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The Ultimate 10-Day New Zealand North Island Itinerary (2024)

Tyson from Weekend Path standing on bright green grass at the top of the Hahei Pa walk in the Coromandel Peninsula, looking out at the turquoise ocean dotted with little islands.

Experience the highlights of New Zealand’s North Island in 10 days on this efficient, scenery-packed road trip itinerary.

Planning a North Island itinerary can feel like a daunting task.  

There’s so much to choose from, and it’s overwhelming to know where to go.

To make matters worse, a lot of the itineraries out there either recommend a completely unrealistic route or don’t include many details (like where to eat! and hidden gems!) that will make your trip special.

That’s where this guide will help!

I live in New Zealand and spend nearly every weekend and holiday travelling around the country.

I’m here to help you plan the best trip possible because the North Island is epic, and I don’t want you to miss out on experiencing its magic! 

This itinerary will take you through some of the North Island’s most beautiful highlights, including vineyards, glow worm caves, volcanic mountains, hot springs, and beaches.

Get excited, because this is going to be the trip of a lifetime!

So let’s get to it, shall we? Read on to discover the ultimate 10-day North Island itinerary.

*Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links to trusted partners. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I really appreciate your support!

Map of this 10-Day North Island Itinerary

Where to Hire (Rent) a Car for your North Island Road Trip

This itinerary is best suited for a road trip, whether you’re in a car or campervan.

🚗 Car hire: I recommend using Rentalcars.com to easily compare prices and vehicle models from all of the top NZ car rental companies. They do all of the homework for you so you don’t have to spend hours (and open 10+ tabs) to find the best deals!

🚐 Campervan Hire: I’m a big fan of JUCY, Travellers Autobarn, and Spaceships for campervan rentals. I also use Motorhome Republic to compare prices on campervans in NZ.

The Best 10-Day New Zealand North Island Itinerary

🗓 Days 1-2: Auckland & Waiheke Island

A sweeping view over Auckland City and the Hauraki Gulf from the Mount Eden summit walk, one of the best short hikes on the North Island.

Start your 10-day North Island itinerary in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city and the first point of entry for most international visitors.

You’re likely going to be tired after a long flight, so let’s keep the next two days easy.

Instead of grabbing your rental car or campervan now, wait until Day 3. 

You won’t need a car in Auckland, and it’s easy to take an Uber or Super Shuttle from the Auckland Airport into the city. It’s good to let someone else do the driving while you recharge a bit.

On Day 1, I recommend exploring Auckland, mostly on foot—walking is a great way to work off jetlag, after all, and it’s also the best way to get to know Auckland! 

Then on Day 2, head to Waiheke Island for a fantastic day trip from Auckland.

✅ Things to do in Auckland

A view of the Auckland cityscape from the Viaduct Harbour, with sailboats docked in the harbour and the Sky Tower in the background.
  • Walk along the Viaduct Harbour & Westhaven Path. This urban walk is simply gorgeous and will take you past the Auckland Harbour, where you can pop into any bars or eateries that strike your fancy and peek at all of the fancy yachts in the harbour.

  • Hike up Mount Eden (Maungawhau), a volcanic cone with some of the best views of the city. From the city centre, it’s a short Uber ride to the base of Mount Eden, and the hike itself takes about 30-45 minutes round-trip.
  • See the Sky Tower, an iconic part of the Auckland cityscape. If you want to experience some of the most incredible views in the city, a trip up the Sky Tower is a popular option.
  • Movie buffs won’t want to miss Wētā Unleashed. This interactive tour is run by the Academy Award-winning Wētā Workshop, the studio responsible for special effects, costumes, and props from some seriously amazing films like the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

✅ Things to do on Waiheke Island

The cellar door at Stonyridge Vineyard on Waiheke Island, with a building covered in green ivy and wine barrels stacked up at the entrance.
Stonyridge is such a good spot to sample some Waiheke wine.

