Driving down from Auckland to Rotorua? Instead of zipping past this beautiful part of NZ’s North Island in a hurry, stretch the three-hour road trip out to an action-packed experience. Make the most of this part of the country by stopping along the way at these epic spots, much-loved by the Rotorua Rafting team.
While it’s not the most direct route to Rotorua, we highly recommend you take a left onto State Highway 2 and head towards the Karangahake Gorge. Once you arrive at the Gorge, there’s plenty of activities to choose from. Walk the Rail Tunnel Loop or the Historic Walkway to Waikino. Take in the breathtaking views of Karangahake Mountain or feel like you’re living during the gold rush as you amble along the Windows Walkway.
Your next destination is only a 20-minute drive away: Waihi Beach. A coastal town in the Bay of Plenty, Waihi Beach is much-loved for its stunning stretch of sand and its quaint town filled with boutique shopping and excellent eateries, so be sure to pop in for a flat white and a bite to eat. If you’re looking for an authentic, retro Kiwi holiday by the beach, this is where you’ll find it.
Tauranga and the Mount
Forty minutes down the coast and you’ll reach Tauranga, home to the famous Mount Maunganui. You can’t visit this city without heading up the Mount, a challenging four-km trek with stunning summit views that stretch out as far as the eye can see. The Mount is a stellar spot for surfing, kayaking and paddle boarding, so don’t forget to pack your board or boat of choice!
Before making your way into Rotorua, join Rotorua Rafting for a paddle down the fast-flowing Kaituna River. You’ll find us at Okere Falls, where our whitewater rafting guides will show you the ropes before we head down Tutea Falls, the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall. If seven metres is a little out of your comfort zone, we have rafting trips on the Okere Awa and Rangitaiki River instead. What an introduction to all Rotorua has to offer!
Haera mai – you’ve arrived in Rotorua! There’s plenty to see and do here, from mountain biking in the Redwoods Forest to taking a soak in a geothermal hot pool. Learn more about Maori culture at the Rotorua Museum or ride the gondola and take in the town’s panoramic views.
Have you driven the meandering Auckland-Rotorua route?
If you haven’t turned this quick jaunt into an adrenaline-filled adventure, now’s the time! To book your place on one of our rafting trips, talk to Rotorua Rafting today.