NAPIER – WELLINGTON (Via Hastings & Masterton)
Travel Distance is approximately 334kms (209 miles).
Allow at least 4.5 hours drive time (not including stops).
Part of the Thermal Explorer Highway
As the last day of your 7 day self-drive North Island travel itinerary, we suggest you get up early, grab a hearty breakfast at one of the numerous cafes in Napier before spending your final day sight-seeing along the route back to Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand.
Passing through Hastings and Masterton as you head down to the ‘bottom’ of the North Island, you will be able to view some of New Zealand’s awesome scenery and ‘hot spots’ on route.
Some notable stops along the route to Napier include:
TARAWERA HOT SPRINGS
There is nothing commercialised about these hot spring pools located in the middle of the bush on the main highway between Taupo and Napier. Enjoy a relaxing dip while listening to the surrounding nature.
Nestled between the hills on the Napier-Wairoa highway, this is a lovely and serene sanctuary for birds and a magical mecca for keen anglers of all ages and abilities. Birdlife at the lake includes scaup, grey ducks, black swans, little white-throated shags, black shags, white-face herons, pukeko, fantails, New Zealand wood pigeons, swallows, kingfishers and much more.
Devastated by an earthquake in 1931, the town was rebuilt with plenty of Art Deco and Spanish Mission-style architecture, which can still be viewed to this day. Hastings is a great place for a stroll in the park or a visit to a local winery.
Located in Hastings and claiming to be the areas number 1 visitor destination, Splash Planet combines all the fun and excitement of New Zealand’s only water theme park located within 6.5 hectares of shaded subtropical garden – great fun for the entire family.
Located in the heart of the Hawke’s Bay, the town is located beside the beautiful Tukituki River and features many historic homesteads dating back to early settler times.
TUI BREWERY TOURS
Located in Mangatainoka and not far from Dannevirke, brewery tours are available Mon-Fri from 9am with the last tour each day at 2.30pm.
Is located half way between Napier and Wellington and is known as ‘The Junction’ as it is the gateway to the Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa/Wellington and Manawatu.
NEW ZEALAND RUGBY MUSEUM
Located within easy walking distance of the Palmerston North City centre, this is the oldest museum in the world devoted to the game of rugby. View New Zealand’s biggest and most comprehensive collection of rugby memorabilia and records, including some of the world’s rarest rugby artefacts.
The largest town in the Horowhenua district and a great place to enjoy some cheap clothes shopping at the large variety of Factory Shops.
New Zealand’s capital city is a surprisingly compact city and is where you can take a ferry crossing across Cook Strait to the South Island. The central city boasts a vibrant cafe scene and some of the best coffee you’ll taste in New Zealand. Along with the awesome Te Papa museum, Wellington is considered the arts and culture capital of New Zealand.
Highly recommended Wellington tourist attractions include…
Te Papa – You cannot visit Wellington without going to New Zealand’s national museum. Te Papa’s Marae is a vibrant contemporary meeting house and a living communal centre, unique in a museum.
Kiwi Designer Shopping – For the visitor that loves to shop, Wellington offers some great shopping from famous New Zealand designers, including Karen Walker, Zambesi and many more.
Wellington Cable Car – Take the Cable Car from Lambton Quay and past Kelburn Park and Victoria University to the top of Upland Road onto the Lookout, which is also home to Carter Observatory, Planetarium and Cable Car Museum. Enjoy the city views below.
Karori Sanctuary – Home to some of New Zealand’s rarest and most endangered wildlife including the little spotted kiwi, tuatara, saddleback, stitchbird and kaka. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the bush, lakes and historical buildings or take a guided tour.
Parliament Buildings Tour – Visit New Zealand’s beautifully refurbished Parliament Buildings, made up of three architecturally distinctive buildings, entry is free.
Wellington is an exciting and vibrant city with plenty to offer visitors, including enthusiasts of the performing arts, theatre and live music. You will have plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from plus accommodation to suit all budgets and requirements. If you can, plan to stay a couple of days or longer to really make the most of your stay in Wellington.
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