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North Island Travel Answers

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · March 28, 2016
Need help putting together a itinerary for North island New Zealand.  (5 Answers)

My husband and I are travelling to New Zealand (North) from Gold Coast Queensland Australia. We will be driving around in a rental car, stopping in hotels along the way. Have not booked flights yet as not sure whether to fly into Auckland or Wellington first. We would like to stay around 14/15 nights and we would go the end of May/June. So would like some help with an itinerary of where to go, what to see, and how long to stay at each place. Also any reasonable priced rental car companies around. We have travelled the south island a few years ago which was wonderful. Thank you for any help you can give me.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · October 28, 2013
For divers only  (2 Answers)

I kindly ask to the real divers on the screen... Which is the best in the North? Poor Nights or Bay of Island? For the last one I suppose wrecks, Canterbury for sure. Which could be the water temperature in late Dec ?
Thanks !!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · October 14, 2013
2 weeks: 1 by car, 1 by motorhome, where better ?

I'll spend 2 weeks in December, the first one before Crhistmast travelling by car and the second one between C and New Years Eve, travelling by motorhome. I have to split the 2 weeks holidays in two, so you advise me to spend the 1 week by car at the Northland/Bay of Island and the second one by camper at Coromandel, Rotorua, Napier or vice-versa ?
One could argue that the second week is more crowded, so better to stay in the Northland than Coromandel and Taupo /Rotorua ?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · March 10, 2013
Orakei Korako  (1 Answer)

Dear All,

I want to visit this wonderful place, and since I am spending the night at Taupo, does anyone know how to get there from Taupo because I am not driving? Or do you suggest I get there from Rotorua instead? I am not planning to stay overnight at Rotorua at the moment but if it is more accessible (other than from driving myself) I will make a night stay at Rotorua.
Do you all suggest if I visit the Craters of the Moon Geothermal Park too? or either? Given the recent weather conditions where can i expect more Geothermal activities? I read that there wasn't much at the Craters of the Moon as it hasn't been raining at the time when the reviewer visited, therefore not enough water for all that heating up and bubbling. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Thank you for helping me here.
Kelly :)

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · December 09, 2012
North Island with kids in Feb 2013: car or camper?  (9 Answers)


We are traveling with 2 adults, a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old to New Zealand. We will rent a vehicle for 17 days to explore the North Island from Feb 14 until Mar 2. After that we will spend 4 weeks in a camper in Australia.

My question for NZ is: car or camper?

I am leaning towards a camper for these reasons:

- nice outdoor experience

- every night the same bed for the kids

- all equipment to be self contained available

I read a lot of message here from people who recommend car/motels.

In Feb/Mar, can we still sit outside in the evening? I expect good whether, but just not sure how much cooler it will be in the evening.

Then, will there be enough accomodation (motels, cabins) available or would be need to prebook?

Last but not least: Is a car + motels really THAT much cheaper or is it around the same price?

Looking forward to your response!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · May 30, 2012
8 Day trip in September  (4 Answers)

Looking for any input on places to see while on a 8 day trip to the North Island.

I will be traveling by myself (29 year old male) and arriving in Auckland Friday Sept. 14th. The first two days I will not have transportation and would like to check things out in Auckland. On that Sunday I will have a campervan and would like to checkout the area a little north of Auckland.

On Monday I will leave the Auckland area and was interested in heading down to Tongariro for a day or two. Anything I shouldn't miss on the drive down, probably be going through Hamilton unless there is something I should go out of my way for.

My next stop was going to be Rotorua for a day or two, then I would like to go north from there to Coromandel until Friday night/Saturday morning. I will fly out Saturday night from Auckland.

I am open to most any experience. Thanks for any help in advance.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · April 29, 2012
Prepaid SIM for mobile broadband-What provider?  (5 Answers)

Hi All,

I will be driving around North Island (Auckland-Bay of Plenty-Taupo-Tongariro-Waitomo-Auckland) for about a week and having already an unlocked pendrive USB modem I would like to buy a prepaid mobile broadband SIM so that I can access internet anytime during my trip.

