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3 days north Island new zealand

Ivins, Utah
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3 days north Island new zealand

We are flying into Auckland around 6am and need to pick our son in Nelson 4 days after we arrive in Auckland. We don't plan on spending time in Auckland so what would be the closes place to drive to on the 1st day and still arrive Wellington on the 3rd night. We enjoy more nature than museums but would also be interested in culture thanks for any insight into best drive to take in this short of time.

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1. Re: 3 days north Island new zealand

Hi Carol, welcome to the Kiwi forums.

Hamilton is the closest city to Auckland, heading south. While I don't recommend driving when you first enter NZ, when flying long-haul into Auckland, Hamilton is reached by a combination of southern motorway, dual carriageway, and flattish countryside. Waikato region is a lovely part of NZ's farming scenery but not renowned for its culture aside from theatre, rugby matches, the Hamilton Gardens and the Waikato River - historically important for Maori tribes in this part of the country.

The following day, you could visit the Waitomo Caves before continuing on to Tongariro NP, or over to Taupo for the night. The drive from either central location through to Wellington is a full day's journey, but achievable so long as you have had a good rest on the two previous nights in NZ. No time for sightseeing around Wellington, if you plan to catch the morning ferry sailing across to Picton on your 4th day.

Ivins, Utah
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2. Re: 3 days north Island new zealand

thanks gives me a better idea of travel time

Christchurch, New...
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3. Re: 3 days north Island new zealand

Use www.aamaps.co.nz/#directions for accurtae travel times rather than Google maps, but remember you won't want to drive non-stop for 4 hr as you might in the US.

I would also caution against going any further than Hamilton on Day 1 (about 90 min from AKL). Perhaps go to the Hamilton Gardens or for a walk along the riverbank to get exposure to fresh air & sunshine to help overcome jet lag.

Taupo or Turangi or Tongariro NP would be your most interesting destinations for day 2, depending on your interests, ie photography, short walks vs restaurants.

Are you flying to Nelson from Wellington or driving from Picton? Consider whether your rental car allows the car on the ferry or a switch in Picton.

Ivins, Utah
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4. Re: 3 days north Island new zealand

Thank you for your information. I'm pretty sure we can take the car on the Ferry but I'm double checking now.

Ivins, Utah
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5. Re: 3 days north Island new zealand

Is there anyone else that has ideas for trip from Auckland to Wellington in 3 days. Any suggestions on hotels in any of the towns? We are catching the ferry in Wellington to Picton on the 21st at 8:45 AM. Is there any specific sights we should see if we have the time.

Thanks

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6. Re: 3 days north Island new zealand

Please note, that there is going to be a LOT of driving involved - it is around 405 miles from Auckland to Wellington, and if you manage 50mph during the journey, that is fairly good for New Zealand. The narrow, winding, steep roads of my country should not be underestimated.

Like the others, I too, would not recommend driving directly after a long-haul flight. But as it sounds like you must, head for Hamilton - by New Zealand standards, a fairly good and easy road. Hamilton is not exactly over-run with tourist sights, but it does have an attractive location, surrounded by dairying farmland, on the Waikato River. You might like to have a look at the Botanical Gardens, as others have said, have a look through the Waikato Museum which has a good Maori collection, or just wander down by the river - there are several walkways in the city. There are dozens of motels, with similar facilities, along Ulster Street north of the city centre, and multiple restaurants to choose from along Victoria Street a bit further south.

I would recommend you head across to Rotorua but you are very short on time, there are just too many choices of things to do there, and it would be truly frustrating, so maybe another time.

I would confirm the route suggested by other people, head south from Hamilton to Waitomo Caves - only about 50km. Once you have gone through the caves, seen where Kiri Te Kanawa performed, seen the glow-worms, and been on the boat, take a quick look at the hotel up the hill, and decide if you think it deserves the country's Creepiest Building title...

After that - hot-foot it, so you can get to Tongariro National Park before dark.

