We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Best scenic drive from Rotorua

Airlie Beach
Level Contributor
15 posts
3 reviews
Best scenic drive from Rotorua

Hi, I am planning a trip of the North Island from Wellington in March 2017. We are a couple in a campervan and our main interest is scenery and walks.

So far I have planned Wellington/Wanganui/Tongariro National Park/ Taupo/orakei korako geothermal area/Rotorua.

From Auckland/Hokianga/Kaitaia/Paihia/Whangarei/Auckland

In your opinion are these the most scenic?

I am stuck on which way I should go between Rotorua and Auckland.

Also if we are doing Orakei Koraka is it still worth going to Rotorua.

Thanks :)

Wellington, New...
Level Contributor
94 posts
36 reviews
1. Re: Best scenic drive from Rotorua

Would White Island interest you, it's very interesting and quite unique. You could drive Rotorua to Whakatane, do a White Island trip, then head up to Taralga then around the Coromandel, to Thames and to Aucklnd. The Karangahake Gorge is very scenic, you could walk or bike bits of the Hauraki Rail Trail from Thames or Waihi or drive to Karangahake Gorge and walk just that bit.

Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
Level Contributor
18,358 posts
130 reviews
2. Re: Best scenic drive from Rotorua

Or, you could do a day-trip from Rotorua to White Island. Park the camper up for the day if so!

I actually enjoy the drive from Rotorua across the Mamaku ranges through Fitzgerald Glade to Tirau, followed by the drive along SH1 past lake Karapiro to Cambridge/ Hamilton and north to Auckland. For me the Waikato has strong spiritual appeal. There are enough places to pull over for a cuppa to soak up the scenery.

Save the detours for Northland and the ever changing scenery this region offers instead.

Airlie Beach
Level Contributor
15 posts
3 reviews
3. Re: Best scenic drive from Rotorua

Thank you for replying.

Unfortunately we won't be able to do White Island.

Very interested in Karangahake Gorge though. Have googled it and 2 drives interest us. Either go via State Highway 36 and SH 2 which is more coastal or inland via SH 5. There is supposedly only 7 minutes difference in driving. Which way would be more scenic?

Also wondering if we do Orakei Koraka is it still worth going to Rotorua.

Thanks again

Auckland Central...
Level Contributor
117 posts
67 reviews
4. Re: Best scenic drive from Rotorua

There are beautiful lakes to drive to, drive round, walk round. Okataina is extraordinarily beautiful. Or Lake Rotorua itself or the green and blue lakes. Past Rotoiti's Oreri falls Head from there to the BOP coast then The Mount via the kiwifruit capital of the world Te Puke, then Waihi and the Karangahake gorge into Paeroa.

Up the Seabird coast via miranda hot pools clevedon maraitai from where it is possible to catch a Ferry to downtown.

Edited: 26 December 2016, 07:42
Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
Level Contributor
18,358 posts
130 reviews
5. Re: Best scenic drive from Rotorua

Easier to do the SH36 and then SH2 from Tauranga through the Karangahake Gorge.

If you use SH5, you then need to take SH27, northwards and across the plains to enter the gorge from Paeroa. Or backtrack to Tauranga over the Kaimai range on SH29, to link into SH2 for the gorge.

6. Re: Best scenic drive from Rotorua

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 11 February 2018, 08:18