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plan changed, and now we have extra 6 days on North Island..

nomadicmomof2
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plan changed, and now we have extra 6 days on North Island..

Due to Fiji flooding and canceled flight, our plan has changed. We arrived in New Zealand 6 days earlier than we planned.

Our original plan was

Auckland 5 nights (April 6-11)

Rotorua 3 nights (April 11-14)

Wellington 2 nights (April 15-16)

To make things more complicated, we booked the 3 nights in Rotorua prepaid/non-refundable/non-changeable between April 11 to April 14.

Now with the extra 6 nights and non changeable reservation in Rotorua, I am a little bit lost and would like suggestions on revising the itinerary.

If I try to keep the Rotorua reservation and not waste the money (US$514.80 for 3 nights and 2 rooms April 11-14, let me know if someone is interested in taking over), what are the options for me to plan for the extra 3 nights (April 8-10)?

Should I spend the extra 3 nights in Rotorua and add more day trips from here?

Should I spend somewhere between Auckland to Rotorua?

Should I explore Taupo area but base our stay in Rotorua?

The difficult part is that with the extra 3 nights, I would rather spend in Wellington, or Napier area...but with the non-changeable Rotorua hotel reservation, not only I have a long drive from Rotorua to Wellington but also too many days in Rotorua but not enough time in Wellington.

Maybe I should just take my loss and rearrange my trip?

Maybe some other options I am not aware of?

Suggestions appreciated.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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1. Re: plan changed, and now we have extra 6 days on North Island..

Hi Nomad,

Firstly, I am very sorry to hear of your trip to Fiji being cancelled due to the flooding and now a cyclone warning in place.

Let's see how we can maximise your stay in NZ. With possible weather in northland/Far North turning wet from tomorrow (Tuesday) you may not want to consider spending time up here. Otherwise if the forecast had been looking better for this region you could have spent 3 - 4 days up here satisfactorily with lots of things to do and see.

Have a look at other parts of the North Island including a trip to the Waitomo Caves, followed by either New Plymouth/Taranaki OR go south of Waitomo to take in Tongariro NP followed by Taupo. Another possibility is Coromandel peninsula followed by the BOP coastline including Tauranga-Mt Maunganui to Whakatane-Ohope beach, before heading inland to Rotorua. However, the forecast for Coromandel may be rather wet mid-week as well - according to latest weatherwatch information.

Since your Rotorua accommodation booking is set, I think that Wellington is too far to venture towards for you only having to return to Rotorua by 11th April. Better to secure some accommodation which puts Rotorua into a handy position for you to drive towards from somewhere nearby. Which is why I think Waitomo Caves, followed by Tongariro NP and Taupo, OR Coromandel and BOP coastline would be good locations for your purpose.

Hope it all works out for you - but with Easter pending you will be wanting to sort out a revised North Isle itinerary fairly soon in respect of accommodation ahead of Rotorua.

Auckland Region...
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2. Re: plan changed, and now we have extra 6 days on North Island..

If you wanted to spend more time in Wellington, you could do your trip in reverse, spend your first part of your stay in Wellington and end your holiday in Auckland. If you really want to spend those extra days in Wellington and keep your non-refundable accommodation in Rotorua, this would be your best bet.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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3. Re: plan changed, and now we have extra 6 days on North Island..

My understanding is that nomadicmom will travel to the South Island after her group visits Wellington. Is this still your current plan, nomad?

nomadicmomof2
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4. Re: plan changed, and now we have extra 6 days on North Island..

Yes, Frangipani08. I am already in Auckland and will travel to South Island after wellington.

Right now we have free accommodation in Auckland, so I am thinking

1. Do day trip to Coromandel peninsula: Thames gold mine experience, hot water beach and cathedral cove. Is it feasible to fit in one day?

2. Spend two nights exploring Waitomo and Tongariro/Taupo area. (where should I stay, Waitomo or Taupo)

3. Spend solid 3 nights in Rotorua and drive down to Wellington without stopping or spend 2 nights in Rotorua (forget the one-night hotel prepaid cost) and 1 extra night (total 3 nights) in Welliington (really 2 days).

Thank you again for your replies!

Christchurch, New...
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5. Re: plan changed, and now we have extra 6 days on North Island..

Do you have travel insurance that will cover the weather-related change of plans? If the weather improves I would recommend more than 1 night in the Coromandel region.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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6. Re: plan changed, and now we have extra 6 days on North Island..

Hi again,

Option 1. is too far to enjoy both the western side of Coromandel as well as the eastern side as well in one day. Especially now that our days are shorter. As suggested in zhuhai's reply above, you really need 2 nights on Coromandel to explore the areas you intend to visit.

Option 2. will make good use of your time as well as expose you to a few more sights ahead of Rotorua.

Option 3. I would suggest though that one night spent in Napier en route to Wellington would provide for a more relaxed journey between Rotorua and the capital.

Check the current weather around Coromandel for the next few days as it's predicted to be wet and unsettled around Coromandel as well other parts of the upper & east coast of the North Island.

nomadicmomof2
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7. Re: plan changed, and now we have extra 6 days on North Island..

Thanks again. One of the main reasons to visit Thames area is that my 6-year-old son is into gold and gold mining.

Another option is to skip Thames and Coromandel (for next time)

Instead, focus on the gold mining/panning around the west coast of South Island.

What is your opinion on gold mining experience between Thames and West coast of South Island?

Rarotonga, Cook...
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8. Re: plan changed, and now we have extra 6 days on North Island..

I've only done this activity on the west coast of the South Island and it was glorious fun. However, I have visited several disused gold mines around Thames where the gold rush history is most interesting anyway.

Since your son is keen on gold-mining, a wonderful way to expose him to these types of adventures would be to vist both prospecting areas (Coromandel and west coast). How about one night spent on the west coast of Coromandel to follow-up his interests - 1 Night, then drive to Waitomo Caves for 1 Night ahead of Rotorua. The caving theme will follow on in a natural flow for your son this way.

Another Coromandel mining area to visit is Waihi which now has a huge open cast mine, with a visitors centre and tour. You could then travel south through Matamata to Rotorua, or through Tauranga to Rotorua..

If your son is also interested in LOTR, the Hobbiton farm is located in Matamata, which is a more direct route into Rotorua from Thames.

Edited: 04 April 2012, 06:13
nomadicmomof2
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9. Re: plan changed, and now we have extra 6 days on North Island..

Frangipani08, thank you so much for your help. I think that is what we are going to do!

Also caving is another interest of his.

Edited: 05 April 2012, 03:46
10. Re: plan changed, and now we have extra 6 days on North Island..

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