I have seen in the forum that "2degrees" has not a good coverage out of Auckland and basically I am looking for the following features:

-Good coverage out of city areas

-Minimum cost for the SIM card

-Possibility to buy prepaid credit for 30$ or less

-Provider Store available at the airport (not essential)

Thank you,


Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · April 25, 2012
North Island-driving for 5 days, what would you not miss??  (6 Answers)

Hi all,

I will be flying in Auckland at the beginning of May on a tuesday (about midday) for a 5 day stay (flying back on Sunday afternoon) and I am considering driving down south straight after landing. I definitely would like to see the hotsprings at Rotorua, and some Volcanic landscapes where shorts walks (2hours max )are involved.

Consindering I will have to be back to Auckland on Saturday evening what other interesting places would you suggest on my up to Auckland? I am mostly interested in beautiful landscapes maybe some guided fishing and not much into extreme sports but would like to do some Dolphins watch somewhere on the way.

Many people had suggested me in general to drive just north of Auckland instead of going south, up to Cape Reinga through Bay of Islands but I am wondering if it's worth it at this time of the year considering these are summer spots.

Any suggestion will be appreciated.



Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · April 22, 2012
3 Days in North Island - Bay of Islands or Rotorua?  (5 Answers)

Hi all, I'm planning to a 10 day trip to NZ, of which 7 will be spent in South Island so I'm thinking how best to spend the remaining 3 days in North Island. Given that S. Island would be mostly a scenic tour, should I still be heading to Bay of Islands in N. Island considering the time constraint*? Or is it generally better to go to Rotorua instead for the culture? Would be quite keen to see the Maori traditions.

*No interest in visiting Hole in the Rock either.

Thanks in advance!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · March 01, 2012
First time in NZ, planning to go North in June, suggestion in lodging/ trips  (37 Answers)

I have 8 days in North Island, 3 of us. Do I need to book the car rental in advance? Will there b snow, is it safe to drive or do I need any snow chain? Is parking in Auckland expensive? As first night will be staying in Auckland, not sure should I rent the car from Airport or the second day from Auckland when I start my journey?

Do I need to book accommodation in advance or I can just book the first night and explore on the way? I thinking of staying B&B/ farm stay/ apartment in the city, any suggestion will be of great help.

Day 1 - Auckland
Day 2 - Rotorua (Wai-o-tapu, Te Puia)
Day 3 - Rotorua (Waikite Valley, Buried Village)
Day 4 - Lake Tuapo > Huka Falls > Napier
Day 5 - Lake Taupo > Kiwi house > Waitomo cave
Day 6 - Auckland
Day 7 - Auckland > Waiheke Island > Auckland
Day 8 - Auckland
Day 9 - Airport and fly to Melbourne

2 days for Rotorua is it too much? Will prefer to see scenery, volcanoes...
Do I need to book the entry for those attraction in advance? I can see there is 10% discount when book online for Te Puia. Is it necessary to join a day tour or we can walk around ourselves?

Do I have time for other places? Any nice Vineyard to go?
My driving route seems to be the same when driving back to Auckland, any suggestion to drive different route so I can see more different things and places?

Any nice farm stay/ B&B to recommend? prefer price range150-200 for 3 pax.
Able to get price for 2bedroom apartment for150?

Thank you!!!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 28, 2012
All Blacks vs. Ireland in Hamilton  (16 Answers)

Could anyone please provide a legit site to buy tickets for the All Blacks vs. Ireland in Hamilton (Steinlager Series). So far I have only been able to locate a website that sells tickets and accomm. I was planning on organising my own accommodation


Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 13, 2012
3 days in north island  (3 Answers)

we are flying into auckland on a wednesday at noon and leaving sat at 6 pm. we will have a car. plan is to head to roturn through hamilton, see rotura for a day, then head back to auckland. Is there anything else worth seeing? Is rotura worth seeing?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · March 12, 2011
8 nights in North Island in July  (9 Answers)


I will be traveling solo to NZ and stay for 8 nights in early July, Auckland in and out. I have done traveling in various parts of the world (although usually not solo), so not a newbie. I plan to rent a car and tour North Island. After researching on the web, I am thinking Auckland -> Whitianga -> Bay of Plenty -> Gisborne -> Napier -> Taupo -> Tongariro NP -> Waitomo -> Auckland. Before this, I will be spending 5 days in Melbourne and Sydney.

I have plenty of questions, but I will start with these:

1. Do I need to reserve hotels in advance? I mean it's light season, and I'd like to have some flexibility in my itinerary. Then I am not sure if I should look for a hotel in these places after dark.

