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13 BEST Stops on the Drive from Auckland to Rotorua

13 BEST Stops on the Drive from Auckland to Rotorua

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Exploring the countryside of New Zealand’s North Island is one of the best ways to experience the area. The road trip from Auckland to Rotorua is a short route, but filled with things to see. It’s actually pretty easy to escape the bustling city and see some of New Zealand’s beautiful places along the way!

Auckland is the biggest city in New Zealand and a great hub to start a road trip. Rotorua is quite the opposite: it’s relatively small, known for its geothermal activity, and large presence of Maori culture. You can usually get from Auckland to Rotorua in about three hours, but you’d really be missing out on a lot! Outdoor exploration, top-notch eateries, and quaint small towns make this New Zealand road trip a bucket list item.

Having made this drive multiple times, I’ve found the best places to stop along the way! Here is your guide to the 13 best stops on the drive from Auckland to Rotorua. With iconic spots such as Hobbiton and Matamata, or small hidden gems like Mamaku Blueberries, you’ll be sure to experience some of the most unique things to do in New Zealand along the way!

Need wheels? For rental cars, I always book with Discover Cars since the website is so easy to use with great prices. For motorhomes and campervans, I really like JUCY/Star RV because of their huge selection and multiple depot locations that make pick-up and drop-off a breeze. Plus, if you use my exclusive discount code DTRAVEL24, you’ll save 5%! You can browse JUCY and Star RV’s availability here and apply the discount code at check-out.

About the Drive from Auckland to Rotorua 

Bailey takes a selfie while driving in New Zealand
Road trips in NZ are my favorite!
Beautiful road driving in Rotorua, New Zealand
Look how beautiful the roads are!

The drive from Auckland to Rotorua is a 227-kilometer (141-mile) trip that should take you under three hours without stopping. However, if you make any of the stops recommended in this blog, you can expect the journey to take at least a full day, if not longer! You can also stay the night in Matamata to break up the drive and give yourself enough time to see all the sights.

After you rent a car in Auckland (I always use Discover Cars for this), there are actually two routes you can take to get to Rotorua from Auckland. My suggestions in this blog follow State Highway 1 which takes you through Hamilton, and that route is a bit more direct. However, a couple recommendations (Matamata and Wairere Falls) are a little out of the way, so following State Highway 27 will lead you right to these. If you have plenty of time, I highly suggest taking the route through Hamilton, then going up to Matamata so you don’t miss all of the wonderful stops!

While a lot of New Zealand gets hit with harsh conditions during the winter, this drive is usually pretty clear! The North Island is warmer than the South Island of New Zealand, making this road trip nearly perfect year-round. You can expect warm, sunny days in the summer, around 20°C (68°F). The winter is mild and wet, around 10°C (50°F). With that said, during heavy rain, please drive carefully. There are still many hazards on this trip, and slips (landslides) are common in New Zealand. 

Auckland to Rotorua FAQs 

Bailey with her car on her way to Rotorua from Auckland
My little rental car!

Best Stops Between Auckland and Rotorua 

1. Auckland

View from the Auckland Skytower
The view from the Auckland Sky Tower!
Bailey walks the cute streets of Ponsonby, Auckland on a beautiful summers day
The cute streets of Ponsonby, Auckland on a beautiful summer’s day

Since the drive starts in Auckland, you should definitely spend some time exploring before hitting the road! Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, and brimming with things to do. It’s known as the “city of sails” because of the large number of harbors and boats along the Hauraki Gulf.

One of the best things to do in Auckland is get out on the water. You can really experience the city of sails by joining this cruise on Waitemata Harbour. It passes by Auckland Bridge, Westhaven Marina, and Devonport with so many opportunities for awesome photos. You can even help the crew steer the vessel, which kids love!

One of my favorite day trips from Auckland is taking the ferry to Waiheke Island. The Sea Link ferry is your best bet if you’re road-tripping as it can accommodate cars. There are loads of things to do on Waiheke Island, from going on a wine tour to exploring the island’s stunning beaches.

Of course, if you want the best views of the city, a trip up the Auckland Skytower is a must! It’s the tallest building in New Zealand, so the views are top-notch. You can also enjoy a fancy meal at one of the swanky restaurants inside, or get a thrill and go bungy jumping off the building!

