I am hoping for some help with the best plan for our situation. We ( husband, myself and 2 and 5 yo) arrive in Auckland April 12 (from Brisbane) at 1pm. We will need to be back to Auckland by the night of the 17 to pick up my FIL (traveling from the US) and then have until the afternoon of the 21st until our flight back to AU. Easter is the 20th.
Originally, I had thought we would base ourselves in Auckland the17-21, but I have read many reviews to get out of the city and that most day trip sites are about 3 hours away. I would prefer to minimize car time to 3 hours/day with the kids.
The two plans I am deciding between (for now):
12-17 head north up west coast to BOI hitting Muriwai black sand beach, kaipari harbour, kauri museum, back via east coast. Coromandel for day/night if time permitted (not sure it will). Return to Auckland for night of 17.
18-21 waitomo caves en route to Rotura. Stay in Taupo to explore lake, craters of the moon, mud baths.
12,13-stay in coromandel
14,15-stay in Taupo, explore Taupo/Rotura
16-not sure of best place to stay, waitomo cave and taranaki region. Black sand beaches, 3 sisters
17-21 base in Auckland. Auckland museum, weiheke island day trip, waitakere coast
Variation of alternative 2 would be to replace time in coromandel at beginning of the trip with Napier or Wellington (via flight) and the head to coromandel at the end of the trip instead of staying in Auckland the 18-21.
My FIL enjoys scenery, wine, and short/easy hikes only. He's not much of a beach goer.
I am very appreciative of any feedback.