The North Island of New Zealand is a dynamic natural wonderland. So densely packed with wild spaces and contrasting landscapes, it is the ultimate location for a self-drive adventure. Even the name, the Thermal Highway, gets your mind whirring with the possibilities of what lies along this exciting stretch of road, so let’s dig in.
You pick up your car after you touch down in Auckland and after a night of comfort in your 4-star boutique hotel here, its keys in the ignition and off on the road. You will stop off in Hobbiton for a tour around the incredible film set on your way to your first example of thermal magic, Rotorua. With two nights here you will be able to explore the bubbling mud pools and geysers before you take your included trip to Hell’s Gate, for your thermal walk and cleansing mud bath.
From the otherworldly Rotorua, you drive to the truly stunning Taupo. You will spend two nights steeped in the everchanging vistas of this lakeside paradise, with hot springs, incredible Maori carvings and a trip out to the thundering Huka Falls on a custom Jet Boat. Then it’s off to the peak of Mt Ruapehu for arguably the greatest view in the North Island before heading to Hamilton, via the breathtaking Glowworm caves in Waitomo.
All along the route, you will stay in hand-selected 4-star hotels, to guarantee you a relaxing night's sleep after a day of adventuring. This colourful patchwork of geothermal magic is waiting for you, so strap in and let’s go!
We have searched out the finest 4-star accommodation all along the Thermal Highway to provide you with the ultimate in comfort every night. We combine big names along with boutique hotels to showcase the finest accommodation on the North Island. While the names below are our first choice hotels, occasionally they may become unavailable at the time of booking. Should this happen, we will switch them for alternatives of a similar or higher level of comfort.
Airedale Boutique Suites - Auckland
Holiday Inn - Rotorua
The Reef Resort - Taupo
The Park Hotel - Mt Ruapehu
Heartland Ambassador Hotel - Hamilton