Waiheke Island is known for its wineries, beaches, and laid-back vibe. It takes just a 45-minute ferry ride to get from Auckland to Waiheke. 

The ferry ride itself is spectacular: you’ll glide across the sparkling Hauraki Gulf whilst taking in views of Auckland City and its surrounding landscape.

Once you get to Waiheke Island, you’ll have multiple options for how to spend the day. Here are some suggestions for you!

  • Go wine tasting! Waiheke is known as the island of wine, and sampling some of the local drops is a sure way to get into vacation mode. I love Stonyridge, Batch, and Mudbrick vineyards in particular. 
  • Explore the charming village of Oneroa, and make sure to get a gelato at Island Gelato while there!

🚌 Tip: the easiest way to get around Waiheke Island is to book this hop-on, hop-off bus!

Alternatively, you can take the public bus for the cheapest option. If you plan to take the public bus, make sure to purchase an AT HOP bus card in Auckland before getting on the ferry to Waiheke.

➡️ Where to Stay in Auckland

A hotel room at the M Social Hotel in Auckland, with minimalist modern decor and a view of the Auckland Harbour from the window.
The view from a room at the M Social, my favourite hotel in Auckland 😍

Note: Auckland is the only location in this itinerary where I haven’t given a camping option, because I think it’s best to stay in a hotel or other accommodation in Auckland. If you’re hiring a campervan, pick it up on Day 3 and start camping on the North Island from then on!

🛏 Budget: LyLo

LyLo is a hip hostel located right in the heart of Auckland’s city centre. Not your average backpacker’s hostel, LyLo offers modern, clean accommodation ranging from shared rooms (with cosy sleeping pods) and private rooms with either shared or ensuite bathrooms.

🛏 Mid-range: M Social 

The M Social is, hands-down, my top hotel choice in Auckland. The location is absolutely perfect for exploring Auckland, and the rooms are faultless. I recommend splurging a bit on a room with a view so you can watch the ferries go in and out of the harbour. 

🛏 High-end: Park Hyatt

Stay right by Auckland’s waterfront at this luxurious hotel, which overlooks the Waitematā Harbour and has everything you need for a fabulous stay.

🗓 Days 3-4: Coromandel Peninsula (Hahei)

// Driving time from Auckland to Hahei: 2 hours 30 minutes (Directions)

A view over Hahei Beach and Hahei town from the Te Pare Pa Reserve walking track.

Today, it’s time to hit the road!

Get an early start to the day and fuel up with a quick breakfast—my choice would be a pastry (usually a ham & cheese croissant) and flat white from Daily Bread. 

After breakfast, pick up your rental car or campervan. Depending on where you’ve hired your vehicle from, you may need to hop in an Uber to get to your car rental depot.

After getting your vehicle sorted, make sure you have your Google Maps directions all plugged in and ready to go—and now it’s time for your road trip!

Your destination today is Hahei on the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula, where you’ll stay for the next two nights in blissful beach paradise. 

Tip: if you need to stock up on gear or do a big grocery shop, you’ll find the best selection in Auckland. Here are some places you might find helpful:

  • Pak ‘n Save: If you need to do a big grocery shop, head to a Pak ‘n Save supermarket. Pak ‘n Saves are huge supermarkets that usually have the cheapest prices for groceries in NZ.
  • Kmart or the Warehouse: For budget-friendly road trip items (like a chilly bin/cooler) or anything else you forgot to bring with you, head to a Kmart or Warehouse store. I’d compare them to Target or Walmart stores in the USA.  Kmart is my usual go-to, but either will do the job.

