Skip to navigation

Great Journeys: New Zealand: North Island

Trek through active volcanic areas and visit luscious beaches, while luxuriating in the North Island's relaxed cities.

Map of the North Island, New Zealand

Click on the links below to find out more about individual destinations.

Journey Summary

We start our journey in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, from where it's a lovely sideways step to the Catchpool Valley for some relaxed camping. Following the coast up to Taranaki, where we can walk round the volcano, climb it, or just sit and look at it, it's then a short drive east to Tongariro. The three-day Northern Circuit is wonderful, but if we're still exhausted from Taranaki, the one-day Northern Crossing is equally good, just shorter. We then strike north for the relaxed lakeside town of Taupo, before heading for the east coast and Napier, the art deco capital of New Zealand. Mahia Beach provides some wonderfully isolated beach camping, and after the drive round the coast through Hicks Bay, we duck inland to check out the volcanic activity near Rotorua. The Coromandel peninsula is our next stop, with its little bays and beautiful sailing, and after a quick stop in Auckland, we head into Northland and the beautiful area round Kerikeri. Cape Reinga is our northernmost destination, after which we drive down the west side of Northland before ending our journey in Auckland, where a day trip to Rangitoto is a great way to finish things off.

Suggested Itinerary

The following is only a suggested itinerary, and is based round a journey by car, with overnight stops at camping grounds. All roads are suitable for normal two-wheel-drive cars.

Day Suggested Itinerary
1 Fly to Wellington
2-3 Two days in Wellington
4 Wellington to Catchpool Valley
5 One day in Catchpool Valley
6 Catchpool Valley to Taranaki
7-10 Four days walking the Around the Mountain Circuit
11 One day in Taranaki
12 Taranaki to Whakapapa
13-15 Three days walking the Tongariro Northern Circuit
16 One day in Whakapapa
17 Whakapapa to Taupo
18 One day in Taupo
19 Taupo to Napier (via Orakei Korako)
20 One day in Napier
21 Napier to Mahia Beach
22 Mahia Beach to Hicks Bay
23 Hicks Bay to Rotorua
24 One day in Rotorua
25 Rotorua to Coromandel
26-27 Two days in Coromandel
28 Coromandel to Auckland
29 Auckland to Kerikeri
30-31 Two days in Kerikeri
32 Kerikeri to Cape Reinga
33 One day in Cape Reinga
34 Cape Reinga to Auckland (via Dargaville)
35 One day in Auckland
36 Day trip to Rangitoto
37 Fly from Auckland