Another one of my favorite ways to experience Auckland is by heading up Mount Eden to catch a view of the city! This dormant volcano is located in the central Auckland suburbs and the climb will take you around 30 minutes. It’s an easy walk but it is up a hill/volcano! It’s one of the best free things to do in Auckland and I usually bring a picnic along to enjoy at the top since the hike up makes me hungry!

There is, even more, to do if you plan to stay in Auckland for a couple of days, but it is a great starting point for your road trip to Rotorua. Make sure you take some time to explore the area and take a few tours in Auckland before you take off!

Related Read: If you’re after a bigger vehicle for this road trip, make sure to check out campervan rentals in Auckland or where to rent a motorhome in Auckland!

2. Adrenalin Forest Auckland 

Obstacle course at Adrenalin Forest Auckland, New Zealand
Photo credit: Adrenalin Forest NZ

Located about 30 minutes south of the city is the Adrenalin Forest Auckland. This is for adventure-seeking travelers and it’s a great way to kick off your road trip! The adrenalin forest is a series of obstacle courses and ziplines, ranging in difficulty. It tests your physical and mental strength and honestly, I kind of felt like Indiana Jones (especially on the Indiana Jump obstacle!).

This tour books your spot at the Adrenalin Forest and provides all the safety equipment and instruction needed to be safe and have a good time. What I love about this tour is that it’s self-paced, so you can take on the obstacles on your timeline. 

Some of these obstacles are 30 meters (100 feet) high, so they really push your limits! If you’re a thrill-seeker, you won’t be disappointed with this stop. The tour gives you three hours in the park, which is plenty of time to take on all the challenges. It really feels like an adult playground! 

It’s best if you reserve your spot ahead of time, which is great if you’re planning your road trip itinerary now! This tour is $51 NZD for adults and $35 NZD for children and a memorable road trip stop.

3. Mercer Cheese 

New Zealand is world-famous for its cheese production, so naturally, I had to throw in a cheese stop! Mercer Cheese actually won a bronze at the World Cheese Awards in 2018 for their Vintage Waikato and people travel from all over the world to visit this iconic location. The fact that it sits right along the route from Auckland to Rotorua makes this an easy stop and a great snack break.

As you’re making the drive, you’ll see plenty of farmland in the rolling hills around. A nearby farm is actually where they get their milk to create the cheese. I always like stopping here because it has that small family-owned feel and really lets you experience what a local New Zealand business is like. It’s been around since the 1980s so it’s a rather iconic stop in the area!

4. Hakarimata Summit Hiking Track

Bailey at the top of the Hakarimata Summit Hiking Track 
It’s a great workout with a view at the end!
Bailey walks past a waterfall on the Hakarimata Summit Hiking Track in Hamilton, New Zealand
The trail is stunning!

Lucky for you, one of the best hikes on the North Island can also be found on the drive from Auckland to Rotorua! The Hakarimata Summit Hiking track is a great way to stretch your legs.

I’m not kidding about the stretch your legs part … there are quite a few stairs (around 1,000!), so be prepared for a steep climb up to the summit. I’d set aside at least two hours for the 4-km (2.5-mile) hike, so you don’t feel rushed and have time to rest at the top.

You’ll be walking amongst beautiful native ferns, protected Kauri trees, and scented daphne to reach the top. Once you’re at the summit, the views of the Waikato Basin, the coast, and Ruapehu are beautiful on a clear day.

This is a popular walking track, so the best time to do it is in the morning while the locals are at work. The Hakarimata Summit track is accessed from the Waterworks Walk, which can be entered from Brownlee Avenue.  

5. Hamilton

Bailey poses for a photo at the entrance to the Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand
Hamilton Gardens!
Bailey sips a beer at Good George Brewing in Hamilton, New Zealand
Cheers from Good George Brewing in Hamilton, New Zealand

Your next destination is Hamilton, which is the fourth-largest city in New Zealand! This city frequently gets overlooked, and I don’t know why! I honestly think it is unlike anywhere else in the country. Here you will find an authentic Kiwi lifestyle with a large emphasis on the land and animals, but also great restaurants, hikes, and architecture.

While visiting Hamilton, there is really so much to do, but it is well known for the Hamilton Gardens. These award-winning gardens are a great pit stop on your drive to Rotorua. You can enter for free and walk around the massive area, taking in all the beautiful sights and smells. There is more than just the sights here, there is actually a ton of history within each garden design. You can make this a quick leg-stretch spot on your road trip, or spend a few hours diving into this classic Hamilton place.

