My wife and I go to the North Island (only) of New Zealand for 10 days in April'09, to attend the V8 car races at Hamilton and spend the rest of the time having a bit of a look around the North Island. We know we only have about a week for sightseeing and we can't obviously get to see it all, but what advice can someone give as to the 'best' places/things to see and do when we get over there. We will be driving ourselves around in a car and staying in motels along the way. We are into sightseeing, shopping, outdoors, wine, antiques, history, fishing.
In our very early 50's, we are a very active couple, BUT we are not into bungy jumping, white water rafting and any other of the famous NZ 'extreme activities'. (Look foward to returning to Adelaide Australia in the same physical condition as we leave it!!!!)
Ross & Debbie
If you have a week spare, how about something like a circuit like this?:
- Rotorua, for Maori culture and volcanic mud
- Whakatane, for some seaside (and also day cruises to White Island, the most active volcano in the area)
- Napier, for looking at the perfectly preserved art deco town, boutique shopping and wine tours
- Taupo for pretty scenery, maybe a day out on the lake (trout fishing a possibility) or in the mountains
Also, Waitomo for blackwater rafting or some great cave hikes. Plus Whangerai for hiking is nice, too.
I like magykal1's suggestion- White Island is one of the best things I have done in New Zealand and Rotorua is definitely a 'must see' in NZ. I spent a weekend in Napier a few weeks ago and it's lovely. If you go to Taupo, don't miss Huka falls; there is a pretty walk from the city centre to get there.
The Bay of Islands and the Coromandel are other options - both are really nice.
I highly highly recommend the coromandel peninsula. rent a car and drive around it yourself. There is no one out that way. It's like having the entire region to yourself. Think great ocean road but unpaved and with out other cars...great ocean road more towards Geelong though.
from there you are not far from rotorua for some geothermal stuff
rotorua is only a couple hours west of hamilton too
also if you are very active I suggest the tongariro crossing out of taupo. It's an all day hike but it's real nice. but only if you are real active.
Hi - from Hamilton I suggest you go to Waitomo and do the usual Cave tour or blackwater rafting which is great. Then across to Taupo. You might manage some trout fishing.You have to get a license and it would eat up a day. Or you could do a side trip to National Park (Mt Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro) from Taupo. It is not too far - http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/tongariro-taupo/turangi-taupo-area/rotopounamu-track/ this is a beautiful walk around a small lake on the road to National park. There are also several walks around National Park itself.Tawhai Falls is nice and very short. Taupo to Rotorua where you could spend at least 2 days - http://www.holidays-in-newzealand.com/rotorua.html to Whakatane for the White island trip and back via Tauranga -Mills Reef and Morton Bay wineries are in this area. Mt Maunganui is a very popular beach and worth stopping to have a snack and look at the beach. They have hot pools, and the walk around the Mount is really lovely- then to Cambridge which is a good antique centre.Just a small country town but lots of antique shops.It is only 25 minutes from Hamilton.
Or you may want to go from Taupo to Napier, where they have Art deco tours......... if that is the kind of antiques you like. Napier is a main wine area. You can drive around the wineries, or do a bike tour riding between wineries for something different.
Have a lovely holiday in New Zealand,