2. Will I need snow chain in any of these places? I certainly prefer not to.

3. Any suggestion on this itinerary? I also think about Bay of Islands, but it's in the opposite direction.

Thanks in advance

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · March 09, 2011
5 Day Itinerary - Suggestions  (9 Answers)

Hi everyone!

We are thinking of organising a "last minute" trip to New Zealand. The period would be Easter (end of April). We would have 5 full days to spend in the North Island (we would be arriving and departing from Auckland). We are a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children aged 3 and 1) and are willing to rent a car. We have never been to NZ before... we are definitely including Rotorua and were considering the Bay of Islands, but we are unsure about that as it is going to be autumn... How about the area of Lake Taupo? And/or a nice wine region?
Any suggestions for an itinerary? Any MUST see places? Any advice on accommodation?

Thank you very much!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · March 09, 2011
Where to go with 5 days in October  (7 Answers)

My wife and I are on the last leg of our Canadian trip and want to finish off with 5 days in the North Island. My wife has never seen the North Island and I remember little. We will rent a car from AKL airport around 0700 18 October and want to leave the city asap. We prefer countryside to cities or glitzy tourist centres. Cabins,inns or B&Bs are our preference to motels.
Any suggestions for an itinerary?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · January 23, 2011
Weather at Easter  (3 Answers)

I am planning on touring the North Island at Easter holiday period and would appreciate advice on the weather to expect at that time (Late April) and if it is school holiday time there just how busy the tourist areas will be.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 30, 2010
kerikeri to kai iwi lakes and hokianga to kerikeri  (2 Answers)

Please can anyone give me the easiest route (less windy and hairy) between Kerikeri and Kai Iwi lakes and for the return journey between Hokianga and Kerikeri. Is the drive from the lake to Hokianga easy and is it worth a visit to Hokiang. Thanks Denise

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 17, 2010
urgent help needed!! please anyone?????  (14 Answers)

right im about to travel from the uk to newzealand in the morning, the flights are a return leaving on 18th to 18 to 18th of april,next year, so valid for 6 months, im going to stay with my fiance,now she was here in the uk for 2 years but her visa ran out and shes been back in nz for around 7 months, now our problem is we only found out through nz customs that you need to have a1000 per month of stay, so thats6000,and without it they could refuse me entry,thats all they could say we have about1000,she is in full time employment with the hilton hotel,and we have already paid a months rent and deposit on a room,i have a letter from her stating she will support me financially,untill i get a visa,which i,ll apply for asap when im there, and giving her details and employment details too,i also have a letter from my parents in the uk stating they will support me financially if need be, and i also have one from her mother who lives in auckland stating the samething, and she could say she will let us stay with her rent free,if that would help, me and my fiance are really worried as we,ve spent 7 months apart and we couldnt bare me getting to auckland after a 26hr flight and being refused entry. so does anyone have any input or advice/suggestions it would be very much appreciated, i have never flown before so i really have no idea what will happen.
we,ve tried loans also bu we just cantget one quick enough.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · June 28, 2010
Auckland,waitomo caves,Rotorua  (4 Answers)

Hi we are arriving in Auckland wednesday night 3/9/2010 we have 2 days free thursday and friday and thought we would drive to rotorua and waitomo caves can any one suggest the best way to go.... do waitoma caves first then go to rotorua or got to rotorua first then on the friday do waitoma caves as we have to be in huntley the friday night also could any one suggest the best attractions to get the most into the short time we have and what is the weather usually like at that time appreciate any help you can give

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 09, 2010
Taupo to Auckland route  (3 Answers)

Please could someone tell me which is the best driving route from Taupo to Auckland. Either state highway 1 via Cambridge or state highway 1 onto state highway 27 via Matamata. Thanks, Denise

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 07, 2010
portwaikato  (1 Answer)

is this a pleasant holiday town and worth a 2 day visit for an elderly couple with a campervan?

has anyone stayed at the portwaikato holiday park? is it walking distance to the town?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · January 18, 2010
wellington-taupo, where to stop for breakfast and lunch and traffic  (2 Answers)

leaving Wellington on 5th february for drive to Taupo. Where would be good to stop for breakfast and where for lunch. Also will there be a lot of traffic getting out of Wellington. Thanks Denise

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · January 03, 2010
What are the highlights of the North Island?  (7 Answers)

I am heading to the North Island in mid February, and was wondering if anyone could help me put together an itinerary.

