Top 10 Best Day Trips From Auckland By Car

Itching for a drive and in need of some day trip ideas? From hot water beaches to glowworm caves, we have rounded up the top 10 best day trips from Auckland by car, specially curated by our local Naumi team.


1. Rangitoto Island


Fancy a hike up a volcano? This island is the country’s youngest dormant volcano emerging just a casual 600 years ago. It is now perceived as the most iconic island in Auckland with its distinctive symmetrical cone rising above Auckland’s scenic skyline. 


A 25-minute ferry ride from the city, the hour-long hike up to the summit is the most iconic activity to do here along with a short 15-minute detour to the twisting black lava caves on your way up. For the adventurous souls, try kayaking to or from the island instead of the usual ferry, and don’t forget to explore walking tracks, such as the Lighthouse Walk, while taking in the panoramic views of the Hauraki Gulf.  


Directions: 40 min from Naumi Auckland Airport  

Address: Rangitoto Island, Auckland 1010, New Zealand



2. Waitakere Ranges Regional Park 


Discover the breathtaking beauty of Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, where pristine bush, thriving native wildlife, and rugged black sand surf beaches unite. Encompassing over 16,000 hectares of native rainforest and the Karekare Falls, this park is a haven for nature lovers. With over 250 km of walking tracks, the ranges offer an incredible exploration opportunity on foot amidst a spectacular scenery. 


Whether you prefer a 10-minute stroll or a multi-day hike, Waitakere Ranges has you covered. Popular trails include the Kitkite track with waterfalls and beautiful streams to the challenging Hillary Trail—a self-guided four-day tramp through the lush forest. While you’re there, don’t miss the chance to explore some of the country’s best black-sand beaches, including Piha, Karekare, and Muriwai. 


Naumi Pro Tip: Due to the Kauri Dieback diseases affecting the Kauri trees, some trails have been closed to the public. Please check with the latest advice on the Auckland Council Website for their latest updates.  


Directions: 30 min drive from Naumi Auckland Airport  

Address: 300 Scenic Drive, Nihotupu, Auckland 0604, New Zealand




3. Piha Beach


With its sparkling black sand, vibrant blue waters and lush greenery, Piha has been hailed as one of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand. Due to its rough, crashing waves, surfing is a popular activity here, though it is advised to swim between the flags in the water for safety. 


A cafe, restaurant and holiday park are also available for campers. After taking a nice stroll along the beach, head over to Piha RSA for their gourmet burgers, or Cones on the Beach for some refreshing fruit ice cream. Be sure to also visit the Piha Beach Lookout, giving you spectacular views of the sunset that will be sure to take your breath away. 


Directions: 1 hr drive from Naumi Auckland Airport

Address: 55 Marine Parade North, Piha 0772, New Zealand



4. Waiheke island


Famously known as “The Island of Wine”, this picturesque island just 40-minutes away from central Auckland is home to over 50 wineries and vineyards, olive groves and beautiful beaches. First timers to the island definitely shouldn’t miss the organised wine-tasting tour at one of the local wineries and vineyards along with trekking Oneroa or Palm Beach and taking a swim in their crystal clear waters. 


For something a little bit different, tour one of the olive groves at Rangihoua Estate of Woodside Bay and discover how premium, award-winning olive oil is being made from scratch. Be sure to also check out the thriving local art scene at Connells Bay Sculpture Park, a 2km-long track showcasing over 30 different sculptures by renowned New Zealand sculptors and artists.


Directions: 1 hr from Naumi Auckland Airport 

Address: Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand



5. Tiritiri Matangi Island


All twitchers and nature lovers are sure to love this—essentially a safe haven for the birds of New Zealand, this 220-hectare predator-free wildlife sanctuary is celebrated as one of the world’s most successful conservation projects.


Apart from its picturesque landscape, the island is particularly renowned for its role in preserving the takahē, a rare flightless bird originating from New Zealand, and one of the rarest birds in the world. Other species that you may spot here include the native Korimako, stitchbirds, kōkako, brown teal, and the little spotted kiwi.  


Directions: 1.5 hr from Naumi Auckland Airport 

Address: Tiritiri Matangi Island, Auckland, New Zealand



6. The Coromandel Peninsula


Escape the bustling tourist crowds and unwind in the tranquility of the Coromandel Peninsula, a hidden gem perfect for a relaxing day trip outside of Auckland. Known for its misty rainforest trails, this large mountain range is lined with ancient forests, making it a cherished destination among Kiwis. 


