Exploring the North Island Circuit: A Scenic Campervan Road Trip
Exploring the North Island Circuit: A Scenic Campervan Road Trip

Exploring the North Island Circuit: A Scenic Campervan Road Trip

Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure? Imagine cruising along winding roads, surrounded by stunning landscapes, with the freedom to stop wherever your heart desires. Welcome to the North Island Circuit in New Zealand, a road trip like no other. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you on a journey through this picturesque island, sharing key stops, route details, and recommendations for places to stay with your campervan. Get ready to hit the road and experience the beauty of the North Island in style!

Getting Started: Preparing for Your Campervan Road Trip

Before we dive into the details of the North Island Circuit, it’s essential to make some preparations to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.

Choosing the Right Campervan for the North Island Circuit

Selecting the perfect campervan for your road trip is crucial. Make sure it’s comfortable, well-equipped, and suits your needs. Whether you’re traveling solo, with a partner, or a group, there are various campervan options available for rent in New Zealand. Consider factors such as size, amenities, and budget when making your choice.

Packing Essentials

Pack wisely for your adventure. You’ll need clothing suitable for New Zealand’s ever-changing weather, as well as camping gear, cooking utensils, and food supplies. Don’t forget your driver’s license, travel insurance, and a good map or GPS navigation device.

Planning Your Route

While spontaneity is part of the charm of a campervan road trip, having a rough itinerary can help ensure you don’t miss out on must-see spots. Research and plan your route, including key stops along the way. Now, let’s hit the road!

Day 1: Auckland to Coromandel Peninsula

Your North Island Circuit adventure begins in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city and a bustling metropolis. After picking up your campervan rental, you’ll head southeast towards the enchanting Coromandel Peninsula.

Key Stop: Cathedral Cove

Your first stop is Cathedral Cove, one of New Zealand’s most iconic and photogenic spots. The short hike to the cove rewards you with a breathtaking view of a natural archway and pristine beaches. Don’t forget your camera; this place is a photographer’s dream!

Where to Stay: Hot Water Beach

For your first night on the road, park your campervan at Hot Water Beach. This unique beach allows you to dig your own hot pool in the sand, thanks to geothermal activity beneath the surface. A relaxing soak under the stars is the perfect way to end your day.

Day 2: Coromandel Peninsula to Rotorua

As you continue your journey south, the lush greenery of the North Island surrounds you. Your destination today is the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua.

Key Stop: Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Prepare to be amazed at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, where bubbling mud pools, vibrant geothermal craters, and surreal landscapes create a unique sensory experience. The Champagne Pool and Lady Knox Geyser are must-see attractions here.

Where to Stay: Rotorua Top 10 Holiday Park

Park your campervan at the Rotorua Top 10 Holiday Park, a comfortable and well-equipped campground. After a day of exploring, relax in the park’s thermal mineral pools and recharge for the adventures ahead.

Day 3: Rotorua to Taupo

Leaving Rotorua behind, your next stop is the stunning Lake Taupo. This serene destination offers a range of activities and natural wonders.

Key Stop: Huka Falls

Make a pitstop at Huka Falls, a powerful and mesmerizing waterfall on the Waikato River. The vibrant blue waters and the sheer force of the falls are a sight to behold. Take a scenic walk to get up close and feel the mist on your face.

Where to Stay: Five Mile Bay Campground

Set up camp at Five Mile Bay Campground, situated on the shores of Lake Taupo. This idyllic spot offers stunning lake views and excellent facilities for campers. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the North Island.

Day 4: Taupo to Tongariro National Park

Today, your campervan adventure takes you to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Tongariro National Park. This park is renowned for its dramatic landscapes and the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Key Stop: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a challenging but incredibly rewarding day hike. It takes you through otherworldly terrain, including volcanic craters, emerald lakes, and steam vents. It’s a bucket-list experience for any nature enthusiast.

Where to Stay: Whakapapa Holiday Park

Rest your weary legs at Whakapapa Holiday Park, conveniently located near the Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre. This campground offers comfortable facilities and easy access to the park’s hiking trails.

