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Three of NZ's best family road trips

 

Spend some quality time discovering these fantastic day trips with your family 

Nothing beats packing your clan into a car, and leaving the day-to-day behind for a few happy hours. With that in mind, here's a few road trip ideas for you to get excited about. Just pack some games and snacks for the kids, and hit the tarmac.

Auckland to Matarangi - 3h 4min drive time

Mid-way between Whitianga and Coromandel Town is Matarangi. A secluded beach wonderland, Matarangi spit forms the northernmost part of Whangapoua Harbour – perfect for families wanting to get away from the Auckland crowds and experience a taste of the Coromandel for the day.

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Route

Take the turn off to State Highway 25 heading for Waitakaruru, then hug the coast to Pipiroa.

Cross the Waihou river, before heading north to Thames. Follow the peninsular to Coromandel town, then head east on the Te Rerenga-Kuaotunu road until you get to Matarangi Road, which takes you into the township.

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The drive

You might need a song or two to keep the kids entertained on the way out of Auckland! The really fun bit comes when you head inland from Coromandel Township. The road becomes twisty and turny and you are plunged into the wild beauty of the Coromandel bush. 

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Look out for

The fun children's playground at the Village Green off Kenwood Drive.

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Wellington to Cape Palliser - 2h 22min drive time

Cape Palliser is home to spectacularly rugged coastline, a fur seal colony, and the famous, unmanned, cast iron lighthouse – which has kept sailors safe since 1897.

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Route

Head up the SH1 from Wellington, then take the right hand fork in the motorway where it becomes the SH2. Follow the Hutt Valley and then cross the Rimutaka Range, before heading down to Featherston, where you take the 53 before taking the turn off down Kahutara Road. Keep heading south to Whangaimoana. Then hug the coast heading east to get to the lighthouse.

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The drive

Keep an eye out for early Maori occupation and heritage sites as you head towards the Cape. The final part of the journey the road clings to the coast and gets quite dramatic.

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Look out for

If you're feeling brave you can climb the 253 steps to see the lighthouse up close. Also be sure to check out the boats and tractors at the quirky beach-side fishing village of Ngawihi.

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Christchurch to Lake Pukaki 3h 41min drive time

The largest of the region's three lakes, Pukaki also happens to be home to Mount Cook Alpine Salmon Farm where you can get some tasty smoked salmon to take home with you.

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Route

Take the SH76 west to Geraldine, then split onto the SH79. At Fairlie follow the SH8 to Tekapo. If you haven't already, stop here for a quick break, then continue along the SH8 through the high country tussock to the foot of Lake Pukaki.

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The drive

From Fairlie you'll climb into Mackenzie country, so called after the legendary Scottish sheep rustler roamed the land. Once you hit the lakes the views are simply stunning and you'll have to stop yourself from stopping at every corner to take a photograph.

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Look out for

The Church of the Good Shepherd and the sheepdog statue make a great photo op. Geraldine Vintage Car and Machinery Museum is a fun stop off for the kids and a nice way to stretch your legs.

See anything that interests you? Stay in the loop for more: