New Zealand - North Island advice

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by siftu, Jun 9, 2015.

  1. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    I have a big trip coming up and the only place I haven't done much research on is the north island of New Zealand. I'll be there for 10 days in late July. I'll have a car and will drive around the island. I'll be travelling with my family so my trip wont be concentrating purely on photography, but I generally get up early and go out and do some landscape photography and come back to be with them for the rest of the day.

    If you live there or know the place, then please give my your advice on the thing I must see/photograph. I like landscapes but also historic sites.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    Where are you flying into / out of ?

    The main high-way runs down the middle of the country in the North Island (in the South Island the coastal highway runs up/down the east/west coast with the alps running down the spine). So if you fly into Auckland, then you'd be driving down through the middle of the Nth Island and end up in Wellington - probably 8-10hrs if you drove direct with no stops.

    Auckland itself has all sorts of touristy things - Sky Towers, Casinos, Beaches, Islands, Museums, Galleries etc

    Theres good stuff to see above Auckland, not many people, warm, picturesque in a rural kind of way. This culminates in 90 mile beach (not 90 miles) and Cape Reinga (the end of the Nth Island and northern most point in NZ). South of Auckland, its worth checking out the Coromandel Peninsula.

    From there, there are places on the East like Rotorua (thermal), then coming back in-land to the Volcanic Plateau (hiking, skiing) and Lake Taupo (fishing). If you cross the plateau and go over to the West, then there is Mount Egmont. Lots of scenery, beaches, sheep and farm-land from there down to Wellington.

    Wellington is where I live. Mainly known for great coffee, a fantastic micro-brew beer scene, Te Papa museum and being the gateway to the South Island. Also, the Beehive - drop in and check out the Public Gallery when Parliament is in session.

    The really nice scenery is in the South Island. If you have a day free you may want to hop on the ferry in Wellington, hope over the Cook Strait to Picton and then come back the same day (if time is tight). If you have a lot of time then the Southern Alps, Otago, Queenstown/Wanaka, Fiordland and the West Coast are the places to see in the South Island.

    Hope you have a great trip.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
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  3. and windy as hell :) As an ex Rotoruian I would personally probably head north of Auckland or come south a bit and explore the Coromandel Peninsula then maybe down to Tauranga or a bit further along and then inland to Taupo and back to Auckland, but then all of phigmov suggestions are great ones.

    To me back Rotorua has lost some of character now, a bit over the top with the tourist thing.

    Oh one thing i would have on my list is the caves ... if you can shoot the gloworms without a flash that would be fantastic.

    • Like Like x 1
  4. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    Yep it will be Aukland (Air NZ). I have flown through NZ so many times but never stopped off! Thanks for these suggestions this is great info, it sounds like Tasmania as far as the road system goes. I do hope to get to Wellington.

    The caves is now on my list. Now to convince my wife.

    I knew it was a good idea to post here it gives me a solid start. Thanks to both of you
  5. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Wellington central and surrounds are quite different. I really like the surrounds - there are great hill/city/sea views all over. Weather can be very temperamental though, fortunately when I went earlier this year it took it easy on me. IMO Zealandia (Karori Wildlife Sanctuary) is a must visit. And... it's not the gateway to the South Island. If anything it's Christchurch (where I live) or Queenstown :p

    I use to live in Auckland... the War Memorial Museum is worth a visit, plus maybe crossing the harbour bridge or taking the ferry to get some night views of the CBD from Devonport/Takapuna. The Sky Tower is also good for some night views, but it's a little expensive for what it is. A tip if you've got some time to spare - go up before sundown (for cheaper prices), and get some coffee or something while you're up there and watch the sunset. Food is expensive up there but coffee etc are not. Kelly Tarlton's was pretty cool when I visited a long time ago, but I haven't been recently. Family will probably like it.
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  6. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    My pregnant wife and I went to NZ in 2003 for a conference in Dunedin and some tourism on both South and North Islands. My wife and my friend's family went to Queenstown for a couple of days while my friend and I were stuck at the conference. Felt very sad about the earthquake in Christchurch, but was glad I got to see the cathedral and parts of the city before they were destroyed. Saw the Sky Tower, geysers, glowworms, toured the bay off Dunedin, Otago University marine station, etc. Even tried some fly fishing for the first time. Wonderfully creamy and inexpensive ice cream! We ended up visiting any diary within walking distance of our hotels. Loved it and would be back in a heartbeat.
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