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New Zealand Trip Basing ourselves in Rotorua

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New Zealand Trip Basing ourselves in Rotorua

We've just booked return flights to Auckland, for a 30 night trip to New Zealand with a 4 month old baby! We have family and accommodation in Rotorua so that will be our base, we are trying to work out a plan for the trip to get the most of our time there. We arrive in Auckland on a Sunday afternoon and were thinking of staying there for 1 night to acclimatize before heading to Rotorua.

Can anyone recommend an itinerary? we were roughly thinking about initially heading South from Rotorua, stopping off at Taupo, then Napier and then on to Wellington. Has anyone done this route? would you recommend it and how many nights would you need at each location, are there any "must sees" on this route that I should include,

On the return trip to Auckland, we were thinking of stopping at Raglan and heading up the coast, maybe finishing our trip with a couple of nights at Devonport, and exploring the city from there.

We'd like to fit in a few nights on the South Island, how long would you need there to see the main sights?

We've never been to New Zealand and want to make the most of the time to see and do lots, as we will be based in Rotorua for a least a couple of weeks, we'd love to hear recommendations of day trips we can take from there too?

Thanks a mil! looking forward to your feedback

New Zealand
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for South Island
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1. Re: New Zealand Trip Basing ourselves in Rotorua

Welcome to the forum :)

you say <<We'd like to fit in a few nights on the South Island, how long would you need there to see the main sights?>> to see the main sights of the South Island, top to bottom, will take 3 weeks, or you can do a small loop of the very scenic lower South island in 10 - 12 days or if wanting to spend just a few nights then fly in/out of Nelson to explore Abel Tasman National Park and Golden Bay - or fly in/out of Queenstown for mountains, lakes and fiords.

happy planning :)

Rarotonga, Cook...
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for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
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2. Re: New Zealand Trip Basing ourselves in Rotorua

Hi coralee,

Rotorua is a very good base for day-trips. You'll be able to explore these places:-


Whakatane & Ohope,

Hobbiton & Matamata


Te Puke


Waitomo Caves

Waikite Valley thermal pools

Te Aroha

Lake Karapiro and Cambridge

Okoroire country pub

Putaruru and Te Waihou river walkway

Maungatautari eco reserve

Lots to do in and around Rotorua too, including thermal activity, Maori culture and arts, museum and history, bush and stream walks, Kiwi-bird sanctuary, lake cruises, lakeside walks, animal-based attractions.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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3. Re: New Zealand Trip Basing ourselves in Rotorua

What you are describing sounds like 3 separate holidays - the 2 weeks in & around Rotorua; a short trip to the SI ( say 1 week) and a quick drive around the lower NI, another week.

How about this for the last 2 weeks:

1. Fly to Queenstown from Rotorua.

2. Pick up rental car & explore Glenorchy, Arrowtown etc.

3. Drive to Te Anau (2N)

4. drive to Milford Sound

5. Drive to Wanaka

6. Drive to Mt Cook

7. Drive to Chch

8. Fly to Wellington (2N)

9. Explore

10. Drive to Napier (2N)

11. Explore

12. Return to Rotorua to say goodbye

13. Drive to AKL

14. Explore - museum; Waiheke Island; Devonport etc.

If you added a day, you could drive from Chch to Picton & take the ferry to WLG.

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4. Re: New Zealand Trip Basing ourselves in Rotorua

Thanks for all the feedback 😊 I need to do a little more research, I am thinking that we may spend the entire trip on the north island rather than trying to fit too much in with a young baby,

5. Re: New Zealand Trip Basing ourselves in Rotorua

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