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Drive from Rotorua to Taupo

singapore
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Drive from Rotorua to Taupo

We are planning a trip to New Zealand in December. We will be driving from Auckland (after spending 2 nights there) to Rotorua. We are planning to watch the Hangi Dinner show on the same day and was wondering if we should stay the night in Rotorua or should we drive on to Taupo? The show ends at 9.30pm so not sure if it's wise to do the 1 hour drive in the dark on unfamiliar roads.

We are weighing between staying 2 nights in Taupo (preferred but have to drive after the show) or 1 night in Rotorua and 1 night in Taupo or Turangi. We drive to Wellington after the 2 nights stay. Any advice?

Dunedin, New Zealand
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1. Re: Drive from Rotorua to Taupo

You're not going to achieve much by heading off after the show: I say book into a place in Rotorua, relax and head off early the next morning. Otherwise, as you say, you'll be on unfamiliar roads when you're tired, in the dark and after a fairly long drive already.

Auckland, New...
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2. Re: Drive from Rotorua to Taupo

Hi

I always prefer staying in Taupo to Rotorua but given that you will have had a long day I would definitely recommend that you stay the night in Rotorua and enjoy the drive to Taupo the next morning.

Rotorua New Zealand
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3. Re: Drive from Rotorua to Taupo

On route to Taupo the next morning you could go to Waiotapu by 10 a.m. and see the geyser, thermal park and mudpools. You could also go to Waimungu Thermal Valley, Waikite Hot Pools, Orakei Korako (by Riverjet), Aratiatia, the Prawn Farm, the Volcano Centre, Honey Centre and the Huka Falls. All these are on your journey to Taupo.

singapore
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4. Re: Drive from Rotorua to Taupo

Thanks for all the great suggestions. Have decided to stay 1 night in Rotorua. Thane drive to Waiotapu the next morning, then a short visit to Taupo. If time permits, drive to/around Tongariro NP before staying the night in Turangi. Was hoping to take in some mountain views between Taupo and Turangi but not sure what is the best route. And yes, would also like to stop at Huka Falls. If I am visiting Waiotapu, then I suppose I could skip the mud pools and thermal valleys? I am assuming they are more of the same thing? Do tell me if I am wrong. Thanks.

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5. Re: Drive from Rotorua to Taupo

We did this in July 2011 except went the other direction. We stayed in taupe two nights because it was absolutely breath taking. Rotorua is gorgeous as well, if you ignore the natural air. We stayed in rotorua one night also and went to Whaka- the living thermal village there. Taupo is definitely some where you should stop and take it all in. Huka falls and crater to the moon is a must.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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6. Re: Drive from Rotorua to Taupo

If your second night stop is going to be Turangi, you'll have plenty on the drive from Rotorua to visit Wai O Tapu; for a single thermal valley visit. This very colourful thermal area has the Lady Knox geyser, mud pools and boiling hot springs.

Aratiatia Rapids, the Prawn Farm, Huka Falls and a short visit to Taupo township will offer plenty of variety already. If the weather conditions are favourable, looking down-lake towards the central mountains will provide great views. Follow SH1 (main highway) to Turangi. Depending on how much time you have available later that day, after stopping to view Taupo attractions, the drive to Whakapapa village on the northern slopes of Tongariro NP isn't far away from Turangi.

Perhaps check into your accommodation in the town first before heading to the Park. Tokoaanu near Turangi has thermal bathing pools. Also, there are motels in this small village.

Edited: 15 July 2012, 02:14
Christchurch, New...
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7. Re: Drive from Rotorua to Taupo

Given the sightseeing as well, I think Rotorua to Turangi PLUS a drive around the mountains and a return to Turangi is too much for one day. Can you stay 2 nights in Turangi and give an entire day to the National Park? Rotorua to National Park/Whakapapa Village & return to Turangi would be doable without the stops at Wai-o-tapu & Huka Falls.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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8. Re: Drive from Rotorua to Taupo

I consider a Wai-O-Tapu visit as well to be do'able - more so during December when daylight hours are longer. Leaving Rotorua around 9am to reach Wai-O-Tapu for the Lady Knox display and walk around the thermal site followed by the brief time it takes to view Huka Falls, and possibly a lunch stop at the Prawn Farm (if not a lunch stop earlier) should all be achieved by mid-afternoon at the latest. Stopping briefly along Taupo's lakefront to admire the views will take 10/15 minutes if the mountains aren't shrouded in cloud. Taupo to Turangi is a 45 minute drive.

Arrival into Turangi mid-afternoon should allow you sufficient daylight hours to continue up to Whakapapa Village, 40 minutes from Turangi. I suggest taking one of the shortest walks indicated on the signboards, & not venturing too far from the village & carpark at late afternoon. Whakapapa area's alpine scenery is awesome in summer-time. Ensure you have completed a walk well ahead of sunset, and where possible remain where there is other activity around you.

The entire journey from Rotorua to Whakapapa Village takes 2hours & 30 minutes, covering a distance of some 178 kms. All do'able in a day, but hopefully the weather will be favourable of course. Did you have a particular reason or interest in driving around the entire Park? Also, there is accommodation available in National Park village, with more limited availability at Whakapapa village itself.

singapore
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9. Re: Drive from Rotorua to Taupo

No, I don't have anything in mind in particular, just alpine scenery and some short walks. So the idea to first check in to Turangi accommodation is good and will see what time is left to do what. My initial thoughts was to do Tongariro Crossing, which means stay 2 nights in Taupo (or Turangi), forgo the Hangi Dinner show (and see Waiotapi the day before). But not sure if we are up to it (probably can but will be aching afterwards and this is just the beginning of the trip) and have to carry hiking boots, etc. Still not sure if that is worth it.

Taupo, New Zealand
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10. Re: Drive from Rotorua to Taupo

The hangi and show at Wairakei Terraces just out of Taupo (9 kms)is really really good and there is a nice hotel directly across the road. The Huka Falls are just up the road, plus Prawn Park, Craters of the Moon etc.Much more personal than the Rotorua shows and usually one family group doing each show. The Tamaki Village show as an example whilst enjoyable can be a bit like a processing scenario with lots of large groups going through under some time pressure. The big hotel shows are very professional but often just that , very big,The recreation of the Terraces at Wairakei is beautiful with new bathing pools there as well.

Tongariro crossing is a must if you are that way inclined you will kick yourself if you don't do it, tho it is an easy drive up the Top of the Bruce at Whakapapa where you will get some great views and alpine scenery with virtually no effort weather permitting (Cloud etc) www.wairakeiterraces.co.nz