Our family will be on the North Island mid January and are tying to maximize time, choose the best place to stay, etc. We are planning a night or two in Rotorua/Tuapo, my husband wants to check out Raglan surf but we don't need to stay there over night, want to do the Waitomo area blackwater raft trip, and try to see Coromandel and Waiheke. I thought we'd do two nights in Auckland and make it the base for Waiheke and Coromandel but looking at drive times, ferry location, etc, I'm not sure that's the best way. We don't need to see the city, we live in a city and have been to plenty, maybe Hamilton is a better base? Sorry, such an open ended question but I'd love to hear some input. Am going to post this in Hamilton forum as well.