I am not really into big cities, and enjoy the outdoors.........any suggestions on what to do would be greatly appreciated. Also my budget is relatively low.......being a student, I would like to spend as little as possible, while maximizing my week in NZ. Thanks a lot

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 07, 2009
Opinions on 18 day Itinerary welcomed  (24 Answers)

Hi everyone,

Hubby and I are planning a trip for the last week in Feb & into March next year and would appreciate any advice and tips on the following itinerary we have planned.
We don't want to rush from place to place and can include a few extra days if you think we are missing anything.
We are planning on hiring a car at Auckland airport & doing a self-drive tour, dropping it off at Wellington airport.

Day 1 - Arrive Auckland from Sydney
Day 2/3 - Auckland: whale/Dolphin Safari, Museum, Aquarium & Skytower
Day 4 - Rangitoo Island then free time wandering the city
Day 5 - Travel to Hobbiton for tour, continue on to Waitamo caves stopping at Kiwi house at Otorohanga before booking in to accommodation.
Day 6 - Cave Tours and travel to Rotorua
Day 7 - Rotorua: Whakarewarewa village & Hells Gate
Day 8 - Drive to Whakatane for White Island Volcano Tour, back to Rotorua Accomodation.
Day 9 - Rotorua:buried village Te Wairoa & rainbow springs kiwi village. Maybe Te Puia (not sure if it will be too much thermal stuff considering we are doing thermal stuff on day 11 as well)
Day 10 - Kuirau Park, perhaps the Redwood Memorial Grove Walking Track, paradise valley wildlife park and end day with Tamaki Maori Village hungai dinner.
Day 11 - Drive to Lake Taupo stopping at two places along the way:Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland and Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park
Day 12 - Taupo: Huka Falls, Wairakei Tourist Park, Mine Bay rock carving
Day 13 - Drive to Wellington down through Turangi, Waiouru - I believe it is Motorway 1. Looks to be the most direct route but not sure where to stop along the way for rests.
Day 14 - Wellington:Te Papa museum. From my research it appears a full day is needed to see everything.
Day 15 - Wellington: Karori Sanctuary, Cable Car
Day 16 - sealcoast safari, rest of day free to wander
Day 17 - Zoo
Day 18 - Fly back to Sydney

My main question is have I left enough time to see each place before moving on to the next?
Will stay at motels, but thought an apartment with laundry would be better at Rotorua so we can wash our clothes & leave to dry while out (better than wasting time at Laundrymats).

Thanks so much for any advice you have to offer.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 12, 2009
Matamata- Hobbiton  (5 Answers)


heard from a friend about the farm land which used to be the filming site of LOTR. Understand that some simple structures and the hobbit holes are still there. Saw some pix on the web. I have two questions:

1) Is it worthwhile to take the detour off the SH 1? I am heading back from Rotorua to Auckland.

2) Some said that its pte property and I must join an organised tour. Is it true?


Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · March 10, 2009
Halaal Restaurants between Auckland and Wellington  (3 Answers)

Hi there Kiwi friends,
does anyone know about any halaal restaurants between aux and wellington? (not including these 2 towns as i am aware about some restauraunts there..)
Thank you

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · March 08, 2009
Travelling throu North Island with 6 months old baby  (6 Answers)

Hi everybody, what a great forum! Thanks for all the tips. I was wondering if you could help me, i would like to visit places like White island and Tongariro Crossing, but have our 6 months old baby with us. For those who have visited these places, do you think its save for a baby or we better find other places of interest? We only have 5 days in North island, so any suggestion would be much appreciated.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 01, 2009
Auckland Airport to Taupo  (2 Answers)

Can anyone give me precise driving directions from Auckland Airport to Taupo and the quickest route.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 23, 2008
Wellington Mid February  (8 Answers)

Hi guys,

My girlfriend and I will be in Wellington in February for a mates wedding, and were thinking of hiring a camper van for a week.
Would a week give us long enough to see a fair bit of the North Island, and is it worth getting a camper van, or just hiring a car and using Youth Hostels, are there many in the North Island, I know the South is much more renowned for that kind of thing, but we are planning to do that in winter!
Any advice or suggestions would be more than appreciated!!

Cheers, Glen

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · October 07, 2008
Rotorua and bay of islands  (4 Answers)


I plan to spend

- 4 days in Rotorua
- 3 days in Bay islands

Can you please suggest activities I can do in the above places and its surrounding?


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