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(Yet another) itinerary check please?

Seattle, WA
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(Yet another) itinerary check please?

DH & I decided upon NZ this year for our holiday. It's been at the top of our list for awhile now, and my little brother is currently doing a semester at Uni. Of Auckland, so we thought this would be the perfect time to visit. I'm trying to finish up our North Island itinerary, but I'd love some input and suggestions where you see fit. We are 36 & 42, healthy, and are up to almost anything but super adrenaline stuff like bungee jumping.

Oct. 21 arrive AKL @7:30am. Drop off luggage at Skycity hotel. I'm going to see about the possibility of early check-in because I know I will be a zombie. If not, probably head off to a cafe.

Oct. 22 explore the city with little bro.

Oct. 23 Day trip from the city via public transport or coach. There seem to be many options! I'm leaning towards Paihia.

Oct. 24 check out of the hotel, Pick up the car hire and head out to Hobbiton. Stay overnight in Taupo.

Oct. 25 Drive to Rotorua for the day to see the geothermal grounds (or would half a day suffice? and we spend time in Taupo) Overnight in Taupo.

Oct. 26 Get up super early & drive to catch a tour boat to White Island. Overnight in Taupo again. This is where DH & I slightly disagree. I think driving fromTaupo to Whakatane in the a.m. and then back again afterwards might be too much. DH thinks it will be just fine and he would rather use Taupo as a base. I will be fine with this if you all think this is doable. After all, I don't drive, so he gets a little bit more say in the matter.

Oct. 27 Check out from Taupo hotel and head up to Waitomo to see the glow worm caves. Head back to Auckland. We have to get the car back by 5pm, though we have no problem paying the late fee if need be. Check into Skycity hotel.

Oct. 28 early afternoon flight from AKL to Queenstown. (Itinerary in the works)

If there is anything else we should do or stops along the way we should make time for? We are nature lovers, like hiking, water, etc. Thanks!

California
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1. Re: (Yet another) itinerary check please?

Why not base yourself in Rotorua? You could easily do a daytrip to Taupo and it would ease the driving to Whakatane.

Seattle, WA
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2. Re: (Yet another) itinerary check please?

That was my initial thought too, but the husband said he prefers Taupo.

I have also been thinking about cutting out Hobbiton and substituting a day at Tongariro.

So, the sites we would want to see: Waitomo caves, Rotorua, White Island, Tongariro. So maybe one night in Rotorua and two in Taupo?

California
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3. Re: (Yet another) itinerary check please?

I guess it depends on what he wants to do in Taupo and Tongariro. The Waitomo Caves are more on the way back to Auckland from either of those two, and a bit of a detour if traveling from Rotorua. Maybe the one night Rotorua, 2 in Taupo would be the best compromise. Take this with a grain of salt from a visitor from California. But traveling distances always seem to be smaller when planning and greater when undertaking.

Have you considered doing the Waiheke day trip from Auckland? I think it's a much better option (as a day trip) than Paihia. Paihia is a lot of time on the road and little at the destination. Waiheke is a bit of time on a ferry and more time to explore the island - wineries and sightseeing.

I'll leave those thoughts with you and hope a DE comes around shortly.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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4. Re: (Yet another) itinerary check please?

What attracts you to Taupo? I would go for 2N Rotorua and 1 at Tongariro if you want to go that way! Taupi to Whakatane & back is an unnecessary waste of your very limited time. While many NZ families love spending a week at Taupo (with a boat) I can only see it being worth an hour for a visitor with limited time.

24. AKL to Rotorua (Hobbiton optional-it is not a great detour); thermal park, Maori concert & hangi

25. Day trip to White Island (if available - there was an eruption last week!)

26. Drive to Taupo via Wai-o-tapu; lunch in Taupo, view Huka Falls; continue on to National Park/Chateau etc.

27. Short walk in the NP eg Taranaki Falls or ride the chairlift for views of "Mt Doom"; drive back to AKL in the pm.

Ballarat, Australia
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5. Re: (Yet another) itinerary check please?

What Zhuhai said.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland
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6. Re: (Yet another) itinerary check please?

I also think that Waiheke Island which is only a 35 minute ferry trip down harbour would be a good substitute for Paihia. Less time travelling, more time to explore. There are also half-day harbour cruises and Gulf tours aboard 360 located in the Viaduct Basin part of the CBD.

Regarding arrival and hotel checkin, if your flight arrives on time, you could be processed and outside the terminal by 8:30am. Travel time into the city could be up to an hour, outside the weekend. By the time you reach Skycity the time would be nearing 9:30am. Best if your body can accustom itself to NZ time, through gentle exercise and not falling into a deep sleep mid morning. Go for that coffee, take in the Skytower scenes, relax a little until usual checkin time to help adjust your body clock.

Ditto with the Rotorua accommodation suggestions.

7. Re: (Yet another) itinerary check please?

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