NZ/ NI - Itinerary feedback please

Aug 23rd, 2004, 01:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 243
NZ/ NI - Itinerary feedback please

Just started planning for 13 days North Island in March as part of a 6 week Bangkok, Brisbane, NZ, Tassie, Hong Kong trip starting from Amsterdam. Have done a little research before lauching this initial itinerary for comments but expect that you'll have plenty of wise words for us.

1. Auckland - Thames - Coromandel - Whitianga
- Cook's Coast,
- Tairua - The Paku Volcanic Peak
- Wentworth Valley Waterfall
- Beaches of the Coromandel
- Hahei and Cathedral Cove

2. Whitianga - Whangamata - Tauranga
- Hot Water Beach
- Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park
- Katikati Murals

3. Tauranga - Rotorua
- Geothermal Activity
- Lake Rotorua
- Mount Tarawera

4. Rotorua - Whakatane - Opotiki - Gisborne
- White Island
- Te Urewera National Park
- Captain Cook's Landing Site
- Cook's Cove
- Mount Hikurangi

5. Gisborne - Napier
- Hawke's Bay Vineyard Trails
- Lake Tutira

6. Napier - Hastings - Masterton - Wellington
- Napier- Art Deco Architecture
- Gardens - Grand Historic Homesteads
- Rimutaka Forest Park
- Queens Wharf
- Old Government Buildings

7. Wellington - Wanganui
- Wanganui City Heritage Walks

8. Wanganui - New Plymouth
- Surf Highway
- Tupare Garden
- Whanganui National Park

9. New Plymouth - Waitomo Caves
- Egmont National Park
- New Plymouth- Pukekura Park

10. Waitomo Caves - Hamilton - Auckland
- Kawhia Harbour
- Pirongia Forest Park

Comments on the attractions mentioned?

Where would you stop for an extra day?

Any specific recommendations as to cheap but good lodging on the way?

Car rental: Apex?

What's the situation on sand flies and other bugs? Mostly a South Island thing? (he wrote hopefully)

Mark & Marijke.
Smalley is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 06:35 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,495
Sounds like you've planned a very busy itinerary with a lot of driving! I must say, though, that we enjoyed driving the North Island - there's so much lovely scenery.

Katikati won't take much time; we spent an hour or so there and saw a number of the murals.

You could drive from Tauranga to Whakatane; it's only an hour or so and you can spend the night there, then go to White Island the next day. Oh, but you're planning on going on to Gisborne from there, so maybe not. If you do decide to spend the night in Whakatane, Lloyds Lodge is a great hostel, much like staying in a private home. Hare, one of the owners, is Maori, and they do a hangi a couple of nights a week. Hare gave us a really cool traditional welcoming ceremony the night we were there.

There's a lot to do in Wellington. We spent a whole day at Te Papa Museum, and I would have loved another day in the city.

When you're in Waitomo, you might want to try cave tubing. We went with Black Water Rafting and had a blast!

Our itinerary for 10 days on the North Island was:

Day 1 Auckland to Whakatane
Day 2 Whakatane (dolphin swim) to Rotorua (Mai Ora concert and hangi)
Day 3 Rotorua via Waiotapu Geothermal Wonderland and Taupo to Tongariro National Park
Day 4 Tongariro to Wellington (we didn't care for our tiny room at the Skotel and had decided not to do the Tongariro Crossing, so went to Wellington a day early)
Day 5 Wellington - Te Papa
Day 6 Wellington and Kaitoke Regional Park to Wanganui
Day 7 Wanganui to Egmont National Park (hiked) We stayed at The Missing Leg Backpackers in a double room with ensuite bathroom. Nice people, but the foam mattress had a trough in the middle. Good thing I like my husband! ;-)
Day 8 Egmont to Waitomo (cave tubing)
Day 9 Waitomo to Auckland (took the ferry to Devonport)
Day 10 Auckland Museum for too short a time, then home

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2004, 12:07 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 243
Thanks Lee Ann, much appreciate your reply.
Anybody else like to add something?
Smalley is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2004, 06:04 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 609
Hi There

Overall it is not too bad an itinery. However you will be pushing it on day 4 tp get from Rotorua to Whakatane do a boat trip ot to White Island and then drive to Gisborne by I would assume the coastal route since you want to see mt Hikurangi. The drive from Whakatane to Gisborne by the coast road is around 5 hours alone. Mt Hikurangi is not on the main road but off inland. BTW the mountain is sacred and as such it would be wise to obtain prior permission before attempting to set foot on it. the local info centres should be able to help with this.

The same goes for Mt Tarawera, which is not only sacred but privately owned by the local iwi. To climb it you have to pay. Again local info centres will help with this.

When in Wellington I would suggest Te Papa as well. Vastly more interesting than the old government buildings.

You will also be spending most of this holiday sitting in the car as you are certainly covering a lot of ground on your travels. But if you do not mind this type of travel ( I have to admit that I like driving round discovering new things too) then you should be OK.

As far as bugs in March are concerned. You will probably find a few sandflys around Rotorua and a few Mosquitoes in the north of the North Island. Bur generally nothing to write home about.

There are no poisonous snakes and only one type of poisonous spider here so you are safe from those too.

Have fun and ask away if any other questions.

Kiwi_acct is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 12:05 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 468
Seriously rethink all the driving.

I don't know where you are from but NZ does not have the straight highways that the rest of the world do. For instance, Gisborne - Napier road is three hours driving and very windy with very few passing lanes. Only a few places (Wairoa) to stop for a break (there are some thermal hot pools almost an hour from Gisborne on the Wairoa rd).

Napier - Wellington = 4 hours (assuming road is open - closed in snow and slips which case you'll have to take SH1)

Rotorua - Gisborne again is a hike.

BUT if you love driving then the scenery is great and you'll have a great time! I would just build some more slack into the itinerary. Personlly I would skip Wanganui. But that may be just a prejudice (being an East Coster).

You'll only find a few sand flies in the reeds at the top of beaches but otherwise not really much to worry about. Gisborne has these small persistant flies that are a bit of a pain.

Most motels and hostels are clean and good value. I liked the Rotorua Thermal Motor Camp. It is a camping ground with some chalets but has its own thermal hot pools and mud pools!

Go see the Mission and Church Road vineyards in HB - if you are there in the summer you may find a concert or two to attend at some of the wineries (jazz). Craggy Range is nice as well.

OK I've rambled on but I hope that this is some help.

wilees is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 08:51 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 243
OK, I've got the message: too ambitious! I'll do a bit more detailled planning and get something more sensible lined up. Thanks guys.
Smalley is offline  
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