 minutes drive west of Auckland is the famous surf town of Piha. Know for its breathtaking black sand beach surrounded by a rugged cliff side. The laid back vibe is perfect for escaping the busy city and gives you plenty of time to settle into your new camper.

 

What To Do?

Climb Lion Rock

Geologically an eroded neck of a volcano which is situated between Piha and North Piha Beaches the rock offers stunning views of both the ocean and the small town of Piha

Go Surfing

Its why the locals love Piha the consistent surf all year round provides endless fun. With lessons and board hire available, This makes for a great place to learn, beware of the strong currents though.

Hike Waitakere Ranges

One of the many natural treasures of New Zealand, The massive rainforest offers some of the best walking trails, unfortunately, the Kauri dieback disease is killing the forest so please stick to open trails and use the hygiene stations provided.

Where To Stay?

Piha Domain Motor Camp

Positioned in the center of Piha and only a short minute walk from the beach. The campgrounds include everything you need to stay a night or two in Piha

Day 4-5 Hamilton

30 minutes south of Aukland positioned on the banks of the Waikato river is Hamilion a town known for its cafes and garden walks. The city is also known for holding international sporting events from time to time.

 

What To Do?

Visit Hamilton Gardens

A 54 hectare park with more gardens then one can ask for, This is something I didn’t think I would enjoy but am glad I visited.

Watch A Rugby Match

New Zealand offers some of the best rugby in the world, head over to Waikato Stadium and get involved in the action. Be sure to book in advance.

Go To Omanawa Falls

A hidden gem as far as waterfalls go and personally one of my favorite parts on my trip to New Zealand! This one really speaks for itself and has to been seen. Although it is closed to the public you can still access it if you know how wear your hiking shoes!

Where To Stay?

Personally, unless you plan to watch a sporting match at night I would make Hamilton a day trip and pass through and visit Omanawa falls on the way out to Rotorua

If you do choose to stay I recommend

Free Camping

Classic Museum-Hamilton

Positioned near the Classics Museum which offers a good breakfast in the morning. Good as far as free camping goes. 

Paid Camping

Hamilton City Holiday Park

Equipped with facilities that all holiday parks should have and only a short walk to the local supermarket. Although expensive as far as unpowered sites go.

Day- 6 Rotorua

This city is packed with more activities than any other on the north island. known for its geothermal activity and its Maori culture it makes an ideal stop for at least a day or two.

 

What To Do?

Mitai Maori Village

Learn about the Maori history of the area which was once occupied by villages, watch traditional dances and enjoy a traditional cooked meal

Redwoods Treewalk

Experience the forrest from above, the bridge walk suspended on the 75-metre tall redwoods is one to remember. The experience can be done both during the day and under the stars.

Go White-Water Rafting 

With three main rivers to choose from all with varying difficulty levels white water rafting in Rotarua is one for everyone!

Where To Stay?

Free Camping

Government Gardens Thermal Area

Very busy if you’re lucky enough to get one of the 17 spots there are amenities included here. It does have a strong smell of sulfur.

Paid Camping

Waiteti Trout Stream Holiday Park

Positioned on a stream leading into Lake Rotorua, a short drives out of town makes for a quiet setting. Ask for site 12 to be positioned on the stream!

Day 7- 9 Taupo

Known for its lakefront setting and outdoor activities Taupo has crystal blue waters that flow from the volcanic Caldera and drains into Huka falls. A lot like Rotorua but with a more relaxed vibe.

What To Do?

Take A Heli Tour Flight

Two seperate helicopter company’s means there are multiple different flight paths to be taken! I personally took one over Lake Taupo and Huka Falls.

Sail To The Maori Rock Carvings

Another one of my personal favorites. Take a sail boat tour across Lake Taupo to the famous Maori Rock Carvings.

Visit The Moon Crators

The geothermal landscape is like no other with bubbling crators and steam vents along the 45-minute walk

Where To Stay?

Free Camping

Five Mile Bay Recreation Reserve

Enjoy Lake Taupo from the comfort of your camper van pulling right onto the edge of the lake. Lots of space so no need to rush here.

Paid Camping

Lake Taupo Holiday Resort

Everything you’d expect from a holiday park and more, including a thermally heated pool with a float up cafe.

Day 10-11 Tongariro

 A national park featuring dual world heritage with its neighbour Whanganui National Park. The area features three main Mountains Mt. Tongariro, Mt. Ruapehu and Mt. Ngauruhoe and is an unforgettable landscape whether you’re here for winter or summer.

What To Do?

Take A Scenic Flight Over The Mountain Range

Flying over the two national parks is something you won’t forget! I did this during the wintertime and had never seen anything like it.

Hike The Tongariro Alpine Crossing

If you’re up for a challenge the 19.4Km hike up and across Mt. Tongariro is definitely one with some amazing views.

Click Here For My Guide To The Alpine Crossing

Go Snowboarding On Mt. Ruapehu (winter)

If you’re a winter sports enthusiast Whakapapa Alpine Resort is one you’ll want to visit while here.

Click Here For My Guide To New Zealand Ski fields

Where To Stay?

Paid Camping

Whakapapa Holiday Resort

Positioned at the base of Mt. Ruapehu with everything a holiday park should have. Only a two-minute walk to the shuttle bus stop if your heading to Whakapapa ski resort.

12-14 Wellington

New Zealand’s capital city positioned on the most southern point on the Cook Strait. The city boasts an abundance of energy and makes for the perfect location to end living out of a van for the past 10 days.

What To Do?

Visit Mt. Victoria Lookout

Look out over the city as the sun goes down and watch the lights come on!

Go To The Markets

With the city holding three main markets there’s something for everyone from fresh produce to small art

Hire E-bikes And Ride Around The City

By far one of the best ways to see any city is by bike and Wellington is no exception to that!

Where To Stay?

Low Budget

Hotel Waterloo & Backpackers

A hostel on the higher end for quality, rooms come in both dorm and private options. An in house cafe and free wi-fi included.

Mid-Range

Travelodge Hotel Wellington

Standard rooms, some with a choice of harbor views. The Travelodge includes an in house gym

Luxury

Intercontinental Wellington

A range of suits with a choice of city or harbour views. The Intercontinental has a spa and wellness center to unwind after a long trip.

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