Roadtrip- North Island NZ - north & east
"Northland & Eastland - 12 days On The Road"
2,000 kms (approx) Road Trip - Auckland – Bay of Islands – Coromandel Peninsula – Bay of Plenty – Hawke Bay - Auckland
day --miles driven -- Depart-Destination ---Notes-o/nite accom. dining. Hilite in bold type -- H/way # eg.66 italic.
Day 1 -- local -- Auckland. – arrived early afternoon. Taxi airport to Mercure Hotel, Customs Street (taki cost $85). Walked to Viaduct Basin to check out harbour-side dining places. Sundowner Drinks at bar of Mercure top floor restaurant Vertigo. Dined there later. Very Good.
Day 2 -- local -- Auckland. B/fast at Coffee Club across the road. Maritime Museum visit am. Lunch at Waterfront restaurant nearby. Shopped in Queen Street. Evening : Bus to Takapuna for wine tasting at First Glass wine shop. Top tasting. Had dessert in Vertigo upon return. (warm day- max 23C)
Day 3 --local -- Auckland all day. Bfast at Coffee Club. Fuller’s one and a half hour Harbour Cruise ($30/person). Took ferry to Devonport (cost included in tour) for lunch at the Stone Oven Bakery and Cafe where most people were eating and a stroll around the village. Evening taxi to Skytower revolving restaurant, Orbit, pre-booked on net. Ate the $65 three course menu with wines. Surprised how good it was. A visit is a must for the view
"Bay of Islands"
Day 4 -- 233 kms -- Auckland - Paihai. Nationwide shuttle to off-airport car pick up place. Drove to Whangerei on Hwy 1. Stopped to pay toll on toll road but system broken. Lunch at Whangerei Harbour Village. Nice ambiance. Pm drive to Paihai Swiss Chalet Motel ($110). Dined at 35º South on waterfront. Good.
Day 5 -- local – Paihai. Self catered b/fast.“Hole in the Rock” Bay of Islands Tour ($89/person). Cold wet windy day 40knot winds f/cast . 11º C maximum. Too rough to go through the “hole”. Lunch in unit then drive to Treaty of Waitangi Grounds ($20/person) video first then walk around exhibits. Good. Dined at Salt Restaurant on the waterfront. Fine dining. Very good.
Day 6 -- 282 kms -- Paihai. – Wellsford. Drove to Keri Keri Markets , Makana Chocolate Factory. South to Pakaraka, west via Kaikohe to Hokianga on River Waihou. On Hwy12 Coffee at very cute café with gift store, Boatshed Café. Thence Opononi, Waipoua Forest to visit “Tane Mahuta”, the largest living Kauri tree in NZ. Dargaville, Ruawai, Matakohe (Kauri Museum) back on Hwy 1 to Wellsford. Stopped at Sun Valley Motel ($85) ordinary but off the highway enough to be quiet.
Day7 – 258 kms -- Wellsford. – Pauanui.. South on HWay 1 through Auckland. (stopped to pay toll & check to pay northbound toll but not recorded. Drove east to Clivedon & followed the “Seabird Coast” road toThames. Lunch in the shopping Mall. Thence to Pauanui & Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort. Dined in main dining room. Excellent.
"Coromandel Peninsula - Bay of Plenty"
Day 8 -- local -- Pauanui - Pauanui…. Drove the circuit around Coromandel Peninsula via Tairua, Hot Water Beach (coffee & cake at Hot Waves Café), Whitianga, Coromandel Town, Thames & Hwy 25A back to Pauanui. Dined at Styles restaurant in the village. Good but not outstanding.
Day 9 -- 170 kms -- Pauanui - Whakatane. Drove to Whangamata. Checked out the beach just in case it was littered with obsidian. Wasn’t! Had coffee at Waihi town which is named named “New Zealand’s Heart of Gold” (old goldmining area).Thence to Katikati to check out the murals and art works in town. Tauranga and Mount Maunganui. Mount (232m) located at end of peninsular at mouth of Tauranga Harbour. Go ahead with new high rise development. Lunch at Coffee Club.Capamoa Beach, then Te Puke Kiwi Fruit centre for a Kiwi Fruit icecream and some souvenirs. Thence to Whakatane & the White Island Rendezvous Motel ($130). Dined at Whakatane Game Fishing Club across the road. Wednesday a big night in the bar with many meat tray raffles attracting 150 or so people. Ate better than average club food at the right price.Great atmosphere.
"Poverty Bay - Hawke Bay"
Day 10 -- 220kms -- Whakatane – Gisborne. Had planned to take the boat trip to White Island but combination of weather f/cast & some aches and pains being suffered by your scribe put that much-anticipated experience off until next time. Inquired about a fly over but cost too high. Checked out the mouth of the harbour and the boat dredging the river entrance. Amazing outflow – current flowing at many knots.Drove over the hill from the Strand to Opotiki for coffee and cakes. Thence to Gisborne via Hwy 2 . Lots of landslips. Checked into beach front Motel, The Wispering Sands. $140 for upstairs unit with great view of the beach and the bay. Visited the Captain Cook Obelisk and Young Nick statue . Had lunch at The Works . A cut above most places. Had great lunch and enjoyed wines from the resident winemaker
Day 11 – local – Gisborne. After self catered b/fast had coffee at The Works before driving up the hill overlooking town. Pre lunch drinks at “Rivers” Irish Pub. Home for lunch.Dined at night at Fettuccini Brothers with a big wine list. Excellent.
Day12 – 230 kms -- Gisborne – Hastings. South on HWay 2 coffee & cake at Café 287 just south of Wairoa. Drove through Napier to “I” for information and obtained maps etc. Then as far as the road goes to Cape Kidnappers. Elected to leave the 13,000 gannets to themselves and visited nearby Kim Crawford Winery for lunch.. Excellent. Thence to Craggy Range Winery which was very impressive with modern building & great wine ($5 tasting) but staff at cellar door lacked warmth. Then to Havelock North and Hastings to stay in the Atrium Motel ($90) OK. Ate in.
Day 13 – 50kms -- Hastings - Napier…. Departed 9:30 for the Sunday Farmers Markets which were very interesting purchased Saffron grown in the region. To Selini Winery very friendly reception for tasting of great Chardonnays, Pinot Noir & Syrah. Good shop on premises. To Trinity Hill tasted Chardonnay, Syrah and Cab. To PJ Pask Winery one of the first to recognize the Gimblett Gravels potential. After lunch at Napier port area booked into the Blue Water Hotel ($130) great location looking over the sailing club. Evening dining at Breakwater on marine parade. Family atmosphere with surfing décor. Good for Fish and Chips and a hamburger.
"back to Auckland International"
Day 14 --300kms -- Napier - Hamilton. Drove via Hwy 5 to Taupo for coffee and cake. Then Tokoroa for lunch at Bakery. Drove through Hamilton to Sails Motel on the road to Auckland. Dined at “Grillers” down the road
Day15 – 258 kms – Hamilton - Auckland Airport. Visited Hamilton Gardens…well worth a visit. Coffee and cake at the garden’s café. Headed to car drop off via Hwy 1. Thence to airport and home.