We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Seeking advice on our tentative plans for North Island drive

Los Angeles
Level Contributor
57 posts
6 reviews
Save Topic
Seeking advice on our tentative plans for North Island drive

My husband and I are in our late 50’s and we plan to go to New Zealand, the North Island, for about ten days in early December. We will arrive in Auckland and rent a car to drive from there.

This is what we have tentatively planned so far. We would greatly appreciate any suggestions or advice about our choices. We are not really hiking-oriented, but we love beaches, driving through beautiful scenery, stopping along the way, and staying in nice places overnight. We have made these decisions on our own, searching the Internet as best we can. Advice from people with experience would be greatly appreciated. We’d love to hear about things you liked to do in these spots, where to stay and where to eat. If you see that we have made a terrible mistake in planning, please let us know that too!

Auckland – two nights at Langham Hotel, planning to take Coast to Coast Farm and Eco Tour.

Drive to Paihia – stay two nights Blue Pacific Apartments, plan to take the ferry to Russell and visit Waitangi or a day cruise. When we leave, we will drive as far as we can to the North tip, ending our day at Omapere.

Omapere – stay one night at Copthorne

Drive to New Plymouth, stay two nights in Ahu Ahu Lodge, see Mt. Taraki,

Drive to Rotorua – stay two nights at either Hamuranga Lodge or Astelia Lodge – we need some advice on where to stay here. Plan to see Te Whakarewarewa concert and hangi, visit Waiopau and/or Orakei, take the Skyline Gondola

Fly out from Rotorua to Auckland to Sydney to USA

Many thanks for any advice and suggestions you can offer us!

New Zealand
Level Contributor
9,406 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Seeking advice on our tentative plans for North Island drive

It will be 3hrs paihia to Cape Reinga and 3 hours back to Omapere, you don't get to drive on the beach unless you take a tour bus. The road is OK but not alot to see and you have to travel it both ways. Consider staying in Ahipara and catching a tour then the next day head down the west coast and stay in North or West Auckland(about a 4hr drive) instead of Omapere and then driving to New plymouth from there, still about a 6hr trip.

Or stay in Omapere as planned and then head to Raglan for a night(6hr trip) then onto New Plymouth(approx 3.5hrs)All still fairly long days driving though.

Here's a Raglan lodge I plan to stay at very soon;

tourism.net.nz/listings/…

And if that doesn't suit there are some beauts in this lot-

tourism.net.nz/listings/…

Nice to see you visiting areas that aren't usually on the tourist trail, you'll throughly enjoy them.

Los Angeles
Level Contributor
57 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Seeking advice on our tentative plans for North Island drive

The lodge you suggested in Raglan looks outstanding! I think we might skip the northerly drive and/or tour and instead try to get down to Raglan to stay at Waoku Lodge. I think we have some long driving days, but the destinations look fantastic, so hopefully, it will be worth all of the driving. We greatly appreciate your advice and suggestions.

Victoria, Texas
Level Contributor
430 posts
201 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Seeking advice on our tentative plans for North Island drive

We spent 5 days on the North Island and had a fantatic time, but don't schedule yourself to tight.....stop and smell the roses!

Auckland Central...
Level Contributor
1,080 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Seeking advice on our tentative plans for North Island drive

Hi

Do not attempt to drive from Omapere to New Plymouth.

It is just too far in a day.

If you travel south on the west coast there are many places to stay in the Kumeu, Muriwai, Waitakeres area. Then the next morning you can head for New Plymouth.

You can travel up to Paihia on the east coast and then you see both coasts.

I do not think that you have to book accommodation in early December so take your time and enjoy our beautiful country.

Kay

Wellington, NZ
Level Contributor
43 posts
229 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Seeking advice on our tentative plans for North Island drive

The other thing you could consider doing is head south of Auckland instead and follow the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail through to Wellington and then fly from there back up to Auckland. It's a wee self-drive holiday which takes you through some lovely countryside. It starts at Hawkes Bay (famous for the Art Deco city of Napier) and ends in Blenheim on the South Island, but my suggestion would be to follow it down as far as Wellington as you're short for time. You will also take in Martinborough - well worth a stop over - as this is the home of Pinot Noir. There's a nice place there to stay there called Akrotiri Estate. Just a thought! Enjoy and safe travels.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
9 posts
116 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Seeking advice on our tentative plans for North Island drive

Hi

Sounds like a great trip, but as a Kiwi and someone who regularly travels around the North Island for work I would advise that instead of going to New Plymouth / Taranaki (which is a long drive as someone else mentioned) you'd be far better to explore the corromandel region which is on the way down to Rotorua.

Corromandel is a region of absolutely incredible beaches and scenery to die for. You can easily hire cottages there (over the internet) stay a night and then move to another bay. Hot Water Beach is worth seeing, at high tide you dig a hole in the sand and there is hot water just below the surface for you to lie in! Your own spa pool.

Choose your Rotorua accommodation carefully, there's a lot of dodgy places. I stay in Tauranga - which is lovely and just commute to Rotorua (only 1 hour drive).

hawke's bay
3 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Seeking advice on our tentative plans for North Island drive

I'd definitely recommend driving the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail. It takes you off the beaten track, away from all the main tourist routes. You travel through beautiful scenery and there's lots to see and do along the way. While the main focus of the journey is wine and food, the route also serves up all kinds of cultural and adventure experiences. Visit Hawke’s Bay, for fabulous reds, Art Deco architecture and wildlife tours; walk in the forests of the Tararua region and enjoy a beer at the Tui Brewery at Mangatainoka; explore the vineyards and historic towns of the Wairarapa region; shop, dine and be entertained in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city; then catch the vehicular ferry to Marlborough, where you can go fishing, kayak the waterways of the Marlborough Sounds and find your way to more than 50 cellar doors www.classicwinetrail.co.nz

Los Angeles
Level Contributor
57 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Seeking advice on our tentative plans for North Island drive

Thank you for the good advice. Sounds like a great plan.

Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
Level Contributor
14,533 posts
113 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Seeking advice on our tentative plans for North Island drive

Regarding your Paihia - and Far North explorations - stay with the East Coast drive from Auckland city to Bay of Islands. After you depart Paihia, only drive as far as Karikari pensinsula - still part of Doubtless Bay, and which gives you time to enjoy Mangonui/Cable Bay/Coopers Beach - stop at mangonui for best fish and chips in NZ. From Karikari Pensinsula journey across country to Ahipara then continue through Broadwood to catch the Rawene ferry with short drive on to Omapere. OR continue on SH1 from Kaitaia to Kaikohe turnoff at Lake Omapere - then across country to Omapere (LOL - the lake, and the township, are MILES apart though!). Copthorne Omapere sits in a delightful spot - wake up to see the golden sand dunes on Nth Hokianga side. Cape Reinga is a long trip, yet Cape Karikari is more picturesque IMO.

The drive south via Waipoua Forest and on through Auckland will be a long haul. Why not see the Waitomo Caves on the way to New Plymouth? Spend the night in Waikato farming countryside after driving from Hokianga - using Harbour Bridge & southern motorways to get across Auckland more quickly. If you would rather see thermal attractions, it's easy to cut across to Rotorua from Waitomo using SH30 all the way. Then take your trip south from there.

Happy travels.

10. Re: Seeking advice on our tentative plans for North Island drive

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 17 April 2010, 06:18