At first glance, New Zealand is notable for its picturesque landscapes and breathtaking nature. Cities like Auckland offer great experiences, but some of the most unique things to see are actually a few hours drive from the city.
Renting a car in New Zealand can be one of the best travel decisions you can make, as you’ll be able to take in the full beauty of the countryside while driving to some unique destinations to cross off your bucket list.
Here are three amazing day trip ideas you can do from Auckland in a day.
Whether you are a fan of Lord of the Rings or not, there is no doubt you will be blown away by the charming and delightful beauty of Hobbiton. This is the set where they shot the globally-recognized film, along with The Hobbit trilogies.
Hobbiton offers guided tours for visitors of around two hours, where you can walk along the grounds of the set and see all of the notable locations where scenes of the movies were shot.
After the tour, you can stroll around the set and take photos with the hobbit houses, buy souvenirs at the gift shop, or grab a coffee at The Shire’s Rest Cafe.
2. Bay of Islands
For a beautiful mountainous beach escape from Auckland, you don’t have to look any further than the Bay of Islands. Located north of the city, this small island paradise has a plethora of activities to do from snorkeling, hiking, or just relaxing on the beach. It is about a four-hour drive from Auckland.
An absolute must-see when visiting the Bay of Islands is the native bottlenose dolphins that inhabit the surrounding waters. You can book a day cruise to observe the dolphins in their natural habitat from a catamaran while sitting back and enjoying the beautiful ocean views.
If hiking or swimming is not your thing, you can also check out Paroa Bay Winery, where you can eat lunch and enjoy a glass of artisanal wine while overlooking the bay.
3. Waitomo Caves
Only a 2.5-hour drive from Auckland, the Waitomo Caves is another must-see for your road trip bucket list. The caves house one of the most interesting and bizarre insects in the world – a bioluminescent glowworm only found in New Zealand.
With thousands lining the walls of the dark caves, you will see a spectacular show of glowing lights! It is truly a unique and story-worthy experience that is not worth missing.
You can go on an organized tour, which lasts about 45 minutes. Most of the guides are descendants of the Maori indigenous people and can speak about the cultural and historical significance of the caves.
If you are looking for something with more of an adrenaline rush, the caves also offer black water rafting tours. Here, you can abseil into the caves, raft through the underground river, and do some waterfall diving.
New Zealand is a cultural gem of a country with unforgettable sights. If visiting Auckland, be sure to rent a car and take advantage of all of the incredible day trip opportunities the region offers. Within a two or three-hour drive, you can find some unique attractions that you can’t find anywhere else in the world.