Hamilton is also well-known for rugby. So if catching a match is on your New Zealand bucket list, this is THE place to do it! The FMG Stadium is where you want to head to watch a rugby match, perhaps being played by the famous All-Blacks!

If you have time in your schedule, I suggest staying at a hotel in Hamilton for a night or two to enjoy the city and some great local restaurants. I highly recommend strolling around downtown Hamilton to find the best spots to eat. Hands down Gothenburg is one of them! They serve delicious tapas that you can share and have many vegetable, meat, or seafood options. Don’t leave without trying their chocolate mousse dessert and indulging in Pinot Noir.

Related Read: If you’re up for a detour, the Waitomo Caves are only an hour’s drive from Hamilton and are one of the best places to see glow worms in New Zealand!

6. Punnett Eatery

Bailey enjoys brunch at Punnet Eatery
The quality of the food is what makes this place so great!
brunch at Punnet Eatery in Hamilton, New Zealand
So good!

Having brunch on a strawberry farm sounds almost too wholesome to be real, but I can assure you, it is! If you time this road trip right, you can enjoy brunch at the Punnet Eatery which is worth the drive alone!

The Strawberry Farm here is a gorgeous, family-run farm where you can pick your own strawberries during the summer, and there’s also a playground for kids, so this place is perfect for families. However, for me, the highlight of the farm is the Punnet Eatery, which serves up amazing brunch favorites like chocolate and caramel waffles, homemade stuffed portobello burgers, English breakfast muffins, and so much more. I’m seriously getting hungry just thinking about it.

This place is just so cute and I love that they specialize in breakfasts! The kitchen is open from 8 am until 2 pm from Monday to Thursday, or 2:30 pm on weekends. You don’t necessarily need to reserve a table but word is spreading fast about this place so I’d suggest booking one online if you don’t want to wait.

7. Hobbiton

Bailey nocks on the door of Hobbit Hole at Hobbiton Movie Set in NZ
Bailey sits in the door of a red Hobbit home at Hobbiton, NZ

One of the best things to do on the road trip from Auckland to Rotorua is to visit the Hobbiton Set, better known as “The Shire” to Lord of the Rings fans!

Here, not only will you get to learn all the secrets behind the creation of this quirky, colorful set, but you will take in incredible views of the Kaimai Ranges as you walk around it. Visit the Hobbit Holes, the Mill, and even grab a drink at the Green Dragon Inn. Lord of the Rings fans will know exactly what I’m talking about! 

This experience is not to be missed if you want to set foot on the exact movie set where these movies were filmed. It’s a short detour off the main highway, but not much and it’s a must since you’re so close! If you’re driving right from Hamilton it’s about 45 minutes or only 30 minutes from our previous stop at the Punnet Eatery if you want to grab brunch beforehand!

Even if you’re driving yourself, you’ll still need to book a movie set tour once you get here. It’s not a place you can just wander around on your own.

If you’d rather have the entire experience planned from the start, there are tours of Hobbiton from Auckland that include transportation. This tour includes the standard tour of Hobbiton, as well as return transport from Auckland. Or if you’re coming from Rotorua, this Hobbiton tour includes round-trip transportation and lunch at the Green Dragon Inn!

Hobbiton is such a unique place and I have no doubt that you will have so much fun here! Many people consider it one of the top things to do in New Zealand, and I’d have to agree.

Related Read: For more options, read all about the best tours from Rotorua to Hobbiton!

8. Matamata

bailey enjoys a coffee at The Coffee Gallery in Matamata, New Zealand
The Coffee Gallery
Racehorse statue in Matamata, New Zealand
You know you’re in Matamata when…

Matamata and the next stop are a little out of the way, but TOTALLY worth a visit! In fact, my best road trip tip is to spend a night in Matamata before you reach Rotorua. Located less than an hour from Hamilton, or less than two hours from Auckland, this is the perfect place to land for the night so you can see all the cool sights between Auckland and Rotorua. 

Matamata is widely known for being the home of Hobbiton, but there is actually much more to do in this quaint town. There are some great hiking options, such as the Heritage Trail, the Rapurapu Kauri Track, or the Te Panui Scenic Reserve. You can also visit the Wallace Art Gallery, which is perfect for a rainy day.

