When you hire a rental car in Auckland, though it may feel like an adventure holiday playground, venture not far north and you’ll be in a whole new, sub-tropical world. Here at Ace Car Rentals, we adore Auckland and its many splendours, but we also urge you to drive to Northland for an experience at some of our nation’s greatest seaside sights.
Let’s take a look at a fun-filled holiday plan for your road trip to Paihia!
As you leave Auckland
Driving up State Highway (SH) 1, you’ll start to see signs for a toll road just after you pass Albany. This is a great cue for you to hop off the motorway for a bit, see some brilliant coastal areas and (conveniently) avoid a small cost. Follow the signs for Silverdale, pass through this growing commercial areas and mosey on into Orewa – one of the Rodney region’s most beautiful beach suburbs. The road here winds its way through lovely bush and sand for some stunning morning moments, then hops back on SH1 to continue the journey.
Off the beaten path again
After this article, you might think that we have it out for SH1, but we really don’t! It’s just worth hitting the scenic route once in a while to see NZ’s less-visited landscapes. For that reason, pop an hour north after you are back on the main road and then turn left at Brynderwyn, joining SH12. You’ll start heading to the west coast, where kauri forests, unending shores and charming townsfolk can be found in droves.
Speaking of forests, your first stop is at Matakohe’s Kauri Museum. Through the hands-on, informative exhibits here, you can learn all about what Te Ara Encyclopaedia states is one of the longest-living, tallest species of tree in the world.
Call of the Kauri Coast
Now you are free to explore the Kauri Coast to your heart’s desire. SH12 passes along sparkling rivers amid all manner of coastal flora, weaving its way through a number of small farming communities until you get to Dargaville, the hub of the region. We recommend stopping here to camp overnight in a venue such as Kiwi Holiday Parks, taking the rest of your day to investigate the local surrounds. Unbeatable beaches are but mere minutes away, not to mention museums and other charming attractions, too.
The next day, pack up your gear nice and early and hit the road once more. Just 40 minutes up the way is another unique forest experience, Waipoua Kauri Forest, home to some of the largest remaining trees in the country and a stellar walk.
On to Paihia
The last leg of your New Zealand tour is just over an hour and a half further, and soaks in a wonderful blend of scenery. You’ll meander past more dazzling beaches, towering green forests and quiet, undulating farmland until you reach Paihia on the east coast.
But this is not the end of your trip, oh no. Indeed, it’s just the beginning. Paihia is one of Northland’s most popular tourism hot spots, where sand and surf meet culture and history, blending together in a spectacular all-in-one destination. Go on a dolphin discovery cruise, check out the heritage Waitangi Treaty Grounds or ferry just across the rolling waters to Russell, the nation’s first capital city. This is also a great vantage point to launch a tour of 90 Mile Beach, Cape Reinga and anywhere else in the far north, with numerous tour operators offering pickups from Paihia township.
When night falls and you’re all touristed out, there’s a Kiwi Holiday Park here as well for you to enjoy affordable accommodation with plenty of modern facilities nearby.