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Driving - Tauranga to Wai-o-tapu?

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Ontario, Canada
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Driving - Tauranga to Wai-o-tapu?

Just wondering if anyone (nudge nudge Zappers) could tell me the approximate driving time from Tauranga (or the Mount) to Wai-o-tapu geothermal park.

I am also wondering what would be the best route to take (not necessarily the fastest) and if there is anything along the way worth stopping to see.

We would be driving from Tauranga in the morning hoping to see the Lady Knox Geyser erupt at 10:15 am.

Thanks!

New Zealand
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1. Re: Driving - Tauranga to Wai-o-tapu?

On a good day it would take you a little over an hour but as you'll be leaving early you may get caught in the traffic. Nothing major though and it also depends where you're staying- mostly you'll be going against the flow so it should be OK. Allow 2 hours and you should be fine- this will also give you enough time to arrive, get the tickets etc, walk to LK and get a good position.

The best route to take is SH 2 & 33, then onto SH5 (Tga-Te Puke-Rotorua) You are best to go direct to Wai-o-tapu and sightsee on the way home (if you have the energy). Return via the Tga-Rotorua direct road, around the back of the lake it leaves the lake at Hamurana. There is a short walk to a major beautiful crystal clear spring that feeds the lake in the redwood forest at Hamurana.

Or you could do a tiki-tour home via SH30 to Edgecumbe and then back along the coast to Tga. This has some beautiful scenery- some of the hidden lakes of Rotorua and beautiful coastal strip with golden sand beaches stretching for miles.

Ontario, Canada
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2. Re: Driving - Tauranga to Wai-o-tapu?

Zappers, I plan on taking your advice and following the suggested route.

One question, you mention that scenic route back to Tauranga passes a spring that feeds the redwoods. Will this route bring us past the redwoods?

What I am thinking for the day is spending the morning at Wai-o-tapu (in order to see the Lady Knox eruption at 10:15). Then leaving the afternoon open to the scenic drive back to Tauranga and a visit to the redwoods (depending on our energy levels of course :) ).

Will the route you suggested (via the Tga-Rotorua direct road) take us past (or close to) the entrance into the whaka forest? Is it hard to find?

New Zealand
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3. Re: Driving - Tauranga to Wai-o-tapu?

Kristy there are two redwood groves- the major one is in the Whakarewarewa Forest and this has lots of walking tracks and trails for people, mountainbikes and horses. Once through the redwoods in moves into native bush and pine forests. Some of the walking tracks take you out to the Green & Blue Lakes but these can take all day. There are also a few shorter tracks. The entrance to the Redwood forest and information centre is off SH33 the main road through to Tauranga (it's actually a turn again off the Lake Tarawera Road) there's is another entrance further down the road too. Both are well signposted.

The other Redwood grove(it's fairly small)is around the back of Lake Rotorua at Hamurana- you can get here either by turning off SH33 or travelling through Ngongotaha on the otherside of the lake. If you look at a map you'll see what I mean. The spring is next door(east side) to the golf course and about 500mtrs up the stream (from the road)within the Redwoods. Just a couple hundred meters west of the stream is the Tauranga Direct road. So depending where you are in Rotorua you can take either road around the lake to get there.

New Zealand
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4. Re: Driving - Tauranga to Wai-o-tapu?

Kristy, I was just out the door this morning after the above post- guess where? Rotorua via the Tga Direct road. I popped into to have a look at the spring. OK it's actually 3kms from the Tga Direct Rd turn off :) longer than I remembered(we always turn right at the end to head into Rotorua not left). Don't be put off by the rough & overgrown carpark. DOC (Dept of Conservation) have now taken the reserve over and will bring it back up to standard in due course. It's a 20 minute walk up to the sping, the water is so crystal clear with beautiful emerald green patches of river weed with a white sand base and lots of trout.

New Zealand
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5. Re: Driving - Tauranga to Wai-o-tapu?

Never been to this spring sounds great,many places to see in Rotorua need 4 days.

Ontario, Canada
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6. Re: Driving - Tauranga to Wai-o-tapu?

Thank you Zappers. That sounds wonderful! I can't wait! Only 6 weeks of waiting left :)

7. Re: Driving - Tauranga to Wai-o-tapu?

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