If cost is not much of an issue, I would recommend the Chateau Tongariro, Whakapapa, - built to resemble a Canadian Railway Hotel, and very comfortable. The views of the mountains from its large lobby/restaurant area are superb. There are multiple short walks available from SH48 leading up to Whakapapa, (yes, pronounced fah-kah-pah-pah - but no-one is swearing), and more from the village, so you can stretch your legs, and have a look at the scenery. The North Island's main skifield is just above the village, and you get to say you spent the night on an active volcano. There is slightly cheaper accommodation at the Skotel, and cheaper again further distant at the village of National Park.

Others have suggested Taupo, but that's a bit more out of the way, and although its lake is gorgeous and so are the Huka Falls, you have to like doing jet boats and bungy jumping to have much to do there, and they are Expensive.

After this, it's a 330km haul through to Wellington - about four hours. Countryside changes rapidly as you drop off the central plateau through steep, then rolling hills, and finally out onto the coastal plain, with the Ruahine, and then the Tararua ranges on your left. By NZ standards, the traffic starts to pick up around Levin, and be careful on the road from Paekakariki through to Pukerua Bay. After that, it's dual carriageway, and a short stretch of motorway as you approach Wellington. Use caution on the Ngauranga Gorge as you descend into the city - use the central lane, remember it's a 1:12 grade with nose-to-tail accidents very common, and have someone take a photo as you drive up and out over the Ngauranga On-Ramp and the beauty of Wellington and its harbour rises before you.

At Wellington - there are so many hotels and motels I would not know where to begin. Generally speaking, the more you pay, the better value for money you are likely to get. The Novotel up at the far end of The Terrace might be a good choice, take that exit off the Motorway, turn right, and it's about 1km further along on your left. To get back to the Picton Ferry, head out along Jervois, then Aotea Quays.

If you have time in Wellington, visit the National Museum at Te Papa, have a look at the crazy Beehive where the Prime Minister and his crew work from, have a walk down the shopping areas of Lambton Quay and Courtenay Place, go up to the summit of Mount Victoria for great views, scare yourselves watching the aeroplanes come in to land at Wellington Airport (the place is like an aircraft carrier, runway begins in the sea, ends in the sea, has hills along each side and is WINDY!), and there is, of course, the Wellington Zoo at Newtown.

I am sorry that this is a bit patchy on things to see and do, but your time is so limited, that you will not be able to do much, you will mostly be driving.

I hope that you have more time to enjoy things when you get to the South Island - and that you can share the driving.

Ivins, Utah
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7. Re: 3 days north Island new zealand

Thank you so much cdn-npl as the others for all your advice and information-it will help us so much in finializing our plans. It's so hard when your not familiarized with the area and we haven't traveled a lot. This is a biggy for us.

Ivins, Utah
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8. Re: 3 days north Island new zealand

I have had so much good advice about our north island adventure-thanks for that and I will take more- but is there anyone that can give me advice on our 1&1/2 day stay in Sydney. We are more adventureous and would like to see kangaroos (in the wild) and other animals(if possible). I have been told Erouka is a place to see Kangaroos on the way to Blue Mountain-would any one else advice this. We certainly do plan on see the opera house and the bridge. Thanks!!!

PS we are also going to have 4 days in Cairns-any possibility of seeing native animals there. This is all in the latter part of Sept.

California
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9. Re: 3 days north Island new zealand

You should probably post your questions regarding Sydney and Cairns in the Australia forums.

Ivins, Utah
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10. Re: 3 days north Island new zealand

I have had suggestions not to go any further than Hamilton the 1st day after long haul on airplane-(arrive Aukland 5:45 am Sept 18) but we need to with our short time limit. If we messed around in Hamilton to get our barings do you think we could do the Waitoma caves also the 1st day and is there any place we could stay closer to the Tongario NP(sept 19) and then tour that for awhile and then stop somewhere else the night of the 20th closer to Wellington where we need to take a ferry to Picton at 8:45am the 21st. Hope this is all understandable.