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Driving trip from Wellington to Auckland. Tips wanted...

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New York
posts: 129
reviews: 21
Driving trip from Wellington to Auckland. Tips wanted...

Hi all

My wife and another couple plus 9yo kid are thinking of flying down to Wellington from AKL and then driving leisurely back (one way rental car!) early Jan 2010. We are looking at spending two days/1 night in Wellington and then driving North with at least a stopover in Rotorua. As for the rest of the itinerary, we have no clue (yet!) as to which route we should take or what towns we should stop over at. All of us will be visiting NZ from the USA.

Any tips, ideas etc would be graciously appreciated.

Wellington, New...
Destination Expert
for Wellington, Bay of Islands
posts: 9,466
reviews: 120
1. Re: Driving trip from Wellington to Auckland. Tips wanted...

How much time are you allowing to get back to Aucklnd and how long do you intend staying in Rotorua. These two factors will determine what and where your intinary north could lead you.

Your stay in Wellington should include Te Papa, the Karori Sanctuary ( Also known as Zealandia), a trip up the cable car.

I assume that you will be heading north during your second day in the Capital, if this is correct what time do you intend heading north.

Blue Mountains...
posts: 555
reviews: 27
2. Re: Driving trip from Wellington to Auckland. Tips wanted...

We have just done the drive last week. we were on a very short time frame though.

We went up the west coast through Porirua, Otaki, Levin, Woodville, Dannevirke & Hastings for our first stop over at Napier (only overnight).

The views on the way were stunning. Lots of rolling hills, wind turbines & even a peak of snow capped mountains.

Napier is a lovely place to look at, all art deco buildings & a beatiful seafront

We then went via Taupo to Rotorua. Once again beautiful views all the way (I have a sore elbow from holding the video camera over the dashboard), lots of pine plantations and once again that beautiful snow capped mountain.

We loved Rotorua and would have liked to spend more time there but couldn't (once again only overnight).

We then went by Cambridge, Gordonton & Huntly to Auckland.

I loved Wellington and Rotorua and could happily return and explore further. Auckland was very much like Sydney. Napier is fascinating with the art deco buildings and I am sure there is more to see if you have more time.

We hired a GPS with our car which was wonderful.

Hope this helps.

Auckland, New...
posts: 1,534
reviews: 41
3. Re: Driving trip from Wellington to Auckland. Tips wanted...

Hi

I would go up the eastern route to Napier and spend the night in Napier.

From Napier to Taupo is a very scenic 1.5 hour drive (take a moment to stop at the Waipunga Falls Lookout) and from Taupo to Rotorua is just over an hour. Spend the night in Taupo or Rotorua

From Rotorua you may wish to consider heading towards Tauranga via the Tauranga Direct Road, skirt round Tauranga and head up towards Waihi and through Karangake Gorge (scenic with a nice walk up past old gold mining sites)and then through Paeroa and Ngatea to SH1 and Auckland. This will take slightly longer than the more direct route through Matamata but is a nice drive.

I would suggest that if at all possible share the driving. Whenever I go anywhere with another driver of course we change over every couple of hours.

Hope this helps

New York
posts: 129
reviews: 21
4. Re: Driving trip from Wellington to Auckland. Tips wanted...

Thanks for all the informative replies. Definitely worth studying. As for my length of trip - probably around 5 - 6 days...

Wellington, New...
Destination Expert
for Wellington, Bay of Islands
posts: 9,466
reviews: 120
5. Re: Driving trip from Wellington to Auckland. Tips wanted...

I would concur going north via Napier, Taupo, Rotorua, Auckland.

To get to Napier I would choose the route through Mastertton, Woodville as opposed Via Otaki, Levin, Palmerston, Woodville. The former route is a little longe but takes you off the State Highways and you drive through many more smaller towns and you can get a real feel for rural New Zealand.

Allow a liesurely day to get from Wellington to Napier. You can do it in half a day but take time to stop nad take in the places you visit.