You also can’t miss Matamata’s connection to horseracing – it’s known as the Racing Capital of New Zealand! This town is famous for its thoroughbreds and there are stables all around. Horse racing actually dates back to the 19th century here when both Maori and European workers competed on stock horses. Nowadays the Matamata Racing Club is famous for producing champions! So if you’re lucky enough to be in town on a race day, don’t miss it!

If you do stay the night, you have to visit The Coffee Gallery for breakfast the next morning! Not only does their coffee hit the spot, but they also have a fantastic selection for breakfast. It’s owned and operated by locals, which I always love to find when I’m in a new town.

9. Wairere Falls

Bailey stands at the Wairere Falls lower viewpoint
The lower viewpoint!
Bailey walks along the Wairere Falls track
So beautiful!

If I haven’t convinced you to do this little detour yet, one of New Zealand’s most beautiful waterfalls just might! Wairere Falls is the highest waterfall on the North Island, so it’s definitely worth visiting.

The falls are about 16 kilometers (10 miles) from Matamata or only about a 15-minute drive. Once you arrive at the parking lot, you’ll need to follow the Wairere Falls Track to reach the water. It’s a big lot and there are toilets here, which you recommend you use because it will probably take you 3 hours to complete the hike, or even longer if you decide to go all the way to the upper viewpoint. 

The hike to the lower viewpoint is 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) each way, but there are a lot of stairs, so even though it sounds like a short distance, this is not a quick and easy journey! You’ll probably need about 3 hours to climb up to the lower viewpoint and back again. 

Still, once I got to the viewpoint, the stunning views made the effort totally worth it. Plus, the hike itself was beautiful, which helped a lot!

There is also another, even higher viewpoint you can climb to, but I didn’t actually do this. It would take you about another 1.5 hours (one way) to reach the upper viewpoint, and the trail is very difficult, with lots of rocks, roots, and a very steep incline. If you want to go all the way to the top, then I recommend bringing hiking poles with you! 

Related Read: There are also some gorgeous waterfalls on the drive from Tauranga to Rotorua!

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10. Blue Springs (Te Waihou)

Bailey at the Blue Springs (Te Waihou) near Hamilton, New Zealand
The water is so clear!
Blue Springs (Te Waihou) in New Zealand
So cool!

Back on the main SH 1, a stop at Te Waihou (Blue Springs) is the perfect excuse to stretch your legs and explore nature for a while. The water is so pure that it’s actually used for about 60% of New Zealand’s bottled water!

These springs are located about two hours from Auckland or only 40 minutes from Rotorua. There are two choices for visiting the springs. You can drive straight from Auckland or Hamilton to the Leslie Road car park and then walk about 10 minutes to the springs. 

But if you want a longer walk, you can park in the Whites Road car park instead and stroll along the Blue Spring – Te Waihou Walkway. It’s a really easy walk that’s 4.7 kilometers (2.9 miles) each way, so it takes around 2.5-3 hours to complete, with some time to soak in the views. 

Although it’s a really nice walk along the entire springs, I was happy to just go and see one end of them from the Leslie Road car park. They look pretty much the same the whole way, so although they are beautiful, you don’t need to do the whole walk to fully appreciate them. With that being said, it is a lovely stroll if you’ve got the time. 

11. Mamaku Blueberries 

Bailey with blue berries from Mamaku Blue Blueberry Experience
Fresh berries!
Blue berries from Mamaku Blue Blueberry Experience in Rotorua, NZ
Don’t they look delicious!

Another local stop along the way is at Mamaku Blueberries. Besides being a historic and wildly successful farm, Mamaku Blueberries has become a landmark in the Rotorua area.

This is the only orchard and winery in the Rotorua district, and is also home to the Blueberry Cafe, which has delicious food, desserts, and ice cream made of locally grown fruit!

Not only is it a cute and locally owned shop, but you can also get some yummy treats for the road! Their cafe sells some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had, but you can also snag chocolate, jams, fresh fruit, juice, and wine all made with delicious blueberries. This is another classic New Zealand stop that I try not to miss when I’m doing this drive.

12. Agrodome 

Bailey looking at the sheep on the Farm Tour at the Agrodome in Rotorua
The sheep didn’t like me!
Bailey with the huge sheep at the Farm Tour at the Agrodome in Rotorua
This one did!

