Best to catch a bus up the night before and stay in Paihia. Its a 4hr drive from auckland, and it wouldnt be smart to drive on the opposite side of windy, narrow, unfamiliar roads in the dark.
I fly in the night before. Aren't there any commuter trains or busses that run very early morning. Are the roads well labeled? Are they lit?
NZ doesnt have a major train network. there are no passenger trains that go north of auckland.
'early mornibg' buses, theyd have to leave Auckland City at least 3am at the latest to have you in Paihia by 7am.
have a look at the bus companies for their timetables. intercuty; naked bus...
from Puhoi tunnel (end of freeway, 30mins on a good run from auckland city) State Highway one is one lane each direction (cept passing lanes). there are mostly only streetlights as you come through townships. there are several particularly narrow and windy parts over hills, that claim many lives with many accidents.
jumping off a 12 hour+ flight from the US, driving on the 'wrong' side at night on unfamiliar roads is NOT recommended, no matter how confident a driver you are. too many locals and tourists die on our roads.
Diving whilst tired isn't a good idea either.
I hope you've left more time between finishing diving and a flight.
Change your dive time to the following day
There is absolutely no way to get to Paihia for 7am if you fly in the night before - it is simply not possible unless you drive yourself, and it would be CRAZY STUPID RIDICULOUS to consider driving yourself at night/early morning having only just arrived on the flight the evening before. Apart from the tiredness / jetlag, the roads after you get north of Auckland are mostly unlit and fairly windy.
I think that the earliest flight from Auckland to Bay of Islands arrives in Kerikeri at 9.20am, and then you have a 20 minute taxi to Paihia. So just before 10am would be the earliest you could get there by any mode of public transport.
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