We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Auckland to Wellington

Seattle
Level Contributor
49 posts
Save Topic
Auckland to Wellington

Traveling with parents in their 70's and 2 teenage sons. It's our first time to NZ and would like to explore the north island. What's the best way to go from Auckland to Wellington and back to Auckland in 10 days? What are the must-see spots? We want a relaxing itinerary, and we love nature.

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
Level Contributor
31,647 posts
322 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Auckland to Wellington

Will you be driving? What time of year? Budget?

2-3 days in Auckland to get over jetlag

1-2 days in Rotorua

1 day in Taupo

!-2 days in Napier

1-2 days in Wellington

Return to AKL by air or drive up Highway 1/3 with a night in Ohakune or Turangi & a visit to Waitomo Caves

Use www.aamaps.co.nz (directions) to plot the travel times.

Seattle
Level Contributor
49 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Auckland to Wellington

Thanks Zhuhai! Will be in Auckland mid-Feb. The weather should be nice by then, right? Definitely do not want to travel low-budget with my senior parents. Not too exorbitant either, since there are 6 of us.

Not sure if we want to drive, bec it might be tiring for everyone. If we don't drive, what are other options?

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
Level Contributor
31,647 posts
322 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Auckland to Wellington

NZ's public transport system is limited although the tourism infrastructure is good. If you don't drive you are limited to coaches or flights + day tours. People don't come to NZ to see cities.

Day 1-2 Akl

Day 3 coach to Rotorua via Waitomo Caves

Day 4 sightsee Rotorua

Day 5 Fly to WLG

Day 6 sightsee

Day 7 fly to Napier

Day 8 sightsee

Day 9 fly to Auckland

Day 10 fly home

Another option is to book a private guide. I have used Selwyn at www.starrtours.co.nz

Wellignton
Level Contributor
7 posts
87 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Auckland to Wellington

Definitely recommended to drive or, as zhuhai said, to book a private guide.

I would recommend too to fly back to Auckland from Wellington and although I think zhuhai's itinerary is really good, may I suggest also a different itinerary?

Day 1 - Arrive in Auckland and rest

Day 2 - drive to Bay of Island, I suggest to stay in Russell, really nice place

Day 3-4 explore Bay of Island, Waitangi Park and if you aren't tired, the one-day organized tour to Cape Reinga

Day 5 - back to Auckland and a bit of sighseen

Day 6 - drive to Rotorua-Taupo and sightseen

Day 7 - geothermal parks sightseen and spa baths

Day 8 - drive to Wellington

Day 9 - sightseen in Wellington (the TePapa museum is a must!)

Day 10 - back to Auckland, back to home

Seattle
Level Contributor
49 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Auckland to Wellington

Really appreciate all your helpful replies.

Don't think we would want to go on a plane after flying so far to get to NZ. I'm considering hiring a private car/guide for BOI and Rotorua-Taupo. Can anyone recommend a good reputable company?

So far, no one has suggested the Overlander train. Is there a reason?

Rotorua, New Zealand
Level Contributor
226 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Auckland to Wellington

The train, whilst very scenic, is also very slow. Most of the major car rental firms are here, just google them, I don't think there are any rogues in that business.

A few tips though; often car rental one way is CHEAPER when you travel from the south to the north, because everyone lands in AKL and heads south. The rental car companies offer cheap relocation rates. It may be worth having a coffee at AKL and doing the extra 40 minutes south at the start of your visit, especially if you arrive early, as you will most likely not be able to check in till lunch time.

Air NZ have a website called Grabaseat; they have special deals, so if you log into that you can check for cheap deals. The likes of Jetstar compete on the main AKL - WLG route, but beware they charge for baggage.

Mid Feb the roads will be quieter as the schools will be back and NZ summer holiday season will have pretty much finished (the weather will still be fine though)

Seattle
Level Contributor
49 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Auckland to Wellington

I hate to ask this.... but is Wellington worth the visit for a first-time visitor to NZ?

I'm asking not to diminish the worthiness of the city, but because I have to maximize our time exploring the North Island without the hassle of flying or hurrying from place to place.

Ideally I would like to make AKL our hub, and then make day trips from there for our 10-day stay, esp since I'm traveling with my senior parents and 2 teenagers.

Wellignton
Level Contributor
7 posts
87 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Auckland to Wellington

I think I'm a bit partial here, because I've been living in Wellington for the past 3 years and half, but the city is lovely, way better of the big and chaotic AKL.

Whereas AKL is just a spread metropolis with 1.5 million people leaving there, and even not so charming as the big Australian ones, Wellington is small, made for people to walk around and enjoy the atmosphere, closed between a quite beautiful harbor and the hills and definitely much more "Kiwi" than AKL will never be.

It 's even famous for the numerous good cafes and restaurants in the center and it's the home of the TePapa National Museum (which is free) and the Weta (a bit of Hollywood for the antipodes!). Maybe I should even mention the wind and the weather, but I'm trying to convince you to come here, not to scare you away!

And don't forget that Wellington is midway between North and South Island, ideal base for roaming around the two island.

Auckland Region...
Level Contributor
118 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Auckland to Wellington

The Overlander will take you around 12-14 hours to get from Auckland to Wellington.

If you want to see cultural attractions then Wellington's worth a visit for Te Papa, the cafes, waterfront etc. There's not a great deal of natural attractions though- apart from the harbour.

From Auckland you can do day trips to the Waitomo Caves ,Rotorua and Mt Maunganui which are all under 3 hours drive away from Auckland.

If you're looking at Bay of Islands, I'd suggest spending at least a couple of nights here. It's arguably the most beautiful part of the North Island and there are some lovely beaches, walks and heirtage sites.

Auckland, New...
Level Contributor
1,080 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Auckland to Wellington

February weather is usually our best.

You will probably be arriving around 5 am and maybe very tired so book a couple of nights within an hour of the airport. Check that they will let you check in early if you are on an early flight.

My suggestion would be a rental car, drive north via the West Coast to the Bay of Islands for 3 nights, south via the East coast and then to Waitomo and Rotorua/Taupo for another 3 nights. This would give you 2 spare nights to stop somewhere along this trip.

Wellington is very different to Auckland but with only 10 nights unless you wish to drive all and every day you should limit your coverage of the North Island.