📍 Stops on the Drive from Auckland to Hahei

A view over the Tairua Harbour from the summit of Mount Paku.
The view over the Tairua Harbour from the Mount Paku summit
  • Thames: You don’t need to go out of your way to visit Thames, but I’m mentioning it here if you need a bathroom break or didn’t get groceries/gear in Auckland. Thames is the last chance to pop into a supermarket or Warehouse store before reaching Hahei.
  • Tairua: Visit the Tairua surf beach to check the waves, and stretch your legs by walking up to the summit of Mount Paku. This 30-minute (round-trip) walk climbs up to the summit of the volcanic peak Mount Paku and offers gorgeous views over the Tairua harbour mouth and surrounding beaches. 
  • Colenso Country Cafe: If you’re in need of some lunch at this point, visit this lovely cafe and enjoy a meal in their sunny garden. They grow a lot of their own produce and the food is fantastic.
  • The Family / Hot Water Beach Brewing: This awesome family-run brewery is located in Whenuakite, just 10 minutes before reaching Hahei. It’s a great spot to grab a pint and snack, but of course indulge safely if you’re the driver on this trip! 

✅ Things to do in and around Hahei

A birds-eye view over the white sand beach, turquoise ocean, and green native bush at New Chums Beach in the Coromandel.
  • See Cathedral Cove, the most famous beach in the Coromandel. Unfortunately, the track to walk to Cathedral Cove is closed indefinitely due to cyclone damage. However, you can still see Cathedral Cove by taking a boat tour or kayak tour!

➡️ Since you can’t currently walk to Cathedral Cove, I recommend booking one of these Cathedral Cove tours, which depart from Hahei Beach ⤵️

⛵️ A one-hour Hahei Explorer Cathedral Cove Boat Tour is the easiest way to see Cathedral Cove, especially if you have limited time!

🛶 Fancy something more active? A kayaking tour with Cathedral Cove Kayaks is an epic way to get out on the water and see Cathedral Cove (and potentially marine life, too!).

  • Dig a hot pool in the sand at Hot Water Beach. To access the hot water, you’ll need to visit the beach within 2 hours on either side of low tide. Hire a spade (shovel) from Hottie’s Cafe or the Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park.
  • Walk up to the Te Pare Point Reserve, a historic fortified Māori settlement. At the summit, you’ll be met with sweeping ocean views stretching over the Cathedral Cove marine reserve.
  • Hang out at Hahei Beach. Beach walks here are glorious!
  • Shop for local goodies at Cove, a beautiful boutique store in Hahei.
  • Day trip to New Chums Beach, a pristine hike-in beach with white sand and crystal-clear water. Another favourite Coromandel beach of mine is Lonely Bay, which is just a 15-minute drive from Hahei.

  • Get breakfast at Little Blue Kitchen (they make great breakfast burritos & bagels!) or Hahei Beach Cafe. For dinner, head to Pour House for a house-brewed craft beer or cider and thin-crust pizza.

➡️ Where to Stay in Hahei

The top of a pointed wooden cabin surrounded by a palm tree and native bush at the Church accommodation in Hahei on the Coromandel Peninsula.
The Church Accommodation in Hahei

🛏 Mid-range: Tatahi Lodge 

This laid-back lodge has great vibes and beautiful grounds – the lush gardens here are just lovely. Choose from a 2-person studio or 2-bedroom units for a larger group. The property is right in town and it’s just a 5-minute walk from here to Hahei Beach.

🛏 Mid-range: The Church Accommodation Hahei

The unique Church Hotel was built around a reconstructed early-1900s church and has private cottages set amidst native bush. You’ll have options here, including 2-person cabins with or without kitchenettes, or a 3-bedroom holiday house. There’s an excellent restaurant on the property, too, and you’ll be within walking distance of Hahei Beach.

⛺️ Camping: Hahei Beach Resort 

One of the best campgrounds in the Coromandel, the Hahei Beach Resort is located in an epic beachfront location and has tons of amazing amenities (including hot tubs for hire!). 

🗓 Day 5: Mount Maunganui

// Driving time from Hahei to Mount Maunganui: 2 hours 45 minutes (Directions)

mount-maunganui-walks

Today, you’ll be making your way from one beach town to another, all while stopping at several other beach towns on the way!

