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Ideas for 5 nights in New Zealand...

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As part of a longer trip, I will be in New Zealand for 5 nights in mid-December. I arrive in Auckland late on a Monday night and depart from Auckland on a Saturday morning, which leaves me with 4 full days to explore what I can of your beautiful country.

My original plan is to spend all 5 nights in Auckland. Through the research I've done so far, it seems like I can see the major highlights of Auckland in 2 full days. Does this seem right to you? If so, that would mean spending 3 nights in Auckland and 2 more for someplace else.

I'm interesting in experiencing Maori culture and / or seeing some of the New Zealand countryside. Rotorua and the Bay of Islands came to mind, but I'm not sure 1.5 days would be enough for either area. Thoughts? Are there other places closer to Auckland that you would recommend for 1.5 days / 2 nights?


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