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.
Usually I will print off or jot down driving directions from Google before I leave on any journeys I take.
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:
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.
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)
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
SH33 takes you to Te Puke (home of Kiwifruit) and from there to Tauranga or Mt Maunganui.
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
It's a lovely drive along this coastline. Watch
out for the Pohutukawa (New Zealand Christmas) trees, especially when
they are flowering.
take you past the beautiful lakes of Rotoiti, Rotoehu and Rotoma where
there are walks, trout fishing and camping grounds. Great for holidays.
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.
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.
My 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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