North Island-driving for 5 days, what would you not miss??
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Apr 29, 2012 8:10 PM Last Post By: Rigel83
Apr 25, 2012 1:21 AM
North Island-driving for 5 days, what would you not miss??Hi all,
I will be flying in Auckland at the beginning of May on a tuesday (about midday) for a 5 day stay (flying back on a Sunday) and I definitely want to see hotsprings at Rotorua, Lake Taupo and Mt. Tauranaki (or an alternative Volcano if you can suggest some similar view)
Consindering I will have to be back to Auckland on Saturday evening what other interesting places would you suggest from Mt. Taranaki up? I am mostly interested in beautiful landscapes and not much into extreme sports but would like to do some Dolphins watch somewhere on the way. I know I can do that at the bay of Islands but I am not sure I will have the time to get up there as well in five days.
Many people had suggested me in general to drive just north of Auckland instead of going south, up to Cape Reinga through Bay of Islands but I am wondering if it's worth it at this time of the year considering these are summer spots.
Any suggestion will be appreciated.
Apr 26, 2012 3:04 AM
Apr 26, 2012 8:02 PM
2There is a saying that you can predict the weather in Taranaki by the mountain. If you can't see the mountain, it's raining. If you can see the mountain, it's about to rain.
Personally, I'd skip Taranaki and see those in National Park as suggested by #1. You don't have time in the 5 days you are here. Taupo will be cold, but it is a nice place and there are some great hot springs to warm you up.
Are you coming from Italy or somewhere closer? If Italy, then you should plan to spend your first day in Auckland; if from Australia, pick up car at the airport and head straight out of the city.
When you look at the outline below - you don't actually have that much time. You will spend a lot of time driving and not much time seeing.
Tues - arrive - afternoon in Auckland
Wed drive to Bay of Plenty ( 3 hours) do dolphin tour in the afternoon
Thurs drive to Rotorua (1 hour) day in Rotorua
Fri drive to National Park stopping off to see the Huka Falls (Taupo) and some sights along the way. Either stay at National Park or Taupo.
Saturday - National Park or Taupo and drive to Auckland (maybe take in a Super 15 Rugby match that evening/afternoon?)
Sunday - fly out
Apr 26, 2012 8:59 PM
Apr 26, 2012 10:09 PM
4Many thanks to all of you for your suggestions.
Despite my misleading nickname and the fact that I am really from Italy, I am coming to NZ from Melbourne where I moved recently so my idea is to get the car and drive south as soon as I get to the Airport.
Combining all of your information I am thinking for something like that and I would appreciate any comment from you locals:
Tues - arrive 1pm- driving to Bay of Plenty, sleeping in Tauranga or somewhere nearby
Any suggestion about accomodation in the range 60$-80$?like a website or type of accommodation to look for?
I am the kind of person who does not like to spend much for hotels as I use them just to have a decent sleep and don't spend much time there.
Wed- Dolphin Watch in the early morning at Tauranga and driving to Rotorua or Waiotapu in the afternoon and sleep there
Any alternative to Tauranga for Dolphin watch?
I have been told that Rotorua is not a good place to sleep? any alternative nearby?
What is the real difference between Rotorua & Waiotapu, are they mutually exclusive?
Thurs-day tour in Rotorua and Waiotapu, driving to Lake Taupo and sleeping there
Fri - Huka Falls (Taupo) in the early morning and National Park rest of the day.
Any short walk (2/3 hours max) to get to see some Volcano in Tongariro National Park ??
My hometown in Sicily is just by the side of Mt. Etna and I am eager to see some similar view, will make me feel like at home I guess;)
Saturday – Driving back to Auckland and Waitomo glowworm cave on the way. Sightseeing Auckland in the evening
Sunday – Sightseeing Auckland maybe some of the Islands in the morning and flying out in the afternoon (6pm)
Hope that's not too many questions. Thank you!!
Apr 27, 2012 9:05 PM
Five days isn't long but you can cram in quite a lot if you are prepared - good on you for making plans now :)
I would say your basic route sounds pretty good.
There are a few places for dolphin watches around Mount Maunganui and Tauranga or you could go further east along the Bay of Plenty to Whakatane where they offer dolphin trips - if money is not a problem you could also get to see your volcano there as you can have a trip out to White Island, an active volcano. From Whakatane you can still get down to Rotorua via Kawerau (very scenic route past a few lakes)
Rotorua is worth a look and I would say you can find somewhere basic but decent to stay overnight too (not sure who told you not to stay there - maybe its because of the sulphur smell! but you get used to that!)
Don't know how basic you want to go with accomodation but have you looked at any backpacker lodges ? http://www.cactusjackbackpackers.co.nz/Home.aspx is one I just found but there will be loads
otherwise lots of motels or cabins at motor parks will be your next option.
Rotorua has LOTS to see and do and also a fairly good range of bars, restaurants if you want to go out at night.
Taupo (Huka falls is on way in and won't take you very long) and the National Park (you won't have a lot of time but will hopefully get chance to see enough) then drive back up through King Country / Waitomo / Waikato
The caves are good but very expensive - some local alternative things to do for free if head out on the Marokopa road (see my blog www.kiwiblogbus.com for recent posts on this)
Drive up through Pirongia (I've also blogged about this!) and if you get time on way to Auckland have a look at Raglan on west coast (very popular surfing spot with black volcanic beaches and stunning harbour).
In Auckland I would recommend Sky tower (eat in the restaurant and you don't have to pay for separate lift pass), Museum (just pick one part to look at as it's pretty big), walk round harbour, get ferry out depending where you have time but at the very least you can go over to historic Devonport.
Hope this helps
Apr 27, 2012 9:12 PM
Apr 29, 2012 8:10 PM
7If you want to get out of the beaten path and go to an amazing places that not many people go, I would recommend you to go to Donut Island, in Whangamata.
Here there is more info:
Enjoy your trip!
Turangi & AroundBook now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$29.56 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$19.51 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$106.66 per night