Auckland / North Island Help

Mar 13th, 2005, 10:41 AM
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Auckland / North Island Help

We are going to be in Auckland and the northern island in the middle of June, and I could use direction on what to see. What are some places that we cannot miss? My family is big on outdoor sites, wildlife, and cultural events (i.e. museums, zoos...). Also any interesting shopping areas would be nice too.

Finally, I thought I read that the Auckland half marathon is during the middle of June, but I havenít been able to find any dates or other information about it. Does anyone know anything about it?


bbartley1 is offline  
Mar 13th, 2005, 02:50 PM
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One place I would give a pass is Cape Reinga. It's a long ways and there is nothing worth seeing there, IMO.

Do visit Roturua, it's really interesting there, and going to one of the Maori dinners is also worth the time.

A sheep show is also interesting, especially for kids.

Black water rafting is a lot of fun and a different experience altogether!

Underwater World in Auckland is really neat and I think the first of it's kind.

Another place I don't think is worth a stop unless you have a lot of time (we had almost three weeks) is Napier.

rapunzll is offline  
Mar 13th, 2005, 08:49 PM
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There are several islands accessible from Auckland via ferry. My favorite is Rangitoto, a little dormant volcano that is easily climbed and gives some of the most dramatic view of Auckland and the surrounding region. Another good choice is Tiritiri Matangi, which has several hiking trails and abundant birdlife. Lastly, there's Kawau, which has domestic and exotic (imported) wildlife, and some historic structures.

The Auckland Zoo is quite nice, and has been slowly progessing from an old-style bars-and-cages zoo, to a modern habitat-style zoo.

As mentioned above, Kelly Tarleton's Undersea World is a fun visit. The best parts are the perspex (us Yanks call it plexiglass) tunnels that lie at the bottom of huge tanks filled with fish and other marine denizens. The Antarctic section is great too.

The Auckland Museum is worth a visit too, although some of the old exhibits are kind of musty. It too is being completely renovated, and is mostly done now. The Maori Hall is particularly notable. Find out when dance performances are scheduled.

As for the half marathon, you may be referring to the Papakura Half Marathon, which is commonly held in early June, but is not on the running schedule for 2005. The contact for that race is [email protected] . There is the Harbour Capital Half Marathon on June 26, but that is in Wellington. Here is a Web site with most of the running events scheduled in NZ:

Outside of Auckland, I too would recommend explorations in the Waitomo cave region, such as blackwater rafting, which is a wonderful experience. There are other adventures here, ranging from simple guided cave walks to very demanding spelunking expeditions and deep descents down long shafts.

We also like the Bay of Islands area, particularly the boat rides our into the islands. Check out the 'Cream Route' trip, which visits several islands and winds through some great scenery.

You might be interested in the remains of the ancient giant Kauri forests, north of Auckland. These trees are every bit as spectacular as California's sequoias.

The Rotorua area is fun, with all sorts of geothermal features. Whakarewarewa is the most well-known area, but we would also recommend the areas further south, near Taupo, such as Craters of the Moon, and the 'Hidden Valley' of Orakei Korako.

Lastly, a great adventure would be to take a helicopter or boat out to White Island, a recently-active volcanic island off the coast near Whakatane.
ALF is offline  
Mar 13th, 2005, 09:08 PM
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The weather probably won't be good enough to do the Tongariro Crossing, but there are other nice hikes in Tongariro National Park. Egmont National Park has some good trails as well. Always be sure to check in with the visitor center at the park before you go out hiking.

Te Papa Museum in Wellington is a must-see with lots of great stuff for all ages.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Mar 14th, 2005, 01:30 PM
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The North Island has some wonderful activities - but I'm not sure if the time of year you'll be there will work well with some of the water activities usually offered in their summer/fall seasons.

In Auckland, we visited Kelly Tarlton's - just taking a look at the size of some of those freshwater eels was worth the price of admission. We did a half day winery tour, my sister and husband climbed the Auckland bridge and I went skydiving.

