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Road trip with my partner

Copenhagen, Denmark
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Road trip with my partner

Hi

We are planning a road trip in NZ for 5-6 days. We will land in Auckland and will return from there itself (so first day and last day we have to be in Auckland). My girlfriend likes beaches and I am fond of a scenic drive. Can anyone suggest what is the best itinerary for such a trip? we will be visiting in December and plan to hire a car to drive around. we were thinking of spending a day in Auckland and then drive to Rotorua, Taupo and finally Napier. However I have no clue whether we will get nice scenic drive and if there are any nice beaches.

Thank you for your help

Queenstown, New...
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1. Re: Road trip with my partner

Hej! A better route for you would be Auckland-Rotorua-Coromandel and back to Auckland. Coromandel had lots of lovely beaches and native Bush. Det er rigtig smukke. ( its beautiful).

You will need to book coromandel accommodation if you're traveling between Christmas and New years, as this is popular for NZers too.

Copenhagen, Denmark
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2. Re: Road trip with my partner

thanks a lot. I will surely check that out and get back to you for more questions. Mange tak

PJ
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3. Re: Road trip with my partner

Is Rotorua-Taupo-Napier firm in your itinerary? If not, I would suggest the Northland region with its fantastic beaches and diverse scenery. You can drive up the west coast and return down the east coast or vice versa. Places to see include the kauri museum at Matokohe, Waipoua forest with those lovely kauri trees, scenic bay on Oppononi, cruise at Bay of Islands (the Cream Trip is highly recommended), day trip to Cape Reinga, Waitangi, Russell....the list is endless. My husband and I spent 4 days there and wished we could be there longer.

Copenhagen, Denmark
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4. Re: Road trip with my partner

HI

Thanks a lot. This sounds good but where did you stop over on the way, did you already book hotels, etc. Also did you have a firm itineary and if so do you mind sharing. I dont have any fixed itinerary and the only thing we know is that we will land in Auckland and depart from there, thats it. It is also the first trip I am taking with my girlfriend to a place quite far off (from Europe) so really want to have the best out of it.

Thanks

PJ
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100 posts
109 reviews
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5. Re: Road trip with my partner

We left Auckland in the morning and took a leisurely drive along SH16 to Welsford, reaching Matakohe around 11am. We visited the Kauri Museum and had lunch at the cafeteria there.

We then proceeded northwards along the west coast. There were places which you can stop by, such as Dargaville, BAylys Beach, Kai Iwi Lakes, but we chose to drive on until we reached Waipoua Forest. This is a good place to stop over, to walk about and admire the giant kauri trees. There is an evening tour called Footprints Waipoua which has garnered good reviews (check on TA review) so this is something you can consider. This would mean you would need to plan for accommodation somewhere nearby. The next towns of note are Omapere and Oppononi. We were bowled over by the bay when it came into view, it was really something to behold. From there we went eastwards towards Paihia at the Bay of Islands.

We chose Paihia to be our base for the next 3 days because of its central location. Some people prefer Russell for its old world charm but we thought Paihia suited us just fine. We booked the full day Cream Trip (9.30am-4pm) run by Fullers GreatSights and disembarked at Russell at the end of the trip. At Russell, we walked up to the Flagstaff Hill to have a panoramic view of the area, had dinner along the beach, watched the sun set and took a ferry back to Paihia.

Our second day was spent on a full day trip to Cape Reinga, which also included sand tobogganing and driving along the Ninety Mile Beach. You can book a trip which departs from Paihia, but if you choose to drive to Kataia about 100km away (which means you need to set off pretty early from Paihia) to join a tour organized by Harrison Cape Runners, it only cost you NZD50. The other good thing about taking your car is that you can go back to Paihia via the coastal road at your leisure. Don't forget to stop by Mangonui for the "best fish & chips in town"! There are other places to explore, such as the Doubtless Bay area, Kerikeri, Haruru Falls.

Our third day was spent at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the morning, and lazing around in the afternoon. This is a historical site full of Maori significance and they do have a guided tour and Maori performance if you do not mind paying for these extras. There are other water-based activities such as sailing, and if you like swimming with the dolphins you can do so at the Cream Trip.

There are also notable stopover places along the east coast so we took essentially the whole day for a distance that would only take 3.5 hours if you drive non-stop...which defeats the purpose of a self-drive vacation! We detoured to the Tutukaka Coast region, visited the Whangarei Falls and stopped over at Whangarei for lunch. Another detour worth making, if only to avoid the Northern Gateway Toll Road, is along the Hibiscus Coast Highway along SH17. The turn-off from SH1 is at Exit 388 to Waiwera, Orewa and Auckland. It is clearly signposted so I am sure you won't miss it.

Lastly, there are places in Auckland which are worth visiting too. We enjoyed our visits to the Auckland Museum, Mt Eden, Devonport, and our day trip to the Waiheke Island. Therefore it is worth allocating 1-2 days in the city itself.

We have enjoyed our North Island trip tremendously. Good luck and happy planning. You will find loads of helpful tips and suggestions on TA. I have visited this site religiously every time I plan my trips =)

Copenhagen, Denmark
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6. Re: Road trip with my partner

Hi

First let me begin by saying THANK YOU. Really appreciate the input and now I have clarity as to how I should plan. I will plan and will let you know when we are ready to go. only thing is we want to include Waitakere ranges and Coromandel so maybe we will not have that much time in Paihia but we can always change. Because of your help we have something to begin with:)

May God bless you

PJ
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100 posts
109 reviews
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7. Re: Road trip with my partner

Having derived lots of help from TA forum and reviews, I am merely doing my part in sharing my experiences. We have not been to the Waitekere Ranges or Coromandel due to lack of time so I will not be able to comment on those places. What we did after Northland was to do a loop covering Rotorua, Taupo, Turangi, Tongariro National Park, Waitomo and Hamilton before flying off from Auckland.

Have fun with your planning, but don't forget to leave enough time for rest and relaxation. We made sure that we stayed in most locations for at least 2 nights to minimize the hassle of check-in/check-out and packing/unpacking. Good luck.

8. Re: Road trip with my partner

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