Just before you hit Rotorua, I have one more stop you have to check out! Agrodome is located 10 km (6 miles) from Rotorua and gives you a taste of New Zealand’s farm life. 

If you have learned anything about New Zealand, you’ll know sheep are popular here! The Agrodome is a sheep farm, which is also home to llamas, alpacas, emus, and cattle. This is a fun and educational hands-on experience, as you join in on the farming activities right next to the sheep farmer! 

Agrodome showcases all of the animals and you might even get to try milking a cow or hand-feeding the animals! There’s also a live sheep shearing demo and a sheep auction with some audience participation! I didn’t realize how awesome this experience would be until I went, but it was a lot of fun.

Agrodome is especially great for kids and families. You can book tickets in advance to ensure your spot for $50 NZD for adults and $26 NZD for children. The shows are at 9:30 am, 11 am, and 2:30 pm, so be sure to time your visit for one of those.

13. Rotorua 

Bailey takes a selfie on the Ziplining Forest Adventure in Rotorua, New Zealand
So much fun!
Bailey relaxes in the Secret Spot Hot Tubs in Rotorua
Secret Hot Tubs!

Finally, you’ll make it to your destination of Rotorua! This city has so much to offer, it’s definitely a place you’ll want to stay for a few days. It is most known for its geothermal activity, giving some of the most amazing NZ hot springs and geysers. But it also has great proximity to beaches, lakes, and traditional Maori culture.

With so much to do in Rotorua, you really could book a hotel and spend 3-5 days here easily. But I’ll highlight some of my favorite activities and the best Rotorua tours you won’t want to miss. 

Obviously, geothermal activity is a big draw for travelers. There are a plethora of spas in the town including my favorite at Secret Spot Hot Tubs. These are private hot tubs hidden away in the forest overlooking Waipa Stream. It’s only $39 NZD for a 45-minute soak when you book online.

Another can’t-miss place is visiting Hell’s Gate. Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds! Hell’s Gate is a geothermal reserve that was once used by Maori warriors to help heal their wounds. Today on a tour of Hell’s Gate you can see the old Maori carvings and even take a dip in geothermal mud and sulfur waters for yourself! 

Another activity unique to Rotorua is the Maori Cultural Experience at Te Pā Tū. Over 40% of the population in Rotorua is native Maori, so this is the best place to immerse yourself in this ancient culture. The Maori village of Te Pā Tū is just outside the city and I was welcomed with a Powhiri (welcome ceremony). Then the warriors performed a Haka for us before heading to a Hāngī feast (cooked in an underground oven) with meat and vegetables – it was delicious! This experience often sells out, so make sure you book your ticket online before you go!

Speaking of food, there are so many good restaurants and local shops to explore in the city. Be sure to check out Tutanekai Street and Eat Streat, which are the most iconic dining options in Rotorua. You’ll find almost anything you want between these two streets!

And if you’re the adventurous type, the ziplines in Rotorua are next-level good! This zipline tour has you soaring through the forest as you learn about the area’s Maori heritage. You’ll also take in views of three beautiful waterfalls including flying over the gorgeous Tutea Falls. Then, at the end of the tour, you get to try some traditional Maori tea and plant a tree! You can book that exact ziplining tour right here.

Optional side trip to Raglan

Ngarunui Beach in raglan, New Zealand
Ngarunui Beach in Raglan, New Zealand
Bailey sips a coffee at The Shack in Raglan, New Zealand
There are so many coffee shops in Raglan!

While exploring the North Island, it’s hard not to mention a visit to Raglan. This small surf town is about 30 minutes from Hamilton and honestly one of my favorite towns in New Zealand! Being so close to Hamilton, you could easily take a side trip to Raglan during your road trip. However, I would highly suggest staying a night or two in Raglan so you have enough time in this quirky little town. 

The main draw for visiting Raglan is that it’s one of the best surfing spots in New Zealand! But with 100,000 people visiting each summer month, it’s clear there is a lot more to it than just the surf! That being said, a trip to Manu Bay is a must. This iconic beach is a great place to watch all the surfers, it was even in the movie Endless Summer! If you can time it right, this is the best spot to see the sunset in all of New Zealand. 

One of my favorite parts about Raglan is the quirky surfer vibe. It is full of eclectic shops and cafes, and the locals are known for their alternative nature. I highly recommend spending an afternoon wandering the town to get a feel for this unique vibe! While here, check out Raglan Roast for its famously strong Kiwi coffee! There are plenty of outdoor activities, local art galleries, and stunning views in Raglan, so this list just scratches the surface.

