Road tripping around New Zealand in an EV is still a novel concept. You will be a pioneer of EV adventures! One of our favourite EV camper destinations is the Bay of Islands. Within easy driving range of Auckland, Paihia is a stunning town with plenty of activities available. There are also heaps of beautiful places to stop on the way up and back down.
Check out this awesome three-day itinerary which will allow you to experience the EV over a long weekend.
Before you go
Make sure you know what to expect from an EV road trip. The infrastructure for electric vehicles has improved significantly in recent years, but there are still some logistical factors you'll need to take into consideration when planning your trip.
HOW FAR CAN YOUR ELECTRIC CAMPERVAN GO?
Our electric campervans have a range of 180-200 kilometres. The distance you can travel on each charge depends on factors such as the type of roads you are driving (for example, flat or hilly), the way you drive and whether you use extras such as heating or air conditioning.
To extend the range of your EV, pack lightly and drive smoothly.
WHERE TO CHARGE YOUR VEHICLE
A limited range means having a rough idea of where you're going is a good idea. Then, while you're on the go, use these apps and websites to help you find places to charge. Be conscious of distances and never plan on going more than 180 kilometres between potential charging places.
Planning your route
Plan your road trip around the availability of fast charging stations. ChargeNet has been developing a network of fast charging stations around New Zealand. You’ll be able to find them in most major towns, and in lots of places in between.
Slow charging stations can be useful (PlugShare will help you find every kind of charging station), but they take a while to charge up your vehicle. If you’re moving from A to B, fast charging stations are your best bet.
Day 1: Auckland - Warkworth - Whangarei - Kawakawa - Paihia
Pick up your EV camper from our Auckland City branch on The Strand in Parnell.
Then from Auckland, head north to Warkworth, where you will find your first fast charging station. On the way, stop in at Puhoi to check out the picturesque town with historical buildings and stock up on cheese!
The fast-charging station in Warkworth is located right outside the New World, so you can do a quick grocery shop while you wait for your EV to charge. or to stretch your legs, you can follow the lovely boardwalk along the Mahurangi River and explore the boutiques and op shops. Warkworth is a great lunch stop – head to SO French for some delicious pies and patisserie.
Once you've charged back up, hop back in your vehicle and carry on north.
By the time you reach Whangarei, you’ll need to recharge again. Make your way to the fast charging port at Paramount Plaza. From here, the spectacular Whangarei Falls are only a 20-minute walk away. By the time you get there, snap some photos, and wander back, your EV should be full of juice again.
Carry on north. The next fast charger you’ll need is in Kawakawa, the town famous for its toilets. This is perfect for EV travellers, as you can plug in your campervan and wander down to the beautiful Hundertwasser toilets to gaze at the artwork and use the facilities at the same time. Kawakawa is a small town and you can easily walk down the main street and check out the toilets, then head back again, in about half an hour, which is all the time your EV should need to be topped up.
Finally, get back on the road for around 15 minutes and you will have reached Paihia!
Stay at the Paihia Top 10 campground for a peaceful camping experience. There are powered sites right by the water, and with east facing views you’ll wake up to see the sunrise. The campground is also surrounded by native bush, home to plenty of tuis. In the morning, you’ll be treated to a beautiful dawn chorus. The EV penthouse is the perfect place to watch all of this unfold.
If you book a powered site, you can charge your EV overnight so you'll have a full battery in the morning. Choice.
Day 2: Pahia - Ngawha springs
While you're in Paihia, you need to check out the famous Discover the Bay cruise with Explore. this half day cruise will take you out to see the unusual Hole in the Rock, and along the way, you'll spot dolphins and if you're very lucky humpback whales and orcas! With a lunch stop on Urupukapuka Island, this boat trip covers all the bases and is the fastest way to tick off the best sights in the region.
The cruise departs at 10am and lasts for four and a half hours, so you'll have the afternoon to explore.
If you're after a relaxing way to spend the afternoon, head to the Ngawha Hot Springs. These rustic springs are a favourite local spot. There's a wide range of pools at different temperatures, from 35-50C. The entry fee is only $5! Just be warned that it can take a while to wash the sulphur smell off your skin.
Day 3: Paihia - Uretiti - Kaiwaka- Auckland
On your third day, enjoy a coffee in Paihia then hit the road south. You should be able to make it as far as Whangarei before charging again.
Just south of Whangarei is Uretiti Beach, a glorious stretch of wild white sand. The views back across the sea to the Whangarei Heads are spectacular. It's an awesome place to go for a stroll, even in winter. In the summer months, you won't be able to resist the waves.
After you've had your beach fix, carry on south and take the turn off at Brynderwyn toward the Kauri Museum. Set just south of the Waipoua Forest, home to the mighty Tane Mahuta, this museum tells stories from the pioneering days of kauri logging and gum collecting. It's a fascinating insight into the history of our kauri forests, and the museum plays a role in protecting surviving kauri trees from the deadly dieback disease, so it's well worth a visit.
Make your way back to the main highway and head south to Kaiwaka, where you'll find another fast charging station. This is a good point to do a final charging stop if you need it, and explore the local cafes, op shops, and cheese shop.
The next stretch will probably be your last, as you need to get your EV back by 4pm! If you do have some spare time, stop to check out the Dome Forest Walkway for some excellent views and a lovely walk.