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jsandness Aug 13th, 2016 08:11 PM

North Island-Rotorua
I will be spending 10 days in New Zealand in March, mostly on the south island. The main thing I want to see on the north island is the Maori stuff in Rotorua. We have to fly into Auckland . . . not sure to fly on to Wellington for ferry to south island because we are going to Abel Tasman or stop in Auckland for a quick trip to Rotorua and then fly from Rotorua to Wellington. We don't want to spend time in Auckland . . . more into nature.

Diamantina Aug 13th, 2016 08:43 PM

With 10 days, fly to the South Island from Rotorua.

You haven't much time for your trip, especially if driving around the South Island. You're wise to move along ASAP.

In defense of Auckland, I'd say wrong to dismiss Auckland as a place devoid of nature. The city center is busy, but greater Auckland is NZ's biggest city and within it you'll find much natural beauty, not to mention the natural treasures of Hauraki Gulf. I've barely scratched its surface, yet visited its Waitakere Ranges, some its West Coast black sand beaches, its Muriwai Gannet Colony, and some of the islands that are easily from reached from Auckland's ferry terminal, such as Waiheke, Rangitoto, and Tiritiri Matangi. Auckland has beautiful beaches and bays.

Diamantina Aug 13th, 2016 09:00 PM

You said you wanted to visit Abel Tasman NP, but where else do you plan to go on the SI? If it's too ambitious, you should skip Rotorua. Because, again, 10 days is not much for a South Island driving trip.

Otherwise, if still available, Air New Zealand has a flight that leaves Rotorua for Wellington at 8:05 a.m. From Wellington, you'd connect to a flight to Nelson that arrives at 10:55 a.m.

When time do you arrive in Auckland? If you're spending the day in Auckland, you can visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum that has a great Maori colection, and offers Maori performances several times a day.

tasmangirl Aug 13th, 2016 10:48 PM

If you really want to see Rotorua then either get the bus there or hire a car. 2 nights/3 days is enough for some of the sights. Most attractions have a shuttle bus so you might not need a hire car. Book an afternoon flight to Nelson. It's not a direct flight but will get you there in 2 + hours.

jsandness Aug 14th, 2016 06:04 PM

Thanks for the feedback. I checked on south island Maori experiences and found a few with fair reviews . . . any recommendations on the south isalne . . . would really prefer a Maori exposure on the South Island because I agree 10 days is brief for the south island alone. We would like to go to Milford Sound too but I am wondering if we should drive after leaving Abel Tasman or fly to Queenstown from Nelson. We are going to focus on city time in Sydney after New Zealand . . . nothing against Auckland we are just trying to narrow down our wish list so we have time to savor each place.

Diamantina Aug 15th, 2016 12:34 AM

By South Island Maori stuff or experience, do you mean something like this at Willowbank in Christchurch?
Reviews here:

But it seems you might not be visiting Christchurch.

If you fly from Nelson to Queenstown, you'll miss the beautiful drive down the lush and green West Coast, home to Punakaiki (Pancake Rocks), Hokitika Gorge, Franz Josef and Fox glaciers, and more. This scenery, along with the drive from the glaciers to Wanaka through Mt. Aspiring National Park and past Lakes Hawea and Wanaka, is spectacular. Three days is the minimum amount of days you can comfortably drive from Nelson to Wanaka (including an overnight in Wanaka). Wanaka is about 1 hour, 10 minutes from Queenstown.

Or you could drive to Queenstown another way: overnight Kaikoura, overnight Christchurch, then drive through the middle past Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki, before overnighting in Mt. Cook Village, then onto Queenstown. Remember, these are minimum times, meaning not lots of time to look around, take walks, etc.

Check drive times here (and remember many of the South Islands road are curvy, sometimes narrow, or with drop-offs to one side, or traverse mountainous terrain). You can get stuck behind a slow moving campervan or car holding back traffic flow. Occasionally, you'll have to slow way down for one-lane bridge.
Sunrise/sunset times here:

More information is needed. Most importantly, how long do you plan to spend at Abel Tasman? Because your answer will determine whether you should fly or drive to Queenstown.

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