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Seeking advice New Zealand

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We are arriving in Auckland airport from Australia Nov.7 at 5 pm. We plan to stay in the Viaduct area overnight , get phone package, etc. We plan to drive to Tongariro Nov.8 afternoon. We want to hike the Tangariro day hike Nov.9. If we stay in the village , how far is it to the car park to get the shuttle for the hike? We are unsure which shuttle time to book.
The following day we want to go to the Waitomo Caves or Roturoa and stay at the Auckland airport that night to go to Queenstown the following day. Would you suggest staying in Tangariro after the hike or driving to one of these places and staying there on the 9th? Also Amy suggestions for lodging in any of these places would be really appreciated. We are an active, fit, 59 yr old couple and have been travelling for 6 weeks in Australia and will be in NZ 4 weeks.

Thanks for your help ,
Tanya

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