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Itinerary help

Anchorage, Alaska
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Itinerary help

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.

Alternative2:

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.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: Itinerary help

I think you have already worked out the options, the most obvious of which are a 4-5 day loop of Northland & a 4-5 day loop of Coromandel-Rotorua-Taupo-Waitomo Caves.

If wine is important to FiL, then flying to Napier on the 17th and driving back via Taupo/Rotorua & Waitomo Caves would work.

There is no wrong choice. You know your family best.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland
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2. Re: Itinerary help

April is too cold usually for the beach anyway, unless we have a day of brilliant weather - which has occurred, but infrequently.

A mix of exploring Northland, followed by the central North Island offers a diverse range of scenery and activities. Arriving at 1pm, you could comfortably drive to accommodation in the NW area of Auckland to enable you to visit Muriwai the following day. Alternatively, stay the first night in a handy location to explore the Waitakere Ranges before heading north via Muriwai and Helensville.

Returning south from Northland, an overnight stop in the Matakana area (wineries), or Hibiscus Coast (Waiwera with its thermal pools, or Orewa township) will set you up nicely for the motorway drive through Auckland.

You should comfortably be able to have one overnight stop in Thames (for the Driving Creek railway) on the 17th April; if your visit to Northland is lessened. Waitomo Caves can then be visited on the return trip to Auckland if you include Thames in the 2nd loop.

Anchorage, Alaska
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3. Re: Itinerary help

Thanks for your replies.. We have decided to stay in Taupo and explore central north island with my FIL. I''m still working on the first half of our trip.

12-arrive 1 pm, collect rental car, drive to coromandel town

13-driving creek rr, waterworks, 309 to east coast. The 309 takes the better part of the day, correct? Stay on east coast

14- boat tour to see cathedral cove in am. Low tide ~12pm, hot water beach- is this doable in a day? Or should we skip the boat tour and see cathedral cove on foot? Both? Stay on east coast again (I think)

15- karangahake gorge enroute to either Auckland or orewa/hibiscus coast. Visit thermal pool

Should we spend the 16 driving to whangarei/tutukaka coast and spend the night there? Return to Auckland the 17 possibly via waipoa forest. Would have to return to Auckland to spend the night the 17. Or is 1 night/2 days not long enough to see a bit of Northland and is it best to explore Waitekere ranges, piha, and Auckland the 16/17? Possibly take the ferry to waiheke island?

Thanks very much.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland
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4. Re: Itinerary help

Staying in the Auckland region will provide you with a good opportunity to explore Muriwai beach and the Waitakere Ranges - west coast beaches on one of the 2 remaining days.

The day-trip to Waiheke island is relaxing, being on the harbour for the ferry trips as well as exploring the island. Waiheke has a good bus network, several private tour options (wineries included), and coastal trails linking the bays near Oneroa (main village).

Christchurch
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5. Re: Itinerary help

The Coromandel 309 road is less than an hour long, excluding stops to take in the scenery.

It is not really practical to visit both Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach in one day as you need to be at both places during low tide. You can still visit Cathedral Cove when the tide is not fully low but you will be wading through water to go through the Cathedral. And anyway, the beach looks prettier at low tide in my view. HWB needs to be visited before the water is in too far which is up to two hours either side of low tide.

Anchorage, Alaska
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6. Re: Itinerary help

Thanks again for your replies. I did not realize we also needed to be at cathedral cove at low tide. Will plan accordingly and spend the remainder of the time in Auckland vicinity.

Anchorage, Alaska
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7. Re: Itinerary help

We reconsidered and decided to head North. I hope no one feels I wasted their time. The current plan is

12- arrive Auckland head to Piha

13-head to Tutukaka taking in sights of Whangarei region.

14- possible dive trip for hubs. Undecided since I think it sounds awesome for him, but is 8-4. Kids and I could go as well, but sounds too long for them. Head to bay of islands that day (late afternoon if he dives)

15-stay BOI, likely go on a half day cruise

16- treaty grounds, drive to Copthorne lodge to spend night

17- kauri forest and museum. Head back to Auckland to spend night near airport to meet FIL when he arrives.

I know we are missing the Cape, but in our limited time with little ones, it just seems wiser to pass. If we did the circle in reverse, should we still stay in Tutukaka or closer to Auckland the 16th?

Thanks.

8. Re: Itinerary help

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