Honestly, the beaches along this drive are some of the best beaches on the North Island, so take your time and enjoy them! 

There are also some excellent coastal walks and delicious eateries to try, so today is really going to be something special.

📍 Stops on the Drive from the Coromandel to Mount Maunganui

Golden sand and Norfolk pine trees at Whangamata Beach, with Donut Island in the ocean in the near distance.
  • Waihi Beach: Yet another cute town set next to a gorgeous beach, Waihi Beach is a great place to go for a beach walk or peruse the cute shops and cafes in town. Hikers will love the 45-minute (one-way) coastal walk from Waihi Beach to Orokawa Bay, a hidden beach paradise. 

✅ Things to do in Mount Maunganui

A sunrise view over the ocean from the Mount Maunganui summit track.
The view from the summit of Mauao at sunset 🤩
  • Hike to the summit of Mount Maunganui’s namesake volcanic cone, also known as “Mauao” by locals. Or, for an easier hike, walk around the Mount Maunganui Base Track. Both of these Mount Maunganui walks are super stunning!
  • Hang out at the beach! Head to the Mount Main Beach for surfing opportunities and long beach walks; for a sheltered swimming bay, visit Pilot Bay Beach.
  • Go shopping on the Mount Main Street, where you’ll find lots of cute local shops. My favourite shop in Mount Maunganui is the Paper Plane Store, which is a perfect place to pick up a local souvenir that’s a little out of the ordinary.
  • Eat & drink your way around town! For brunch, go to the General (their Turkish eggs are divine), and Rice Rice Baby is my favourite spot for a delicious Vietnamese dinner. 
  • Fancy a craft beer? Then head to the Rising Tide,  located a 5-minute drive from the town centre. They have an incredible selection of locally-made craft beers and serve up excellent dumplings, too!

➡️ Where to Stay in Mount Maunganui

The front desk at the Mission Belle Motel in Mount Maunganui, one of the best places to stay on a North Island itinerary.

🛏 Mid-range: The Mission Belle Motel

My #1 accommodation option in the Mount is always the Mission Belle Motel. Their rooms and clean and modern, the location couldn’t be better, and the owners are lovely. Kitchenettes are the icing on the cake.

🛏 Mid-range: Quest Mount Maunganui

An excellent location and new, modern rooms make the Quest one of the best places to stay in the Mount.

⛺️ Camping: Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park

Camp right in the heart of Mount Maunganui at this beachfront holiday park, which is located at the base of Mauao and is just steps away from town.

🗓 Day 6: Rotorua (via Hobbiton)

// Driving time from Mount Maunganui to Rotorua via Hobbiton: 2 hours (Directions)

A view of a turquoise geothermal lake at the Rainbow Mountain hike in Rotorua.
Crater Lake from the Rainbow Mountain Track in Rotorua

Today, you’ll be heading inland to one of New Zealand’s most unique destinations: Rotorua.

Rotorua is known for its Māori culture and geothermal activity, including hot springs, geysers, and mud pools. 

It’s also a major tourism hub for the North Island, with so many activities on offer you could honestly spend a whole week here and not get bored. 

Here’s where to stop on the drive today, plus what to do once you get to Rotorua.

📍 Stops on the Drive from Mount Maunganui to Rotorua

The Bag End hobbit house at the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, one of the best places to visit on a North Island itinerary. The hobbit house has a round green door and a grass-covered roof, and the front yard of the house has a garden and a large orange pumpkin sitting on a wooden wheelbarrow.
  • Hobbiton: A must-do on most North Island itineraries, take a walking tour of the famous Hobbiton movie set from the Lord of the Rings films. It looks just like it does in the movies! The setting is gorgeous, too, amidst sheep-covered pastures and rolling green hills. 

🌟 Tip: make sure to book your Hobbiton tickets well in advance, because they often sell out.

