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Best Scenic route from Rotorua to Auckland?

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Sydney, Australia
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Best Scenic route from Rotorua to Auckland?

Hi all,

After looking at a map and realising there are many options on routes to drive from Rotorua to Auckland I would love some advice from the locals and experts. We have a full day to complete the drive and are looking at going via the costal route of highway 2/25. Where should we start after leaving Rotorua eg Whakatane, Paengaro, Tauranga? Then head up to Kuaotumu, or from Hikuai to Thames and around to Auckland? Which are the "must see" areas and are there some which we could skip? Advice on where to stop and what to see on the way too would be much appreciated also.

We will be traveling in early May and enjoy nice scenic drives with stops for coffee and lunch on the way somewhere nice.

Thanks in advance,


Christchurch, New...
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1. Re: Best Scenic route from Rotorua to Auckland?

I think Whakatane is too far out of your way. Perhaps Rotoura to Te Puke; to Tauranga; Waihi; Thames; Auckland. Use www.aamaps.co.nz to calculate travel time & distance. This route is about 5 hours driving.

Rotorua New Zealand
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for Rotorua
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2. Re: Best Scenic route from Rotorua to Auckland?

Hi Annette,

You are going out of your way to visit Whakatane.

Rotorua to Paengaroa, Te Puke, Mount Maunganui (stop at one of the good cafes here) Tauranga, Katikati ( see murals denoting history of the town), Waihi (see the open cast goldmine). Depending on where in Auckland you are staying and how much time you have left before darkness, you may want to go to Auckland via Miranda and the Shorebird coast. Our shortest day is in June so your hours of visibility are shortened and if the weather is not very kind, it could be dark by 6 p.m.

If you are Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit followers there may be a possibility of visiting Hobbiton (see www.hobbitontours.com) if you travel to Auckland via SH5 & SH27.

You could also visit the Waitomo Caves SH30 & SH1 if you prefer to see glowworms, caves, do blackwater rafting. www.waitomo.org.nz

Plenty of choice but it depends on what you want.

3. Re: Best Scenic route from Rotorua to Auckland?

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