Every tourist wonders wherever they have seen the best bits of the country are are visiting. Here is a local kiwi guide to spending 10 days in the beautiful New Zealand.
Allow a week at least in the North Island and then try to get to the South Island to Christchurch or Queenstown to be awed at the landscape.
1. Auckland is the gateway to New Zealand – nearly every international flight arrives at Mangere. A 30 minute taxi ride and you are in the City. Stay a night in the City and get a sense of the place. If you are looking for affordable accommodation -look at b and b auckland Aspen House Hotel – located near a park and handy to all major attractions. Of course the city has glamor hotels like the Hilton, Hyatt and Stanford Plaza.
With over 25 volcanoes (they are all extinct now!) Go to the top of one and take in the views of the city. On Mt Eden you can see the two coastlines. Another great way to get a feel for the city is to jump on a ferry (5 minutes walk from Aspen Hotel) and go to Devonport (10 minutes) or Waiheke Island (35 minutes) for a great lunch at a winery and stroll along a virtual empty sandy beach. Aspen Hotel has produced a guide for guests with 5 top things to do in Auckland City.
Then pick up a rental car, you can not beat JUCY Rentals, for value for money, service and smiles. But of course Hertz, Avis and the other big brands are in the city.
2. So once you've got your car, head North. Only an hour and a quarter north to Leigh gives you wonderful views of the sea and islands. You can have a swim with the fish and see what the seas were like before man arrived at Goat Island.
Three hours north and you will be up in Whangarei where you can see even more beautiful scenery, Tutukaka where there are some great boat trips, or 45 minutes further on to Russell or Opua. Again there are lots of day trips on the water to see the incredible scenery, dolphins and sea life. 1. Allow 2 to 3 days minimum, plenty of accommodation options – the Aspen House Hotel website has various suggestions on places to stay depending on the size of your wallet!
3. Three to four hours drive is the Central Plateau in the North Island. Visit Taupo or Rotorua or both – they have so much to offer. Drive back to Auckland and this time head south to the Central Plateau. Here you can choose Rotorua or Taupo. Rotorua is famous for its bubbling mud pools and geysers. Maori culture abounds in Rotorua too. Taupo has beautiful views of Ruapehu where you can ski and its famous for its trout fishing. If you are into golf a round at Wairakei is world rated. Allow a couple of days.
4 If you have time fly to Queenstown for the magnificent scenery. If you are in a JUCY rental car you will get a two for one offer so you can go and Cruize Milford Sound. A trip to Nelson, drive to Kaikoura for some whale watching
5. Alternately f you have time on your side – drive from the Central Plateau, down to Wellington. Get on the car ferry and go through Nelson. Visit Kaikoura and go whale watching before driving on through Christchurch and on to Queenstown.