Bay of Islands/Paihia to Auckland?

Jun 15th, 2019, 09:47 AM
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Bay of Islands/Paihia to Auckland?

hi....I am currently planning a February 2020 trip to NZ for a group of 4 "older" adults. Our flight from NA will arrive in Auckland in the early morning, and we plan to continue to Bay of Islands by air the day we arrive, in order to start our holiday there. Although we are planning to rent a car for the bulk of the trip (driving all the way to Christchurch), it appears that we cannot rent a car in Bay of Islands and take it (at least affordably) that far. Nor can we even rent a car in Bay of Islands and take it, affordably, to Auckland, our second stop (drop off fee around $200). Not sure we want to fly back to Auckland and noticed that there is an intercity bus available. Would love some input as to our best option. Thanks in advance.
DavidTH is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 03:41 PM
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How much time will you have for you entire trip? And where else do you plan on going? Most importantly. where do you plan on going after Bay of Islands?. In other words, do you have time to spare? Because, as you know, driving from Auckland to Christchurch (including interisland crossing by ferry) will take a while. Are you not planning on spending any time in Auckland? How long will you be in Bay of Islands?

The first time my husband and I visited Bay of Islands, we first stayed in Auckland, then rented a car, drove up, spent about five nights up there and then returned south to continue our trip through the North Island. Our second visit to the Bay of Islands, we didn't want to do that long drive again, so we flew up to Kerikeri, rented a car for our days there, turned in the car, and then flew back to Auckland. It was so much easier! I can't remember if we rented a car from Auckland and then continued with a driving trip, or if we caught an onward flight..

A couple of friends of mine, both in their 80s, traveled by Intercity bus from Auckland to Paihia a couple of years ago, also in February, and found it easy. Though it was rainy, they had a great time, staying in Russell. If they could do it, I think you can.

Have you checked if you can do one-way car rental from Whangarei, which is about an hour south of Paihia? Also, there's a new express budget bus service from Auckland to Whangarei, called Skip. Supposedly, it's owned by Intercity.
I have no personal experience with the Skip bus. I have taken Intercity on the South Island. I found it reliable. If you book early enough, you should be able to get cheaper fares on Intercity.

Last edited by Diamantina; Jun 15th, 2019 at 03:43 PM.
Diamantina is offline  
Jun 16th, 2019, 09:31 AM
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Thanks so much for the detailed response. We will be in New Zealand for 25 days (not including travel time). Our plans include 2 nights in Bay of Islands (we will arrive there at 9:30 a.m. from our overnight flights), and 3 nights in Auckland, and then we head south. Our plans include no more than 2-3 hours of driving on any given day that we are moving from place to place, and are staying at each stop either 2 or 3 nights. Our last night with the car is in Christchurch, after which we are going to fly to Queenstown. From Queenstown (after 3 nights there) we will fly home, via Auckland.

I think we will look at either the bus or flying back to Auckland from Bay of Islands. The bus for seniors (3 of us are over 60) is $1! I would prefer not to give up a 1/2 day travelling but we will watch the flight fares and see if that works for us. I will look at the Skip bus option as well.

Any other thoughts from anyone else will be much appreciated.
DavidTH is offline  
Jun 17th, 2019, 03:45 AM
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"The bus for seniors (3 of us are over 60) is $1!"
Wow! Short of hitchhiking, how can you beat that? I would take that bus fare ASAP. This way, you'll fly up to save time then return via the land route (which is not so scenic). If you fly back to Auckland, you'll have to catch transport from the airport into the city, which will take at least a half hour, so factor this into your travel times, as well. If you catch the early morning bus, you'll get into Auckland around midday, and won't have to wait too long to check into your accommodation.

Two nights in the Bay of Islands is not much, given that you'll be exhausted on your arrival day. Can you do three nights in the Bay of Islands? What do you plan on doing?

I think you'll want to visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, which is about a half hour walk or five minute drive from Paihia's dock. This is where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. Waitangi Day will be celebrated here on Thursday, Feb 6

I think you'll also want to catch the ferry to the pretty village of Russell.

You might want to see the historic Mission Station in Kerikeri.

Many people also visit the giant kauri trees of Waipoua Forest. While you can catch a tour to Waipoua Forest, I think it's best to self-drive as you can stop along pretty Hokianga Harbor.
About kauri:
About Hokianga Harbor.
If you'd like to visit a kauri forest closer to Paihia, there Puketi forest:

Cruises into the Bay of Islands to see dolphins or visit "hole in the rock" are also popular ( I never got a chance to do this as the ocean was rough on both my visits).''

Another popular excursion is to Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach.

We enjoyed driving up to Doubtless Bay and the pretty little fishing village of Mangonui

Last edited by Diamantina; Jun 17th, 2019 at 03:52 AM.
Diamantina is offline  
Jun 17th, 2019, 02:18 PM
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I left one of Northland's most unusual, yet popular, attractions off the above list:
Diamantina is offline  
Jun 20th, 2019, 10:01 AM
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thanks for the detailed information on Bay of Islands. We have taken your advise and have rebooked our stay there for 3 nights rather than 2. Appreciate your help!
DavidTH is offline  
Jun 20th, 2019, 01:40 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Excellent news! At the very least, Bay of Islands should be a lovely place to relax and get over jet lag after your long journey to NZ. I wish you great weather for your trip!
Diamantina is offline  
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