Tourism New Zealand has started a $1 million campaign to entice Australians to do road trips around the North Island.

The eight-week North Island touring campaign kicks off this week, and will feature across digital channels and advertising at outdoor spots including bus sides and train stations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Australia is this country's biggest tourist market with nearly 600,000 crossing the Tasman for holidays and many of those doing driving while they're here.

Tourism New Zealand's manager, Australia, Tony Saunders said the campaign was aimed at encouraging Australians to explore more of the North Island, to see different places and to travel in the off-peak months, away from the crowds.


"Australians don't have the depth of understanding of New Zealand to know the differences between the regions so we have done a lot of the work for them developing sample itineraries to help them plan their journey," he said.

"We want to show that although New Zealand is just on their doorstep and they can visit any time, there is more to see and do than they think, with activities and experiences that are different to their everyday life."

The four routes being promoted include Twin Coast Discovery Highway between Auckland and Northland, the Pacific Coast Highway taking in the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty, the Thermal Explorer Highway through Rotorua, Hamilton and Waikato and the Volcanic Loop around Ruapehu and Lake Taupō.

As part of the North Island touring campaign, Tourism NZ has secured segments on Channel 9's popular Garden Gurus programme with driving messages included in the commentary about some of the North Island's favourite experiences and activities.

The North Island touring campaign was about promoting the themed highways in New Zealand's central upper North Island so it was "absolutely critical" to include messages about how to do that safely.

"The result is excellent, highlighting great experiences and activities along the main routes while showing more of New Zealand's stunning scenery during commentary about safe driving."