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7 Must-See Driving Destinations in New Zealand

Driving destinations in New Zealand steer tourists to wonderland. In every turn there’s always a surprise that waits somewhere, be it rolling hills, snow-capped mountains or glaciers. Then there are rocky coasts, subtropical forests, hot springs or winding hiking paths too!

And there’s no better way to experience it all than by hiring rental cars in New Zealand. Not only it is convenient, but also it makes you see more places in short amount of time. Driving around the country is easy because even how diverse the terrains are, the roads are always interconnected.

Hit the road now with these driving destinations in New Zealand


driving destinations in New Zealand

Auckland is always a good place to start your journey. It is certainly one of the most culturally diverse places in the country. While its cityscape is already a splendor on its own, it also offers quick driving destinations in New Zealand.

Head on over to Northland where the Bay of Islands is located. It offers a subtropical climate perfect for travellers who like to lounge around the beach and still enjoy the luxuries of the metropolis. For instance, you can do a little wine tasting on Waiheke Island or go out on a ferry ride for dolphin watching anywhere near the 144 islands of the Bay.

Make sure you also get to visit Paihia where you will find the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the popular Hole in the Rock and the historic town of Russell.

Cape Reinga

driving destinations in New Zealand

Then around 90 miles out of Paihia, drive to Cape Reinga, located at the very northern part of New Zealand. There you will see the ancient Kauri forests and enjoy activities such as rock jumping, sandboarding and a picturesque walk to the lighthouse overlooking the Pacific Ocean.


driving destinations in New Zealand

From exploring the very top of New Zealand, it’s time to go to a tourist hub near the centre of the North Island. Rotorua isn’t a big city destination, but what it offers are geysers, lakes, hot springs and thermal mud pools. Also, this is the centre of Maori culture where you will learn about their proud warrior roots and traditions.

Here you will find bubbling mud pools at Te Puia’s Whakarewarewa Valley and the 30-metre high Pohutu Geyser that erupts daily. Enjoy spas, lake paddling, mountain biking and other exciting sports activities. Rotorua is a quaint town to relax from driving long hours on the road.


driving destinations in New Zealand

The Thermal Highway route from Rotorua will lead you to Taupo. Just like Rotorua, Taupo takes travellers to a rural setting completely different from the city vibes you started off in Auckland. Here you will see view of the Bombay Hills, the walking trails in Cambridge and the volcanic craters of Thermal Explorer.


Now you’ve arrived to the capital city, home to around 400,000 people. This coastal city offers beaches, waterfront promenades, cultural attractions, live music, artisan cafes and beautiful views of the harbour. Make sure you get to try the iconic Wellington Cable Car that goes from Lambton Quay to the Botanic Gardens.

Appropriately, Wellington is called “Windy Wellington” because it tends to bring in strong wet winds. Pack coats and umbrellas just in case it gets too much.


driving destinations in New Zealand

Within Wellington region are the wine territories of Martinborough. It is a small town in the South Wairarapa District, 65 kilometres east of the big city. You can do a wine crawl here, visiting top wineries and vineyards to taste their best produce.

Must-visits here are Te Kairanga, Margrain Vineyard, Martinborough Vineyard, Coney Wines and Haythornthwaite Wines.

Forgotten World Highway

driving destinations in New Zealand

Driving destinations in New Zealand wouldn’t be complete without pulling over at the Forgotten World Highway. In fact, this pit stop makes the perfect finale. Just as the name suggests, this is a remote route and spans 93 kilometres long. Winding turns fill its colonial bridle paths created hundreds of years ago. You will encounter views of rugged mountains, a one-lane tunnel and a river gorge.

When you go on a road trip in New Zealand, prepare for the changing terrains by packing the appropriate clothing for coastal and wet weather. If you can, get a map or a guide to help you navigate the area.

Enjoy the diverse views and take in all the New Zealand can offer because here, cliché as it may sound, everything is a sight to behold.


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