We're spending some time on honeymoon in NZ. I was born & grew up in Hawke's Bay but now live in the UK with my English hubby who has never been to Godzone before. We only have a week or so to spend in NZ, I was hoping someone wouldn't mind taking a look at our rough itinerary and give us some feedback?
Would especially like feedback on driving distances/times
Day 1 - Fly Brisbane>Auckland>New Plymouth, stay at my sister's house
Day 2 - NP coastal walk. Stay with sister
Day 3 - visit Mt Taranaki. Stay with sister
Day 4 - collect hire car. Drive NP to Waitomo (180km/3.5 hours). Visit Waitomo Glow Worm caves. Drive to Rotorua (160km/2.5 hours). Go on a Cultural Evening/Hangi. Stay ???
Day 5 - Drive to Wai-O-Tapu (27km/30 mins) and explore. Drive to Taupo (55km/40 mins) for lunch. Possibly double back to Huka Falls to view them or go Jet Boating. Drive Taupo to Waipawa (150km/2 hours). Stay with aunt.
Day 6 - Visit Napier, Hastings, lunch with friends & relos etc. Stay with aunt.
Day 7 - Drive Waipawa - Wellington (320km/4 hours). Check out Te Papa. Stay ???
Day 8 - Drive to airport, hand hire car back, fly out of NZ.
I would dearly love to show my new husband more, but on limited time I'd prefer we stuck to just a few areas and spent time on doing things to give him a wonderful memory of my home country. Would have loved to have gotten up to Coromandel, but with our flight out of WLG instead of AKL we don't really have time to get there. Also not too bothered about showing him beaches as we will have just spent 2 weeks in our family beach house on an island in Queensland :)
1) Are my drive times New Plymouth to Waitomo to Rotorua correct? If so, we won't have time to do the 3 hour Black Labyrinth tour which I really wanted to do :( Could this possibly be done as a daytrip from New Plymouth with my nieces & nephews in tow?
2) would like feedback on Tamaki Tours vs Matai - are they the same thing? same price? same food? same drinks prices? Any reason to pick one above another?
3) At Rotorua would like to do a mudbath or thermal bath or both. Would you recommend Polynesian Spa/Hells Gate/Waikite?
4) Would like some recommendations for free thermal springs in Rotorua/Taupo area - I have heard of a place near Wai-O-Tapu which is a creek which has natural springs?
4) Running a little short on time to do Waitomo & cultural evening & thermal bath visit.... if we were to go on the Matai trip there are glowworms there, are they in any way comparable to those at Waitomo? I suppose we could skip Waitomo completely and see glowworms in Rotorua, and stay at a motel with thermal baths, that'd combine a lot and save us some time??
4) can you visit/look at Huka Falls via a short walk from a carpark? Huka Falls website seems to indicate you can only get to them via a Jet Boat or via a 2 hour walk from the carpark, is this correct?
5) Are Marineland and Kiwi House both still operating in Napier? My grandmother used to take me to both. I understand FantasyLand in Hastings is now a water park :( so we won't be going there!
6) Free day in Hawke's Bay will be a Sunday. Can anyone suggest fabulous things to do which might only take an hour or two away from our time with family? EG markets? Winery tour? etc?
7) Rotorua accomodation - we're not sure if we'd stay in a cheap motel, in a moderate motel, or if we'd like to stay in a motel with mineral baths. Will prob just see how the mood takes us on the day. Are they pretty easy to just drive up and get a room or do we need to book ahead? night in Roto would be a Saturday in late Feb.
8) Wellington accomodation - is the city easy to navigate by car or would we be better saying in a hotel close to the airport? Our flight out isn't until lunchtime so we were planning on having a bit of a sleep in and then going straight to the airport, no sightseeing this day.
9) What are petrol prices like over there at the moment? BY my calcs we'll be doing about 1100km in 4 days, we're hiring a small car (auto) - what would it cost to fill the tank? And I'm guessing we'll have about 5 tank fills?
Many thanks for any replies!