Beyond Auckland there are many contrasting landscapes all within a few hours drive. Golden beaches, geothermal activity, rolling green hills and pretty coastal villages are all close by for those wanting to venture beyond Auckland. We've picked out a few of those regions which are situated within easy reach.
3 hours drive north, on the rugged east coast, you will find several bays and peninsulas. The most notable is the Bay of Islands (over 150 of them) which is a popular holiday destination and hotspot for fishing and sailing. New Zealand's northernmost city, Whangarei, is 60km south of the Bay of Islands, and is the most populous place in Northland. A trip to the region brings opportunities for diving, kayaking, surfing, dolphin-swimming and the famous Ninety Mile Beach.
Two hours drive east of Auckland, the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula is a favourite holiday destination with locals. There are over 400kms of picturesque coastline, beaches and coves, as well as countless bush-clad walkways. Further inland, you'll find rugged, volcanic hills cloaked in rainforest, containing the world's tallest fern trees and perfect for hiking. Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach are just two of the region's highlights. Read more.
Waikato & Hamilton
30km south of Auckland, rolling hills and majestic forests shape the Waikato landscape. This rich agricultural region encompasses the area around Hamilton, the country's fourth largest city and extends along the banks of the Waikato River, the country's longest river. The region features the world famous Waitomo Caves and its glow-worms and caving activities, the black sand surf beaches of Raglan, Hamilton's famous gardens and Hobbiton, home of the hobbit village from the Lord of The Rings film trilogy. Read More.
Nestled beside the lake of the same name, Rotorua is popular with those who wish to sample the sulphuric delights of the city's geothermal activity. A 3 hour drive south brings you to geothermal landscapes, geysers and mud pools thanks to the Caldera (dormant volcano) upon which Rotorua sits. With 16 lakes, Maori cultural attractions, a huge range of adventure activities and Lake Taupo close by, it's an obvious choice to head. Read More.
Lake Taupo itself is the country's largest freshwater lake, and a magnet for those seeking some wet pursuits away from the coast. Taupo is also famous for the volcanic and geothermal attractions, Huka Falls and is the gateway to Tongariro National Park, the inspiration behind many of the locations in The Lord Of The Rings film trilogy. Read More.
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