In Waitomo, I did both blackwater rafting and the "Lost World" abseil tour - both were excellent and I highly recommend it. I was pretty tired at the end of the day, though - I wouldn't recommend doing both tours back to back if you can help it.

In Rotorua, we did a whitewater rafting tour, which was a lot of fun. We visited the Polynesian spa (very relaxing) and the Agrodome - interesting and entertaining.
chepar is offline  
Mar 14th, 2005, 06:09 PM
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I forgot to mention that we also enjoyed black water rafting in Waitomo, and we had a good time at the Maori concert and hangi at the NZ Maori Arts and Crafts Institute at Te Whakarewarewa in Rotorua.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Mar 15th, 2005, 10:27 AM
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Thank you all for your suggestions.
bbartley1 is offline  
May 3rd, 2005, 02:03 PM
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Is it too cold to do black water rafting in June?
kmjmmm is offline  
May 3rd, 2005, 08:12 PM
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I don't know if it would be too cold. When you go, you wear polarfleece socks and a pullover over your swimsuit and under your full wetsuit. The water was cool in late April, but not too cold.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
May 7th, 2005, 03:45 AM
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Hi Lee Ann,
There's two companies offering black water rafting. Which did you go with and is there any chance of swimming in the waters?
Also, where would be recommended for the Maori culture and Hangi? I've heard of Te Puia, Whakarewarewa Village, Tamaki Maori Village, NZ Maori Arts & Crafts Institute. I'm slightly confused that Te Puia is / is not Whakarrewarewa Village?
Chenoa is offline  
May 7th, 2005, 09:36 AM
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I also recommend blackwater rafting as for being cold, I went mid-June to early July (would have to get jornal out to find a more exact date) & it was fine, the wet suits keep you warm & it does require a little physical activity which also keeps you warm.
Kids may find the glow worm caves a cool place to visit.
If you can go to a real Maori dinner where they cook the food in a pit in the ground, best lamb you will ever have, along with pumpkin (not the same as our pumpkins) and whatever else they decide to cook in there.

missk is offline  
May 7th, 2005, 10:11 PM
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Hi Chenoa,

We went with Black Water Rafting's Black Labyrinth tour - . This tour doesn't involve any swimming; we walked down a trail to the cave (the trail was a cool place to see more glowworms after dark), hiked into the cave down to the river, floated for a while, jumped off a 6-8 feet high waterfall (backwards while holding an inner tube over your backside), floated more, and had a super time.

The NZ Maori Arts and Crafts Institute is at Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve just south of Rotorua. They do the Mai Ora concert and hangi -

Are you planning to go back to New Zealand? I'd love to sometime in the not-too-distant future. If you'd like to see our pictures from the hangi, they are at . There's also one of dh and me before we went cave tubing, but I'll warn you that I don't look all that great in a wetsuit.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 03:05 AM
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Hi Lee Ann,

I may be going back to NZ (North this time) in about a month or two. But it will be a very short trip since I'm tagging along my hubby and his colleagues on a work trip to Tauranga. Perhaps we will have 3 or 4 days of leisure. Yet to plan.
Chenoa is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 08:59 AM
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Blackwater rafting sounds like big fun. Was thinking of combining a three hour trip with a visit to Rotorua, as part of a long day's tour out of Auckland.

Any thoughts on whether a morning or afternoon blackwater trip would be better? I was thinking an am tour, which would get us back on the road by 1 for a the drive to Rotorua... The other option would be to spend the am in Rotorua, and take in the 3:30 blackwater rafting trip...

Long days are are the "norm" for us...
Wherenow is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 11:10 AM
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If you're in fairly decent shape, you could do it either way. If you're not, I would do it in the morning; otherwise, you might feel too tired to drive to Rotorua.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Aug 10th, 2005, 07:13 AM
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great pictures Lee Ann!!

have narrowed down some of my sightseeing options, too...
flygirl is offline  

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