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Last minute New Zealand trip, need advice!!!

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Last minute New Zealand trip, need advice!!!

Last Post This thread is marked as being about North Island (New Zealand)
1. Posted by Neato24 (Budding Member 13 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!


I have written on here before that I am going to be in East Australia from June 2nd to July 7th solo. After many suggestions from my friends, I have decided to squeeze in a week long trip to New Zealand, the north Island. I haven't really researched NZ that much since this was a spur of the moment thing, didn't know what to do. I was looking at the Kiwi Experience bus tour for a week long trip, was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions? Or advice on what do to and see for a week in NZ? I am going to be there June 21st until the 29th, if anyone else is going to be around, I would love to meet up! Any advice is appreciated, thanks!!!

- Kailey

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5159 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

I'd recommend renting a car, and making your own way around; plenty of people to meet up with in hostels, so the company shouldn't be an argument of going with a tour bus a la kiwi.

A suggested itinerary (based on my own interests, namely mostly seeing gorgeous scenery and hiking, as this is what one generally comes to New Zealand for, and you didn't specify otherwise - most of these places also have plenty of cultural and adventure activities, though) would be:
21: Arrive Auckland, explore Auckland (Mt. Eden, Parnell, maybe take a ferry to Devonport).
22: Rent car, drive to Paihia, do one of the touristy boat trips or go kayaking (I'm guessing it'll be too cold to swim with dolphins), or hike to the Waitangi treaty grounds, and maybe on to Huraru Falls.
23: Drive to to big Kauri trees in Puketi forest and on to Cape Reinga (checking in to accommodation in Kaitaia or Ahipara on the way); admire the lighthouse and the two oceans crashing into each other, walk along the beach to Cape Maria van Diemen, stay for sunset at the lighthouse.
24: Drive south along the west coast (maybe stop off at one of the black sand beaches; Muriwai) and then east toward the Coromandel; stay at Whitianga or Hahei.
25: Explore Cathedral Cove (look up low tide before, otherwise you can't access it) and Hot Water Beach. Drive on to Tauranga or Mt. Maunganui at the end of the day.
26: Walk over or around the Mount, then in the afternoon drive south via Rotorua to Taupo, stopping at some of the volcanic highlights. (I can recommend wai-o-tapu, but there's a ton in that area.)
27: Drive to National Park or Whakapapa in the Tongariro National Park. If the desert road is open, take an extra hour to drive south along it, before heading northwest. Then hike in Tongariro National Park from Whakapapa (the Tongariro Crossing itself won't really be possible this time of year), but there's a host of shorter hikes that are very much worth doing.
28: Drive north to Auckland via Matamata to do the Hobbiton tour (assuming filming for the Hobbit hasn't started yet). The hills really are that green.
29: Enjoy your remaining time in Auckland. Fly out.

Google map of the route.

3. Posted by mambovicki (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

I dont think you'd necessarily need to rent a car to travel the north island. Lots of buses and some train can get you to the main locations. Even cheap grabaseat flights to main cities to help you shorten travel time. Like, you could do mini trips from Auckland by bus mostly without backtracking too much and then back there for the next lot of mini trips south. That's when you might fly to wellington and head back up to Auckland by bus or train fitting in whatever it is that interests you. If you want to give us an idea of what you want to see and achieve when you're here, we can then give you some ideas to narrow down the itinerary. I can help with ideas around Bay of Plenty region for instance and pretty much the north island because I know it so well. There are lots of things to do and most are accessible so I don't think it's vital you have a rental car unless that's how you want to travel. I think you can still achieve heaps for a week, with a well thought out itinerary. Great choice too adding in NZ. You'll love it.

4. Posted by ladylike (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hi Neato,

I will be in North Island too. Would like to do some travelling together in Bay of Plenty between 21-24 June?? I will be in Whakatane and I can pick you up in nearby places and then start our tour to Tauranga/Rotorua/Opotiki, depending on the days you are in the area. Do drop me a message and we can discuss more :D Looking forward to hear from you!

5. Posted by livetodive (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Rent a car and follow state highway one, there are so many beautiful places! What exactly are looking for? There are so many options! Depending on whether. It is also the start of the Ski season. I am a North Islander, but I must admit the South Island wins on beauty!

If you have 5 minutes I would really appreciate you helping me out with my university assignment!


All the best in NZ, let me know if you get to the South Island!

[ Edit: Sorry, no research questionnaires please; read for more. ]

6. Posted by Asfaloth (Budding Member 17 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hi there,

I'm another kiwi, and from the north island as well, but surprising not biased- I'm from the East Coast north of Gisborne but I wouldn't go up there in July, it's a summer spot for sure!

A random list of places I would recommend are:

  • Waitomo- caves and associated awesome activities (white/black water rafting is great fun!)
  • Wellington is a beautiful city and a bit wild in winter- cultural capital of NZ (film, cafes, some great bars, Karori Wildlife park, Matiu/Somes island). Capital city, associated history etc. Maybe a bit biased for Wellington!
  • Hobbiton sets in the Wairarapa (just north of Wellington) if you're into that sort of thing, also great vineyards around there.
  • Rotorua- I would definitely give it a day or more, volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, buried village hot water beach on one of the lakes (Rotoiti? One of them, I can't recall now). Lots of cool stuff in Rotorua, but you will be wading through the tourist rubbish too.

I'm sure other people can suggest more stuff, those are just ones interesting to me :-)

Oh I'm told the far North is lovely too, but I haven't been up there. Unfortunately the North Island really has more on in the Summer, beaches galore!

It really depends what you want to do as to whether hiring a car is worthwhile- if you want to do lots of walking and nature stuff then you probably would need one, but if you don't then buses are adequate. There are trains between Auckland and Wellington, and if you want to save yourself the hassle of going backwards and forwards then remember you can fly back to Australia from Wellington and I believe Rotorua has an international airport as well, if I recall correctly they fly several times a week to Australia in the ski season... not 100% on that one though.

Have fun!!!

7. Posted by Bonnie ONeill (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Great posts guys. I think you have been given just about all you need to have a great trip.

There is so much to see and do in NZ and summer is definitely the best time to travel as you can head to the Coromandel or west coast beaches.

If you are going to rent a car, check out some of the cheaper options like relocation cars. I use -snip- as they are really cheap. This way you can save some money and do more!

Another great travel option is They also have some really great deals.

Good choice, NZ rocks!!!

Moderator comment: please see Forum Rules

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please (really; both posts you've made have tried to promote this company). Link to Forum Rules added. ]

8. Posted by williammark34 (Budding Member 6 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

I am suggesting you to take a coach tour instead on renting a car because with coach tour you will get all the necessary things like they planned your tour ,with pre booked hotels,sight seeing activities and also including the luxury coaches.So its better to opt this instead of roaming here and there because they helps you in visiting the sights and all such things and make your trip memorable.

9. Posted by ladylike (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hi Thank you so much for the info. But I am actually looking for a travel buddy...

10. Posted by Kazarina (Budding Member 7 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

You could try out flying kiwi tours, if you don't want to be alone. It seems pretty budget (fairly comparable with travelling on my own) and get to do plenty of things. I'm planning a trip to NZ end of the year so I've been looking such things up.