By Karen Shelford

Google Driving Directions

With six ways into Rotorua, google driving directions makes it a snap to find your way. Over the years, visitors coming to Rotorua from Auckland have had a lot of trouble with no clear directions on how to get here. Now though, it's all changed. SH1 has had a major upgrade too which takes out a number of smaller towns that used to have to be navigated.

Google Driving Directions - sign for Rotorua

If you don't have internet access or GPS in your car or on your phone you will need a map. There are plenty of good driving maps available at petrol stations and book stores throughout New Zealand.

RTS TIP - There always seems to be something happening on the highways so  check out North Island highway info before you begin your journey.

Usually I will print off or jot down driving directions from Google before I leave on any journeys I take.

On the whole, roads in New Zealand tend to be pretty well signposted so you shouldn't have too much trouble. Actually, I quite like getting lost, you never know where you will end up.

Google Driving Directions Map

View Google Driving Directions To Rotorua - New Zealand in a larger map
where you can enter direction queries

On my Google driving directions map you will see that there are six highways coloured in yellow converging on Rotorua. I will explain a little about each one as if you are leaving Rotorua. Working clockwise from the top left-handside of the map:

SH5 is the main route out of Rotorua. This links up with SH 1 (just before Tirau - lots of little craft and antique shops) which runs the length of New Zealand towards Auckland and on up north. 

SH36 takes you to Tauranga and Mount Maunganui. This is the back road that a lot of locals from both ends use. It passes through gorges so there are some steep, winding parts to it. By winding I mean corners that have 35kmp (21.7mph) signs.

Mount Maunganui is THE beach to go to in the summer for locals and visitors alike. The little township itself is tiny so it gets packed.

You would probably want to avoid it on New Years eve as this is one of the hot spots descended on by teenagers from all over.

SH33 takes you to Te Puke (home of Kiwifruit) and from there to Tauranga or Mt Maunganui.

If you make a right-hand turn at Paengaroa (before Te Puke), you will be taken to the beach communities of Maketu (where the Te Arawa people first landed), Pukehina and Matata and on to Whakatane, Ohope and Opotiki.

It's a lovely drive along this coastline. Watch out for the Pohutukawa (New Zealand Christmas) trees, especially when they are flowering.

SH30 will take you past the beautiful lakes of Rotoiti, Rotoehu and Rotoma where there are walks, trout fishing and camping grounds. Great for holidays.

It goes on to Kawerau, Whakatane, Ohope (yay, love that beach) and right out to the eastern coast of New Zealand where a lot of sea fishing and hunting takes place.

SH30 again but heading south. This is the road we head to Wellington on. It joins up with SH1 just before Taupo (trout fishing, volcanic activity). If you take SH1 you will miss Taupo and Huka Falls.

Huka Falls is a must see on the way to Taupo with sparkling clear water powering through a narrow channel. I always get a sense of how small I am when I visit there. You can always stop off at Taupo and take a walk along the lakefront of Lake Taupo, grab a bit to eat maybe, then continue south to link up with SH1.

Huka Falls, between Rotorua and Taupo, NZMy sister-in-law Jo at Huka Falls on the way to Taupo

From Taupo the south spreads out in all its glory. Just on the other side of Taupo a left turn can be made to go to Napier, Gisborne, Hastings and Wairoa. SH1 takes you through Turangi and the Tongariro National Park where there are three active volcanoes. They are Tongariro (1967m), Ruapehu (2797m) and Ngaruhoe (2291m). If you get a clear day the views of the mountains from the Desert Rd (still SH1) (it is barren and desolate) are absolutely stunning.

The Whakapapa ski field is located on the north-western slopes of Mt Ruapehu and Turoa ski field on the south-western slopes. There are lots of walks around this area as well.

SH30 again but heading south-west out of town will take you to Tokoroa and also in the direction of the Waitomo Caves (blackwater rafting) and Te Kuiti.

From there the drive continues south to Wellington with quite a few towns passed through.

I hope that helps in your travel planning. If you have any questions use my contact form.

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