  • Tirau: Stop in Tirau for a lunch break—I recommend the Baker for a meat (or veggie) pie and sweet treat!
  • Putāruru Blue Springs (Te Waihou Walkway): Hike along the stunning Te Waihou Walkway to see the Putāruru Blue Springs, which have incredibly clear, blue water and look like something out of a fairytale. (Note: the Te Waihou Walkway is closed until Spring 2024, so I’ve included it here just for future planning purposes!).
  • Over the Moon Dairy: Sample delicious locally-made cheese and purchase some goodies for road trip snacks.

✅ Things to Do in Rotorua

A straight, wide dirt trail piercing through towering redwood trees at the Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest in Rotorua.
The Whakarewarewa Redwoods are an amazing place for a stroll!

There is honestly so much to do in Rotorua, and you won’t be able to do it all on a short visit.  But that’s okay—here are some ideas, and you can pick and choose what appeals to you most!

  • Stroll around Kuirau Park, which is one of the best free attractions in Rotorua and will give you a taste of the area’s geothermal activity.
  • Soak in the soothing hot springs of the Polynesian Spa.

  • Have dinner out at one of Rotorua’s excellent restaurants—I recommend Abracadabra or Atticus Finch for sharing plates & cocktails, or Sabroso for some of the best Mexican food (and margaritas!) you’ll find in NZ.

➡️ Where to Stay in Rotorua

🛏 Mid-range: Aura Accommodation

Aura Accommodation is my go-to motel in Rotorua. The location is within walking distance of town, the staff are super friendly, and there are onsite hot pools to enjoy!

🛏 Mid-range: Kings on Peace Apartments

These modern apartments are located in a quiet, residential part of Rotorua and have everything you need for a comfortable stay, including private decks, a spa pool, laundry facilities, BBQs, and fully-equipped kitchens.

⛺️ Camping: Blue Lake Top 10 Holiday Park

The Blue Lake Top 10 Holiday Park is located a bit out of town, but the lakefront setting is so peaceful and pretty that it’s worth it! This is by far my favourite campground in Rotorua. Make sure to ask at the front desk about the glow worm walk nearby!

🗓 Days 7-8: Tongariro National Park

// Driving time from Rotorua to Tongariro National Park: 2 hours 15 minutes (Directions)

A view over a vibrant blue, steaming geothermal lake and faint trail snaking through the mountains on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of the best day hikes on the North Island of New Zealand.
The Tongariro Crossing is an epic hike to include on this North Island itinerary.

Today, you’re heading to the mountains! 

Your destination will be Tongariro National Park, a World Heritage site and the oldest national park in New Zealand. 

Along the way, you’ll travel through geothermal wonders and will visit beautiful Lake Taupō. 

It’s going to be an epic day filled with so much to see, so you’ll want to get an early start.

📍 Stops on the Drive from Rotorua to Tongariro National Park

Turquoise-blue Huka Falls, a cascading river in Taupo.
Huka Falls is a great stop along today’s drive. The water is unbelievably blue!
  • Experience burbling geothermal mud at the free-to-see Mud Pool near Wai-o-Tapu.
  • Stop in Taupō for a lunch break and lakeside stroll. Or consider a game of disc golf in Spa Park (BYO discs or hire from AJ Hackett Bungy)—follow your disc golf game with a soak in the free Otumuheke Stream Hot Pools!

    Replete Cafe is the best spot for lunch in Taupō (their prawn linguine is incredible, and they have excellent cabinet food).

    If you have extra time, take a scenic cruise on Lake Taupō to see the Māori rock carvings at Mine Bay.

Note: There aren’t that many places to eat in Tongariro National Park, unless you stay in Ohakune. I recommend picking up groceries on the drive into the park, so you can self-cater. Pak ‘n Save in Taupo has the largest selection, or there’s a New World supermarket in Turangi.

