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NORTH NEW ZEALAND for 5 days - Need Help with an Itinerary!

Hello - I was planning on going to the North Island from Sun - Fri then head to the South Island. What are some of the must see things in the North Island? I was planning on landing in Auckland, renting a care, head to Taupo Sun night. Mon Tangarino Alpine Crossing trail, Monday night drive to Rototua, spend Mon night andTuesday there, head back to Auckland Tues night. Wed Hobbitron and Waitamo Caves, Thursday explore Auckland! Thought?

Thanks

Posted by
1036 posts

We went to the Tarnaki Maori Village for dinner and had a great time. I highly recommend it.

Posted by
1701 posts

Your current itinerary has you zig-zagging all over the place. Might want to re-look at a map and maybe reorganize things a bit.
One suggestion is to head to Rotorua directly from Auckland on your arrival day - about a 3 hour drive on good roads.
After a couple of nights (ie one full day) there head down to Tongariro National Park. It too is worth a couple of nights. Though the Crossing gets all the publicity, there are other (and frankly prettier) hikes in the vicinity of the Chateau, which is a good central place to stay. If the room cost per night looks a little too steep you can inquire into the Ferguson Villas - part of the Chateau but physically seperated from the main hotel... and with hotel privileges. They're self-catering one and two bedroom apartments that usually go for a lot less than rooms in the Chateau. The kitchen facilities alone will save you a few Kiwi dollars by allowing you to prepare most of your meals in the room rather than having to eat out which can be pretty pricey in that area since it's pretty remote.
Then drive over to Waitomo for your visit to the caves and Hobbiton.
One logistical note: you don't necessarily have to return to Auckland for your flight to South Island. There are direct flights to Christchurch from Rotorua and Hamilton, so with a little reorganizing you can probably squeeze out an extra day by not having to drive all the way back to Auckland for your ongoing flight. Don't recall there being any one-way drop charge for a rental car.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks Robert. I did notice I would be zigzagging all over but didnt really think too much about it. My other choice was to stay in Auckland and do day trips to each area. The other thing I noticed was that all activities for the most part end at 5 pm - any reason for this?

thanks

Posted by
1701 posts

Well, it's rural New Zealand where they tend to close shop relatively early.

Posted by
72 posts

You're possibly underestimating the driving. 4 hours from Auckland airport to Taupo. Taupo to Tongariro is a winding, one lane each way road - another hour or so. Tongariro crossing is not a stroll - read up on what you should expect from this. Tongariro to Rotorua - at least 2 hours - same winding roads (and you'll be tired after the crossing). It would be mad to drive back to Auckland on Tuesday night if you are wanting to see Hobbiton and Waitomo.

This website has lots of good itineraries and suggestions...here's one that covers most of what you want in more logical way.

https://www.newzealand.com/int/feature/rotorua-to-waitomo-itinerary/

Many activities close at 5pm because we have homes to go to!

Posted by
1106 posts

When we planned our Northern New Zealand trip, we stayed in Hahei in the Coromandel Peninsula to visit Cathedral Cove and hike through the Coromandel Peninsula.

We loved this region !

But we were totally turned off of Rotorua - after the delightful and quiet drive from the Coromandel into Hobbiton, we drove in to Rotorua to be hit with dozens of billboards. We felt that the touristy town was just not what we came to experience in New Zealand !

We loved Taupo and Tongariro.

Posted by
1701 posts

Have to agree with Carla about Rotorua. Unless you really have your heart set on seeing it there are better choices to get a taste of what the North Island is all about - with the Coromandel peninsula being one of them.

Posted by
90 posts

Disregard the negative comments about Rotorua. I've been there many times and enjoy the beautiful lakes such as Tarawera, Rotoiti and Lake Rotorua. Go out to the Blue Lake and stand on the hill overlooking the neighbouring Green Lake, The Cedar Redwood forest at Whaka is worth seeing and if you are the slightest bit interested in Maori Culture you won't get closer to it than in Rotorua. Rotorua is a tourist town which means there are obviously going to be signs advertising motels, tourist sights etc as you drive into town. Probably what you would find in many American towns/cities such as Vegas.
In Auckland, there are some good extinct volcanic cones to climb which give you a panoramic view of the city. If you have time go over to Waiheke Island where there are some beautiful beaches, scenic vistas and numerous wineries that make some of NZ's best wines (admittedly pricy). Parnell is good for shopping in Auckland and you can take a ferry across the harbour to Devonport for a stroll along the waterfront. Enjoy NZ. I think you will have a great time.

Posted by
1106 posts

And I meant no disrespect to New Zealand.

New Zealand was a delight and one of our favorite countries of the 74 we have visited!