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Driving condition Auckland - Rotorua

Sydney, Australia
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Driving condition Auckland - Rotorua

Hi there,

We are coming to NZ next week! We will drive from Auckland to Waitomo Cave and then Rotorua in 2 days. Just wondering if hiring a Corolla will be good enough for the road condition in this route? We have booked a Camry now but changing to a Corolla will be a cheaper option.

Thanks/Lily

London UK
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1. Re: Driving condition Auckland - Rotorua

It is sealed road all the way. We drove in NI and SI in a Daihatsu Siriron, a 1300cc compact and had no problem. You should have no problem with a Corolla.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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2. Re: Driving condition Auckland - Rotorua

WestLondoner is right. The Auckland - Waitomo - Rotorua - Auckland route isn't particularly scenic but it is also reasonably flat so you are fine with a car with a low cc rating. Although in saying that, I also think a Corolla would be fine just about anywhere in the country.

Unless you have a specific reason for going there, my only suggestion is to bypass Hamilton in both directions. This is because it seem to take ages now to pass through Hamilton city and the country routes around it are not just quicker, but argueably more interesting. When traveling down to Waitomo, turn off at Ngaruawahia and follow Highway 39. When travelling from Rotorua to Auckland, turn off at Cambridge and follow Highway 1b. Just make sure you watch the signage on this route because the small length of road actually has quite a few intersections.

Have a fun trip.

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Driving condition Auckland - Rotorua

Cooly, thanks for the quick response. One more question, do u think a GPS is needed in NZ? driving route is North: Auckland - Waitomo-Rotorua, and South: Queenstown - Milford Sound-Denudin-Mt Cook-Christchurch.

I personally think its not necessary but my husband wants to have one (and he is the only one who drives=) )

thanks

Lily

Takapuna, New...
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4. Re: Driving condition Auckland - Rotorua

You won't need a gps to get around the country, but it may be useful to find your accommodation if you have reservations.

New Zealand
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5. Re: Driving condition Auckland - Rotorua

I would recommend a GPS to anyone who is travelling, they are a Godsend, saves time and arguments, allows the driver and navigator to see more of the countryside, there's no need to keep referring to the map, no worries finding anything, straight there- take the scenic route or the direct route your choice, you are never lost. All you need is a healthy dose of common sense and a backup map to make sure the route is the one you want to travel on.

I missed the whole west section of Scotland because the GPS took me up the middle on the shortest route to Fort William when I was quite happy to do a "tiki-tour".

I would not travel without one! Time saved can be spent doing other things!

Wanaka, New Zealand
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6. Re: Driving condition Auckland - Rotorua

I agree with Zappers. I bought a GPS recently after my husband's insistence that we didn't need one, but even he is now reluctantly admitting that it's quite useful. I use it regularly for getting around Auckland, and I used it recently on a trip down to Rotorua, despite having been to Rotorua countless times during my life. It was so helpful to be able to programme in our motel and then get it to lead us back there quickly and easily after each excursion. On a couple of occasions, I even discovered that the routes I have been traveling for years aren't actually the quickest or easiest.

Just one thing worth mentioning though is about how some (all?) of the newer GPS units pronounce street names. Their pronunciation of Maori place names is beyond bad, it's awful! My husband and I find we either cringe or laugh at just about every Maori place name that comes out of the machine. While most tourists probably wouldn't be any the wiser and will still easily be able to work out what streets are being referred to, I wouldn't recommend copying the GPS when talking to locals :-)

Edited: 25 February 2010, 03:33
Wanaka, New Zealand
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7. Re: Driving condition Auckland - Rotorua

I just thought of an example.

Many NZ place names have 'Puke' in them which means hill and is pronounced similar to (Pooh-care). However, every time my GPS pronounces it, is says 'Puke' (as in to vomit). It makes me a laugh everytime. :-)

Santa Clara, CA
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8. Re: Driving condition Auckland - Rotorua

Personally as a recent visitor to NZ, I found that good old fashioned maps were more than enough to navigate around and the only place I had trouble was to find my cousin's home in Dunedin. Of course I didn't drive to a hotel in either Auckland or Christchurch (both places we were picked up) so maybe it is a big city thing. But I was pretty happy to have saved the money for the GPS.

London UK
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9. Re: Driving condition Auckland - Rotorua

There is really no need for a GPS. All the roads are well sign posted and street maps of the major town you may wqant to visit are easy to download. For all our driving, NI and SI, we used the Rough Guide Map of New Zealand with a scale of 1:1,000,000 (1cm = 10 km). This map is virtually indestructible. is spill proof, tear proof and easily read.

The scenery is so spectacular you will not want to be distracted by the GPS.

Bon voyage.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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10. Re: Driving condition Auckland - Rotorua

"The scenery is so spectacular you will not want to be distracted by the GPS"

LOL. I would argue that that's half the reason for getting a GPS. Instead of having your head buried in the map, both driver and passenger can have their eyes on the road and lovely surrounds. When using it properly, you shouldn't need to look at it while driving.