Almost 500km long route (from Kerikeri to Rotorua) was supposed to take us about 5 1/2 hours, but we wanted to see more of New Zealand on the way and instead of going the shortest way we detoured a bit to the East. As a result (with stops for food, photos and walks) it took us 3 hours more. Was it worth it? We think so.
The day didn’t look perfect, with lots of clouds and a drizzle from time to time, but the views were still great – changing all the time. First stop was at a random (empty) beach, trust me it does look better on the photo than in reality… Then we drove past Auckland said see you in 10 days and continued South. But instead of going on SH 27 we picked to go East on SH 2.
Longer and not planned stop by the Karangahake Gorge. And a series of firsts: first higher mountains we saw in NZ and first swing bridge for me to cross (even 2 of them!).