Day 5: Tongariro National Park to Wellington

Heading south from Tongariro, your journey leads you to the capital city of New Zealand, Wellington. This vibrant city is known for its cultural attractions and picturesque waterfront.

Key Stop: Te Papa Tongarewa – Museum of New Zealand

Spend your day exploring Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand’s national museum. Here, you can delve into the country’s rich history, art, and Maori culture. The museum’s interactive exhibits make it a fascinating and educational experience.

Where to Stay: Wellington Waterfront Motorhome Park

In the heart of Wellington, you’ll find the Wellington Waterfront Motorhome Park. This convenient location allows you to explore the city on foot, visiting restaurants, cafes, and attractions along the waterfront.

Day 6: Wellington to Napier

Continuing your journey, you’ll head northeast to Napier, a coastal city known for its Art Deco architecture and thriving wine region.

Key Stop: Art Deco Tour in Napier

Napier boasts a unique and well-preserved Art Deco architectural style, thanks to a devastating earthquake in 1931 that led to its reconstruction. Take a guided Art Deco tour to learn about the city’s history and admire its stunning buildings.

Where to Stay: Kennedy Park Resort Napier

Kennedy Park Resort in Napier offers a range of accommodation options, including powered campervan sites. It’s a great base for exploring the city and the surrounding Hawke’s Bay wine region.

Day 7: Napier to Taupo

Your road trip now takes you back to Taupo, giving you the opportunity to explore more of this beautiful region or revisit any favorite spots.

Key Stop: Explore Taupo’s Geothermal Pools

Taupo is home to several geothermal pools and hot springs, perfect for a relaxing soak. Consider visiting places like the Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs or the Wairakei Terraces for a rejuvenating experience.

Where to Stay: Five Mile Bay Campground (Again)

Return to the tranquil shores of Lake Taupo and camp once more at the Five Mile Bay Campground. Take this opportunity to unwind and appreciate the serene beauty of the North Island.

Day 8: Taupo to Waitomo

On day eight, you’ll head west to the enchanting Waitomo Caves region, known for its fascinating underground caves and glowworms.

Key Stop: Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Explore the Waitomo Glowworm Caves with a guided tour. Marvel at the thousands of tiny glowworms that illuminate the cave ceilings, creating a surreal and magical experience. It’s a truly unique natural wonder.

Where to Stay: Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park

Set up camp at the Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park, where you’ll find comfortable facilities and a peaceful atmosphere. The campsite is conveniently located for exploring the caves and the surrounding area.

Day 9: Waitomo to Auckland

As your North Island Circuit road trip nears its end, you’ll make your way back to Auckland, where you began your adventure.

Key Stop: Raglan’s Surf Beaches

Before reaching Auckland, consider making a detour to Raglan, known for its world-class surf beaches. If you’re a surfing enthusiast or simply want to enjoy some beach time, this is the place to be.

Where to Stay: Auckland Freedom Camping

On your last night, you can choose to stay at one of Auckland’s designated freedom camping areas. This allows you to spend your final evening wherever suits you best within the city, offering flexibility and convenience.

Day 10: Farewell to the North Island

As you bid farewell to your campervan and the stunning North Island of New Zealand, you’ll carry with you memories of breathtaking landscapes, outdoor adventures, and the freedom of the open road. The North Island Circuit is a road trip that showcases the natural beauty and diversity of this remarkable country.

North Island Circuit

Remember, this guide is just a starting point. The North Island is filled with hidden gems and unique experiences waiting to be discovered. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and let the beauty of New Zealand’s North Island unfold before your eyes. Your campervan adventure awaits!

In conclusion, the North Island Circuit offers a diverse and awe-inspiring road trip experience. From geothermal wonders and pristine beaches to cultural treasures and picturesque landscapes, this journey is a true exploration of New Zealand’s natural beauty. So, get behind the wheel of your campervan and embark on an adventure of a lifetime.