I'm traveling to NZ and will arrive in Auckland on 1/24 and will board a cruise on the 29th. Based on research I'm thilnking I could stay in Auckland enjoying some of the sites locally and then rent a car (we are use to the right side of the road) which is a little scary to drive to the Bay of Island for one day and then return to the hotel in Auckland. On the 27th I'm thinking we could drive to the Waitomo caves and spend the night close to the cave and enjoy some of the scenary returning to Auckland on the evening of the 28th. Is that doable or am I not thinking clearly. We will have suitcases that I thought we could leave at the hotel and just take an overnight bag rather than dragging around large bags.
Another option would be to check out of the hotel on the 26th and stay north of Auckland one night and then driving to Waitomo and spend a couple of nights there.
Also we are stopping in the ports of Taurango, Napier, Wellington, Picton, Christchurch and Dunedin so if anyone has suggestions on hiring a guide/tour group or what to do on our own that would be great. Typically, we like to avoid the cruise excursion...pricey and crowded.