✅ Things to do in Tongariro National Park

Taranaki Falls in Tongariro National Park framed by blurred purple heather flowers in the foreground.
Taranaki Falls is a great option for a shorter hike in Tongariro National Park
  • Trek the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of the North Island’s best day hikes. You’ll need to book a shuttle to go to and from the crossing, which is a serious hike that takes between 6-8 hours and a good level of fitness.
  • Or tackle one of the smaller hikes in Tongariro National Park—Taranaki Falls is a favourite of mine. Tama Lakes is a great alternative to the alpine crossing (and you can combine it with a visit to Taranaki Falls).
  • Walk to Tawhai Falls to see one of Tongariro’s best waterfalls and a Lord of the Rings filming site—it featured as Gollum’s Pool and is a gorgeous spot, even if you’re not a LOTR fan!
  • Visit Ohakune, the largest town in Tongariro National Park, and check out the carrot-themed playground, disc golf course, and—for a real treat—their open-air wood-fired hot tubs.

➡️ Where to Stay in Tongariro National Park

A tent and two camp chairs under the trees with the sun shining through at the Mangahuia DOC Campsite in Tongariro National Park on the North Island.
The Mangahuia DOC Campsite in Tongariro National Park

Tip: If you’re planning to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, I highly recommend that you stay in either Whakapapa or National Park, where you can easily catch a shuttle to access the crossing.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing Shuttles (a good, reliable shuttle service) have pickup points near the below campsite and accommodation options.

🛏 Mid-Range: Plateau Lodge

The Plateau Lodge is my top choice for accommodation in National Park. You’ll have access to a shared kitchen when you stay here, making it easy to prepare meals. Their King Studio Pod is my favourite option—it has an outdoor bath, which is a massive treat after hiking.

🛏 Mid-range: Parkview Apartments

These comfortable two-bedroom apartments are a great option for families. The apartments have fully-equipped kitchens, fireplaces, and amazing views to boot!

⛺️ Camping: Mangahuia DOC Campsite or the Whakapapa Holiday Park

Both of these campsites are in beautiful, beech tree-fringed settings—if you want a hot shower after a day of hiking, though, then go with the holiday park! Definitely book either in advance, as these are two of the most popular camping grounds in Tongariro National Park.

🗓 Day 9: Raglan

// Driving time from Tongariro National Park to Raglan: 3.5 hours (Directions)

A view over black sand Ngarunui Beach in Raglan, New Zealand, with a cabbage tree and other greenery in the foreground.
Ngarunui Beach in Raglan is an excellent spot for a beach walk!

After some time in the mountains, you’ll make your way back to the coast. 

Today you’ll journey to Raglan, a relaxed West Coast surf town with gorgeous black sand beaches and creative vibes.

My partner is a surfer so he and I have spent quite a lot of time in Raglan over the years.

However, even if you don’t surf, it’s still a wonderful town to spend some time in (I’m not a surfer but love visiting Raglan nonetheless!).

Along the way, you’ll get to stop at another highlight for many visitors to the North Island: the Waitomo glow worm caves!

Here’s how to spend the day.

📍 Stops on the Drive from Tongariro National Park to Raglan

The enclosed Indian Char Bagh Garden at the Hamilton Gardens on New Zealand's North Island, with a turquoise-blue water feature, colourful flowers, and building with scalloped detailing.
The Hamilton Gardens are a worthy detour today!
  • Waitomo Glow Worm Caves: Cruise along an underground river with sparkling glow worms lighting the way. This magical experience is popular for good reason, so I do recommend that you book your tickets in advance.

  • Hamilton Gardens (detour):  Make a slight detour to visit the Hamilton Gardens, which are completely free and well worth seeing. These impressive themed gardens are a delight—allocate at least an hour to wander through them, as there’s a lot to see!

