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Thread: Auckland to Christchurch....how long?

  1. #1
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    Default Auckland to Christchurch....how long?

    Anyone driven from Auckland to Christchurch for a holiday? How long did it take you, and where did you stop on the way? Also, how many hours driving was it?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    We did it last October, and took our leisurely time doing it. There was a fair bit of driving involved - all me as my OH doesn't drive - but we had a great time doing it. Let me see if I can rustle up the route and details. Be back in a bit.

  3. #3
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    Looking at my travel-worn notebook, this is the itinerary we used. We spent our first day after flying into Auckland driving through the Northland, so I won't count that in our travel time, since it sounds like you're interested in the southward travel.

    Day 1 - Drove from Auckland to the base of the Coromandel Peninsula, stopping for lunch in Paeroa, home of the famous L&P. We decided in the end to bypass the Peninsula itself, since we only had 3 weeks to do a tour of both islands. Instead, we drove on towards Tauranga, stopping on the way at Karangahake Gorge in the afternoon for a hike. Beautiful place! The history is fascinating, and with all the abandoned mining gear still in place it reminded me vividly of Stephen King's Midworld. Arrived in Tauranga and camped for the night. I enjoyed the feel of the city - very artsy, especially the downtown area. There's a very pleasant restaurant boardwalk - we had dinner at a Turkish place - good food. (Approx driving time: 3 hours.)

    Day 2 - Drove east to the Waitomo Caves. They turned out to be very impressive and one of the best sidetrips of the entire holiday. We did the Black Abyss tour (5hrs underground), which is a story for another time. (approx driving time: 2 hours) After the tour, we drove on to Taumarunui and camped for the night (approx driving time: 1.5 hours)

    Day 3 - Went on to Tongoriro National Park and spent the day hiking. I recommend it if you're into that sort of thing - the scenery is truly spectacular. Drove on a little further before camping somewhere in the middle of nowhere at a DoC reserve. (Approx driving time: 3 hours in total)

    Day 4 - Drove south to Wellington. (Approx driving time: 3-4 hours) It was raining pretty heavily that day, so we just holed up in a motel. Unfortunately we didnt' get to see much of the city.

    Day 5 - Took the ferry across to Picton with the car (3 hours). Once again, the weather was awful and the sea was quite rough. We both felt a little green around the gills by the time we landed. I don't think we were in our right minds, because for some mental reason we decided to take the winding coastal road to Nelson right then and there. The distance is only 110km, but the roads made it more like 3 hours. I don't think either of us felt like eating that day.

    If you want to go straight on to Christchurch from Picton, it's about 3 hours' drive direct. It's well worth it to stop in Kaikura, although we didn't this time. The whale and dolphin watching is a real treat. My family and I did it on a previous visit. Hammersprings is also worth a visit. The hot springs there are glorious.

    Anyway, on this trip we continued west from Nelson, intending to do a counter-clockwise tour of the South Island, so I think this is where our routes part ways Basically, you could follow our route this far and go on to Christchurch in 18 hours of direct driving including ferry; 6 days of 3 hrs each - which makes it quite leisurely.

    Let me know if I can be of any more help. Should be a fun trip!
    Last edited by srivett; 24th July 2007 at 05:27 AM.

  4. #4
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    Wow....you did get to see alot. Do you think it will be possible to get to wellington in 2 days, or it that pushing it a bit?
    Our sprogs are very young, so we wanted to get to christchurch with small sightseeing stops on the way, but not more than a couple of hours or they get grumpy. Unfortunately we won't be able to go hiking with double buggy in tow....can't wait until they are big enough for all that! We wanted to spend about 4-5 hours a day travelling, with a couple of short stops on the way.
    On the plus side, kids are not too fussy about food....they love wagamamas and will eat curry etc.....could spend time having lunch somewhere nice.
    Is Waitomo caves suitable for small sprogs...seen adverts and it looks very good!

  5. #5
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    srivett wrote:

    Looking at my travel-worn notebook, this is the itinerary we used. We spent our first day after flying into Auckland driving through the Northland, so I won't count that in our travel time, since it sounds like you're interested in the southward travel.
    Wow what a fantastic reply! This is so helpful as it really gives a feel for how long routes really take - you never can tell from just looking at a map. Also some great suggestions for sightseeing and places to eat!

    Thanks!

    Cheers

    Tia

    PS OORHAB
    ( www.enz.org/forum/showthread.php?t=10958 )

  6. #6
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    You are right about the maps....went to Piha in our first few days here. Thought it was a 10 minute drive from Titirangi....what the map doesn't show is how twisty up and down the roads are. Beautiful scenery mind you.....but we didn't get there until nearly sunset!!

  7. #7
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    Auckland to Wellington is a days drive, or setting off early evening, you could stop at Taupo and then make it for an early afternoon ferry the next day. Check the ferry timetables - The Interislander and Bluebridge are really your only options; crosing time is three hours. Picton to Christchurch could probably be done in a day as the East coast road is fairly good from what I recall. I'm always tempted to stop in Kaikoura to either whale watch or at least sit and watch the seals just off the side of the road.

    Dougie

  8. #8
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    Family of Monkeys : Waitamo caves has several options and with young sprogs you may be better to do one of the excellent walks through incredible bush but with lots of bridges, small flights of steps, caves and tunnels rather than be tied into a proper (and pricey) tour. We just did a walk, can't remember the name but its well sign-posted and it was great for our 3 kids including a 3 yr old who managed the whole route.

  9. #9
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    We did the reverse - Christchurch to Auckland. Stopped in kaikoura for a night on way to Picton but the drive would definitely be do-able in a day - 5 hrs maybe. You could always stop in Kaikoura or somewhere for a lunch stop/ go to see the seal watching point for a small break on the way down.

    On the way from Welly to Auckland we stopped in Rotorua overnight. It took us about 6 hrs to Rotorua and then an extra 3 1/2 - 4hrs onwards to Auckland. I wouldn't like to do Auckland to Welly in 1 day I have to say, it was a tiring drive up to Rotorua even sharing the driving and not much fun with a very bored 4 yr old in the back - 6 hrs of 'are we there yet' wears you down somewhat .

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tia Maria View Post
    Wow what a fantastic reply! This is so helpful as it really gives a feel for how long routes really take - you never can tell from just looking at a map. Also some great suggestions for sightseeing and places to eat!

    Thanks!

    Cheers

    Tia
    My pleasure! It was an opportunity to relive a wonderful trip

    Somewhere in there was an insane backtrack from Tongariro through Taupo to Whakatane, because the guidebook indicated it might be a good place to live. Ended up not being impressed, although the local supermarket provided some nice kiwi fruit to refresh us. We ended up doing Whakatane to Wellington in 8 hours straight in order to catch our ferry... but I fiddled with the itinerary account here to make it somewhat less confusing (and less embarrassing for me, lol). The driving times are all accurate, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tia Maria View Post
    PS OORHAB
    hehehe, a banana will do just fine


    familyofmonkeys, there are definitely options at the Waitomo Caves for the little folk. The museum has some interactive areas, including an imitation cave crawl space which they'd probably enjoy a lot! And the glowworm walks are safe and still extremely impressive. And you save on the claustrophobia.

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