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best route?

Knoxville, Tennessee
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best route?

Hello. My fiance and I are going to NZ and Australia for our honeymoon. We are only spending a week in New Zealand. We want to go to Coromandel and Rotura, and we are landing in Auckland. Based on time that it takes to drive, would you recommend that we drive from Auckland to Coromandel first or to Rotura? I read that the distance is longer to Rotura, but that the roads are windy to Coromandel. My concern is that we will be extremely tired from our flight. Any suggestions?

Thank you!

New Zealand
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9,369 posts
11 reviews
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1. Re: best route?

You should not attempt either trip if you have just arrived off a long-haul flight. We loose many tourists (and locals)in car crashes and fatigue and driving on the other side of the road are usually the major factors. You should have at least a nights sleep in Auckland before departing. If you are arriving early in the morning then perhaps you can manage a short trip. If this is the case then Rotorua would probably be the better option, at least you'll be a little more familiar with NZ roads before heading to the Coromandel.

Auckland Central...
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2. Re: best route?

Hi

You are quite right to be concerned about being tired after a long flight and you would be wise to spend at least a night in Auckland to get over your journey.

If you arrive in early in the morning the you could spend the day and overnight in the city. If you arrive late in the afternoon or evening then I would suggest that you overnight near the airport. The airport is on the south side of the city i.e the right side for heading off to either the Coromandel or Rotorua.

If you set off refreshed then it probably doesn’t make a lot of difference whether you go to the Coromandel or Rotorua first. If you are concerned about windy roads then perhaps you would be better to go to Rotorua first. I would suggest you go via Matamata which is the usual route that we take to Rotorua. You will have motorway from the airport for the first part and then a section of quite windy road through Maramarua (take care on this section) but then the roads are quite straight to Matamata

To get to the Coromandel you would take the same route initially as for Rotorua but then turn off. The roads to the Coromandel are not particularly windy but on the Coromandel they are and in many places narrow as well.

If as I take it to be the case, you have not driven here before then I suggest you take a look at:

www.ltsa.govt.nz/overseasdrivers/

www.ltsa.govt.nz/roadcode/

Hope this helps.

Knoxville, Tennessee
2 posts
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3. Re: best route?

Thank you both for the helpful suggestion. We are taking your advice and staying in Auckland the first night. I wanted to go over our tentative itinerary here just in case there is something we haven't thought of.

We are staying in New Zealand six nights. We plan to go to Rotorua and the Corromandel, staying in both places for two nights. In Rotorua, we want to go to the Waimangu Valley and the Wai-o-Tapo Thermal Wonderland. We would also love to go to the Redwoods if there is time. At the Corromandel, we want to walk the coastal walkway and go to the Cathedral Cove.

My main question is for The Corramandel. Should we stay in one location both nights? It looks like it is only one hour from Whitianga to Corromandel Town (to walk the coastal walkway), so we thought about staying in Whitianga both nights. My only concern is that we will be doing a lot of walking and this will take a lot of time. I don't want to drive back to our hotel in the dark since we are very unfamiliar with our surroundings.

We are thinking of heading to Rotorua first. Any suggestions you have will be very helpful. I hope we aren't packing too much into our short schedule!

Thank you!

Auckland Central...
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4. Re: best route?

Hi again

I usually recommend staying more than one night in places but given your obvious and commendable concerns about driving I would suggest that your goal would be to minimise the amount of time you are behind the wheel and therefore stay one night in Whitiang and one in Coromandel township.

The Redwoods are no distance at all from Rotorua so you should be able to fit them in easily. Hamarana Springs on the north side of the lake is worth a visit - some very impressive Redwoods there and also a cold water spring with amazingly crystal clear water. Whilst up that way you could also take in the walk by the Kaituna river - you will most likely get to see rafts and kayakers running the falls.

New Zealand
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5. Re: best route?

Staying in Coromandel township would be a great idea, this way you can continue on to Auckland down the west side of the penninsula to Thames without driving the same route again if you went back to Whitianga.

There are usually big fat trout swimming in the spring waters at Hamurana. If you follow the track down beside the Kaituna you may be in time to see the rafts go over the higest commercially rafted water fall in the world. If it's a dull day you may also spot the glow worms that live under the bank overhang on the cliff beside the river next to the path.

Melbourne,Aus
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6. Re: best route?

Hi

We did the coastal walkway 2 weeks ago.We started at the Stony Bay end which is still a 90 minute drive from Coromandel Town along a mostly gravel road from Colville.Our Toyota Corolla hire car had no problems although there were a few potholes to go around following the recent rain.

There is a company called Coromandel Discovery which leaves from Coromandel and will drop you off at Fletcher Bay and pick you up from the Stoney Bay at the end of your walk.I think they charge about $95 per person and they are easily found on the net.

We took our time and did the return walk in 6 and a half hours.The hardest part of the walk are the two climbs out of Poley Bay.The view from the rocky lookout is stunning.

New Zealand
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7. Re: best route?

Immers- Boy you really did head out the back of beyond, good on you!

Queensland
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8. Re: best route?

I have 2 suggestions for you. Seeing as you'll be on your honeymoon, I would recommend visiting The Lost Spring (hot pool resort) in Whitianga which is probably where you will stay the night in order to do your Cathedral Cove walk (awesome beaches around there). Go to The Lost Spring at night and spend an hour or two there!

The other suggestion is to consider spending a day or two in Taupo. Having just spent 4 days in Rotorua and then 1/2 day in Taupo, we would've liked more time in Taupo. Rotorua has some great tourist attractions (Skyline Rides, Agroventures, Tamaki Maori Tour, Wai-o-tapu) but Taupo is something else with the rapids of Huka Falls, Arititia (sp?) falls, views of the snow topped Mt Ruapehu and even more choices for hot pools than Rotorua.

9. Re: best route?

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