The ultimate road trip itinerary from Hamilton to Rotorua
The journey from Hamilton to Rotorua in New Zealand is not one you want to rush. It’s a picturesque adventure that promises to leave you awe-inspired. As you embark on this scenic route on your road trip, you’ll be greeted by the breathtaking landscapes of the North Island. Departing from Hamilton, a vibrant city known for its gardens and riverfront, you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by rolling green hills and luscious farmlands. As you venture further, the road will lead you to the heart of Rotorua, a region famed for its geothermal wonders and Māori culture. Your destination: Velocity Valley – Rotorua’s home of speed and adrenaline. Along the way, be prepared to witness stunning lakes, bubbling geysers, and steamy hot springs that reflect the raw beauty of New Zealand’s natural treasures. So, fasten your seatbelt and get ready for an unforgettable experience that showcases the very best of New Zealand’s diverse and captivating scenery.
Before departing from Hamilton…
Be sure to check out Hamilton Gardens, an award-winning, 50-hectare ground that showcases themed gardens from different cultures and eras. Our favourites include the Chinese Scholar’s Garden, Japanese Garden of Contemplation, and the Italian Renaissance Garden. The English Flower Garden offers tranquillity, while the Sustainable Backyard educates visitors on eco-friendly practices – and all provide photo opportunities galore.
The Waikato River
The Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river, is a majestic waterway renowned for its scenic beauty and cultural significance. Meandering through the heart of the North Island’s lush landscapes, the river offers a mesmerising journey for nature enthusiasts. The serene waters provide an ideal setting for photo stops and there are many along your route to Rotorua. For a more adventurous experience, kayaking down the Waikato River is a unique experience making the most of the views from the water.
If you have time, a great way to see the river is by bicycle – choose from 5 river trails and follow the river through native bush and rural farmland.
A short stop in Middle Earth
Nestled in the rolling hills of Matamata, the Hobbiton Movie Set stands as a living testament to the iconic Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. This world-renowned filming location transports visitors to the enchanting realm of Middle-earth, where the picturesque Hobbit holes dotting the landscape evoke a sense of wonder and magic. Each Hobbit hole is meticulously crafted, adorned with charming details that make them feel like a place right out of the beloved novels and movies. You and your travel squad can immerse yourselves in the lush landscapes, relive iconic moments from the movies, and even indulge a pint at the Green Dragon Inn. A must for any fantasy fan!
Blue Spring at Te Waihou Walkway
Just off the main highway in Putāruru, the Blue Spring along Te Waihou Walkway is a natural wonder that will wow you with its crystal-clear waters and captivating beauty. The spring boasts an awe-inspiring aqua-blue hue, resulting from the water’s incredible purity – you’ll have your camera out in a flash. The walking track along the Te Waihou River is a serene and easy journey, guiding you through lush native bush and picturesque landscapes. As you meander along the trail, you’ll be treated to stunning views and numerous photo opportunities. The tranquil ambience of the Blue Spring makes it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and photographers alike.
You have arrived!
After just 1.5 hours, you’re in the home stretch. Before heading to town, take the signposted turnoff to Velocity Valley, where thrill and excitement await at every turn. The adventure park boasts an impressive mix of attractions that will get your heart pumping and your spirits soaring, before you settle in to your Rotorua accommodation.
What sets Velocity Valley apart are its unique thrill rides, like the Swoop, where you’ll experience a freefall from 40 meters before soaring back up, and the Shweeb, a one-of-a-kind pedal-powered racing experience that challenges both speed and skill. Whether you’re an extreme adrenaline junkie or a family looking for some special moments together, Velocity Valley offers a thrilling and diverse range of experiences that will leave you with lasting memories and a newfound appreciation for the exhilarating side of life.
Embark on a scenic road trip from Hamilton to Rotorua via SH1 and SH5, it’s a world of Kiwi wonders and natural beauty. The journey begins with picturesque landscapes as you traverse through the lush countryside, passing by rolling hills and farmlands. Along the way, you’ll encounter an array of diverse attractions, from charming towns to serene lakes and gushing waterfalls. As you approach Rotorua, the anticipation builds for the thrilling finale at Velocity Valley.
Brace yourself for an adrenaline-pumping adventure with bungee jumping, jet boating, and unique rides like the Swoop and Shweeb. This road trip promises an unforgettable experience, allowing you to witness the best of New Zealand’s North Island and create memories to last a lifetime. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and go explore!