Fire up your Kia Ora campervan and get ready for the ultimate North Island road trip! Explore stunning natural landscapes full of exciting adventures, from breathtaking hikes to adrenaline-fueled activities. Immerse yourself in the paradise of idyllic sandy beaches, volcanic mountains, and geothermal wonders of the North Island.

The North Island has a lot to offer everyone. As New Zealand’s go-to motorhome rental company, we’re here to give you a local’s perspective on the best North Island destinations to add to your campervan road trip.

Kickstart Your Adventure at Cape Reinga

Your North Island campervan road trip begins at the iconic Cape Reinga lighthouse, the northwesternmost point of the Aupōuri Peninsula. This remote and spiritual area holds great significance in Māori culture as the place where souls depart on their final journey. Soak in the sweeping views, stroll along 90 Mile Beach, go sandboarding at Te Paki Stream, and embrace the energy of this special spot.

Next Stop: Waitangi and the Bay of Islands

Head south from Cape Reinga to the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds near Paihia in the Bay of Islands region. Explore the carved meeting house and giant waka, where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, marking the foundation of New Zealand as a nation. Catch a compelling cultural performance bringing history to life.

Island Vineyard Views in Auckland

Auckland offers a taste of big city life, but you can get that just about anywhere! The real draw lies offshore on the islands of the Hauraki Gulf. Ferry over to Waiheke Island, renowned as one of New Zealand’s premier wine regions. Tour the vineyards by bike, bus, or on foot, sampling world-class wine while soaking in gorgeous ocean vistas.

Coromandel Peninsula Paradise

Continue your road trip down the Pacific Coast to the Coromandel Peninsula. This scenic area offers stunning beaches like Hot Water Beach, but save time for the incredible Cathedral Cove, perhaps the most insta-worthy destination in New Zealand. Only reachable by a bush trail or boat, this paradise-like cove features a famous natural rock archway and golden sand that seems too beautiful to be real.

Head for the Glowworm Caves of Waitomo

Make your way down the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula towards the seaside city of Tauranga. After a waterfront lunch stop, cut back inland toward Hamilton and Matamata to tour the beloved Hobbiton Movie Set from Lord of the Rings. End your day setting up camp in the small town of Waitomo, famous for its underground wonders.

Volcanic Wonders in Rotorua

No North Island road trip is complete without exploring the geothermal wonders around Rotorua. After experiencing the bubbling mud pools and steaming vents, the nearby Whakarewarewa Forest makes for an other-worldly experience. Hike or mountain bike among towering California Redwoods or walk the suspended bridges of the illuminated Tree Walk at night.

Bubbling mud pools near Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua.

Ultimate Day Hike at Tongariro

Get your hiking boots ready for a journey through one of the world’s most incredible volcanic landscapes on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This challenging 20km day hike through a dual World Heritage area serves up other-worldly scenery like the Red Crater, Emerald Lakes, and the iconic Mount Ngauruhoe (aka Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings).

Hidden Gems on the East Cape

From Tongariro, head east to Tolaga Bay on the East Cape to experience one of the North Island’s coolest hidden gems. This sleepy seaside town is home to the Southern Hemisphere’s longest wharf at over 600 meters long. Wander the wharf, kayak out to the Mitre Rock sea stacks, or drive a little further to check out the historic cove at Tokomaru Bay.

Wild Volcanic Peaks in Egmont

Save the grand finale for Egmont National Park and its wild centrepiece – the perfectly cone-shaped volcanic peak of Mount Taranaki. Test your stamina by climbing the arduous trail to the summit for out-of-this-world views and a huge sense of accomplishment. When you’re done, reward yourself in nearby New Plymouth’s lively food and drink scene.

Finish up in “The Coolest Little Capital”

Considered by Lonely Planet to be the “coolest little capital in the world,” Wellington sits at the southern tip of the North Island. This compact and creative city offers a wealth of cultural experiences to wrap up your adventure.

Start by visiting Te Papa Museum, New Zealand’s hugely popular national museum and art gallery and cap off your time in Wellington with a charming ride on the city’s historic cable car. Just make sure you treat yourself to plenty of Wellington’s amazing food while you’re there!

Explore the North Island with Kia Ora Campers

With such an incredible variety of urban islands, idyllic beaches, steaming volcanic landscapes, and untamed wilderness, a North Island road trip offers an experience like no other. Hire a campervan in New Zealand’s North Island with Kia Ora Campers, plot out your ultimate itinerary, load up your fridge, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!