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Georgetown (Malaysia)

Sydney, New Zealand, Auckland, Tauranga, Taupo, Rotorua

5.5 Days in North Island, New Zealand and 5 Days in Sydney, Australia

I'll be heading to Auckland, New Zealand, in June for 5.5 days and then I'll be flying out to Sydney, Australia for another 5 days there. 

I will be having a car in New Zealand, so I should be mobile enough to get around but what are the places I can go within North Island for 5 days, and where can I stay on a budget? I'm thinking, I can drive from Auckland to places like Tauranga, Taupo, Mata Mata, Rotorua since they are about 2ish hours away. Is that recommended?  

And then there's Sydney. Where are the places I shouldn't miss? And what should I do to get the most "bang for my buck" kinda thing? 

I love sightseeing and I love food. I don't mind NOT shopping, except for maybe souvenirs, so hope you guys can help me out. Thanks!

10 Answers

top answer by
giulia from Turin

For Sydney you shoud start from the Sydney Fish Market, I know not the iconic place for Australia but in my opinion best way to feel the local atmosphere. Being there, tasting something on the crowded woodden table, you could open your map and plan the next move. You could walk in the near Darling Harbour Ferry Wharf and go on along the docks. If you like the walk you can reach in 40 minutes the most recognized place in Sydney with the Sydney Opera House and The Rocks (you can also take a tram over the bridge). Stay there till the sunset, drink a bear there. It's a very touristic and caotic (and expensive) place but you have to see it.  For the next day you could visit Bondi Beach, a must see and you could reach the place with a bus from the city center. Visit the Aquabumps Gallery, a surf gallery and take a break at Gertrude & Alice, nice place with healty sandwiches, lovely plates and choice of books. Don't miss the path between Bondi and Cogee, best views of the sea and sculpture of sand and so. You can come back in the city from Coogee. And for the evening (or the day after if you are tired) you can eat somewhere in Surrey Hills, nice district full of cozy restaurant. I can suggest the vegetarian Yulli's but you can simple walk and choose between a dozen of options. Have fun

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sydney Opera House (attraction)
  2. The Rocks (attraction)
  3. Bondi Beach (metro area)
  4. Sydney Fish Market (attraction)
  5. Darling Harbour Ferry Wharf (attraction)
  6. Aquabumps Gallery (attraction)
  7. Gertrude & Alice (attraction)
  8. Yulli's (attraction)
10 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Morne from South Korea

Me and buddy did a trip to Sydney a few weeks ago.  We spent 4 days in Pyrmont. There's a nice backpackers called Woolbrokers Hotel very close to Darling Harbour. The Harbour is amazing. We spent most of our time at Bondi Beach.  Do the Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach walk.  Spend some time in the harbor.  Maybe do a cruise.

We also went to Auckland for 3 days and did Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tours at Matamata.  Really worth it! The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are nice to see but I would say it is a bit expensive.  Still really cool to see.  It's a bit of a drive but it would be ok.  You can also take the Naked bus if you don't want to drive that much.  We took the bus and slept on it.  That way we could really make the most of our time.

Check out a backpackers called Nomads backpackers.  it has a really cool vibe.  They have a bar/club inside which was pretty cool.  Check out Spitting Feathers for really cheap drink specials.  Just ask around for where to go.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pyrmont (neighborhood)
  2. Woolbrokers Hotel (hotel)
  3. Bondi Beach (metro area)
  4. Coogee Beach (attraction)
  5. Auckland (city)
  6. Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tours (attraction)
  7. Waitomo Glowworm Caves (attraction)
  8. Nomads backpackers (hotel)
  9. Spitting Feathers (attraction)
  10. Matamata (city)
7 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Anton from Sydney

8x Things to Do in Sydney which are mostly free.... 


1. Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach Walk 

2. Seafood lunch at Sydney Fish Markets ( via tram from Central Station.... ) 

3. A Ferry ride from Circular Quay to Watson Bay, maybe lunch at Doyles Beer, Fish & Chips, swim and Walk to the south heads park.... 

4. Visit Chinatown, walk through Chinese Gardens, browse Paddys Markets, see Darling Harbour and Kings Wharf  

5. Walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge, try a cafe in Kirribilli or go for a swim at North Sydney Pool or visit The Rocks.... Eg: Weekend markets... 

6. Ferry to Manly Beach, lunch and walk to Shelly Beach 

7. Perhaps a Walk to Botanic Gardens, NSW Art Gallery, Circular Quay and Opera House / Rocks ..... 

8. Afternoon Tea at QVB, or visit Sydney Tower (panaromic views of Sydney), lunch cruise on Sydney Harbour ? hop on - hop off bus aka Sydney Explorer Bus....  


Hope you have a great trip to Sydney... Anton

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bondi Beach (metro area)
  2. Circular Quay (attraction)
  3. Darling Harbour (attraction)
  4. Sydney Harbour Bridge (attraction)
  5. The Rocks (attraction)
  6. Manly Beach (attraction)
  7. Shelly Beach (city)
7 thanks

answered by

Kia Ora Jessica, 

Don't know about Sydney, but as a Kiwi, that sounds like a really good plan for the NZ leg of your journey. 


If it was summer, I'd definitely recommend going north of Auckland to the Bay Of Islands, but in the winter I don't think it's quite as special. 


A couple of little suggestions: 


Waiheke Island is a short ferry ride away from Auckland and is a nice little place to explore; they have some really nice restaurants, fish n' chip shops and wineries, and a cute little township for shopping. 


