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NZ newbies - Coromandel to Rotorua on ever onward!

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
139 posts
95 reviews
NZ newbies - Coromandel to Rotorua on ever onward!

We're heading to NZ next week (yay!) and staying overnight in Auckland. Next morning going to Coromandel Peninsula to see the sights, looking for a good place to stay. Any suggestions?? We like eating,, so must be near restaurant.

Also querying the next leg - we want to see Waitomo Caves and Rotorua, planned to stay 2 nights in Rotorua, head over to Waitomo, then on Hwy 5 to Napier to stay overnight before ultimately heading to Wellington to cross to Sth Island. Is Hwy 5 more or less scenic than the alternative way after Waitomo - Hwy 4 through the Tongariro NP?? All help gratefully received, want to maximise this experience.

Wanaka, New Zealand
Level Contributor
1,528 posts
18 reviews
1. Re: NZ newbies - Coromandel to Rotorua on ever onward!

Hi there,

How many nights do you have in total to see the Nth Island?

Also, are you planning to visit Te Anau in the South Island. The only reason I ask is because Waitomo is a bit out of the way with regards to the other places you intend on visiting and you may be better off seeing Glow Worms in the South Island. If you do end up visiting, however, it's order will alter depending on where you travel to next. If going to Napier, go Coromandel, Waitomo, Rotorua, Napier. If going to Tongariro NP, go Coromandel, Rotorua, Waitomo, National Park.

As for the option of Napier vs The Central Plateau, it depends on your interests. If you prefer the idea of rugged, mountain landscapes, travel via Tongariro NP. Or if a combination of wine, green pastures and a touch of coastline is more your thing, travel via Napier.

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
139 posts
95 reviews
2. Re: NZ newbies - Coromandel to Rotorua on ever onward!

Hey Oskar, thanks for your reply. We have 6 nights north island, 8 nights south island. Sounds like Central Plateau rather than rolling fields might be more our go, we love rugged scenery. We've pre-booked Auckland and will book 2 nights at Rotorua, but after that we have no firm plans, as a lot depends on the weather. We've seen the bottom of the south island from a skiing trip to Queenstown & Wanaka, but MUST visit a distant cousin in Christchurch, so will wend our way from Picton down to CHCH, hopefully taking in the rugged west coast (if it's not too blizzardy). Probably take Arthur's Pass to CHCH, sounds scenic and beautiful??

Brisbane Qld
Level Contributor
212 posts
4 reviews
3. Re: NZ newbies - Coromandel to Rotorua on ever onward!

Must dos in Rotorua

The Luge, Polynesian Hot Pools (night time activity) Rainbow and Fairy Springs and the Agredome.

Also the Waitomo caves are good to visit - excellent in fact

On the Coremandel Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove are must dos

Yes travel via Tongariro National Park (really beautiful scenery) then head up towards Taupo and before Taupo there is a intersection to take you to Napier.

New Zealand
Level Contributor
9,492 posts
12 reviews
4. Re: NZ newbies - Coromandel to Rotorua on ever onward!

Crafty, they are heading south so will turn left at SH1/SH5 intersection just south of Taupo township if going to Napier. But I would suggest heading straight down the middle on the Desert Road or via the short detour through National Park to Wellington. GlynnF you don't actually have too much time to explore Napier and it's surrounds so going that way will be pointless.

Stay at Whitianga on the Coromandel, and try The Fireplace for a good place to eat. There are a few other restaurants in the township too. It's also central for activities.

Wanaka, New Zealand
Level Contributor
1,528 posts
18 reviews
5. Re: NZ newbies - Coromandel to Rotorua on ever onward!

Given your rough plans, I think you might be better off spending more time in the Nth and less in the Sth.

Perhaps the following

Night 1 Auckland

Nights 2 - 3 Coromandel.

Nights 4 - 5 Rotorua

Night 6 Waitomo

Night 7 Whakapapa Village

Night 8 Wellington

Nights 9 - 10 Nelson/Abel Tasman Park

Night 11 Punakaiki

Night 12 - 13 ChCh

Leaving you one spare night to spend somewhere above (perhaps another night in Auckland or Wellington) or perhaps a night in Taupo.

For the Coromandel, I would recommend driving up the west side of the Peninsula. (It hugs the coastline and is really beautiful), then have a delicious seafood lunch in the Coromandel Township before heading along the 309 Road to Whitianga. The 309 Road has some great stops enroute (e.g The Waterworks, Kauri Grove Walkway and Waiau Falls), but it is unsealed so it might pay to check that your car rental company allows it. Perhaps spend a few nights in or near Whitianga, before heading down the East side of the Peninsula to Rotorua via Tauranga.

While in Waitomo, I recommend checking out the Ruakuri bushwalk. It only takes about half an hour but is a really pretty walk.

…govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/…

Another option with a bit of variety and interesting scenery would be:

Night 1 Auckland

Nights 2 - 3 Coromandel

Nights 4 - 5 Rotorua

Night 6 Waitomo

Night 7 New Plymouth.

Night 8 Travel down to Stratford, perhaps a few short walks in Egmont NP, then follow the Forgotten World Highway to Taumaranui and then down to Tongariro NP to spend the night.

visitruapehu.co.nz/new-zealand/Forgotten-wor…

Night 9 Wellington

Nights 10 - 11 Nelson/Abel Tasman Park

Night 12 Punakaiki

Night 13 - 14 ChCh

I mention this option because I am a big fan of the Taranaki Region and feel that it's really underrated within the tourism circuit. There are lot's of nice, free walks (e.g the coastal walkway, Egmont NP and Pukekura Park) and the combination of a rugged coastline and one of NZ's prettiest mountains make it a very scenic place to visit. However, it does add quite a bit of extra driving which is something that may not interest you.

Anyway, I hope at least some of this helps.

Happy Planning. One week will pass in no time :-)

6. Re: NZ newbies - Coromandel to Rotorua on ever onward!

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