How to drive from the Waitomo Caves to Auckland

The two and a half trip from the Waitomo Caves to Auckland will take to through prime Waikato farmland and the unique and beautiful city of Hamilton. Enjoy the many attractions and café’s that are dotted along the mighty Waikato River.

Waitomo Caves to Hamilton
 71 km (44 miles)
Approximately 1 hours
Road Conditions: State Highway 3

Waitomo Glowworm Caves are a must see for any traveller. Enjoy the world famous boat ride under thousands of magical glowworms and become a part of over 120 years of cultural and natural history. Journey underground on a subterranean adventure at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and discover an underground labyrinth of limestone caves decorated with stalactites, stalagmites and glow-worms. Some caves open to the public, and are easy to walk through, others require specialised caving equipment.

The trip to Hamilton takes you through prime Waikato farmland. The kiwi house in Otorohanga is a chance to meet New Zealand’s national symbol.

A detour towards the west coast will take you to Kawhia, where hot water bubbles up through the sand you can dig a pool between low and mid tide. In summer, you can pause in the town of Te Awamutu to admire the roses.

The mighty Waikato River brings a unique beauty to Hamilton city. As well as river boat cruising, local attractions include gardens, museums and a giant free flight aviary. At the southern end of the city’s main street, you’ll discover a wide variety of excellent restaurants and cafes.

Hamilton to Auckland
 127 km (79 miles)
Approximately 1.5 hours
Road Conditions: State Highway 1 & Southern Motorway

The city of Hamilton is carved in two by the mighty Waikato River. There is so much going on in Hamilton; it is well worth staying a night or two. Take a look at ‘The Hamilton Gardens’ with the Chinese Scholars Garden, Japanese Garden of Contemplation, English Flower Garden, Indian Char Bagh Garden, and American Modernist Garden to the Italian Renaissance Garden. Collections of Gardens are also on exhibition, such as the Te Parapara Collection.

The Waikato River will accompany you for much of your journey north. You’ll see side roads leading to Waingaro Hot Springs and Raglan, a surf resort on the west coast. Other places of interest along the way include the coal town of Huntly and the wine growing district of Te Kauwhata.

You know you’re getting close to Auckland when you reach the motorway at the base of the Bombay Hills. The scenery will change gradually from market gardens to Bloodstock farms to suburbia.

As you approach Auckland, you can’t miss the extinct volcanic cones that dot the landscape there are 48 in all. Auckland is surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Waitemata and Manukau Harbour. The ferries located at The Downtown Ferry building will take you to a large array of magical islands within the Auckland Isthmus. Auckland offers exciting attractions close to its city centre such as Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World which takes you on a journey along its moving walkway to viewing life below the sea. Auckland’s War Memorial Museum and Auckland’s botanical Wintergarden’s are found within Auckland’s largest park, the Domain. Western Springs holds Auckland’s Zoo and MOTAT – Museum of Transport and Technology.