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Best use of 3 days from Auckland, hlep please!

Washington DC...
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Best use of 3 days from Auckland, hlep please!

Er, HELP please, I cannot edit the header :-)

've posted this on the New Zealand forum as well, but am placing a question here in case not everyone reads that.

We have a chance to spend a few days in New Zealand at the beginning of March 2012....will be in Australia and are thinking of flying over (probably to Auckland) and spending a night in Auckland at the beginning and end and 3 nights somewhere with spectacular scenery and some easy to moderate walks..

We'd like a place that is fairly easy to get to--we prefer not to rent a car when we travel, but I'm not sure that's feasible in this case.

I realize this is nowhere near enough time, but it's what we can manage this (first) time. The trip to Australia is a work trip and we cannot take a lot of time afterwards.

I know New Zealand has a dazzling array of parks and scenery, but am really overwhelmed and hoping for some suggestions. We are realistic and know we can only sample the place we go, but consider that better than never getting there at all...and hopefully can return with more time later on. For example, we had short but happy visits to US parks such as Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, etc.

We are healthy and love the outdoors but I am limited in my hiking ability due to knee issues, even with hiking poles. We also enjoy wine tasting.

Suggestions for somewhere to go if we fly to and from Auckland? If we can stay an extra day or two in Auckland as well, what should our priority things to see be?

Many thanks!

Edited: 19 August 2011, 01:47
Auckland Region...
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1. Re: Best use of 3 days from Auckland, hlep please!

For spectacular scenery and some good walks, you should consider flying in and out of Queenstown, not Auckland. Queenstown has far more spectacular scenery than anywhere near Auckland, and you can get by without hiring a car. There is plenty to see and do including some good walks and some great wineries.

Auckland is a much bigger city, and transport is more of an issue.If you do choose Auckland, I would suggest either the Coromandel Peninsula or Bay of Islands offer the best scenery within easy travel, although both involve a few hours driving. There are plenty of interesting walks in Auckland, and we have some wineries fairly close.

But really, if you want to see the best of NZ in 3 days - Queenstown!

Edited: 19 August 2011, 04:22
Washington DC...
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2. Re: Best use of 3 days from Auckland, hlep please!

Thanks, Queenstown seems appealing but I'm struggling with searches online to try to find the air connections from Sydney and fares...they seem to be 600 dollars or so one way in March...Auckland from Sydney much less. We'd need to go RT from Sydney to use a discount ticket I can get. Am I missing something? What airlines do you suggest I look at? Thanks again.

Edited: 19 August 2011, 12:57
St. Helena...
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3. Re: Best use of 3 days from Auckland, hlep please!

Try www.virginblue.com - for example, roundtrip from SYD to QTN leaving 3/2/12 (Fri) and coming back 3/5/12 (Mon) is $443.54AUD, and both flights are non-stop! It might be worth checking out Air New Zealand closer to the trip as they might open their saver fares. Good luck!

Washington DC...
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4. Re: Best use of 3 days from Auckland, hlep please!

Thanks!!!

Rarotonga, Cook...
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5. Re: Best use of 3 days from Auckland, hlep please!

Yet if you do decide to visit Auckland then you cant go wrong with these suggestions:-

Day 1. Relax into the city and take a city wide tour with the Auckland Explorer service - very affordable and continuous circuit of the city highlights - parks included and Auckland does have several magnificent areas gifted by our Auckland forefathers .

Day 2. Catch the Fullers fery to Waiheke island and take any one of a number of tours - beaches, wineries, cafes, bush scenery.

Day 3. A visit to the Waitakere Ranges kauri groves, west coast surfng beaches, and views across both harbours - OR enjoy a meal at the Viaduct harbour, revisit some of the parks you spotted in earlier travels, OR take a day tour from Auckland city north to the Bay of Islands or south to Waitomo Caves, OR southbound to Rotorua and back.

Auckland NZ
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6. Re: Best use of 3 days from Auckland, hlep please!

Queenstown is great, but think that you would get more variety if you were to fly in to Auckland. Northland or the Coromandel are both great areas with heaps to offer in the way of scenery and great beaches.

If you were based in Auckland the whole time, some suggestions:

Waiheke Island, a quick ferry trip from downtown, winery visits, cafe's, beaches

Piha Beach, great west coast beach, very scenic drive out to it

Rangitoto Island,

Puhoi, historic hotel, cheese makers, cafe,

Auckland Museum, Kelly Tarltons Underwater World, Sky Tower and if you are wanting to shop, visit the Elephant House in Parnell for the best selection of NZ made art & crafts. Parnell Farmers market

Hopefully this has given you a few more ideas, good luck with your decision making, AND HAVE A WONDERFUL TRIP.

Auckland Region...
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7. Re: Best use of 3 days from Auckland, hlep please!

Hi. If you decide to stay in Auckland, check out my website http://www.walksinauckland.com for some ideas.

Cheers,

Helen

Washington DC...
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8. Re: Best use of 3 days from Auckland, hlep please!

Thanks, all!

Big Island, Hawaii
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9. Re: Best use of 3 days from Auckland, hlep please!

Honu, definitely consider Waiheke Island. We were there in March and LOVED IT. It has the most amazing walks, easy to moderate, from an hour to all day. The weather is fantastic, the scenery gorgeous, the wineries and restaurants divine. I wouldn't even bother staying in Auckland, just get on the ferry when you arrive and head to Waiheke. We stayed at the Delamore Lodge which was just perfect. Cable Bay had the most amazing food. We could stay weeks there.

The Netherlands
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10. Re: Best use of 3 days from Auckland, hlep please!

totally agree - if you want unique avoid auckland / north island. despite its brave assertions the north has nothing that isnt replicated (better) elsewhere. it isnt relaxing either - unless you enjoy sitting in traffic and trying to make sense of old/ irrelevant maps sold as new and newly introduced one way systems that send you swerving throughout australasia to get to your local bistro.