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koa Jun 21st, 2005 02:38 PM

drive time
What is the best route from Rotorua to Wellington and how long is the drive?

ElendilPickle Jun 21st, 2005 02:58 PM

We went south through Taupo-Turangi-Tongariro National Park (spent the night there and hiked the next day), then through Ohakune and Taihape - we were going to go on Hwy. 2 and stop at Kaitoke Regional Park in Upper Hutt on our way, but realized we wouldn't get there until dark because we'd locked our keys in the car in Ohakune and then gotten a flat tire along the way. So we ended up getting on Hwy. 1 at Palmerston North or thereabouts. That takes you down the Kapiti Coast into Wellington, and it's a lovely drive. You can't go wrong either way IMO.

It's about a 4 1/2 to 5-hour drive if you don't stop much, according to the AANZ chart.

Lee Ann

koa Jun 21st, 2005 05:14 PM

Thanks Lee Ann, I was getting mixed answers, some saying as long as 6 hours! So are there basically 2 highways to Wellington?

ElendilPickle Jun 21st, 2005 05:59 PM

Koa, I don't have a good map in front of me, but basically, once you're close to Wellington you'll be on Hwy. 1 or Hwy. 2. They merge just outside the city.

Try this website - - for more accurate directions and distance charts.

Lee Ann

Kiwi_acct Jun 22nd, 2005 05:03 AM

Hi Koa,

From Rotorua, you will travel South to Taupo and there you meet up with highway 1. This is the most direct route to Wellington.

As Lee Ann said. If you drive straight through it is about 5 hours without stopping to get to Wellington.

If you do detour to Highway 2 you will be over on the East coast and this will greatly extend the time it take to travel south.

South of Taupo you will head through Turangi, Waiouru, Taihape, Bulls and onto the Kapiti coast and Wellington on highway 1. This is the most effective way south to Wellington.

Highway 2 does end up in Wellington but it comes in from the Hawkes Bay. Which while a very nice place to visit, is a bit out of your way.

Hope this helps


koa Jun 22nd, 2005 10:48 AM

Thanks steve, I was hoping for a good detailed way to get into wellington. So its about a 5 hour drive without stops?

Kiwi_acct Jun 22nd, 2005 04:12 PM

Hi once again

I went onto one of the websites which does time alculations for you. It suggests the travel tim would be over six hours. However this is allowing for a slower average speed and stopping for around 10 minutes every hour. If you were to travel at the speed limit and not stop. (Not that I am recommending that you go like a bat out of hell though) you would get to Wellington in around 5 to 5.5 hours. It does to a certain extent depend on traffic as well.

The route into Wellington on highway 1 can and doeas get congested if you are travelling at peak times.



koa Jun 22nd, 2005 08:20 PM

Thanks steve, i plan on driving at the speed limit (of course!) and probably make a lunch stop. Any reccommended places to eat along the way!

Kiwi_acct Jun 22nd, 2005 09:29 PM

Hi once again

When travelling this route we have stopped at the Flat Hills Tea rooms

Years ago they used to have a pig in a field out front and when travelling with my mother she insited we stop so she could see it. She loves pigs,(Don't ask).

I have not stopped there for a few years but I do remember that the food was fair and the people reasonably friendly.

By the way, if you do have a bit of spare time they have a Jet Sprint course on site (A jet boat which goes very fast round a tight course of canals). Give it a go. They are great fun. Went in one in Rotorua a few months back. A real adrenelin rush.

Other options are cafes and tearooms in Taihape . Do not expect great sophistication at these places but you should all the same get a good cup of coffee.

You could also check out the aeroplane cafe in Mangaweka, just south of Taihape. Hopefully this is still open, there was a rumour it had closed, but it is a cafe in an old DC3. Bit different. Just on the side of highway 1.

Hope this helps.

For large parts of your journey you will be in countryside with towns small and well spaced. So choices of stop offs are limited.

You could of course buy a cooked chicken, a loaf of bread and some juice and water and picnic on the side of the road along the way.



koa Jun 23rd, 2005 10:55 AM

That cafe in the plane sounds cool. We ate at a similiar place in manuel Antonio national park in Costa Rica. Thanks for all the tips!

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