NZ North Island 17 days in March

Jan 17th, 2015, 04:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 143
NZ North Island 17 days in March

I am visiting a friend in Auckland and plan to drive to Napier to see Art deco buildings. Would like ideas for itinerary including Coromandel then maybe Rotorua? Taupo? Have travelled there years ago but unsure of a nice scenic route. Is Rotorua touristy/ugly or worth staying.Any small scenic spots?
Will spend time in Auckland so any suggestions-thinking Waiheke and where else???
bevzy is offline  
Jan 17th, 2015, 11:04 AM
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bevzy - what has your friend suggested? s/he will probably have some good ideas.

WE spend only 4 nights on the NI and 13 on the SI, so i am probably not the best person to ask, but we would have liked much longer to see the Coromandel [3 nights instead of 1] and another night in/around Napier [we had 2]. I can't remember exactly what route we took between the two, but it took a long time so it'd be a good idea to stop somewhere in between.

An area we did not see but would like to very much is the Bay of islands - with 17 days just in the NI you would probably have enough time to get there, though you might want to fly there from Napier [or even from Wellington if you're planning on going that far south] and then drive back down to Auckland to finish your trip.

one thing to note is that driving is pretty hard work in NZ - the roads are windy, and there is a max speed of 60mph, though it's a lot less in towns, and where there are road works [and there are a lot of those]. so if you do better than 30mph on average, you'll be doing well.
annhig is online now  
Jan 17th, 2015, 12:30 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 589
Hi, bevzy. We were in the North Island in November for one week as part of a 28 day trip. We started in Rotorua (having a connecting flight from Auckland) so I can't give suggestions on the area north of there. But we really enjoyed Rotorua. Click on my name for Rotorua suggestions. In Napier there is a guided Art Deco Walk but one of the highlights of our whole trip was something suggested by annhig. (Thank you, annhig!) She had recommended the Gannet Safaris to Cape Kidnappers out of Napier and we found it to be amazing. We reserved it ahead of time, which they require, but when we got there no other customers showed up so we had a private tour. It was a three hour trip on a private road to a remote area of the Cape to see a huge colony of gannets nesting. Even the drive there was gorgeous with green hills and valleys, beautiful turquoise-colored water, and sheep and cattle on the sides of the road. We're so glad we went. If you are driving south of Napier to Wellington it's a beautiful drive. Be sure and stop off at the Mt. Bruce Wildlife Conservation Center. It's wonderful you have 17 days on the North Island. We wish we had stayed longer.
jrjcolllins is offline  
Jan 17th, 2015, 02:15 PM
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Thank you both so much.Gannet safari sounds very interesting and did not remember driving being so bad although I hitched in the old days!!!
bevzy is offline  
Jan 17th, 2015, 02:48 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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hi jrj - so glad you enjoyed the gannet safari. It was one of the highlights of our trip too and I love your description of it.

bevzy - we did a walk round the art deco buildings in the morning of our main day there, [don't miss the public toilets!] and a tour [self-guided] of the wineries in the afternoon. We'd have liked to have walked up the local mountain but it was raining so we stuck to the valleys. in the evening we had a terrific meal in the local italian restaurant which is run by a man from Pisa - he'll tell you all about it if you give him a chance.
annhig is online now  
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