I'd just allow a day or half day in Matamata; there's not much there other than Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tours. You'd be better off staying and eating in Hamilton (25 min drive away) 


If you're going to Tauranga, I'd definitely check out Mount Maunganui (15 min away) 


The Hawke's Bay region is a couple hours further south than Taupo (so not a day trip from Auck), but a really nice region to check out. Napier has some really interesting 1920's architecture and around Hastings there are some very nice wineries and restaurants. 


A few websites that might come in handy: rent someone's spare room stay with a local for free NZ's Groupon, for deals on touristy things and accommodation 


Hope that helps and you have a fantastic time here!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Auckland (city)
  2. Bay Of Islands (region)
  3. Waiheke Island (island)
  4. Matamata (city)
  5. Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tours (attraction)
  6. Tauranga (city)
  7. Mount Maunganui (attraction)
  8. Hawke's Bay (region)
  9. Taupo (city)
  10. Napier (city)
6 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Helen from Sydney

Hi Jessica,

I can't help with New Zealand, but my top two recommendations for Sydney would be:

1) Take a ferry in the harbour. On a sunny day it's gorgeous out on the water, and even on rainy days there's a real beauty to the turbulent depths (provided you don't get sea sick). Depending on what else you are doing in the area, you might like to do a loop from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour and back, which will take you right under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and near the Sydney Opera House. It's a cheap and relaxing way to see the city.

2) Sea Life Sydney Aquarium (Darling Harbour) is beautiful and has so much to see. I had a year pass for it last year and never got bored of going - I could watch the dugongs for hours. It can be a bit pricey ($40 per adult) but if you book online ( and opt for a later session (eg. 6pm) you should be able to get in for around $28 each. Note that there's the Wild Life Sydney zoo right next door - it's a bit lame and not really worth your money, but you can check out the koalas out the front for free!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Circular Quay (attraction)
  2. Darling Harbour (attraction)
  3. Sydney Harbour Bridge (attraction)
  4. Sydney Opera House (attraction)
  5. Sea Life Sydney Aquarium (attraction)
  6. Wild Life Sydney (attraction)
6 thanks

answered by
Lea from Ewing

Having a car is a must in New Zealand! is a great company to rent from.  I spent 10 days in New Zealand and stayed in Auckland for 4 days so is doable to travel all the North Island with just a few days. I was also on a very tight budget! I would suggest spending no more than one day in Auckland as there is not all that much to do there (in my opinion). There is a great red wood hike in Rotorua located in the Whakarewarewa Forest. I stayed at Cactus Jacks Backpackers Hostel which was a quirky and cheap place. The workers there are very helpful as they will tell you about all the things to do in Rotorua . There is a lot of geothermal activity there so you can check that out too (there are spas you can go to). If you have the time, I would also suggest going to Tongariro, there are lots of great hikes there and on the way down there are so many scenic points to stop at and it’s all so beautiful. In Tongariro there is a glow worm walk you can do if you can’t afford to go to Waitomo Glowworm Caves. I would have loved to go there and have heard many great things about it. I then headed to Wellingtonwhich I highly suggest it's small and very easy to navigate. There are lots of great restaurants and bars there! If you do end up going all the way to Wellington, you have to go to Te Papa Tongarewa - Museum Of New Zealand. Wellington is awesome and I would suggest it over Auckland. The last place I stopped at was Taranaki Region,  a beautiful little beach town. If you enjoy surfing, it’s a good little spot for that. 

5 thanks

answered by
Pierre from Melbourne

Round Road Trip, forget the blurb describing the family reunion.  I am a New Zealander of Maori descent and I made up this trip for my Dutch wife and I and tried to show her some of the interesting places that she might be interested in.  We had a great trip.  Standouts are Ninety Mile Beach, Waitangi, River Rats Rafting & Kayaking, Lake Taupo and Waitomo Glowworm Caves. She and I had a great trip.  We live in St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia.  Auckland is just another boring city, in my opinion......if I was you, use it for flying in and out of.  They do have a lovely harbour though.  Hope this helps..

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ninety Mile Beach (attraction)
  2. Waitangi (city)
  3. River Rats Rafting & Kayaking (attraction)
  4. Lake Taupo (attraction)
  5. Waitomo Glowworm Caves (attraction)
5 thanks

answered by
Joe from Houston

Suggest you make the drive to Hawke's Bay. It is a 6+-hour drive from Auckland but much shorter once you see some of the sites on your list. It was one of the highlights of our trip. Scenery, dining, and wineries.

And an art deco tour of Napier is well worth it.

There is a wide range of lodging available,

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hawke's Bay (region)
  2. Auckland (city)
  3. Napier (city)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Joe from Houston


We stayed at Greenhill Lodge which is nearby to some of the places you're traveling to on the North Island. We HIGHLY recommend it - spectacular venue, hosts, and dinners (included) BUT it is pricey. They also arranged wine tours for us.

Do go to Clearview Estate Winery & Restaurant for lunch and the Art Deco Tour (make reservation a day ahead).


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Greenhill Lodge (hotel)
  2. Clearview Estate Winery & Restaurant (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Alica from Australia

Its a great idea. In order to visit Sydney,  you can visit beautiful Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge side sights, city parks,  Mardi Grass, and last but not the least Sydney Tower, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sydney Opera House (attraction)
  2. Sydney Harbour Bridge (attraction)
  3. Sydney Tower, Sydney, NSW, Australia (attraction)
1 thankscomments (2)

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