Auckland to New Plymouth via Forgotten Highway
Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable six-day road trip from Auckland to New Plymouth, exploring stunning central New Zealand along the way! From the mysterious Waitomo Caves to the rugged Forgotten World Highway and the vibrant city of New Plymouth, this journey promises both adventure and discovery.
Day 1: Hamilton Highlights
Start your adventure with an easy drive from Auckland to Hamilton. Here, you can indulge the senses with an enormous ice cream at Pokeno Ice Creams, or sample award-winning Dutch-style cheeses at Mercer Cheese, see the beautiful grounds of Hamilton Gardens where you can hear all about the hidden stories, secret symbols, interesting snippets, and more. Or, feel the ultimate adrenaline blast with a stop at Hampton Downs race track, while there’s always a cruise on the Waikato River for those looking to soak in the region’s history and beauty.
Day 2: Go Underground in Waitomo
Head south to Ōtorohonga, the “Kiwiana town,” and visit the Ōtorohonga Kiwi House to see native kiwi birds up close. Then, proceed to the famous Waitomo Caves for a mesmerizing underground experience. Choose from cave tours, glow-worm boat rides, or thrilling black water rafting.
Day 3: Road Trip along the Forgotten World Highway
On Day 3, travel south from Waitomo to Taumarunui and embark on an adventure with Forgotten World Adventures, offering rail cart, jet boat and helicopter experiences through New Zealand’s untouched backcountry. Drive along the scenic State Highway 43, known as “The Forgotten World Highway,” and take a stop halfway to explore the unique town of Whangamōmona, which declared itself a republic in 1989.
Day 4: Chill out in Ōpunake
Journey to the Taranaki coast on Day 4, stopping at Stratford with its Shakespeare-inspired attractions. Reach Ōpunake on the Surf Highway, a laid-back surf town perfect for relaxation. Take in a movie at the historic Everybody’s Theatre or stretch your legs on the Ōpunake Loop Trail with lake and headland views.
Days 5 – 6: Art and Nature in New Plymouth
Continue a drive up the Surf Highway to New Plymouth, where you can admire the famous ‘Wind Wand’ sculpture by Len Lye on the coastal walkway on Day 5. You can also explore the Govett Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre to discover more of the artist’s work and other exhibits. Visit Puke Ariki for a museum and gallery experience, or explore the Hillsborough Holden Museum for motor enthusiasts. Don’t miss the stunning gardens, such as Pukeiti, and venture into Egmont National Park for hikes around spectacular Mount Taranaki.
So what are you waiting for? This six-day Auckland to New Plymouth adventure promises to be a mix of iconic attractions and hidden gems, providing unforgettable memories of the diverse beauty of New Zealand’s centre!