Auckland to Rotorua

Getting There - Auckland To Rotorua:

  • By Car: Driving time - 2 hours 45 minutes 

  • By Bus: Depart from either downtown Auckland or Manukau. Approximately 3.5 hours travelling time.

  • By Air: Air New Zealand operate daily flights from Auckland to Rotorua Airport. Flying time is approximately 40 minutes.

Day Tours - Auckland to Rotorua:

  • If time is short, visitors can book a day return tour from Auckland to Rotorua. The tour typically includes seeing the glow worms of Waitomo Caves which are fairly close to Rotorua, before taking visitors to the sights of Rotorua. Rotorua highlights will include a geothermal attraction and Maori experience

  • Day tours will typically depart from downtown Auckland at around 7.30am and return at around 8.30pm. 

  • Alternative day tours can take you to the Hobbiton Village in Matamata, the movie set of the Shire Hobbit Village used in the Lord of The Rings and Hobbit movies. These tours will not usually not include Rotorua. There is also an option for a day tour that combines both Hobbition and Waitomo Caves.

Driving Routes:

1. Direct Route: Auckland to Rotorua via Matamata

  • Allow 3 hours drive time.

  • Drive south along State Highway 2, SH25 and onto SH5 that leads into Rotorua.

  • Matamata is a good place to stop for a coffee (just under 2 hours). It is at this point that you can take a detour and visit Hobbiton Village, 10 minutes’ drive away. It’s advised to book a tour rather than just turn up. Allow a couple of hours for the tour.

2. Scenic Route: Auckland to Rotora via Coromandel & Bay of Plenty

  • Allow 6 hours’ drive with stops or spend more time with an overnight stop.

  • Drive south along SH1, east on SH25 past Thames and continue south on SH25, then onto SH2 past Tauranga, and take SH33 just past Te Puke and onto SH30 into Rotorua. 

  • At Thames in the Coromandel, you have a choice to make a detour and drive around the Coromandel Peninsula. With glorious beaches including Hahei and Hot Water Beach, the famous Cathedral Cove and the charming towns of Coromandel and Whitianga, the Coromandel Peninsula is definitely worth experiencing! This route should only be taken if you have a few days to spare and do not want to reach Rotorua on the same day. From Thames, head up SH25 to Coromandel Town and drive the peninsula clockwise via Whitianga.

  • Continuing past Thames (if not driving the Coromandel Peninsula), you will soon be driving south along the coastal route that includes the golden sandy beaches of Waihi & Whangamata.

  • There are beautiful ocean views as you drive closer towards the port town of Tauranga. It’s well worth taking a detour to the resort town of Mt Maunganui and its famous beach. 

  • Driving past Tauranga, a popular stop is the famous Kiwi 360 attraction in Te Puke. There’s a good gift shop and tours are available to give you an insight into the growing of the kiwi fruit. 

  • Continuing 30 minutes past Te Puke along SH33 towards Rotorua, another good place to stop is Okere Falls.This natural attraction features a series of waterfalls including the seven metre Tutea Falls - which lays claim to being the highest commercially rafted waterfalls in the world.

  • Another 20 minutes and you’ll reach Rotorua.

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