“Mud Spas, Hell’s Gate and Hobbits! My suggested itinerary for a 9 day road trip through New Zealand’s Northern island”
My friends and I are planning a three week trip to Australia and New Zealand! We are spending one week in Australia at the Great Barrier Reef and the the rest of the trip in New Zealand, based on the time constraints the focus for the driving portion of the trip is definitely will have to be on the North island of New Zealand. The South island looks amazing but we realistically will not have time to drive that far in the 3 weeks we will be on vacation, not to mention the earth quakes that have recently hit the South island making it a little risky. Maybe next time!
Here is the suggested tour we are taking:
Driving day 1-2; Pick up the rental car in Auckland and head to Coromandel Peninsula located about three and a half hour drive from Auckland. One of the most popular beach destinations on the north island because of the Hot Water beach, Cathedral Cove, and the Pinnacles Walk. Spend two nights in Coromandel.
Days 3-5; Rotorua; Mud Spas, Hell’s gate, Maori Culture and Hobbits!
Rotorua is a Three and a half hour drive from Coramandel. But in Two and a half miles we are stopping at Hobbiton! Experience the Middle-earth at Hobbiton, where you can step into the lush pastures of the Shire. Learn the Hobbit language and meet real live Hobbits! Ok maybe not….all that.
Apparently you will see Hobbit Holes and step into the world-famous Green Dragon Inn, where you will be presented with a Hobbit Southfarthing beverage.
While in Rotorua for 2 nights we will visit one of the geothermal mud and volcanic spas:
Day 5; Plan on spending the day in Rotorua before the drive to Turangi . Why the late drive? Because there is not much to do in Turangi. Spend the night in Turangi.
Day 6; The next morning we wake up early to take a 40 minute shuttle to Tongariro National Park for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing Hike. Reminder to bring snacks as this is an all day hike!
Described as one of New Zealand’s greatest day hikes, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a challenging 19.4 km journey across volcanic landscapes past craters and lakes! Estimated to take about 7 hours.
Day 6; Right after the hike we drive about 2 hours to Waitomo Caves. and spend the night.
Day 8; Spend the night in Hamilton
Day 9 ;Head back to Auckland this should only take about one hour and thirty minutes. Check in at the hotel which is near the airport. After unloading the car we need to drive in Auckland and return the car. The drive into the city is about twenty five minutes.
The last day of my friend’s vacation is also her birthday, so we need to do something amazing to celebrate! Can we top the birthday she had a couple years ago in Finland at the Icehotel? Can we top the carved from wood deer fur flask we got her? Maybe a Hobbit party might work out better this year.
Day 9; The driving portion of the tour is over!
Day 10: We are staying in Auckland, but will do some day trips to the beaches and islands nearby.