Want advice on Bay of Islands or alternative place closer to Auckland?
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Nov 19, 2012 1:21 PM Last Post By: LisaMNZ
Nov 17, 2012 5:44 PM
We arrive in AKL at 5.15 p.m. with Air NZ and then want to drive north within vicinity of Bay of Islands as we want to stay somewhere suitable for 4 nights and tour around north of here before heading south to Thames.
I have looked at travel times and it would seem that BoI is maybe too far as we will be arriving in dark. I am looking to find a bach with a view etc and am almost going cross eyed in process.
It would seem that Whangarei may be good spot but I really need your local feedback as to other realistic possibilities. Please pretty please!
We will hire a car for 12 days and my research suggests that Apex is as good as any including the lesser known providers. We will have to drive south to Thames for another 4 nights stop as yet undecided, and then will have another 4 days to play in the north island before going home from AKL - MEL.
Looking forward to your local input. JoyV
Nov 17, 2012 6:13 PM
1Yes, you need to get the ferry from Paihia over to Russell. If you arrive in the dark what time exactly then we'll know how far north to get you to sleep.
Nov 17, 2012 7:12 PM
2Thanks westwood. Plane is scheduled to arrive at 5.15 pm and reckon it could be 6 before we get to car hire and that may take an extra half hour so 6.30 before we get on road... maybe Auckland luggage handling and paperwork at Apex is quicker than Melbourne?
Then we want to go North and stop for 4 nights before going to Thames for birthday celebrations. Thought maybe we could then go to Taupo for a few nights before heading back to AKL for flight home on day 12.
thanks for your input. JoyV
Nov 18, 2012 4:23 PM
3You don't HAVE to get a ferry to Russell, but it's a very very long drive to go round the landside.
The ferry from Paihia is a pedestrian only ferry (is this right westwood? I don't think it's changed?). To get a car across, you would need to get the ferry from Opua across.
I really, really wouldn't get a bach somewhere around Whangarei, and I say that as someone who grew up there.
To be honest, I wouldn't get a bach in Russell either. With the amount of time you've got, you'll be itching to get out and explore by car - and as you can tell, that's not terribly easy from Russell. It's probably best visited on foot from Paihia, as part of a visit to Waitangi, Paihia, etc.
I've seen some absolutely beautiful, fairly isolated-feeling baches along the coast south of Paihia. However you're not going to get sandy beaches in the BoI unless you are willing to drive quite a long way out - like towards Rawhiti. It's a long way.
I think... I'd find a b&b, rather than a bach, for your first night somewhere along the coast near Warkworth. That's a very easy drive, the road is like a highway most of the way now, and then you've just got a stretch of smaller road to wherever you stay for the night.
Then you could either head back to SH1, and drive straight up to BoI, or you could continue along the coast - Leigh, Pakiri beach, Mangawhai, Waipu Cove, then back on to SH1 and drive THROUGH Whangarei and on up to BoI.
I just had a quick look, but there are LOADS of b&bs around Warkworth/sandspit/matakana area and I'm not sure what your budget is.
Nov 18, 2012 6:15 PM
4I agree with Lisa - both on her recommendations of beaches and not staying IN Whangarei (the beaches around there are pretty stunning though - Matapouri being one of my favourites in the entire country).
At that time of night you shouldnt hit much traffic heading North and would reach Warkworth in just over an hour at a guess. From there its only a short trip to a number of stunning beaches.
From here you can head up for day trips to Paihia and the Tutukaka Coast or explore the surrounding area with Matakana providing a number of vineyards for wine tours, great little weekend markets and Goat Island near by (a marine reserve with top snorkelling).
Hope this helps
Nov 18, 2012 6:45 PM
Nov 18, 2012 7:08 PM
6Oh yea. Lisa. Forgive the geographically challenged. I picked someone up from the airport last week and because it was morning peak hour traffic, I thought we'd take the long way via Kawakawa Bay and Clevedon/ Maraetai. Ended up at some beach God knows where and took only 3 wrong turns from there into Auckland.
Nov 18, 2012 7:44 PM
Nov 18, 2012 7:52 PM
Nov 18, 2012 11:15 PM
9LisaMNZ and westwood, thanks for your ideas.
We will take advantage of your suggestions in our travels around the area. After looking at hundreds of holiday places on the web I have booked accommodation in Onerahi, near the yacht club and jetty. It is only 2 hours from AKL and hopefully will provide a good stopping off place for us. JoyV
Nov 18, 2012 11:34 PM
Nov 19, 2012 4:00 AM
11Should have added that we expect to arrive there at 8.15 p.m. or so and we will still be on Melbourne inner timeclocks , 2 hours behind. Think it may be wise to bring some packet food to eat for dinner as shops will be closed by the time we get on the road. Would that be ok with customs? JoyV
Nov 19, 2012 1:09 PM
Nov 19, 2012 1:21 PM
13yeah, don't bother with the food etc.
While the supermarket in Onerahi is very small and won't be open late, Countdown in Whangarei is open till 10pm and you'll basically drive right past it on your way to Onerahi.
I can do Auckland to Whangarei in around 90 minutes, but it'll probably take you longer being unfamiliar with roads etc. And starting at the airport rather than central city.
It might be a good idea to stop somewhere on the way for some dinner? if you want suggestions... Warkworth would probably be a good halfway point.
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