North Island-New Zealand help?

Jan 21st, 2017, 05:59 PM
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North Island-New Zealand help?

I am meeting my adult daughter in Auckland, New Zealand in late March for a 12 day trip traveling together. I am planning on renting a car and would appreciate any tips on your favorite towns north of Auckland,the Bay of Islands and the Bay of Plenty.
My daughter and I have traveled the South Island and have done Rotorua, Lake Taupo and Wellington previously so would like to concentrate just on the north area of the North Island.
Thanks for taking the time to share any favorite towns in that area or a place you stayed at!
dutyfree is offline  
Jan 21st, 2017, 09:27 PM
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A few months ago we spent a week based in Kaitaia, went north as far as Cape Reinga, stopped in lots of places, took pix, relaxed. It is not as picturesque as around Taupo or on the SI, it is the poorer part of NZ, but therefore not very touristy.

We ended up driving via KeriKeri to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds - an absolute must: A great experience!

Then zigzagged down to Auckland over a number of days, just winging it. Always found a nice motel.

Then spent a few days in Auckland - what a nice city (as long as you don't try to drive into the city from the north on a Friday during rush hour...).
michelhuebeli is offline  
Jan 21st, 2017, 11:39 PM
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Coromandel Peninsula is a very beautiful area if you like beaches framed by pohutukawa trees.
From Auckland head to Thames and up the coast to Coromandel village. (Note : Coromandel as a name is used twice - for the peninsula as a whole and also the small town/village)
If you like walks then book the day walk around the top of the peninsula - Coromandel Coastal Walkway. It's a one direction walk for the average person so going on the tour means you are dropped off to walk and then picked up. Also the road is not sealed and some rental cars are not permitted on gravel roads.
This is on my summer list to do but so far the weather has been too bad.
Continue to Matarangi, New Chums Beach (walk in only), Kuaotunu and end up in Whitianga for a couple of nights. From there visit Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach in a day trip. Another day you could take a snorkelling trip and see Cathedral Cove from the sea side. Next is Tairua, Pauanui and Whangamata.
Waihi Beach is at the bottom end of the peninsula on the east side and if you have time do some walks in the Karangahake Gorge.
Bay of Islands has many beautiful areas as well but I have not spent as much time there.
tasmangirl is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2017, 12:27 AM
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Paihia is the tourism centre of the Bay of Islands. From its dock, you can catch water-based excursions or or catch the passenger ferry to lovely Russell. From Paihia you can also walk to the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds (I agree, it’s a must), or take a short drive to Hururu Falls. You also have the option of catching the car ferry to Russell from Opua, which is only a short drive from Paihia. It goes to Okiato, or Old Russell, the first capital of New Zealand (from 1840-41).

NZ's most famous toilets are in Kawakawa, by Austrian artist Friedrich Stowasser, better known as Hundertwasser.

North of Paihia is Kerikeri, home to NZ’s oldest stone building.
Kerikeri is much larger than Paihia; it has more than 7,000 residents, so really not that large, but it has more services.
At the edges of Kerikeri, on Kerikeri Inlet, is the Aroha Ecological Centre:

One of my favorite spots was the historic fishing village of Mangonui. There’s not much there, but it’s a quaint spot for having lunch by the water.
Continue farther north to see more of Doubtless Bay.

Also, drive west to Hokianga Harbor, then to Waipoua Forest, home to NZ’s grandest kauri trees. We spent an entire day doing this, starting from Kerikeri.

We’ve stayed in Paihia and Kerikeri. If you can, stay a night or two in Paihia and the same in Kerikeri.

Many people do the excursion to Cape Reinga/90 Mile Beach.
Diamantina is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2017, 12:30 AM
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Sorry, I meant to write Haruru Falls.
Diamantina is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2017, 08:07 AM
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I really appreciate these wonderful tips and suggestions-keep them coming? Should we go down to Hamilton for a day or two? Have to stay around Auckland for 3 days as we have Adele tickets at Mt Smart Stadium on March 26th.
dutyfree is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2017, 09:02 AM
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If you can make the time, while in Auckland, to go to Taupo, I would prefer that over Hamilton. A lovely lake (former crater), with hot springs nearby and an amazing thermal power plant that looks like some sci-fi area from above. And unlike Rotorua, it doesn't stink of sulphur. Might want to make it an overnight or two while awaiting your concert.
michelhuebeli is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2017, 11:03 AM
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Consider a day trip to Waiheke Island while you are in Auckland, especially if it's a nice weather day. You could sample wine at a couple of the wineries, do some hiking, and laze on one of the beaches. And you get some nice views of Auckland from the ferry. If you have more time Waiheke is worth an overnight but with 3 days I would go for the day.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2017, 03:05 PM
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I agree Waiheke Island would be a good idea. It has gorgeous beaches; wineries with great views and delicious wine; walking tracks; Oneroa village with cafes and shops. Passenger ferry from downtown Auckland takes 40 minutes to get to Matiatia Wharf. The few that also stop in Devonport take a little longer. Once you're on the island, you can walk or take the local bus. Here's a map showing bus routes:
If you just want to walk up from Matiatia ferry terminal to Cable Bay Vineyard, takes 15 minutes along a lovely track through the edge of the Atawhai Whenua Reserve. Mudbrick Vineyards is up the hill from Cable Bay Winery. Both wineries have restaurants with impressive views.
Map of track from wharf to wineries:

Other popular Hauraki Gulf islands reachable by ferry from downtown Auckland include volcanic Rangitoto and wildlife sanctuary Tiritiri Matangi. Unlike Waiheke, these are pest-free nature reserves without services (save a small gift shop on Tiritiri Matangi). Ferries only travel to TM from Wednesday through Sunday and just once a day; takes a 75 minutes each way.
More info here:
Diamantina is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2017, 06:45 PM
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Wonderful suggestions !
dutyfree is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2017, 01:28 PM
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Off topic: Was reading these postings as my son is doing a 2 month trip to Australia & NZ. When I found out he will be in Auckland on March 26, I told him Adele would be there in concert. He now has a ticket (a very expensive ticket!)

Now, back to regularly scheduled programming....
MsSteinrunner is online now  
Feb 5th, 2017, 06:24 PM
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MsSteinrunner-we will look for him! LOL
dutyfree is offline  
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