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Best Driving Route from Rotorua to Auckland

Kuala Lumpur...
posts: 438
reviews: 24
Best Driving Route from Rotorua to Auckland

Final long driving leg is from Rotorua to Auckland. What routes are available and what sceneries do we see on these driving routes? Approx. timings? Are these roads congested during weekday afternoon?

Thanks.

New Zealand
posts: 8,366
reviews: 8
1. Re: Best Driving Route from Rotorua to Auckland

Probably three options;

1)Rotorua-Hamilton-Auckland; SH1 from Hamilton to Auckland, not a scenic route just a nice drive,Hamilton quite a large city. Driving time approx 3 hours.

2)Rotorua-Matamata-Auckland; SH27, a pleasant drive through rural NZ, Matamata is also known as Hobbiton (if you are a LOTR fan) This route is used as a bypass for locals travelling up and down the North Island as it by-passes Hamilton. Driving time again approx 3 hours.

3)Rotorua-Tauranga-Auckland; SH2 from Tauranga to Auckland is known as the "scenic coastal" route. The road follows the coast for a time, passes through lush kiwifruit orchards, through a lovely river gorge (Karangahake Gorge- lovely walkway and old rail tunnel to walk through)and quite a number of small rural NZ towns- Katikati, Waihi, Paeroa, Ngatea. There are lots of opportunities to stop and view. This drive would be approx 4 hours and is definately my favourite. Mt Maunganui(small beach resort)and Tauranga are located on a beautiful beach and inner harbour and worth a stop for lunch if you have time.

All roads come out at the bottom of the Auckland Southern Motorway and traffic on all 3 will not be excessive although obviously SH1 will have a bit more but nothing unmanageable.

If you can take the whole day to travel up, as it will be much more pleasant to go at your own pace than rush through and not see anything. If you are on a tight time schedule, I would take number 2 option.

Enjoy!

Kuala Lumpur...
posts: 438
reviews: 24
2. Re: Best Driving Route from Rotorua to Auckland

Hi Zappers. Thanks for the info! How long is the drive from Rotorua to Tauranga? Wouldn't mind stopping by the beach at Mt. Maunganui for the kids to play around in (if not too unimaginably cold!). Any recommended place for lunch?

If we went by Matamata, how long is the drive from Rotorua to here? Are the recommended stops easily signaged?

Cheers.

New Zealand
posts: 8,366
reviews: 8
3. Re: Best Driving Route from Rotorua to Auckland

Rotorua-Tauranga approx 1.10 hour- Mt Maunganui and Tauranga are side by side seperated by a (small) harbour bridge.

Rotorua-Matamata approx 40min

Very good idea to stop at the Mount (be warned it ain't that tall but there is a lovely 1 hour walk around it's base. Not sure when you were travelling but for the next 1-2 months the sea will be fine to swim in,height of summer at the moment. If the ocean beach is too cold/rough for you there is a lovely bay 100meters away on the inner harbour- Pilot Bay. There are lots of cafes and restaurants down the main street (Maunganui Rd) at the Mount and also around on Marine Parade. We have lots of cruise ships visit over summmer so you will be well catered for (Tauranga is my home city, born and lived in Napier though for 30 years- are you going there?).

Most points of interest are well signposted as well as each town.

If you were keen to go to Matamata as well as the Mount, this can be done with not too much trouble and only about another 30 minutes driving. You'd go Rotorua-Matamata- a small backtrack (10mins) up over the Kaimais (hill range, very good road) and down to Tauranga and the Mount then off up the scenic coast route to Auckland.

Check out the webcam for the Mount Beach and the inner harbour and our region, The Bay of Plenty-

www.citynews.co.nz/webcams/mtbeach/index.php

www.bayofplentynz.com/

Hope this helps! Cheerz

PS- Off to Langkawi end of March- any tips?

If we went by Matamata, how long is the drive from Rotorua to here? Are the recommended stops easily signaged?

Kuala Lumpur...
posts: 438
reviews: 24
4. Re: Best Driving Route from Rotorua to Auckland

Plan to be in NZ from 4th to 18th March 06. 8 nights in South Island and 5 nights in Nth Island (2 in Rotorua and 3 in Auckland) Not long to go, we're very excited! Well more so me as I have been the one planning the details of the trip for my husband and kids!

Auckland is where we'll spend our last 3 nights. And getting there from Rotorua.. we plan to leave Rotorua sometime midday (going to NZ Farm in the morning for the kids and leaving after this visit).

As long as we get into Auckland before it gets too dark to find our way (!), then I imagine we'll have about 7-8 hours from time of departure to arrival.

We have watched LOTR (of course!) though without sounding too ignorant, what could we do in Matamata with the kids? With our timings in mind, should we just head to Tauranga / Mt. Maunganui direct from Rotorua?

Langkawi was where we had our honeymoon. We stayed at Tanjung Rhu. Absolutely wonderful! But to be honest, we confined ourselves just to the resort area and a short outing into the small town.

Where are you planning to stay and how long?

New Zealand
posts: 8,366
reviews: 8
5. Re: Best Driving Route from Rotorua to Auckland

I would miss Matamata, I think the Mount and the trip up to Auckland from there will be more than enough and well worth it.

We're staying at the Datai and I think we'll blob out there as we would have just come from a week each in Taipei and Dubai on business so we'll need a rest!

We leave on the 6th and return on the 27th so will miss your time here, will look forward to your report when we get back!

Have a wonderful time! (as I know you will) and the weather should just be perfect!

Kuala Lumpur...
posts: 438
reviews: 24
6. Re: Best Driving Route from Rotorua to Auckland

Wonderful! Am sure you will enjoy Datai!

I'll take your advice and give Matamata a miss. If we decided to stay overnight at Mt Maunganui, where would you recommend to stay, within walking distance to beach and cafes? Budget around $100 or so, if possible.

New Zealand
posts: 8,366
reviews: 8
7. Re: Best Driving Route from Rotorua to Auckland

I'll do some research and be back to you...

Kuala Lumpur...
posts: 438
reviews: 24
8. Re: Best Driving Route from Rotorua to Auckland

Thanks Zappers!

New Zealand
posts: 8,366
reviews: 8
9. Re: Best Driving Route from Rotorua to Auckland

Here's a rather long link to a range of motels and apartments;

www.jasons.co.nz/results.cfm…

20Maunganui&search_type=MML&regionid=2&RequestTimeout=500&CFID=2341471&CFTOKEN=66880668

(join the link above back together to form one long string- TA won't allow a line of more than 140 characters, so I've just found out... hope that makes sense)

Check out Ocean Waves, Outrigger and Wainui Thermal motels or Capri or Atrium Apartments. If these don't suit anything that is on Marine Parade or The Mall is right on the water and some of the others (make sure their map location shows that they are down my the mount itself)are only a short walk to the beach.

Your accomodation budget is at the lower end of the scale for this area (beach resort) but most of these places will be fine for a night. Make sure you take the kids to the hot pools (complex at the base of the mount)early evening and then you can have a nice romantic night to yourselves (sun, sand and hot water will wear them out and they'll crash before you know it!)

Post me if you would like me to check anything out once you decide on the motel.

Orlando, FL
posts: 60
10. Re: Best Driving Route from Rotorua to Auckland

Zappers thanks for the info... I might take one of those routes from the opposite direction... Auckland to Rotorua. Thanks again! :)

--sam