So we’ve all been hearing about the amazing country beneath the down under, New Zealand! With its amazing flora and fauna, picturesque drives and up-and-coming halal food scene, New Zealand is a gem worth exploring ?
We've got the perfect 10 day family friendly road trip for those who are interested in getting the best out of the North Island in New Zealand. The North Island is home to two of the main urban cities in New Zealand, Auckland and Wellington. The North is also abundant in Maori culture, allowing travellers to experience it first-hand. Now let’s get buckled in and get ready for the most epic North Island New Zealand adventure!
Day 1: Auckland to Kerikeri (45 min by flight)
Upon landing in Auckland, get onto a domestic flight to Kerikeri, only 45 minutes away. Once in Kerikeri, head to the nearest car rental area to get a comfortable vehicle for your tribe. It’s convenient as you can get it done right at the airport! There are various one-way car rental companies in Keri Keri such as Budget Kerikeri Airport Rent-A-Car
and A1 Rentals Northland
which are located conveniently across the road from the airport.
Credits: The Old Packhouse Marketon Facebook
Once you’ve settled in, you’ll have the entire day to explore the quaint town. Head to the Farmers Market and get their amazing mussel fritters!? It’s the highlight of the market and it sells out quickly. The mussel fritters are a muslim-friendly snack and the stall doesn’t sell any alcohol but of course, do remember to eat at your own discretion.
Credits: The Old Packhouse Market on Facebook
In the summer, the market has a seasonal henna artist. As it gets too cold beyond the summer months, henna doesn’t really sit well on skin. If you’re there during summer and the henna artist is in town, be sure to grab a seat and get your henna on ?
Day 2: Kerikeri to Bay of Islands (25 min)
Drive 25 minutes down south and head to the Bay of Islands, a picturesque beach town jam-packed with activities. Try getting on a ferry and head straight out into the ocean to look for some wild migrational dolphins and seals.
Credit: Andrea Lai on Flickr
If you’re lucky you might even be able to spot a whale! It’s better to view these animals in the wild where they’re free to roam the world, as compared to seeing them in enclosed tanks.
Credit: Chelsea Morris on Facebook
Once done, head to the wharf for some kebabs. Being one of the only few halal food places in Paihia, Kebabulous
certainly lives up to its name - serving fabulous kebabs!
Other than their generous servings of Mediterranean food, their frozen yoghurt ice cream is a MUST-try. For those interested in having their food by the beach, you may opt for take-outs and take a stroll down the bay while munching on their yummy kebabs.
Credit: @yoki.waranya on Instagram
Day 3: Bay of Islands to Whangarei and Auckland (4 hours)
As soon as day breaks, begin your 4-hour drive down to Auckland. You’ll pass through Whangarei 2 hours in. Once there, head to Abbey Caves a.k.a. the glow worm caves. It’s a strenuous trek, better suited for those with older children.
Credit: @_maxiae_ on Instagram
Another alternative is to head to Whangarei Quarry Garden. Filled with flora and fauna native to New Zealand, it’s a good experience for those with younger children. There’s also an Islamic Centre in Whangarei, with a mosque in their area. It’s a modest sized mosque that has all the amenities needed for prayers ?
Credits: iTravelNZ on Flickr
Drop by Turkuaz Café while in Whangarei for your halal Turkish fix! Being a crowd favourite, Turkuaz is highly raved about among the locals. Try the kebabs or pita pockets. Eating it while being surrounded by the Mediterranean inspired décor, you might even forget that you’re actually in New Zealand!
Note: As alcohol is served at the restaurant, do dine at your own discretion.
Credit: Turkuaz Café on Facebook
A good place to spend the night in Auckland is Mesra Homestay
. Suitable for families, this homestay offers various packages and deals catered to specific needs. Known for being one of the few Malay-Muslim tour companies in New Zealand, Mesra Homestay is the perfect option for families.
Credits: Mesra Homestay & Tours NZon Facebook
Day 4: Auckland to Whitianga (2 hours)
After spending a night in Auckland, drive for 2 hours towards Coromandel and head to Whitianga - the perfect beach town.
Credits: macronix on Flickr
Home to Mercury Beach and Cathedral Cove, there are many activities for everyone - from kayaking to epic saltwater fishing! Alternatively, you can also spend a chill day with your family at the park.
Credits: Focal_man on Flickr
Coromandel is also known for their seafood and Whitianga holds yearly scallop festivals, so get ready to feast on them ? One of the best places to head to for seafood is Squids Bar & Restaurant. It’s the only restaurant that specialises in seafood in the entire Mercury Bay. They serve locally sourced seafood, giving you a taste of what Coromandel has to offer.
Disclaimer: Alcohol is served at Squids so we advise you to eat at your own discretion.
Credit: @kelly_de_jonghe on Instagram
Day 5: Whitianga to Rotorua (3 hours)
Once you’ve gotten your fill and rested your tummy well in Whitianga, it’s time for a spa! Only 3 hours away, head to Rotorua where there’s plenty of natural hot springs, mud pools and even geysers.
Credits: Robert Lindsdell on Flickr
Hells Gate is the most famous geothermal attraction in Rotorua and it’s also a sacred Maori site. There are plenty of Maori villages in the area too and you'll be able to learn more about the local culture there.
