We are hoping to hire a car for a day and travel down to Rotorua from Auckland ourselves rather than taking a bus tour. Now l know that a lot of you will say we should stay over and experience the area but unfortunately time and our itinerary doesnt allow for that!
What my questions are - how long should it take us to drive from Auckland to Rotorua and due to our time restraints, which areas should we really NOT miss!
Also a lot of bus trips take in Waitomo Caves on the same trip - is this feasible for us to do on our own on the same days as Rotorua or should we simply concentrate on one area?
[ Edit: Edited at Oct 20, 2006 7:24 AM by Purdy ]
The drive is a bit over three hours. (Depending on how fast you drive, of course.) I can't really recommend anything must-see/do in Rotorua, since on my two visits there I found it a rather dismal place. Probably the best suggestion I can make is the Wai-o-tapu thermal area about 15-20 minutes south of Rotorua.
It should take less than 3 hours but it depends from where in Auckland you are departing from.
Now, why did you pick up Rotorua? You must already have an idea of what you are looking for over there. There is plenty to do but most of it is all set up for tourists - which does not mean it's not interesting and attractive. I liked whakarewarewa (http://www.whakarewarewa.com/), the thermal village as it has all the geothermal activity and also demonstrations of maori's culture and arts. You can easily spend half a day or more here (it's quite expensive). Going towards Taupo, there are the craters of the moon (see bottom of page : http://nzphoto.tripod.com/volcano/acraterom.htm)which are free to visit (they were 3 years ago...)
Don't miss Waitomo! Black Water rafting is fantastic. If I remember right, it was a full-day's outing - driving from Auckland, doing the rafting, having lunch, and driving back. Maybe if you set out really early you can get it all in...?
[ Edit: Edited at Oct 20, 2006 3:35 PM by tway ]
Hi, I would def recommend going to Rotorua, if only for the White-water rafting. It's brilliant, 7m waterfall!! We did it in the lashings of rain and it's one of my favorite memories of our NZ trip. The guides we did it with were really nice, fun and trustworhty! They had massive respect for the river and their Maori ancesters...which was cool.
I say go there ... and visit the Waitomo caves, black water rafting was good - don't bother staying over night there - not much happens.
Enjoy - wish i could join u!!!
Instead of visiting Waitomo Caves (I am not a cave/mine enthusiast in general) I made a Quadbike tour in the very green hilly surroundings. Very nice!
which areas should we really NOT miss!
if you go the hire car route, make sure you make a stop at Kerosene Creek which is a natural hot spring 26kms south of rotorua on SH5.
Also, if you can find it, there's an amazing hot spring complete with limestone cave and candles hidden on the loop road to the thermal area touristy place on this road. Good luck finding it but it's worth it!!!