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New Zealand: Coromandel Peninsula and please critique my itinerary ;)

Hi all! Since I got so many great responses the first time around, I've come back with more questions and a semi-finalized itinerary.

My big questions: favorite places to stay in Rotorua, the Coromandel Peninsula, and near Cambridge(ish)? And do you have any recommendations for what to do for a day in the Coromandel Peninsula area? I love a good hike! Or any autumn/winter friendly activities.

My husband is traveling for work and I am tagging along to Auckland, New Zealand very soon. Because it's work travel and there is nothing they love more than procrastinating, we're making all our bookings and only have about two weeks to plan everything. Luckily, I have been doing my research. We weren't able to take many extra days off, so we're sticking to the northern half of the north island and we'll someday be back to see more. Here's what I've got:

Arriving in Auckland on a Friday: pick up rental car, head to Rotorua and visit the Devil's Gate spa and geothermal area. I'm assuming we'll be wildly tired and not up to much more than that.

Saturday: Get up bright and early to visit Te Wairoa--village, museum, and waterfall.
Spend the afternoon on a hike through the redwoods.
Do the Mitai Maori village experience for dinner time.

Sunday: leave Rotorua, driving over to Hobbiton for an 11:40 am tour + lunch. If there are any other little walks/hikes in the area, I'd love to hear about them

Monday: Waitomo Glow Worm caves tour and bush walk. In the evening we'll head to Auckland. If there are any fun attractions or hikes between here and Auckland, tell me about them.

Tuesday: my partner in travel may be working this day, so I will probably take the ferry to Tiritiri Matangi and explore there by myself for the day if he can't join me.

Wednesday: Another working day, so I'll visit some museums in Auckland and find a walking tour to join. If you have a favorite walking tour, do tell.

Thursday: This might be a working day, but I am thinking of taking the ferry to Rangitoto for a hike either way.

Friday: This is probably not going to be a working day, so we'll plan to head to Waitakere for the day.and do a couple hikes. If work has gone horribly awry, I'll be on my own and doing things in Auckland.

Saturday: I thought we'd head to the Coromandel Peninsula and spend the day and night there. We could go to hot water beach, go hiking, but I'd love to know what people have done there that they loved.

Sunday: We would fly home in the afternoon, so we'd head from where we're staying to the airport that morning.

We'll come prepared for rain and I don't plan on the weather forcing me indoors. It's definitely a short whirlwind, but I'm determined to make the most of it! Thank you all for your help, let me know if I am making any glaring errors in my plans!

Posted by
4634 posts

Well, this is the only thing I saw in the CP, these 2 things were good

Driving is rather tricky, narrow (single lane) stretches with many mirrors to guide around blind spot curves along the coast. Some of the hardest driving I’ve done. Fit this stop in after the Hobbiton tour in the morning and arrival in Auckland in the evening.

The most popular destination is Cathedral Cove on the east side.

Posted by
34 posts

Just to let you know that Cathedral Cove is closed at the moment due to unstable land following the storms last year.

Posted by
960 posts

I did a day tour from Aukland to Coromandel Penninsula. We were taken to the kauri forest, hot water beach, Cathedral Cove (I note it is closed per above poster), and the Driving Creek Railway with great views of the bush from the tower. Kind of an interesting place to me, unique individual with a dream of building a beautiful spot.

I looked for the day tour, but can’t find it. My trip was a few months before Covid lock downs. I guess that is becoming distant times now - thank goodness!

PS - Your itinerary mirrors mine in almost all respects! Have a great visit - I certainly did!!

Posted by
960 posts

A local told me about this ice cream shop in Aukland - central area. Giapo.

I am not an ice cream lover (or foodie), but as I was close, I stopped in. Unique walk-in tasting greeting. Customers are treated to a tasting, much more similar to a wine tasting than a Baskin-Robbins "gimme me a sample", then you place your order. Popular place, so lines can form. I didn't have to wait so it was worth the experience for me. unique flavors.

I've never encountered anything quite like this. Just thought I'd mention.....