Auckland South Round-trip: 7-Day Campervan Itinerary

A Taste of Maori Culture and Geothermal Wonders

New Zealand has an unforgettable abundance of breathtaking scenery, welcoming and friendly locals, and a vast variety of fun activities, including some high-octane thrills. Wherever your trip takes you, you’ll enjoy tasty food and drink and experience a vibe unlike anywhere else on earth. This itinerary has a really big focus on NZ’s geothermal wonders and its whitewater thrills. Aotearoa (the Maori name for NZ) truly is a great place for a motorhome holiday.

Auckland City Skyline by night

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Day 1: Explore Auckland

Mount Eden volcano in Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland Zoo Motions Rd, Auckland

Home to brown kiwis, NZ fur seals, meerkats, and red pandas, to name a few. Among the 1,400 animals, you can also see NZ’s unique birds (kea, tui, takahe, NZ pigeon and more).

Mount Eden (Maungawhau) 250 Mount Eden Road, Mount Eden

Much loved for its spectacular views of Auckland city and its harbours. You can go down inside an extinct 50-metre volcanic crater. Wear good walking shoes.

Other attractions include the Auckland War Memorial Museum (rated 4.6/5 by 9000 visitors) and Sky Tower (360-degree views, bungee jumping and a revolving restaurant - but make your booking months ahead!).

Day 2: Auckland to Rotorua (or Taupo)

Hobbiton Village, the real Middle-Earth, Matamata, New Zealand

Hobbiton Village 501 Buckland Rd, Hinuera, Matamata

Lord of the Rings fans may already know that Hobbiton is 176 km south of Auckland, less than 2.5 hours to drive. The Hobbiton Movie Set tour is 2 hours, or there’s a 4-hour banquet tour in the evening. But if you’re not a fan of Middle Earth, drive another 70 km south to Rotorua in NZ’s geothermal heartland.


Here’s why. Rotorua’s geothermal activity releases hydrogen sulphide gas which has a distinct smell. Or, as some say, a stinky smell. So if the aroma of sulphur is too much for you, drive straight through onto Taupo, which is just 80 km further on, and stay two nights in charming Taupo, then have two nights in glorious Hawke’s Bay.


Tamaki Maori dancers in traditional dress at Whakarewarewa Thermal Park

Pohutu Geyser 20 Hemo Road, Rotorua

The geyser erupts 30 metres high many times each day. It is located in a 70-hectare geothermal valley with 500+ geothermal wonders, including bubbling mud pools and a living Maori village. There’s no charge for the aroma.

Tamaki Maori Village 1220 Hinemaru Street, Rotorua

Here the locals still use traditional thermal resources to heat, cook and bathe. Entry is free. Attractions include Maori crafts, dance and music shows.

Other Rotorua attractions include aMAZEme (a 1.4 km maze), the Redwoods Treewalk (featuring mountain bike tracks and 23 suspension bridges in the forest) and the Rotorua Museum (within the beautifully maintained Government Gardens).


Thermal lake Champagne Pool at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland near Rotorua, New Zealand

Taupo is famous for trout fishing and is on the northern end of beautiful Lake Taupo, which also offers warm, healing geothermal pools and a warm water playground for the kids.

Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs 76 Napier-Taupo Road, Taupo

Geothermal mineral hot pools, two heated water slides, and a children's interactive warm water playground. Open all year. Private pools & spa treatments too. And, no sulphur smell!

Whitewater Rafting - Tongariro River Rafting 95 Atirau Rd, Turangi

Adrenaline, anyone? These Grade 3 rapids are suitable for first-timers as well as experts. With an expert guide steering the boat, you’ll traverse 60 roller coaster rapids in 2 hours.

Day 5: Hawke’s Bay

Te Mata Peak, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

National Aquarium of New Zealand Marine Parade, Napier

The Oceanarium has an underwater viewing tunnel and a 50m travelator, so you can watch the fish swim and feed above and all around you. Napier is famous for its art deco architecture.

Other attractions include the nearby city of Hastings, its vineyards and winery tours, and Te Mata Peak (at 399 metres) with its superb walking and mountain biking trails.

Day 6: Huka Falls

Huka Falls in Taupo, New-Zealand

Huka Falls Jet Boating 200 Karetoto Road, Wairakei

Ready for the ride of your life? Imagine jetting along at 80 km an hour up to the spectacular Huka Falls, then feeling the boat turn 360 degrees in its length. White water adrenaline, for sure!

Day 7: Back to Auckland

Auckland City at sunset

Waitoma Glowworm Caves 39 Waitomo Village Rd, Waitomo Caves

One hundred twenty miles south of Auckland is a subterranean wonderland filled with thousands of tiny creatures (not worms, actually) radiating a soft blue and green glow from their bioluminescence.

Waitakere Ranges Regional Park Arataki Visitor Centre, 300 Scenic Drive, Nihotupu

Forty minutes to the west of Auckland, the park comprises 68,000 acres of forests and surfing beaches, so it's a grand area for bird-watching, biking and hiking. Then, of course, there's also the Fairy Falls waterfall.

Auckland South Round-trip: 7-Day Campervan Itinerary

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