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Advice on my solo North Island itinerary please

Rochester
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Advice on my solo North Island itinerary please

I am a mature female solo traveler from the eastern US and plan to visit friends in Fiji in February for about 10 days. I’ve never been anywhere in the Pacific and want to extend my visit to New Zealand. I’m not fond of bus tours and am used to traveling solo. I’m not into high adventure or major treks but I enjoy easy hikes, scenery, gardens, different cultures and photography. I am thinking of renting a car and staying in motels.

After many attempts at an itinerary encompassing both islands I decided that such a trip in the time I have available would be a total blur. I am looking at an in depth visit to the North Island in the hope that I can come back and concentrate on the South Island when I have more time.

I would appreciate input on my tentative itinerary.

North Island

Day 1 – Arrive in Auckland from Fiji – rent car? (Depends on flight arrival time – if late, spend night in Auckland) Drive to the Kauri Coast – 1 Night – stay where?

Day 2 – Drive to Bay of Islands – Paihia – 2 nights

Day 4 – Drive Paihia to Hibiscus Coast – Where to stop on the way to Rotorua?

Day 5 – Drive Hibiscus Coast to Rotorua– 2 nights

Day 7 – Lake Taupo – 1 night needed or cover from Rotorua?

Day 8 – Tongariro National Park – short walks? Night needed? Stay 2 nights in Lake Taupo?

Day 9 – Drive to Napier – 1 Night

Day 10 – Drive to Wellington – 2 Nights

Day 12 – Drive to New Plymouth – 2 Night? (may cut)

Day 14 – Drive to Auckland with a stop at Waitomo Caves – 2 Night

Day 15 – Fly Home

I want to avoid one night stops if possible. If I skip New Plymouth and the west coast I would stop at the Waitomo Caves on the way to Rotorua and fly from Wellington to Auckland.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: Advice on my solo North Island itinerary please

If you want to visit Tongariro NP , 2 things come to mind:

I would suggest staying 2 nights near , or in, TNP rather than covering it from Taupo. Taupo is only an hour from Rotorua so day 7 could be Rot-Taupo(lunch & a look at Huka Falls) then on the National Park. Day 8 is then spent explore the NP. i recommend Taranaki Falls as a pleasant half day walk, or you could rid ethe ski lift to get a great view of "Mt Dook" (aka Mt Ngaruahoe).

Otherwise, if you ar e ambivalent about New Pymouth, why not move Tongariro to the return journey and add a night to Napier?

Thus 7 becomes Rotorua ot Taupo to Napier;

8. Explore Napier

9. Drive to WLG (2N)

11. drive to National Park (2N)

12. Explore TNP

13. Drive to Akl via Waitomo Caves ( you might enjoy staying the night in Hamilton and visiting Hamilton Gardens. They are world class and should still be looking pretty good in February. Well worht a couple of hours if you love gardens & photography!!

Rarotonga, Cook...
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for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland
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2. Re: Advice on my solo North Island itinerary please

Zhuhai has given good suggestions.

Day 1. arriving Auckland for an overnight is probably as much as you want to do on your first day in NZ. Explore the harbour area and waterfront by foot or by Explorer bus. Take the ferry services down harbour or across to Devonport.

Days 2 & 3. - BOI for 2 nights, with a third night in Orewa or Waiwera (Hibiscus Coast)? This could be replaced by 2 nights on the Coromandel peninsula with its lovely coastline, beaches, and native bush tracts (kauri trees). Less distance to drive Rotorua as well.

Rochester
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3. Re: Advice on my solo North Island itinerary please

I am leaning towards skipping the west coast as that is a lot of extra driving. I will check out the gardens in Hamilton - they sound great. I know there are a lot of amazing places, but I can't see them all.

New Zealand
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4. Re: Advice on my solo North Island itinerary please

If you like gardens, Pukekura Park in New Plymouth is absolutely beautiful. Taranaki is also very scenic with opportunities for easy hikes. Why not skip Napier instead?

Wellington, NZ
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5. Re: Advice on my solo North Island itinerary please

Good idea about Taranaki. Rich volcanic soil, warm and a high rainfall. They have gorgeous gardens.

Rochester
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6. Re: Advice on my solo North Island itinerary please

Lots of good suggestions. I am now looking at possibly extending my trip by at least a week to be able to include the South Island. I have to rethink how to restructure my itinerary - I may have to cut back on my north Island plans if I want to do both islands.

Ballarat, Australia
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7. Re: Advice on my solo North Island itinerary please

I would agree, for gardens skip Napier and go to Taranaki. There are also good easy hikes around Mt Taranaki and great scenery that way.

If you are going through Taihape on a day when Titoki Gardens are open I would recommend stopping there. acsgarden.com/articles/garden-travel/titoki-…

8. Re: Advice on my solo North Island itinerary please

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