AUCKLAND – WHANGAREI (via Orewa & Warkworth)
Travel distance is approximately 162kms (101 miles).
Allow at least 2 ½ hours drive time (not including stops).
Part of The Great New Zealand Touring Route.
This 9 day self-drive tour highlights the best of both the North Island’s coasts and gives you plenty of time to enjoy this warm, almost tropical climate in the North Island.
Imagine cruising the beaches and top surfing sports, exploring the exciting coastal marine life, delving into the colourful past of the many historical locations and character-filled townships you will come across, not forgetting the fabulous restaurants, cafes, wineries and road-side stalls to be sampled!
Your journey starts in the New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, and from here you can negotiate (which will probably be a tad exciting) the local streets before driving over the Auckland Harbour Bridge and the start of your adventure, before you know it the motorway will have transformed into suburban scenery and serene farmland, let the journey begin…
Some notable stops along the route to Whangarei include:
For those that enjoy some bargain shopping take a small detour at the exit that leads to Silverdale and Gulf Harbour. Silverdale is well known throughout New Zealand for its factory and outlet stores. You can get some great bargains for all the top New Zealand and international brands and labels.
The Orewa township is part of the beautiful Hibiscus Coast and is actually sprawled along the edge of the fabulous white sandy surf beach and is a great place to take some time out to stretch your legs and enjoy the fresh ocean air. Enjoy a refreshing swim in the ocean or some retail therapy in the shopping centre.
WAIWERA THERMAL RESORT
The popular Waiwera Thermal Spa Resort are natural hot mineral pools located just 35 minutes north of Auckland on the picturesque Hibiscus Coast. A great place for a ‘driver reviver’ on your journey! Stop for a while and enjoy a relaxing hot mineral pool soak, massage or beauty treatment. Other facilities include water slides, cafe plus picnic and BBQ areas.
The historic township of Puhoi is where you stop to revive your tastebuds! Drop into the Mustard Makers for gourmet mustards, condiments, chutneys, luxury jams and marmalades while gourmet cheese lovers will recognise the name ‘Puhoi’ as part of the delicious New Zealand Puhoi Valley Cheese brand. The Art of Cheese Cafe & Store is located in in a park-like setting and offers you the opportunity to enjoy a great lunch with a glass of wine. Watch cheese making through the big windows and taste some of the Puhoi and other brands of cheeses.
GOAT ISLAND MARINE RESERVE
Also known as the Leigh Marine reserve, this was New Zealand’s first established marine reserve in 1975. The reserve covers a staggering 547 hectares of shore and ocean spanning from Cape Rodney to Okakari Point, including the waters around Goat Island. Snorkelling or diving is the best way to enjoy the magic of the marine life in this area.
A lovely place to stop, this picture pretty town is located on the banks of the Mahurangi River and visitors can enjoy a variety of local attractions, including surf beaches, vineyards, wildlife and marine sanctuaries and golf courses to name a few! Visit the Warkworth and District Museum which holds many colonial artefacts and is located in the Parry Kauri Park.
Take a side trip to Pakiri Beach, you wont be disappointed when you see the pristine white sandy beaches, which are a major draw-card for the area, however the beach is also well known for horse rides along the beach and the surfing.
MARSDEN POINT OIL REFINERY
Just before Whangarei you can take a short detour to the Marsden Point oil refinery. View New Zealand’s only oil refinery works with a free tour through the informative Visitors Centre. Interactive 3D display, scale model and dramatic light and sound show make this an educational and entertaining half hour tour.
The city is located on the edge of a beautiful harbour and boasts a metropolitan touch thanks to the Quayside Town Basin complex, which is where you can enjoy top restaurants, stylish cafes, art galleries and much more. You will find a great selection of accommodation and activities to satisfy everyone during your over-night stay here.
Highly recommended Whangarei tourist attractions include…
Whangarei Museum & Kiwi House – The Museum Exhibition Centre showcases special collections and exhibitions, including Early settler collections. The Kiwi House transforms day into night so you can view New Zealand’s most famous native bird, the Kiwi. Guided tours available.
Whangarei Falls – Considered one of the most picturesque waterfalls in New Zealand, the falls is a popular place for swimming in the summer or enjoying the many walking tracks amidst the native bush along with sheltered picnic areas.
The Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve – Is one of the most renowned dive locations in New Zealand, in fact, it is considered one of the worlds top dive locations and is a ‘must do’ for any dive enthusiast. Further recreational diving is available on the artificial reefs created off Tutukaka by the sunken frigates Tui and Waikato.
Mount Parihaka – For superb panoramic views of Whangarei city and harbour tackle the summit of Mount Parihaka. Towering 242 metres above the city, the summit can be reached by road or for the more enthusiastic, by walkway!
Whangarei Heads – Take a picturesque short drive past bays and beaches of Whangarei Harbour. This is a wonderful area to enjoy a sunshine day while taking part in many types of recreation and water sports. Smugglers Cove is a remote and beautiful white sandy beach fringed with pohutukawa trees – the perfect spot for a picnic.
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