When passing through Norsewood pop into the Norsewood wool shop for some of the finest Working woollen produst anywhere in the world. By working I mean heavy quality all wool sweaters and thick woollen socks just the things to keep you warm in a cold US winter.

The greater Napier area can keep you amused for days with wineries galore. The Aquarium on the waterfront is very nice to.

Rotorua will keep you enthralled for as long as you want to stay.

have a great trip

Wellington, NZ
Destination Expert
for Wellington
posts: 2,164
reviews: 7
6. Re: Driving trip from Wellington to Auckland. Tips wanted...

Just north of Paraparaumu on the Kapiti Coast (on State Highway 1 about 45 minutes north of Wellington) is a complex called Lindale. There is a shop there that sells Kapiti ice-cream and cheese. The ice-cream is superb and is definitely worth a stop. There are farm animals as well, plus other stores selling olive products, all things honey (including an indoor hive) and sweets. It's on the main road and is very well signposted.

I can highly recommend the fig and honey ice-cream. It is very, very good.

Edinburgh, Scotland
posts: 5
reviews: 17
7. Re: Driving trip from Wellington to Auckland. Tips wanted...

Hi, My Wife and I are also doing this trip in Jan 2010. I have heard that the route suggested via Napier then to Rotorua via Taupo is excellent. We are heading a bit further north though as we have 12 nights in NZ. So are going to head up to the Bay of Islands before coming back down to Auckland.

It's great to hear that our itinerary sounds like we have made a good choice. At least the weather will be better than back home in Scotland.

Any tips on what to do in the Bay of Island? We are there for 3 days.

Thanks

Baz (Edinburgh)

New Zealand
posts: 22
reviews: 4
8. Re: Driving trip from Wellington to Auckland. Tips wanted...

Lindale is a great stop on your way to Napier, I personally think Napier/Hawkes Bay deserves one full day/night as the wineries are, in my opinion the best in NZ, with most doing fabulous platters for lunch. I again think Rotorua deserves at least one full day/night too. The polynesian spa is a 'must do'. Then onto Tauranga, very pretty city, lots of shops and cafes. Oh, and the Bay of Islands is one of the most beautiful places in NZ. Paihia and Russell are stunning, you must also visit Waitangi (Paihia), very informative.

Wellington, New...
Destination Expert
for Wellington, Bay of Islands
posts: 9,466
reviews: 120
9. Re: Driving trip from Wellington to Auckland. Tips wanted...

Brian if you would like to check out the Bay Of Islands Forum you will foind a number of suggestions for a 3 day stay in the bay.

Palmerston North
posts: 77
reviews: 1
10. Re: Driving trip from Wellington to Auckland. Tips wanted...

On your way up State Highway 1, just before Sanson stop off for a home made NZ honey ice cream at Waireka Honey. You can't miss it as it's painted bright yellow. Then at the small junction township of Sanson turn right and head either to Feilding (NZ's Most Beautiful Town - 14 times winner) for a spot of boutique shopping, or to Palmerston North City on State Highway 3. This city is central, has excellent accommodation options (there is a stay one night get the second night free deal running until mid January 2010) and some interesting and scenic places of interest.

For information about accommodation and scenic highlights email palmerstonnorth@i-SITE.org Around this time a new brochure/map is being released entitled, The Country Road featuring 150 scenic highlights in the very scenic Pohangina Valley and rural villages of Apiti, Rangiwahia, Kimbolton and Mangaweka. Otherwise, in Palmerston North you could do something like have a picnic at Victoria Esplanade, do a therapeutic body product making workshop at the nearby Herb Farm, or take a trip to Te Apiti Windfarm. It all depends on what you like.

Head north by going to Feilding, turn left at Cheltenham and enjoy the views of the Rangitikei river valley basin at Stormy Point. Not far from here you'll meet up with State Highway one again.

If you enjoy getting off the beaten track and seeing the kind of scenery featured in Lord of the Rings (deep river canyons), consider staying at River Valley Adventure Lodge and also visiting Mokai Gravity Canyon.

Following this head to Taupo...