NEW PLYMOUTH – WAITOMO
Travel distance is approximately 181kms (113 miles).
Allow at least 2.25 hours drive time (not including stops).
Start the morning with a refreshing walk around Pukekura Park and then an enjoyable breakfast or brunch at one of the funky cafes before packing up and picking up your journey from New Plymouth as you travel past the quaint seaside villages before leaving the Tasman Sea behind to travel inland past farmland, rugged mountains and forest towards one of the North Islands top tourist attractions, Waitomo Caves, where you will enjoy a unique nights stay in this rural retreat location.
Some notable stops along the route to Waitomo include:
Well worth the 5 hour walk to complete (if you have the time) this fabulous track across northern Taranaki’s sheer cliffs and bluffs. Located at the end of Pukearuhe Road, which is off State Highway 3 north of Urenui, major scenic highlights of this walk include the dramatic white cliffs (Paraninihi), the Three Sisters rock formations and the historic Te Horo stock tunnel.
Your final chance to enjoy the rugged beauty of the North Island’s West Coast before heading inland. Enjoy a genuine country pub meal at the Awakino Hotel, which was built over 100 years ago.
Located on SH3, this rural village is named after an extinct New Zealand native Thrush and all streets in the village are named after New Zealand native birds. A great little place for a driver reviver stop on your way to Waitomo.
Located only 19km’s from Waitomo, Te Kuiti is part of the King Country and is the ‘Shearing Capital of the World’, and also home to the world’s largest shearer, which stands a whopping seven metres high! The Te Kuiti Visitor Information Centre can help you plan your Waitomo visit.
No North Island visit would be complete without a visit to the Waitomo Caves in the heart of the King Country. Waitomo is renowned for eco-tourism and adventure outdoor pursuits. This popular tourist location enjoys a diverse climate and will be one of the more unique places you will stay for the night!
Accommodation options continue to grow in the Waitomo area, and along with boutique bed & breakfast lodges and romantic self-contained cottages, there is also a choice of quality motel and motor inn accommodation, plus farmstays, holiday parks and camp grounds.
Highly recommended Waitomo tourist attractions include…
Ruakuri Caves – Welcome to a spiritual world of mystery and intrigue as you delve down into the caves on a guided journey of natural wonders, including glowworms, stalactite straws, flowstone and majestic underground formations.
Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park – Here is your opportunity to view a huge range of reptiles and indigenous birds of New Zealand. Take a guided walk through displays of wetland areas, birds of prey, forest birds, tuatara, geckos and see a Kiwi!
Waitomo Museum of Caves – This award-winning museum is ‘must’ for all visitors before doing a Waitomo Cave tour. Popular with all the family, learn about caves and geological marvels through interactive displays, giant fossils, multi-media shows and much more.
Billy Black’s Kiwi Culture Show – The hour long “Kiwi Culture Show” is a popular visitor attraction at Woodlyn Park, showcasing Kiwi humour combined with audience participation for a truly fun-packed show. Don’t miss the demonstrations of tree felling, live explosions, the famous dancing pig, a kiwi bear, sheep shearing and farm dogs working.
Black Water Rafting – Imagine going down into spectacular caves and navigating through underground networks with streams, hidden waterfalls and rocky chutes on a guided tour with a black tube! Sounds crazy but incredibly popular with all ages.
New Zealand Itineraries: North Island Suggested Itineraries
Our modern self-drive travel Itineraries have routes specifically for the North Island as well as the South Island, ranging from 5 to 11 days, plus there are some travel routes that take in both the North and South Island’s. Our range of travel itineraries include information regarding travel distances and time to ensure that you can make the best of your time in New Zealand, no longer how short your visit!
- 5 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
- 6 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Coromandel, Coromandel – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua and Rotorua – Auckland
- 6 Day Itinerary (route 2): Auckland – Dargaville, Dargaville – Kaitaia, Kaitaia – Paihia, Paihia – Whangarei and Whangarei – Auckland
- 7 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Napier and Napier – Wellington
- 8 Day Itinerary: Wellington, Wellington – Masterton, Masterton – Wellington, Wellington – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim and Blenheim – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Coromandel, Coromandel – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Gisborne, Gisborne – Napier, Napier – Taupo, Taupo – Rotorua, Rotorua – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
- 9 Day Itinerary (route 2): Auckland – Whangarei, Whangarei – Paihia, Paihia – Hokianga, Hokianga – Auckland, Auckland – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
- 11 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua, Rotorua – Gisborne, Gisborne – Napier, Napier Taupo Napier, Napier – Wellington, Wellington – New Plymouth, New Plymouth – Waitomo and Waitomo Caves – Auckland