Do not miss the Hot Water Beach while you’re here, a pristine, white sandy beach known for its geothermally heated water allowing visitors to dig up a ‘natural hot spring’ in the sand during low tide. If you’re a fan of the Narnia films, make your way to Cathedral Cove, a stunning rock arch on the edge of the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve that was featured in the Narnia films. End the day off with a walk around the Coromandel Coastal Walkway, The Pinnacles, or around one of its many white sand beaches. 


Directions: 2.5 hr drive from Naumi Auckland Airport 

Address: Coromandel Peninsula, Kaimarama 3591, New Zealand



7. Raglan


If you’re looking for a place to surf or learn surfing, Raglan is the spot. Known for being a surfer’s paradise, Raglan is the perfect place for thrill-seekers and leisure visitors alike. Don’t forget to head over to Te Toto Gorge Lookout, a viewing platform with amazing views of the Tasman Sea that is bound to take your breath away. 


Just a short drive away, the famous Ngarunui Beach is a must-visit destination with its black sandy shores and stunning sunset views. Make sure to also visit the Bridal Veil Falls, a 55-meter-high waterfall with water cascading to resemble a bride’s veil. For challenge-seekers, the Mount Karioi hike is just for you, with its 756-metre high summit and spectacular mountain views that are sure to get your heart pumping. 


Directions: 2 hr drive from Naumi Auckland Airport 

Address: Raglan, New Zealand



8. Hobbiton


Fans of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films would be excited to hear that the famous Hobbiton Village is just a 2-hour drive away from Auckland. As the original movie set of the abovementioned movies, Hobbiton is definitely one of the iconic tourist attractions in New Zealand. 


Spanning a total of 12 acres, the Hobbiton™ Movie Set Tours will take you to the most popular locations featured in the movies, such as the Party Tree, Double Arched Bridge, Old Mill and close to four dozen hobbit holes. Included in the tour is also an opportunity to enjoy a refreshing pint of Oatbarton brew or Frogmorten ginger beer at the Green Dragon Inn just like in the movies. 


Directions: 2 hr drive from Naumi Auckland Airport 

Address: 501 Buckland Road, Matamata 3472, New Zealand



9. Waitomo Caves


You can’t miss Waitomo when talking about day trips from Auckland. Situated near Hobbiton, families can take a trip to the Waitomo Caves via a short detour and discover a vast network of underground caves adorned with thousands of luminescent glow worms that are unique to New Zealand, creating a mesmerizing 30 million year old spectacle. 


As the cave is only accessible via a guided tour, an experienced tour guide will take you through the cave history and formations, including the stalagmites and stalactites, before you embark on a relaxing boat ride underneath the glowworms. The more adventurous might consider going for black water rafting in the cave, where you raft through the caves on a rubber tube in the dark, or cave abseiling where you descent into the caves through the support of a harness.


Not really a cave explorer? Take a walk through Waitomo Walkway, Waikawau Tunnel or Ruakuri Bush Walk instead for a relaxing journey. 


Directions: 2.5 hr drive from Naumi Auckland Airport 

Address: 39 Waitomo Village Road, Waitomo Caves 3977, New Zealand



10. Rotorua


Rotorua is one of the most enticing destinations for a day trip in New Zealand, renowned for its rich Māori heritage, geothermal attractions and a myriad of adventure activities. Home to remarkable attractions such as Hell’s Gate— New Zealand’s most active geothermal reserve and mud spa, as well as Te Puia— the largest active geyser in the Southern Hemisphere, you can look forward to a relaxing trip at a mudbath or hot spring at Rotorua.


For adrenaline junkies, be sure to check out Rotorua’s range of adventure offerings, including skydiving, zip lining, bungy jumping and zorbing. Want a deeper insight into the Māori culture in New Zealand? Consider visiting Te Whakarewarewa, an iconic living Māori village in Rotorua, or take part in the Te Pā Tū, a 4-hour celebration of Māori culture and food through a welcome ceremony and a lavish feast. 


Directions: 2.5 hr drive from Naumi Auckland Airport 

Address: Rotorua, New Zealand



Looking for a place to stay in Auckland?

Book with us directly and save! Whether you’re seeking a brief escape between flights, a moment of seclusion for a quick rest, or a spontaneous burst of midday excitement, our Book Direct package invites you to unwind and revitalize in a serene resort-style environment just a 10-min drive away from the airport. Book now!