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Help with our North Island Itinerary

Teesside
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Help with our North Island Itinerary

We are heading to NZ for 3 weeks in late Nov/Dec.

Our plan is to arrive in Christchurch, take a 13 day tour of the South Island by motorhome before flying from Christchurch to Auckland for the final week.

Our draft itinerary has us for 2 nights in Auckland, then a blank canvas of 2 nights before 3 nights in Paihia, as a wind down before travelling home.

We are really struggling with the 2 days as I dont want to spend all day travelling from Taupo or Rotorua to the BOI but I cant really think of getting around it any other way. We will be using car hire in the North Island.

Can anyone give any advice on where to go or whether to miss the BOI out due to the long journey distance.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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1. Re: Help with our North Island Itinerary

Hi there,

The BOI are beautiful and a trip up that way is definitely worthwhile. However, the downside is that the drive up and down is time consuming.

If you have your heart set on visiting Taupo and Rotorua (which I definitely recommend), I actually think you need to either cut down your time in Auckland (perhaps by flying into Rotorua or Taupo instead of Auckland) OR leave the BOI out altogether. If you are going to the BOI to admire lovely beaches, the Coromandel Region is a fairly good sustitiute. If you are going there to see dolphins, you could go to Mt Maunganui instead.

Some options included:

Day 1 Flight from ChCh to Auckland, Rotorua or Taupo. Drive to Taupo

Day 2 Taupo to Rotorua

Day 3 Rotorua

Day 4 Auckland (you can't travel all the way up to the BOI from Rotorua, it's too far)

Day 5 Drive to the BOI

Day 6 BOI

Day 7 Drive back to Auckland

Day 8 Fly home

(Personally, given all the driving, I don't think this option will give you the relaxing end to the holiday you want)

Another option:

Day 1 Fly to Auckland or Rotorua in the morning, drive to Taupo (at about 3.5 hours from Auckland, it's the longest drive you'll have to do with this itinerary) Or better yet, fly straight to Taupo

day 2 Taupo to Rotorua

Days 3 Rotorua

Day 4 Tauranga/Mt Maunganui

Day 5-6 Coromandel Region

Day 7 Auckland

Day 8 Fly home

OR something completely different:

Day 1 Fly to Napier

day 2 Taupo

Days 3-4 Rotorua

Day 5-6 Coromandel Region OR Tauranga/Mt Maunganui Region OR 1 day at each.

Day 7 Auckland

Day 8 Fly home

I realise that this is all a bit wishy-washy, but I hope you get the gist.

Auckland
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2. Re: Help with our North Island Itinerary

Sort of depends on what you want to do. If your idea is to see more of the natural world and chill out on some beaches and explore around there, I'd just spend the entire 5 days in Northland (you could make a trip up to Cape Reinga or take a boat trip out to Urupukapuka island and spend a night out there) - really there is way more than 5 days worth of stuff up in Northland to keep you occupied.

I do agree with the other poster: too far to make a detour to Rotorua / Taupo. My preference would probably be to concentrate up north, but if you think Rotorua Taupo is more your scene you could spend the entire week down there...

Hope that helps.

New Zealand
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3. Re: Help with our North Island Itinerary

Oskar has it right- either 5 days around Rotorua/Taupo/Mt Maunganui/Coromandel or 5 days north of Auckland. For more variety but a bit more moving about take the first option otherwise base yourself in the Bay of Islands and take day trips from there- to the Far North and to the Hokianga.

If I was really wanting to chill I would head to the Coromandel.

Teesside
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4. Re: Help with our North Island Itinerary

I'm hoping our thirst for thrills will be satisfied with Queenstown, and the majority of our thirst for scenery be satisfied with the West of the South Island.

I fancy the idea of the Northland trip for some boat trips etc but feel that I might be missing out by going to NZ and not doing the more popular central stuff.

Is the water warm in the BOI or in the Coromandel for swimming?

Wanaka, New Zealand
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5. Re: Help with our North Island Itinerary

Late November/Early December is quite often still quite cool. NZ weather is variable and you may be lucky and strike an unusually hot year. But personally, I think it takes a fairly brave person to going swimming in the ocean anytime before Xmas.

One option would be to go to Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel and dig yourself a nice warm hole :-)

Teesside
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6. Re: Help with our North Island Itinerary

Oskar, I think the warm hole sounds good :D

We've looked at the options and we're now not going to do Paihia as its too much to go south to go north and we feel we wouldnt be seeing enough in the NI if we just went straight to Northland.

Back onto the intinerary we have 2 nights in Auckland, a night in Taupo (possibly via Waitomo for the caves) then onto Rotorua for a night before 3 relaxing nights in the Coromandel. I think we have decided to go with Whitianga as it gives us some flexibility to travel to the various beaches over those 3 days.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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7. Re: Help with our North Island Itinerary

Sounds good Rob-n-Gem. Whitianga is a nice, central place in the Coromandel to go tiki-touring from.

Just a few more suggestions. Hot Water Beach is great, but do make sure you check the tides before you make the trip. You need to arrive within one hour either side of low tide.

The other suggestion is to spend an extra night in Rotorua (by stealing an night from either Auckland or The Coromandel). There is so much to do there, that one night is never enough. Besides all the obvious touristy things (Geothermal sites and Maori concerts etc), Rotorua is surrounded by stunning lakes and lovely walks so your time there can still be relaxing.

New Zealand
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8. Re: Help with our North Island Itinerary

And if you don't make it to Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel there is always Hot Water Beach(with fresh water this time) on the shores of Lake Tarawera. You can only get there by boat and here's the perfect way to do it by yourself!

thelandinglaketarawera.co.nz/The-Landing-Lak…

If you are visiting any hot water areas be extra careful when testing the water, it can be scolding hot in places, sometimes even just digging your toes into the sand, you'll let out a yelp and a half if you hit a hot vein of water.

Edited: 18 February 2010, 02:50
New Zealand
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9. Re: Help with our North Island Itinerary

Also with Lake Tarawera's Hot Water Beach, you don't have to do the digging! There are shallow sandy pools surrounded by rocks already made by people before you. Big enough to lay down in with water up to your neck.

But don't let me sway you, Coromandel's HWB is a cool(or should that be hot?) experience too!

Teesside
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10. Re: Help with our North Island Itinerary

So steal a night from the Coromandel but not from Taupo? Just wondering if doing Taupo and Rotorua will be too much travelling without seeing much?