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Last minute trip to NZ North Island, two weeks to plan!!!!!

Last minute trip to NZ North Island, two weeks to plan!!!!!

Dec 14th, 2011, 08:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,112
Last minute trip to NZ North Island, two weeks to plan!!!!!

Our Emirates points are due to expire at the end of this month, so we've managed to book two return flights to Auckland. Now with the busy lead up to Christmas & madly planning a March trip to Asia, we have to plan our time wisely for NZ.

We've only really done the South Island before, both times based in Queenstown for skiing. I know we could get a ferry and do the wine region of Marlbrough (which we would love to do) but we're also thinking that as we only have a week, maybe we should spend it on the North Island. We have been to Auckland once before, would you believe just overnight as a surprise anniversay dinner??? ;-)

So any ideas of how to fill in our time would be much appreciated. We don't love staying in city's, we love B&B's or small hotels, we most enjoy gentle walks (don't mind long, just not too hard) with amazing scenery and we LOVE food & wine. Oh yeah, we are both 49 .

Thanks as always,
aussiedreamer is offline  
Dec 15th, 2011, 10:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 297
DH and I just had a lovely 5 days in Rotorua. Here are some of the activities we enjoyed:
Hiking here...http://www.waimangu.co.nz/
We rented mountain bikes and biked in the most beautiful forest.
We Zorbed
We took a Amphibious Duck tour on a rainy day.
Soaked in the hot pools at the Polynesian Spa

En route back to Auckland, we took the Lost World tour at Waitomo caves. This entails abseiling 100 meters into an amazing cave...clambering through the cave for about an hour and the climbing the tallest ladder I've ever seen back to the surface. Soooo much fun!!!

It was a busy 5 days.

As for accommodations, I can highly recommend Regent of Rotorua. Lovely rooms and really super staff. Location is great as it's just a couple of blocks to "Eat Street".

I was afraid we'd be disappointed in Rotorua, having previously spent several weeks on the South Island, but we had a fantastic time, and wouldn't hesitate to return.
dkw is offline  
Dec 16th, 2011, 05:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 72
Bay of Islands, great hiking, outdoor activities, parasailing, etc. and Hot Water Beach!!
RSS is offline  
Dec 16th, 2011, 10:20 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 866
With one week, flying into Auckland, I would stay on the North Island. How much you see depends on how leisurely you want to be vs. how much you want to fit in to your week. Coromandel and the Rotorua region would be a nice, leisurely trip especially considering it's summer there. Or you could try and fit in the Bay of Islands too.

Or, if you are set on the Marlborough region, you could book a flight to Nelson. Spend 3 days in Abel Tasman area and 3-4 days in the Marlborough area. Abel Tasman and Marlborough were our favorite parts of our NZ trip and in summer it would be heavenly! We made our base here for our time in Abel Tasman, it's a lovely little house with beautiful views of the surrounding hills and wonderful hosts:


Have a great trip!
britomart is offline  
Dec 16th, 2011, 04:42 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,112
Thanks so much everyone, we will stay on the North Island, not enough time to mess around with flights etc.

Coromandel looks nice, love all the tips and will follow them all up.

Thanks again.
aussiedreamer is offline  
Dec 18th, 2011, 05:15 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 210
I, my teen brothers, and my dad recently did a bit of a circuit in the North Island in honour of my 21st birthday ( in late November ) and these are some of the things we discovered...

We had two days in Rotorua and on day 1 we did ZORBING ( rolling down a hill inside a giant plastic ball ) which is certainly adventurous, but perhaps not for everyone...and we visited The Bath House, which is the museum of Rotorua, a beautiful building with some interesting exhibits ( if you go there you should definitely climb up to the rooftop lookout ).

Day two we spent the morning at Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland, which is a very nicely situated geothermal park about half an hour south of Rotorua. They have a neat geyser there that erupts at 10:15am every day, and lots of stunning geothermal features including a beautiful orange coloured steaming lake, gorgeous water/mud cascades, and scenic native bush walks. To walk the entire park takes 1 and 1/2-2 hours and is well worth the time spent. In the afternoon we continued down towards Taupo and turned off to find Orakei Korako, the hidden valley. It does seem like the road is going nowhere for a while but once you get there, WOW! Set on the far bank of a beautiful river, the Orakei Korako geothermal park is breathtaking! You travel by a short boat ride to reach the valley and then you just follow the wooden planked walkway. It is beautifully refreshing and the best part is, it's very secluded and off the beaten path, so there weren't many people there at all, maybe ten-fifteen during the two hours that we were there vs. Wai-O-Tapu, which had crowds of tourists ( for good reason though ). The silica formations in the valley are truly stunning and you won't regret going there!

The next couple of days were just catching up with friends etc. But on day 5 ( we were in Hamilton by the end of day four ) we headed up to Matamata to tour the movie set "Hobbiton" from the Lord of the Rings films. If you are at all a fan ( of the books or movies ) this is seriously THE coolest place ever! I thought so anyway....( but then I am a fan, nerd, geek etc. about the movies, books, and everything after that ). In the late afternoon we headed north and ended up in Tauranga! Tauranga has some seriously beautiful beaches! The beautiful native Pohutakawa flowers were just starting to bloom on the waterfront and it was insanely gorgeous! Mount Manganui, Tauranga is the picture postcard beach of New Zealand! No jokes!

Day 6 we spent the morning visiting the Waitomo Caves. We had pre-booked tours for the Ruakuri cave and the Gloworm cave, though we ended up touring Ruakuri first due to GPS mix ups. I must say, the Ruakuri cave is excellent! Our guide was hilarious, the subterranean formations were stunning, and the glowworms in there were quite a treat! Best of all, the Ruakuri cave is wheelchair accessible, so it is pretty easy going. The tour was two hours long and worth every cent! Afterwards we joined the group waiting for the Glowworm cave and began our tour. The guide was less interesting than the Ruakuri guide and to be brutally honest, you don't really get to see much "cave", the best part of the tour is the boat ride through the Glowworm cavern at the end of it. Unfortunately, this only last 5-10 minutes and then the tour is over. The Glowworms are beautiful, don't get me wrong, but I felt that the Ruakuri cave was better all round. Better value for money, better things to see, better cave experience... So if you were only choosing one, I'd pick Ruakuri! The blackwater rafting looks amazing too, but sadly, we didn't have three hours after the caves, we had to be at the airport...

Hope you enjoy your trip! ( I live in the South Island btw ).
Irishwhistler90 is offline  
Dec 19th, 2011, 02:14 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,112
Woh thank you so much, thats exactly all the kinds of things I wanted to hear.

Not really a Lord of the Rings fan but love pretty scenery!!

Thanks again.
aussiedreamer is offline  

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