Where to Stay in Rotorua

Room with a great view at Rydges Rotorua, New Zealand
Photo credit: Rydges Rotorua

If Rotorua is your final destination or just another stop on your road trip, make sure you stay a while! This a fantastic area of New Zealand to explore, so all you need is a great hotel.

Luckily there are tons of choices for accommodations – whether you are backpacking on a budget or looking for a luxurious place to call home for a few nights. These are my top picks for every budget!

$ – Rock Solid Backpackers Rotorua 

This is one of the budget-friendly hotels centrally located in the city within walking distance of many Rotorua attractions like Government Gardens and the Polynesian Spa. It is a perfect fit for travelers with a tight budget where rooms in a shared dorm of four to eight people start at only $27 NZD per night. If you don’t want to share, there are private rooms available as well around the $100 NZD mark.

You can save money on meals by using the communal kitchen complete with cooking facilities and there’s a spacious guest lounge where you can hang out. If you’re in the mood for a more challenging activity, head to the 20-meter (65-foot) rock-climbing wall next door which offers guests staying here a discounted rate.

You can easily book a room on or

$$ – Thermal Oak Motel

If more room and spacious accommodations are what you’re looking for, you’ll find them here. The motel offers modern suites and high-quality units with free parking and Wi-Fi. The choices range from deluxe studios to a three-bedroom flat house, with rates from $180 NZD up to $600 NZD per night.

All accommodations are complete with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a fully equipped kitchenette, and a large modern bathroom with a walk-in shower. There’s also a dining area available in most of the rooms, including the executive two-bedroom unit (which also has a private outdoor spa pool).

Besides the rooms, you can go for a dip in one of the two public mineral spa pools. Another advantage is the convenient access to the city center, which is only a 10-minute walk away. This means you can enjoy the activities and sights of Rotorua downtown anytime you please. Book your stay online here.

$$$ – Rydges Rotorua

For a more luxurious stay in Rotorua, this hotel offers a scenic view and a relaxing atmosphere located on the edge of Redwoods Forest and overlooking the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Reserve and Historical Village.

Choose between a superior or deluxe room, which each features air conditioning, comfy beds, and cable TV with free movies. If you’re looking for something a little extra, you can book a private suite instead. Accommodation rates start from $242 NZD per night.

Start your morning with a visit to the on-site gym or a swim in the heated outdoor swimming pool. You can also drop by the hotel’s award-winning restaurant and bar that offers modern New Zealand cuisine. Then, spend the day exploring the mountains by bike. If you brought your own mountain bike, they have secure storage for it inside the hotel and a bike washing station.

Anything for the little ones? Yes! Rydges Rotorua houses a Play Zone with various games for children of all ages, including table tennis, foosball, Nintendo Switch, air hockey, and more. Easily book a room at Rydges Rotorua here!

Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand

Bailey stands in front of a right green JUCY campervan
JUCY is one of my favorite campervan rental companies (read below for a discount code!)
Bailey stands behind her Mad Campers campervan cooking in the kitchen at Piha Beach
I also really like Mad Campers!

Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!

You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:

  • Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
  • Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It’s what most budget travelers use for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your campervan or motorhome through JUCY or Star RV! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey poses for a photo on a park bench in Hamilton, NZ
Thanks for reading!

A road trip from Auckland to Rotorua is one of my favorite road trips on the North Island. There’s so much to see and places to stop, that you don’t have time to get bored … or get the dreaded “Are we there yet?” questions from the kids!

I hope this guide has helped you plan your Auckland to Rotorua road trip. I have lots of other great NZ road trip ideas on my blog if you’re planning to drive across the country. Make sure you also browse around my other guides on the North Island before you leave!

COMPLETE Guide to the 13 National Parks in New Zealand

14 BEST Stops on the Drive from Auckland to Tauranga

13 Best Places to Stop on the Drive from Auckland to Paihia (Bay of Islands)

19 Best Things to do in Whangarei


Sunday 3rd of December 2023

your blog has detailed information which we hope will help us plan for the visit to NZ, next summer (winter there?). gurung family from California


Sunday 3rd of December 2023

Hey Bardan,

That's great to hear!

Yes during your summer with will be winter here in New Zealand!

Thanks Bailey