In life, road trips must happen. Sometimes, it is a carefully planned and long awaited endeavour to commemorate a graduation, a marriage, or a personal victory. Other times, a road trip is a map, water bottles, and a bag of snacks during a week off. The road trip itself is the reason, and the stories you will live to tell along the way are what make it worth your while. In New Zealand, your grand tour should be the route from the capital in Auckland all the way north to Kerikeri. The route is 242 breathtaking kilometres of Highway 1 all the way to the Bay of Islands. Kerikeri began as the first European colony in New Zealand, and to this day remains one of the must-see locales on the island. On your way there are several landmarks and destinations where you will want to pause and drink in the scenery. If you are planning a road trip from Auckland to Kerikeri, here are some places you must stop and see:
1. Brynderwyn Ranges
Some of the most serene vistas in the Northland can be found among the mountains of the Brynderwyn ranges. Whangarei Falls to the north, Bream Bay, and the views of the open sea are all just a few minutes off the highway as Route 1 winds its way through the mountain passes.
2. Waro Limestone Reserve
One of New Zealand’s many volcanic wonders, the Waro reserve is composed of limestone caves that were thrust up from the earth by volcanic activity. It is definitely worth the 15 minute tour, and it is just past the southern end of the town by the highway.
3. Kawiti Glow-worm Caves
In the small town of Waiomio, you can stop off and visit the Kawiti Glow-worm caves.Though less well known than the Waitomo caves south of Auckland, the $10, 30-40 minute tour is well worth the time and expense, and offers an experience found few other places on Earth.
Famed for its unique cafes and attractions, Kawakawa is a town that vouchsafes many hidden gems along its streets, and is worthy of a day or so along the route to soak up its lively atmosphere and local flavour. Called “The Gateway to the Bay of Islands”, Kawakawa is most likely your final stop before KeriKeri.
At last, you will arrive in Kerikeri, a crown jewel of the Northland. Kerikeri and its surrounding area boast some of the finest views, cuisine, and local colour that can be had in all of New Zealand. Rainbow Falls, the beaches along the Bay of Islands, and numerous historical sites all make Kerikeri a worthwhile destination. If you decide to road trip for your next vacation, definitely make time to see Kerikeri, and bring home some stories of the Northland.