If you want a straight road that lets you gaze mesmerized at the core of what New Zealand is, then Thermal Explorer Highway is the one you are looking for. The road travels directly from Auckland to Napier and gives you the chance to take in lush mountains, meandering streams, colourful limestone caves and bewitching pastures. If you are lucky, you might even catch site of a hobbit!

You will first need to get out of the south end of Auckland, from where you can check out the Waikato Museum, Hamilton Gardens or the Hamilton Zoo, depending on what attracts you more. You also have the option of learning to surf in one of the longest left-hand surf breaks of the entire world!

From Hamilton you then head over to Rotorua, which is situated on Pacific Ring of Fire. Check out the Whakarewarewa Forest and then take a relaxed soak at Polynesian Spa. You can stay at the Tamaki Village for the night. You also have the choice of visiting the Cambridge, a ‘town of trees and champions’.

Then the next day you can travel to Taupo, where you can experience geothermal activities in the Orakei Korako Cave & Geothermal Park. Since there is also a large freshwater lake present here, you can try multiple water based entertainment like kayaking, boat cruise etc. You can enjoy the Huka Prawn Park if you are into sea animals.

You can now move to the ski runs of Ruapehu, which is basically attractive in winters, but can be fun to look at even during the summers with its many trails and the option of sleeping in a chateau. If you don’t want to stay, head on to the way to Napier in between which you will discover beaches of Waimarama, Haumoana and Hawke’s Bay. Napier is where art and culture are!