✅ Things to do in Raglan

Bridalveil Falls in Raglan, New Zealand, plunging into a deep pool and surrounded by green foliage.
Bridalveil Falls is a must-see in Raglan!
  • Visit Bridalveil Falls, one of the North Island’s best waterfalls. Bridalveil Falls is located a 15-minute drive from Raglan, so you may wish to visit it on the drive into town instead.
  • Enjoy a long beach stroll at Ngarunui Beach, a beautiful black sand beach.
  • Pop into the boutique shops in Raglan. I love Tony Sly for pottery, and Artisan & Merchant for locally-made clothing and housewares.
  • Have dinner at the amazing Ulo’s Kitchen (seriously—don’t miss it!), or head to the Raglan Wharf for fish ‘n chips by the sea at Raglan Fish.
  • Relax on a sunset harbour cruise, or just watch a sunset from the beach for the final night on your 10-day North Island itinerary.

➡️ Where to Stay in Raglan

A sign for the Bow Street Studios waterfront accommodation in Raglan, New Zealand.

🛏 Mid-range motel: Raglan Sunset Motel

The Raglan Sunset Motel offers great-value rooms in a convenient town centre location. This is my go-to motel when I visit Raglan.

🛏 Mid-range apartments: Bow Street Studios

For something a bit more boutique in feel, check out the Bow Street Studios. They offer waterfront apartments and a historic cottage, all perfectly located right in town so you can walk to Raglan’s shops, cafes, and restaurants. 

⛺️ Camping: Raglan Holiday Park

The Raglan Holiday Park is the best place to go camping in Raglan. This campground is located by the beach and within walking distance of town, making it so convenient to explore Raglan at your leisure!

🗓 Day 10: Return to Auckland

// Driving time: 1 hour 45 minutes (or more with traffic) (Directions)

A sunset view from an airplane window with clouds and glowy lighting.
It’s back to the airport today—and off to your next adventure!

The time has come to make your way back to Auckland.

Head straight to the Auckland Airport to return your hire car or campervan and complete your 10-Day North Island road trip.

Before hitting the road, though, grab breakfast and coffee in Raglan—I recommend the Shack or Wyld.

Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. 

Without traffic, the drive from Raglan to the Auckland Airport takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

If you’re travelling during peak commuter hours (between 7 am to 9 am or 4 pm to 6 pm), give yourself even more time in case there’s traffic.

Best Time of Year for this 10-Day North Island Road Trip

This trip is best completed between October through April, which coincides with Spring through Autumn in New Zealand.

While you can still do this trip in winter, I’d omit Tongariro National Park and swap it with an extra night or two in Rotorua and/or a night in Taupō, unless you plan to go skiing at Mt Ruapehu.

More North Island Itinerary Options

A golden hour view over Wellington city and harbour from the top of Mount Victoria.
An Auckland to Wellington road trip also makes for a great 10-day North Island itinerary.

If you’d prefer to road trip one-way from Auckland to Wellington, simply swap Day 9 (Raglan) for a night in Wellington. There are so many great things to do in Wellington!

From Tongariro National Park, it’s about a 4-hour drive to Wellington.

Then to continue the adventure, you could take the ferry from Wellington to Picton and continue on a road trip from Picton to Queenstown! Or see my itinerary for a full driving route from Auckland to Queenstown.

And if you have more time for the North Island, consider adding a visit to either Napier—known for its wineries and art deco architecture—or New Plymouth, where you’ll find black sand beaches and more mountain scenery.

Have less than 10 days? Then check out my 7-day North Island itinerary. It includes a lot of the stops in this guide, but omits Tongariro National Park & Raglan.

Thanks for Reading my 10-Day New Zealand North Island Itinerary!

Jac from Weekend Path standing on the top of the Mount Paku walk in Tairua, with the Tairua harbour in the background.

I hope it’s helped you plan an epic trip.

As always, please leave a comment or send me an email if you have any questions about this post (or about NZ travel in general), and I’ll be happy to help!

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