Travelling from Auckland, in the north of North Island, to the charming town of Rotorua is a grand opportunity for a road trip. Although Rotorua is accessible by road as well as air, people prefer to take an exciting little road trip instead of risking missing out on some of the delightful attractions along the way. Use this guide to explore the best route for you to take to Rotorua.
1. The Shortest Route goes via Matamata
The direct way to go is via Matamata on a 413 km long drive. It entails a minimum of three hours on the road when you head south on State Highway 2. When you cross the two-hour mark, you should be getting to Matamata where you can sip a hot beverage before you head onward. Many tourists also vote to take a short trip to Hobbiton Village nearby as it is the site of the famous ‘Shire’ from The Lord of The Rings trilogy. The hamlet offers guided tours that can be pre-booked by travellers for a curated experience.
2. Taking a Picturesque Road via Coromandel
When on vacation, many prefer to choose a picturesque road instead of taking the most direct path. After all, sightseeing is a major part of every vacation and heading to Rotorua through Coromandel and Bay of Plenty is deemed ideal. Although it will take you about six hours in the car, after accounting for minor stops, the views more than compensate for the time spent. This too has you heading off south on SH1 and later east when you cross Thames. However, you can choose to take a moment to drive to Hahei or even Hot Water Beach. Explore Cathedral Cove and Whitianga along the way to grab a bite to eat.
3. Going Via Hamilton and Cambridge
Take the southern highway to breeze along on with fantastic views of the Waikato River. Mining town of Huntly is a stopover prior to Hamilton that houses beautiful gardens and some fine cafes. Cambridge, from Hamilton, is around 23 km away on the State Highway. Perfect for buying curios, Cambridge is then a mere 87 km away from Rotorua.
To have a road trip on your own terms, opt for a car hire from Auckland to get to Rotorua. Doing so gives you the opportunity to seek a leisurely travel with stops at stunning beaches or even the Waitomo Caves for a charming little adventure.