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Auckland to Waitomo

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Galina and Robert, travelling around New Zealand on their honeymoon tried to see as much of the North Island as their time allowed. They had an amazing time over their seven-day trip.

Travel

7 days


Route

Auckland to Auckland

km


Best Time of the Year

All year round

Highlights

  • Mordor 
  • Hobbiton
  • Cathedral Cove
  • Tongariro 

The Journey

Days

1 2 3 4 5 6

Day 1
Auckland to Te Kauwhata

Distance 77km - Driving Time 1 hour 30 mins

Staying at the airport overnight left us feeling pretty tired when we picked up our campervan. After a quick nap at the Auckland branch, our adventure began – with the first stop at Countdown supermarket! We then drove to Hunua Falls for a picnic. Since it was getting late we searched for a campsite and found the beautiful Te Kauwhata Memorial Domain, where you are allowed to stay overnight for only 5nzd donation. We cooked a super delicious Chili con carne and enjoyed the evening in front of the campervan with a glass of wine.

Day 2
Te Kauwhata to Hahei

Distance 118km - Driving Time 1 hour 30 mins

After breakfast, we drove to Lake Waikare and enjoyed the view before starting a long drive to the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula via Thames, Coromandel, Whitianga to Hahei. We stopped so many times to enjoy breathtaking views. There were some great lookouts that are worth visiting. After finally making it to our destination, we took some time to relax at Hahei Beach. Cathedral Cove carpark was a perfect place to watch the sunset and to stay the night.

Day 3
Hahei to Lake Okaro

Distance 242km - Driving Time the whole day

We started the day pretty early since we wanted to visit Cathedral Cove before it gets too busy with holidaymakers. The walk through the beautiful landscape took 30-40 minutes and we were speechless when we arrived at the cove and had it to ourselves. We enjoyed the silence and took some great photos. Afterwards we drove to Waihi to fix a few chips in the windscreen. While the repairman got on with the job, we walked around visiting a goldmine which was pretty interesting. A few hours later we picked up the campervan and continued our journey to Lake Okaro.

Day 4
Lake Okaro to Taupo

Distance 223km - Driving Time the whole day

After having breakfast at the lakeside we started our journey to Taupo. On the way we stopped at a big steamy lake and the majestic Huka Falls. It is such a spectacular place but unfortunately was packed with fellow tourists…For lunch, we stopped in Taupo to enjoy the view. After lunch, we drove to Tongariro National Park to catch a glimpse of the movie set Mordor from Lord of the Rings. We aren’t big fans of that movie but we wanted to see this magical place in real life. We parked our Campervan at the end of Bruce Road and climbed up the rocks. The view from the top left us speechless. We spent the night at Five Mile Bay Amenity Area at Lake Taupo and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

Day 5
Lake Taupo to Hobbiton

Distance 118km - Driving Time 2 hours

On day five we drove to the Bridal Veil Falls. The waterfall is 55 metres high, and over time caused the formation of a large pool below. The location is awesome and we were nearly alone. As a last minute decision we decided to visit Hobbiton the next day so we travelled to the movie set. You are allowed to stay at the carpark overnight if you are visiting the movie set the next day – so we did just that. We enjoyed the sunset and a wonderful night sky full of stars.

Day 6
Hobbiton to Te Kauwhata

We visited Hobbiton – definitely worth a trip. After that, we walked around Matamata until we had to start our trip back in Auckland direction. For our last night, we stayed at the same campsite in Te Kauwhata as we did on the first night.

Road trip highlights:

Where the best view was? 
The walk from the carpark to Cathedral Cove is really beautiful. The highlight was the view from Mordor.

Where did you stop for a picnic?
Beautiful lookouts at Lake Taupo.

Where was your favourite place/town visited and why?
Taupo was great because the view of the lake is beautiful with snow-covered mountains in the background.

What was your favourite experience/activity & why?
Visiting Mordor (Lord of the Rings) in Tongariro National Park because it felt like standing on the top of the world and being totally free. You are surrounded by stones and snow-covered mountains and even the journey to the location is awesome with a lot of curvy roads.

Top highlights?
Visiting Mordor (Lord of the Rings) in Tongariro National Park and Cathedral Cove.

Favourite pub/restaurant? 
We cooked ourselves most of the time

Did you have a favourite Holiday Park you stayed in and why?
We didn’t stay at any Holiday Park because we think that freedom camping is so much better and you have full privacy. In New Zealand there are so many beautiful spots where it is allowed to stay overnight so we preferred staying there.

What would be your top tip for other campervan travellers?
Download Campermate App before the trip. There you can find Campsites, sightseeing points, petrol stations, dump stations, free wifi spots, supermarkets etc. Freedom camping can also be great - there are so many beautiful spots where you are allowed to stay the night.

Can you share a recipe from something you cooked in the campervan? 
Oh, we cooked a lot of different things but the easiest and fastest is to cook potatoes and zucchini and eat it with sour cream. That’s super easy and delicious.

What is your greatest memory of the whole campervan holiday?
The whole journey was a great memory!