Allow an hour to travel from Rotorua to Taupō.
Picturesque Lake Taupō is a worthwhile stop on any Auckland to Wellington road trip itinerary. Not only because New Zealand’s largest lake is absolutely stunning, but because of the blend of attractions that make this a destination for every kind of traveller.
Love adventure? Taupō's got it all: skydiving, bungy jumping, kayaking, paddle boarding, and even jet boating Huka Falls (a highlight).
Prefer nature to thrills? Aside from the gorgeous nearby Huka Falls, Great Lake Walkway, and Craters of the Moon Walkway, Taupō is only an hour’s shuttle ride from Aotearoa’s best one-day hike, the Tongariro Crossing. You can also combine nature and culture on a scenic cruise to the 14-metre Māori rock carvings at Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay.
If self-care is as important to you as sightseeing, head to Taupõ de Bretts or the Wairakei Terraces to soak in their geothermal pools.
Allocate approximately two and a half hours to reach Hawke’s Bay from Taupō.
Known as ‘Food and Wine Country’, a detour to Hawke’s Bay is one that your tastebuds will thank you for. With over 200 vineyards, 70 wineries, and 38 cellar doors, you could easily spend your Hawke’s Bay visit solely eating and drinking. Mission Estate Winery is a long-standing favourite, as is the iconic Church Road Winery.
Hawke’s Bay’s other claim to fame is Art Deco Napier. A devastating earthquake in 1931 razed the town, and in its wake, art deco buildings went up.
Another must-do for Hawke’s Bay is a trip to the Cape Kidnappers Te Kauwae-a-Māui gannet colony, where 200,000 of these majestic birds reside. Alongside the joy of watching the gannets flap their 2-metre-wide wings overhead, the vistas are equally pleasurable. The best way to reach the gannet colony is on tour: choose from a tractor-driven tour or a 4WD safari.