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Capital to craters lower North Island loop

On this 5-day trip around the lower North Island, you'll see a diverse range of sites. Travel north from Wellington, New Zealand's capital, to Martinborough, wine region. Napier has numerous wineries, as well as Art Deco architecture and peaceful cycling routes. Before heading south via volcanic landscapes and nature reserves back to Wellington, stop in Taupo for geothermal parks and water activities.

Go New Zealand Go New Zealand 4 months ago
Capital to craters lower North Island loop

Day 1: Wellington to Wairarapa

Travel north from Wellington to the lovely Wairarapa region, which is home to history towns, antique stores, and boutique vineyards. Martinborough has around 20 wineries, the most of which are within bike or walking distance of the village square. The town's mostly family-owned vineyards produce some of New Zealand's greatest pinot noir, so it's no surprise that it's a favorite wine-lovers' visit. Take a guided wine tour, rent a bike, or pay a visit to the local Wine Centre. Alternatively, visit the Early Settlers Museum in adjacent Greytown or trek the Patuna Chasm Walkway, which leads you through a beautiful limestone chasm.

Castlepoint
Castlepoint, New Zealand

Day 2: Wairarapa to Napier

Travel north from Martinborough to Masterton, the Wairarapa's main town. Beautiful Queen Elizabeth Park, The Wool Shed Museum, and Aratoi: Wairarapa Museum may all be found there. Another highlight is the Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre. Wild birds such as the titipounamu (rifleman), krearea (New Zealand falcon), and kerer call it home (wood pigeon). Advocacy birds such as Kahurangi the kkako may also be seen. Beautiful Art Deco architecture may be seen in the twin cities of Napier and Hasting, the result of a 1931 earthquake that damaged many of the original structures. For more information on this intriguing history, go to your local MTG museum. Hawke's Bay also has many wineries, many of which are within reasonable cycling distance of Napier. The gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers is another draw.

Church Road
Church Road, Taradale, Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Hawke's Bay
Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Day 3: Napier to Taupo

The drive from Napier to Taupo is full of breathtaking landscapes. Rugged hills, magnificent valleys, calm plains, and vast vistas are all present. You may walk to the Waipunga River's hot springs from Tarawera. You should also visit the Waiarua Falls overlook to see the twin waterfalls. Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake, is well-stocked with trout if you enjoy fishing. It's also ideal for a variety of aquatic sports, such as boat trips and kayaking. Huka Prawn Park, located nearby, combines a theme park and aquaculture. Try some of the park's odd activities and eat some wonderful self-caught prawns.

Lake Taupo
Lake Taupo Lake Terrace, Taupō, New Zealand

Day 4: Taupo to Palmerston North

The Desert Route is the first leg of your journey today; this long, straight road across the volcanic plateau offers spectacular views of the volcano cones of Tongariro National Park. Make a point of stopping in Waiouru, which is home to the National Army Museum, on your trip south. From the New Zealand Wars to more recent peacekeeping missions around the world, this well regarded museum depicts the story of New Zealand's military history. Taihape (the Gumboot Throwing Capital of the World) and Bulls, a centre for antique buying, are two other towns along the journey. Palmerston North's charming core, with its restored historical buildings, boasts plenty of boutique stores, cafes, restaurants, and gorgeous rose gardens to visit.

Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand

Day 5: Palmerston North to Wellington

On your way south today, there are a lot of interesting sights to see. Owlcatraz, an animal refuge near Shannon, is home to the Ruru, New Zealand's native owl. Levin has a booming clothes sector with a variety of factory outlet stores. Nearby, two lovely dune lakes are ideal for birdwatching, or travel to Waikanae and visit Kapiti Island, where you can see uncommon species in the wild. Return to Wellington and spend the afternoon sightseeing in the city. Wellington is a cluster of superb cafes, restaurants, museums, and galleries in addition to being the country's capital. Wellington is also known for its dance, theatrical, and musical acts.

Wellington
Wellington, New Zealand

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