After your stay in Hamilton, The Tour will quit the Waikato region 3 nights before the first test in Auckland.
If you're thinking of just staying in Auckland then make sure you read Blog#2 Lions In Auckland City for all the best tips on what to do and where to stay in Auckland.
However, If you're up for more adventure keep reading! This motorhome itinerary reveals yet another unique corner of Aotearoa.
Day 1: Hamilton to Dargaville (4hrs)
To get to Dargaville take the main highway north through Auckland until you reach the turn off for Highway 12 going east. Just before you reach the turn off you will drive through a place called Kaiwaka.
Kaiwaka is a particularly good spot for a toilet stop and especially so if you like a good....
work of art, as Kaiwaka has a very unique and interesting public toilet which was designed by a famous Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
After your stop in Kaiwaka continue north until you reach the town of Dargaville.
Dargaville is a popular stop off point for many tourists on their way to see NZ’s giant Kauri trees, and the father of them all - Tane Mahuta meaning 'Lord of the forest'
When settlers came to this part of NZ it was full of mature Kauri trees. Kauri produces a high-quality timber and it became particularly sought after all over the world. Milling of Kauri has a long and interesting history. On the way to Dargaville at Matakohe, there is ‘The Kauri Museum’ which is also a worthwhile stop.
NOTE: Dargaville is the last town of any decent size for quite a few kilometres so do any shopping you need to here.
If you plan on stopping in Dargaville for the night, try the only holiday park in Dargaville http://www.dargavilleholiday.co.nz/ or if you're looking for freedom camping, venture on further north for half an hour and go to the Waipoua Forest Camping Area which is only 10 mins from Tane Mahuta
Or you could book into the Kauri Top Ten Holiday Park to experience camping with a touch of something really unique. Definitely take their Famous Guided Night Walk as you'll get a chance to see and hear Kiwis (the bird) in their natural environment. This holiday park is highly recommended and it's only just north of Dargaville!
For a full brochure on where to eat and places to stay for Dargaville and the Kauri coast click here
Day 2: Dargaville to Bay of Islands Via Tane Mahuta 2-4hrs
Tane Mahuta is on the main road north of Dargaville in the Waipoua Forest. Keep an eye out for the signs. From where you park take the small 5 minute bush track which leads you to this amazing freak of nature, and an awesome photo opportunity
North of Tane Mahuta as the road leaves the forest, you'll be stunned by the most beautiful panoramic views of the Hokianga Harbour. Huge golden sand dunes contrasting with the royal blue water of the harbour. There are good viewpoints along the way at Opononi and Omapere.
After Omapere, traveling west for 40 mins, you'll reach Kaikohe and the Ngawha Springs. This is a great place for a motorhome stop and the springs are a great place to treat tired muscles to a good old therapeutic soak. These traditionally run, rustic looking hot springs have a range of over 10 separate pools each with names that leave you guessing at what temperatures they might be, but ranging from rather cool tp extremely hot. Choose to soak in "The Doctor" or perhaps 'The Baby' will be more to your liking . Entry to the springs is a bargain. Look for signs at the township of Kaikohe.
The Bay Of Islands
When you reach the west coast you arrive in Paihia and the beautiful Bay Of Islands. Just down the road from Paihia is the historic Waitangi Treaty Ground where the treaty was signed and where the nation of New Zealand began.
Paihia would be a great place to park up the motorhome for the night. For camping check out The Waitangi Holiday Park or try for freedom spots using your Rankers app. If you get here in good time, you can look at taking the ferry over to Russell. The short ferry ride is really nice and Russell is a lovely seaside village with lots of good restaurants and bars. For a list of what to do in Russell and ferry times read our blog on Russell.
Anyone for a spot of golf?
For the keen golfer, it's definitely worth mentioning that Kauri Cliffs Golf Course, one of NZ's top 3, is just 45mins north of Paihia. It would mean traveling further north, will no doubt cost an arm and a leg for a round that you're bound to lose loads of golf balls in, but hey, any golfer would always say it's worth it. Just for bragging rights alone! Check out Kauri Cliffs Golf Course for prices and green fees. If you do decide to go golfing you could look at staying at Matauri beach which is not far from the course.
Day 4 - Bay Of Islands to Auckland Via Goat Island 4hrs
Nearly ready for game day! You’ll need to find your way back to Auckland sooner or later and it will take you about 4hr. To break up the drive, a motorhome stop at the town of Leigh and Goat Island Marine Reserve is highly recommended.
Visit the famous Sawmill Cafe. An iconic Kiwi music venue that always has awesome live music, cool people, good food and cold beer. Lot's of famous groups have played here.
AUCKLAND - EDEN PARK - LIONS VS ALL BLACKS
Find out what to do in Auckland by reading Lions Tour Blog #2 Lions in Auckland. Where to stay, the best bars to eat and drink and the best ways to get to the big game?
Next Game – Lions VS Hurricanes Westpac Stadium Wellington 27th June