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Auck, Bay of Plenty, Rotoura, and Tongariro

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We are coming to Auckland this month, around August 20, 2016 for one week. We are three active women. We don't want to drive, but we also don't want to spend too much money.

We will only see the north island, and will stay in Auckland, but perhaps an overnight somewhere else will be necessary.

We have a fair idea of what do it in Auckland, but need help with the remainder of the trip.

We are interested in a trip out of Auckland to see the following:
Rotorua
Maori - haka etc.
Blue & Green lakes
Cathedral Cove
Tongariro National Park
Emerald Lakes

Can we do all this in the winter? If yes, is this a one day or two day trip? Is there something else beautiful we should see? Should we overnight somewhere south of Auckland? We would like to hike a little. Is there an organized tour to most of theses sites or do we need to hire a car and driver?

We also like wineries, and are considering doing a tour of wineries on Waiheke Island. Suggestions on how to do it? Tour or on our own? Transportation on the island?

We also like beaches. Someone recommended Piha and Karekare. Which one (in August)? Is there a way to get there from Auckland without renting a car? Or should we just see Cathedral Cove?

Thank you.
Lynn

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    You can do some of it in winter...I suggest an organised tour to Rotorua for 2-3 days. It's too far for a day trip from Auckland. If you don't want to drive that's the best option. Rotorua is a good place for a winter holiday and try and get a motel with a thermal pool. Most activities will have a shuttle bus organised.
    The Blue and Green Lakes are about 10 km out of the city. Not sure if there are any organised tours or a bus or maybe you could get a taxi.
    Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel Peninsula is difficult to get to by public transport. I'd give it a miss in the winter as you can't predict the weather.
    Emerald Lakes are in the Tongariro National Park but you tramp (kiwispeak for hike)in on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. It's not recommended in winter for anyone but very experienced trampers who can cope with snow and ice and have all the gear as well.
    Waiheke is a great place. We have been on tours and done our own thing by getting the local bus to various wineries as well. Around Waiheke tours are recommended. The Batch winery has it's own shuttle to the ferry terminal.
    Piha has more population so there is probably a bus there but it's likely to take all day for the trip.
    It's pretty cold in NZ right now - big dumps of snow. Auckland had an overnight low of 0 degrees which is very low for us. Bring your warm clothes.
    Not sure about a car and driver as you would have to hire the car and pay the driver. Are you Uber users? Maybe some arrangement could be made with an Uber driver.

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