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Pick two - Russell, Waiheke, Napier, or Nelson?

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Pick two - Russell, Waiheke, Napier, or Nelson?

We're going to be in New Zealand for 11 nights in November. We're going to spend 6 nights in Queenstown/Wanaka, but I have been agonizing over our other 5 nights. I've narrowed it down to Russell, Waiheke, Napier, or Nelson and figure I will spend 3 nights in one and 2 nights in the other. We love cute towns, good food and wine, and generally just soaking up the ambiance. All of these four seem to fit the bill. Assuming logistics are not an issue, which two would you choose?

Nelson-Tasman...
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1. Re: Pick two - Russell, Waiheke, Napier, or Nelson?

waiheke and nelson. as I think they will meet your options for good food, wine tours, and atmosphere. BUT they all have other things to offer as well. Nelson is gateway to Abel Tasman National Park as well.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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2. Re: Pick two - Russell, Waiheke, Napier, or Nelson?

I also suggest Nelson and Waiheke Island, for the reasons being that one is South Island based and the other a North Island location. Both areas are renowned for their boutique wines.

Waiheke Island is easy to get about using the local bus system, but also taxis, shuttles, rental cars and push-bikes. The developed area (nearer the main wharf) has a serious of coastal walking tracks so you can venture from beach to beach. Waiheke is 35 minutes from Auckland city by passenger or vehicular ferry. It's also easy to transfer from the downtown ferry to the Airbus for airport.

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3. Re: Pick two - Russell, Waiheke, Napier, or Nelson?

Nelson and Waiheke :)

Auckland, New...
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4. Re: Pick two - Russell, Waiheke, Napier, or Nelson?

My concern is you will spend more time "commuting" than you will enjoying the places.

On that basis Im thinking you should fly to auckland and ferry to Waihekei. OR fly to auckland then if the flights line up Fly to keri keri and base yourself in Paihia (just across the water from russel)

wellington new...
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5. Re: Pick two - Russell, Waiheke, Napier, or Nelson?

Definitely Waiheke Is for 3 nights. The next choice would be Russell. I love Russell and how beautiful it is ( i must say is just very New Zealand) and the trade off would be the time it takes to drive to Russell. The drive north of Auckland is absolutely spectacular. You could fly to whangarei then drive north to opua then car ferry to Okiato. Ferry operates every ten mins, last one at 10 pm. Its about 10-12NZD each way inc car and passengers. At least if you choose Paihia and Waiheke you have seen the nest of the North (my opinion) seeing as you have already seen the best of the South Is. Going to Nelson would be an easy option, flying there on you way north and would be less time consuming. What ever you choose, I hope you enjoy your trip.

Auckland, New...
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6. Re: Pick two - Russell, Waiheke, Napier, or Nelson?

Because you're coming in November I would give Waiheke a miss and head north to either Paihia or Russell.

The temperature will be warmest up north and Waiheke can be windy and cool in November.

Go from Queenstown to Nelson and then fly up north to either Whangarei or Kerikeri. The Bay of Islands is very beautiful and you could spend a day Dolphin cruising or just cruising around the islands.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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7. Re: Pick two - Russell, Waiheke, Napier, or Nelson?

Waiheke can be <windy and cool> in November - not from my considerable experiences as a long-time property-owner!

Waiheke also has a micro-climate which is warmer than Auckland itself. Hence the success of local wineries on the island.

8. Re: Pick two - Russell, Waiheke, Napier, or Nelson?

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Christchurch, New...
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9. Re: Pick two - Russell, Waiheke, Napier, or Nelson?

Waiheke would be a def yes, largely due to the logistics. You can't discount logistics as ZQN to NSN could take quite a while if you have to fly via CHC or WLG.

Nelson-Tasman...
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10. Re: Pick two - Russell, Waiheke, Napier, or Nelson?

#5. I couldnt describe Russell as "very New Zealand"

NZ has stunning scenery in the wilderness with amazing mountains, waterfalls, wilderness, forests, lakes and rivers. It also offers wonderful coast line and scenery. Some coast line is dramatic (like in fiordland), some has stunning golden sands (like in Abel Tasman). No two places are alike.

Northlands huge Kauri trees, forests and beaches are unique. As is the wonderful great walks and whanganui river and canoe journey through pristine fern walls. Rotorua and taupo have active thermal areas and the tongariro national park offers some of the top walks in the world.

So many options, but Waiheke and Nelson would give you two good options with variety.