From Auckland to Coromandel, Rotorua and more in 12 days

Road trip stop White Island

Posted on 03/11/2016 by Crystal

Travel blogger Crystal is on the road in a Spaceships campervan again. This time she's on the road from Auckland to Coromandel and beyond to check out another one of our suggested itineraries.

Auckland to Coromandel Peninsula (4 days)

One of the most gorgeous corners of the North Island and with so much to offer! Rainforest, beautiful beaches and adventures. This is a prime place to bring a campervan, with loads of free places to park it and awesome activities to keep you occupied.

Auckland to Coromandel: fun at Hot Beach & Cathedral Cove

Having fun at Hot Beach & Cathedral Cove

Things to do in the Coromandel Peninsula

This is one of the best “weekend away” places from Auckland as it literally has everything! The highlights are as follows:

  1. Hot Water Beach; to dig your own spa bath when the weather ain't great (more info)
  2. Cathedral Cove; for literally the prettiest beach on the North Island (more info)
  3. Check out Waiau Falls and Kauri Walk on the 309 road. Or it’s worth just driving on the 309 road itself (more info)
  4. There’s an awesome historical day walk at Karangahake that’s set in amongst an old mining town on the middle of a beautiful forested valley. (more info)

Where to stay in the Coromandel Peninsula

There are LOADS of low-cost and free sites to park your campervan around the Coromandel. I highly recommend Egan’s Park Reserve on the 309 road, or for sounds of the ocean while you are sleeping check out Island View Reserve campsite near Wangamata. Near Karangahake there’s a great spot called Dicky Flat right next to a little stream. There are so many cute-looking campsites in the Coromandel it really won’t be hard for you to find something you like.

Rotorua & Hobbiton (3-4 days)

If you don’t go anywhere else on the North Island, make sure you go to Rotorua. This place is Ah-Mazing! It’s commonly known as the geo-thermal city and you don’t have to go very far before you come across steam and bubbles. It’s hot springs galore, a few of them are free, and some encased inside beautiful wellness centres.

Rotorua, White Island and Hobbiton

Worth checking out: Rotorua, White Island and Hobbiton

Things to do in Rotorua

There is SO much to do here but here are my top picks for Rotorua.

  1. Visit the free Kuirau Park to see all kinds of hot springs; from mud pools to bright green ones. There’s even a free foot spa to relax in once you’ve finished walking around.
  2. Drive out to Kerosene Creek where you can sit under hot water falls
  3. Do a tour of White Island that embarks from Whakatane town. It’s possibly one of the coolest things you’ll ever do; a tour of an active volcano island. You’ll even get to peek inside of the boiling middle of it! (more info)
  4. Between Rotorua and Hamilton, you’ll find the quaint little city of Matamata, this is where you can check out the Movie Set of Hobbiton. The little houses are so adorable, and this is one tour you can’t miss!

Where to stay in Rotorua

The CamperMate app has quite a lot of camper options around this area. The best free spots in the town are Lakeside Rotorua near the roundabout on Lake Road and at Hinemoa Street Carpark. For something more secluded, just head 10 min out of town to TECT All Terrain Park or Lake Okareka Campsite.

Hamilton and Waikato Region (4 days)

Hamilton itself isn’t that much to go for, but the surrounding areas and walks and adventures you can do here are plentiful. Hamilton is also only a short drive to the famous Raglan Township where surfers come in droves to experience the “longest left-hand break in the world.”

Things to do in the Waikato Region

There’s so much to do here. So I’ll order it in cheapness;

  1. Watch the surfers at Manu Bay carve up what’s known as the most accessible and longest left-hand break in the world
  2. Head to Ngaranui beach for black volcanic sand and a swim
  3. There are many treks, but Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is most awesome for the endangered native bird species that are protected and thriving here
  4. Now if you have a little bit of money DO NOT miss out on Blackwater Rafting. Based in the Waitomo Region you can spend a full day abseiling, crawling and swimming through and floating down underground cave systems. It’s the most fun you’ll have in ages!

Where to stay in the Waikato Region

Again this is a great area for campervans because there’s so much space and you’ll even find restaurants and properties will open up their grounds for you to stay the night. I really loved staying (free) at Roselands Waitomo Caves, which is in a forest-surrounded area next to a BBQ restaurant.

P.S the restaurant made $10 Beef Casserole dinners every night, yum! Also in Waitomo is Woodlyn Park for self-contained vehicles. In Hamilton city, you’ll find a couple of car park overnight stays at Porritt Stadium and the Hamilton Classics Museum. In Raglan there’s a huge campground right near the beach called Te Kopua Whanau Camp for only $10 per night.

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These road trip info & tips were created by Crystal from Castaway With Crystal. After travelling to the north of Auckland to check out Cape Reinga and Bay of Islands, she travelled from Auckland to Coromandel and the Waikato region to check out places like Rotorua and Hobbiton.