Auckland by car to Rotorua

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paul d

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Hi all , will be flying into Auckland in January but wont bother heading into the city . Instead we will hire a car and head sth to Rotorua .
Any suggestions on overnight stays on the way down there ( we only have 3 nights ) and which is the best hotel to stay at in Rotorua . (no kids involved )
Thanks .
 
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Leumas

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You don't need to stay overnight en route. It's a less than 3 hour drive.
 

munitalP

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As Lemuas has said, it's about a 3 hour drive - in fact did it last weekend except in reverse.

Travel south from Auckland staying on highway 1 and it is free way to Huntley (about 60 minutes from AKL), a small coal town on the banks of the Waikato River. There is a large (in NZ standards) power station across the river that offers some good photo opportunities when lit up.

30 minutes further south will have you in Hamilton. Hamilton is full of botanical gardens and parks, and well worth a stop there for coffee and a wander if you have time.

From Hamilton, following the signs south will have you driving along the edge of the Waikato River for quite a way - there are many hydro dams / power stations and there is some beautiful scenery along there. You will come to a small farming town called Tirau, where you can make a choice - follow the direct route to Rotorua (its a turn left and well sign posted) or add an additional 2 hours to your drive and track south to Taupo, before pointing North East and heading back to Rotorua. If you have not been to NZ before - highly recommended. You will again follow the river most of its way to its source, however, you will pass through Tokoroa -a timber town and steeped in history, then past a number of hydro dams until you reach Wairaki, a geothermal hotspot. There's a prawn farm there worth a visit. 10 minutes further you have reached Taupo, a huge body of water with snow capped mountains 75km away at the lakes southern end. In total, you would have driven about 4 hours. At this point, Rotorua is an easy drive north easy about 45 - 50 minutes.

I would recommend the Rydges as the hotel of choice in Rotorua, and they actually have a very good concierge service to organise day trips and the likes, while not being the most expensive hotel in Rotorua, IMHO the best located and by far the most modern.

For something totally different to do in Rotorua - try going for a swim in Kerosene Creek (link below) - this is a geothermal outlet flowing into a creek out in the bush. It's a 20 minute drive from Rotorua, and amazing. It's not a tourist attraction, rather a "locals" spot. Night time is the best - take a torch, towels and dont put your head under the water.

If you want to mix it up driving back to Rotorua, I would suggest that you leave Rotorua and travel east to Tauranga, follow the coast road north to Waihi, then through the most lush farming lands you will ever see. This road quality is not as good as the highway 1 road, however, you will get to see some contrasting New Zealand. You can also stop at a number of beaches, the most interesting being Mt Manganui near Tauranga

Auckland Airport to Taupo = 270km (4 hrs)
Taupo to Rotorua = 81km (55 minutes)
Auckland Airport to Rotorua = 222km (3 hrs)
Rotorua to Auckland Airport via Tauranga and coast road = 273km (4 hrs)

Rotorua Accommodation | Rotorua Hotels | Rydges Rotorua New Zealand Hotel

Lake Taupo Nature View 1600x1200 Wallpapers,Lake Taupo 1600x1200 Wallpapers & Pictures Free Download

The Best of Tauranga - Views and Reviews of everything that's great in Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty

Kerosene Creek is natural hot water that you can swim in. Take a very short walk from the car park alone a little creek to Kerosene Creek.
 
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samiam

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I stayed in Rotorua in August at the following place:

http://www.regentrotorua.co.nz

Whilst from a design/structural perspective the accommodation block doesn't look modern, the room interiors are superb and the service fantastic.

Within walking distance to restaurants, museums and tourist centre and rated No 1 on trip advisor, which informed my selection.
 

richie9x

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It is a short journey probably 3 hours in good traffic conditions. No need to stay overnight unless you want to sight see along the way.

Probably the most direct route is via SH1, SH2 and SH27 via Matamata. Matamata has Hobbiton, some of the sets used during lord of the Rings.

The quickest route and easiest drive would be on on SH1 and taking the SH1B spur at Taupri. You could stay the night at Cambridge. Then continue on SH1 to Tirau taking SH5 to Rotorua.

For a scenic detour you could go via the Coromandel peninsula. Quite a scenic route along the coast. Lots of interesting towns and settlements along the way. Some great beaches as well. Down the coast to Tauranga then head inland to Rotorua. That part of NZ is very popular during January, you really need to book to ensure a place to sleep. If you have a day to spare I would go with this option.
 

Major

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It also depends on your arrival time. Some flights arrive late at night which usually warrants an overnight stay in AKL.
 

richie9x

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Also something to watch for is the road can get quite busy during the holiday period. With New Years day at the beginning of January and Auckland anniversary day at the end of Jan. On some days travel time in and out of Auckland can be increased by an hour or two. Probably most important to take into consideration if you are returning to Auckland airport form Rotorua. Although mid week the traffic shouldn't be too bad.
 

kiwitripper64

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Hi, hope the holiday goes well. It is the school summer holidays and can be busy ( by NZ standards). Feb with no kids much better. Have you thought about Waitomo caves.
What time of day will you arrive and dept?
 

RB

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For a scenic detour you could go via the Coromandel peninsula. Quite a scenic route along the coast. Lots of interesting towns and settlements along the way. Some great beaches as well. Down the coast to Tauranga then head inland to Rotorua. That part of NZ is very popular during January, you really need to book to ensure a place to sleep. If you have a day to spare I would go with this option.

Loved our time around the Coromandel Peninsula when in NZ in 2009. If you get there I suggest the special experience of Hot Water Beach but I guess it would be pretty busy at the times the OP is visiting
 

Batesy

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I stayed in Rotorua in August at the following place:

Rotorua Luxury Hotel, 5 Star Hotel, Spa, Boutique Hotel, Rotorua

Whilst from a design/structural perspective the accommodation block doesn't look modern, the room interiors are superb and the service fantastic.

Within walking distance to restaurants, museums and tourist centre and rated No 1 on trip advisor, which informed my selection.

I second Samiam on this one. Mrs Batesy and I stayed at the Regent two years ago. Great stylish rooms and very central. Walk to restaurants etc.
 

JohnK

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I drove from Wellington to Auckland ~4 years ago but only drove through Rotorua preferring to stop in Taupo.

Did have a hamburger and chips though in Rotorua in an old fashioned milk bar/fish and chips shop which was quite nice.

The smell takes a bit of getting used to but do plan to return in the near future to play some golf....
 
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