New Zealand is a small country with a lot to offer. In one day you can go from mountains to beaches, as well as passing through cities on the way. Diversity is jam-packed into two little islands. One major benefit of having everything so close at hand is that you can literally fit in the whole island within one road trip. To help you do just that, here are the extreme points of NZ’s North island. Grab your hire car from Auckland airport, buckle in, and head out to see these four corners!

North of the North: Cape Reinga

While commonly accepted as the northern most point of the island, Cape Reinga actually has to cede the claim to the point called North Cape. However, being a scientific reserve, this area isn’t actually open to visitors. 

Don’t worry,though. Cape Reinga is a worthy placeholder for more reasons than one. Ocean meets sea at this northernmost point, and an ancient pohutukawa tree watches over the collide. If it sounds like a place swathed in legends, that’s because it is. Maori myth marks this out as the place were their spirits begin the final journey back to their ancestral home. 

Visit the lighthouse and enjoy the spectacular views out over the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean, knowing you’ve reached the top most accessible point of New Zealand. 

West of the North: Cape Maria van Diemen

Don’t jump back into your hire car just yet. Views that sweep out over the westernmost point of the North Island are only a walk away. Chuck your hiking boots on, and head out on the easy Te Werahi Beach track, then carry along on the next track to Twilight Beach. While you’ll want to give yourself the day to complete these tracks, you’ll be rewarded with coastal scenes of rolling sand dunes and Cape Maria van Diemen – the western extreme of the North Island. Barely separated by water, you’ll also spot Motuopao Island, a priceless nature reserve for some of NZ’s most threatened species. 

South of the North: Cape Palliser

Once more marked out with a light house, welcome to the opposite most end of the North Island. Make sure you say hi to the fur seals that you’re sure to see enjoying the scenery! Stretch out your legs and head up the flight of stairs leading up to the light house. The views at the end are worth the effort. Watch the coastline curl along the sea edge and rocky outcroppings bring white froth to the endless blue water. 

East of the North: The East Cape

Heading back up the North Island’s length, drive out to New Zealand’s East Cape and keep a look out for the easternmost lighthouse. That’s right, another beacon marking out the extreme points of the country!

You might not like it, but this spot is worth an early morning. Make the walk up to the lighthouse while darkness still masks the view, and bundle up warm while you wait for dawn to bring light to the world. Why? Because this spot sees the sun rise before the rest of the world.

Make your way around the extreme edges of New Zealand’s North Island, making sure to take in everything along the way. Book your hire car today!