Hi, I will be cruising from Australia to New Zealand in March. We arrive in Auckland on March 22nd early morning and are not scheduled to fly home until almost midnight on March 27th. We are looking to rent a car so that we can see as much as possible in a short period of time.
The cruise will be stopping in Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Tauranga and Bay of Islands, before ending in Auckland. This is our first visit to any of these areas, so it is difficult to know whether any of those are places we would want to see again, or if there many other options to spend our 5 nights.
I think there would be a few ways to schedule this:
1. Drive a far distance from Auckland on the first day, and work our way back towards Auckland by driving 2-3 hrs each day and stopping in an interesting area/sightseeing/spending the night, and doing the same the following day.
2. Drive a few hours out of Auckland to an interesting area, sightsee, spend the night there, drive a few hours the next day to another location, etc. and almost make a circle around a region that would ultimately get us back to Auckland.
3. One area that interests us is Rotorua for the various spa's, etc. This looks like a place we could spend some time in getting spa treatments, so I would like to incorporate this into the plans. We do not mind staying at a different hotel every night if that makes the most sense.
Areas of interest: Enjoy the local scenery; enjoy photography; beaches; shopping; wineries; anything that may be unique to the local region.
Would like to plan to arrive back in Auckland by Wed early afternoon, so that we do have the opportunity to see a little bit of Auckland before flying out on Thursday evening.
Thank you for all your help. Between trying to plan cruise excursions and figuring out this travel on the back end (without being familiar with the area), it's all been a bit overwhelming. Any comments or suggestions you can provide to point me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated!!