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Suggestion for Drive from Rotorua to Wellington

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Suggestion for Drive from Rotorua to Wellington

Our trip to New Zealand is right around the corner.

We have decided to rent a Van for North Island (10 days) and a Camper Van for South Island (17 days).

On North Island, our plan is as follows:

Auckland 5 nights (we have some business we need to take care of)

Rotorua 3 nights (for the geothermal activities, fishing...)

Wellington 2 nights.

My questions:

1. Do I need a car in Wellington?

What I read is that I don't need a car. So I thought I would drop off the car when we arrive in Wellington. But the question is that how I am going to transport 6-7 people to the ferry economically (extra day for rental car is NZ$106). Should I keep the car and drop off at ferry terminal?

2. The drive from Rotorua to Wellington is about 6 hours from google map.

It seems a lot of driving for a day. Any suggestion? Overnight somewhere between Rotorua to Wellington? Or just pressing through to save the hassles for one night stay?

Which route should I take? How difficult is the drive?

Thank you!

Edited: 14 March 2012, 22:51
Wellington, NZ
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for Wellington
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1. Re: Suggestion for Drive from Rotorua to Wellington

You don't need a car in Wellington. Get a taxi to the ferry - make sure to book a van.

Rotorua to Wellington is actually about 6.5 hours. Google maps can be too optimistic at times. Just do it, as most of the towns are rural service towns and not particularly exciting.

Quickest way is to drive to Taupo and then go on SH1 direct to Wellington. The drive is easy, just watch the tight corners as you come onto the Desert Road (it's south of Taupo) and match your speed to the advisory sign.

The Licorice Cafe on SH1 at the southern end of Lake Taupo is very good. Hunterville also has some cafes for a mid-afternoon break.

Feilding, New...
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for Rotorua
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2. Re: Suggestion for Drive from Rotorua to Wellington

There are several stops en route Rotorua to Wellington on SH5 & SH1

Huka Falls

Aratiatia Rapids

Volcano Centre

Prawn Farm

Wairakei Thermal Valley Lookout point

Waiouru Military Museum ( It's a while since we stopped here but we thought the cafe was good. We used to stop at Licorice Cafe but have found it disappointing recently)

Otaki has several 'outlet' shops.

Southwards Motor Museum, Paraparaumu.

There is a good shop for knitwear on the left before Utiku (signposted)

It is a long drive and possibly a farm stay around Levin or Otaki might make the journey more enjoyable.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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3. Re: Suggestion for Drive from Rotorua to Wellington

I would recommend taking one night off Rotorua & driving through to Taupo, via Wai-o-tapu Thermal Park & a short detour to Huka Falls. This will knock an hour off the drive to Wellington. You could even get as far as Turangi.

An alternative, if you can find an extra night, is to go via Napier, lovely scenic route, but does need an overnight stop.

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4. Re: Suggestion for Drive from Rotorua to Wellington

Thank you to all!

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5. Re: Suggestion for Drive from Rotorua to Wellington

We broke the drive from Rotorua to Wellington with a stop at Whakapapa village in the Tongariro National Park. The scenery there (it was the setting for Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies) is amazing. In fact, it was a highlight of our North Island holiday.

This is probably a slower route than the main highways, but we thought the landscape was one of a kind.

sydney, australia.
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6. Re: Suggestion for Drive from Rotorua to Wellington

thank you very much, this is exactly what we are looking for. very very helpful

7. Re: Suggestion for Drive from Rotorua to Wellington

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