Credits: Tony Hisgett on Flickr
While in Rotorua, you may choose to spend a night at Holiday Inn Rotorua! It’s a Muslim-friendly hotel, providing you halal food upon request. There’s also a list of various halal restaurants in the vicinity if you intend to spend the night out ?
Credit: Holiday Inn Rotorua on Facebook
One halal restaurant you should not miss in downtown Rotorua is Ali Baba’s Tunisian Takeaways
. Well-known and loved among the locals, Ali Baba’s Takeaways is delicious and affordable. Try their baklava once you’ve munched on their kebabs. With the Tunisian inspired décor, it’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Tunisia.Credit: @our_family_our_fun on Instagram
Day 6: Rotorua to Hobbiton (1 hour)
When in Rotorua, it’s definitely a must to head to Mata Mata and visit the set of Lord of the Rings, Hobbiton! It’s been preserved exactly as how it was when it was filmed. Children aged 8 and below are able to enter this site for free. This will be an unforgettable experience that everyone will enjoy ?
Credit: @hobbitontours on Instagram
After you're done with Hobbiton, head back to the city and visit the Rotorua Islamic Centre. Currently, it’s just a humble home-looking mosque but with plans of expansion, the Islamic Committee hopes to revamp their mosque soon. There are also plenty of halal restaurants in the vicinity, making it ideal for Muslim travellers!
Credit: Pak Din on Facebook
Day 7: Rotorua to Taupo (1h 5min)
After spending 2 nights in Rotorua, it’s time to head to Taupo - home to the biggest lake in New Zealand, Lake Taupo. This huge lake is as big as Singapore! Now, that puts things in a whole different perspective ? There are plenty of family-friendly activities to do while in Taupo, one of them being the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Credits: Chris Ford on Flickr
The entire trek lasts for 7 hours for a person of average fitness. Walking through various terrains, lakes, springs and craters, this trek will be memorable. There are different routes to take for different fitness levels, each varying with time as well.
Credits: imagea.org on Flickr
Once done with the Tongariro Crossing, head over to the multi award-winning Indian Restaurant, aptly named Master of India, for the most scrumptious Indian dinner. Named the best restaurant in Taupo and the best Indian restaurant in the entire North Island, eating here is definitely something you wouldn’t want to miss ? Alcohol is served in this establishment, but rest assured the meat served is halal. So, do dine at your own discretion.
Credits: Master of Indiaon Facebook
Day 8: Taupo
A whole new day to spend in Taupo - it’s time for more fun-filled activities! Immerse yourself in the rich Maori history by visiting the Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings, towering 14 metres over Lake Taupo.
Credits: Sarah_Armstrong80on Instagram
You may also head to Huka Falls, one of the most photographed natural attraction in New Zealand. We can totally understand why! ?
Credits: Radek Strnad on Flickr
There is also a quaint mosque found in Taupo. Located at Kaimanawa Road, it does not look like a mosque we’re all used to seeing back home. The locals have managed to come together and raised funds for this building. Prior to this, local muslim families had congregated prayers in a small garage. The erection of this mosque has also allowed Taupo to be a more muslim-friendly state for travellers to visit ☺️
Credits: Taupo Islamic Centreon Facebook
Day 9: Taupo to Wellington (4 hours)
Once done in Taupo, it’s time to head to the last place in our itinerary, Wellington, which is 4 hours away. You’ll be able to drive through Napier and drop by the Waiarua Falls Lookout. It’s going to be a scenic drive as you go through the Rimutaka mountain range.
Credits: @lightxbeareron Instagram
Wellington is filled with arts and culture. There are plenty of museums to visit, suitable for everyone in the family.
Credits: @luismlareson Instagram
There are various exhibits and performances to catch while in the Wellington Museum. Plus, look out for education visits and tours you may be able to tag along while in the museum.
Credits: Wellington Museumon Facebook
Kids will be able to have hands-on interaction with various exhibits and even watch staged shows while learning about the history of Wellington!
Credits: Wellington Museumon Facebook
Wellington has quite a sizeable Muslim population, and there are various mosques you may visit. The main mosque is the Wellington Masjid located in Kilbirnie.
Credits: @gogo_brgb on Instagram
Day 10: Wellington
This is the last day of your 10 day road trip in New Zealand's North Island. If there’s still some time to spare, head to the best place for beef rendang in New Zealand! At Istana Malaysia Restaurant
, they serve a variety of Malay dishes we’re all used to back home. Nothing like a little taste of home before going home ?
Note: Alcohol is served in this eatery so do dine at your own discretion.
Credits: Istana Malaysia Wellingtonon Facebook
It’s then time to head to Wellington Airport. Depending on which car rental company you took, you might have to drop the car off either in the city or the airport. It’s convenient either way as you can still hop on a shuttle straight from the city to the airport.
With this 10 day road trip itinerary planned out for you, it’s time to get cracking and plan your trip! We’ve got you covered for every type of traveller in the family; the adventurous one, the one who loves to chill and the foodie! It covers most of the attractions in the North Island and even a bit of their hidden gems. We guarantee, this trip will leave you wanting to explore the rest of New Zealand and see what else it has to offer ?