NZ has so many hidden treasures it was quite nice to use my Mum’s Swiss passport renewal as an excuse for our 7 day “girls road trip” – good excuse to pass on some great NZ travel tips – smile.
Auckland – Hamilton
In Hamilton we discovered a cute Hotel just outside the centre Narrows Landing Hotel – great value for money! Brilliant service, surroundings, fab wine and food. Just make sure you get a nice room – the corner rooms have most light and they have special romantic packages – the manager is super nice and will always try to make you happy!
Hamilton – Mt Ruapehu
The drive took around 4 hours but OMG were we lucky with the weather!!!
Coffe stop at Taumaranui – coffee and muffin from bakery, eaten on park bench in sunshine;-)
The best place to stay at Mt Ruapehu is The Chateau – love their rooms, remind me of Hotels in London. Make sure you get one on the 3rd floor facing out the front and that you book the restaurant well in advance for dinner!
We drove further the next day but ideally stay one more nite and go for one of the amazing national park hikes.
Mt Ruapehu – Wellington
From the Chateau we turned right onto the SH47 to Turangi (fill up petrol) and then SH1 all the way down to Wellington. Stop off at super cute Papa Cliff Cafe – awesome scones and super friendly service:
In Wellington we stayed at the Copthorne Hotel – awesome service and having a room on the 10th floor meant we had a fab view over the harbour! The pool is in dire need of renovation but service and room quality makes up for this 😉
Certainly living up to it’s windy reputation it was still fabulous to have a rest from driving each day!
Best things we did were The museum of NZ Te Papa (awesome and free!) and (dare I say it) Shopping! It’s odd as the NZ designers all have their head quarters in Auckland but we felt the shops looked a little nicer in Wellington…whether that was because we were on vacation who knows 😉
Wellington – Napier
Taking SH2 all the way up to Napier – super pretty drive. Best to do this on a Saturday as it is wine country and that way you can be sure all the vinyards will be open – of course I’m not suggesting drink and drive but u can buy and drink later – smile.
We stopped off in Woodville for coffee at the super cute Nibbly Pig Cafe.
Napier – the Art Deco Capital of NZ (due to major earthquake in 1931 and everything being rebuilt in art deco style) is super interesting in it’s own right and we vowed to stay there longer next visit.
Recommend staying at Scenic Hotel Te Pania – a lovely hotel right on the coast, and eating at the restaurant Mint.
Napier – Rotorua
Following the SH5 all the way this was a super cool stretch to drive with plenty of long visibility stretches – handy when stuck behind a truck 😉
Recommend stopping off at the Lava Glass Gallery just outside Taupo. The glass gardens are awesome and cafe nice too. Normally no need to book for a motel / hotel in Rotorua – best is to simply drive down Fenton St and select one that you like the look of. My favourite place to stay is just outside of Rotorua, along Lake Rotoiti the VR Rotorua Lake Resort.
Photo from booking.com
Rotorua – famous for it’s geysers – realistically you could spend a week here without getting bored. At the very least go for a walk through Kuirau Park. Favourite place for the real geyser experience is Waimangu Valley – actually I think it should be on everyone’s bucket list so if you have time def go and visit!
Rotorua – Auckland
Welcome back to the “big smoke” of NZ – hope you had fun on your mini tour and we look forward to seeing you back again!
Hope you’ve enjoyed this flash tour from North to South and look forward to seeing you back for more!
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