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Thread: Driving from Auckland to Wellington and back for a weekend!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Blenheim
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    Default Driving from Auckland to Wellington and back for a weekend!

    We (2 adults and 2 older teens) and planning on driving down to Wellington from Auckland to meet my sister and her children for lunch on a Saturday next month (yes, I know, long way to go just for lunch!!!).

    We were hoping to leave Auckland on Friday evening and driving until we had enough and then finding somewhere to stay that night and then getting up reasonably early and finishing the drive to Wellington to arrive there mid-morning. Coming back up the country we will do the drive straight through on the Sunday.

    Couple of questions:

    Are we crazy???
    What's the best/quickest route?
    Would we be likely to find a cheap motel/B&B somewhere on the way down?
    Any recommendations for a cheap motel/B&B in Wellington, probably Lower Hutt area (but not totally sure on that as yet!)?

    Look forward to your comments, please.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Whangarei
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    Quote Originally Posted by off2nz
    What's the best/quickest route?
    Would we be likely to find a cheap motel/B&B somewhere on the way down?
    Any recommendations for a cheap motel/B&B in Wellington, probably Lower Hutt area (but not totally sure on that as yet!)?
    It's been a few years, but the last time my family drove from Wellington to Auckland, it took about 9 hours. So, it's a fairly long drive. Perhaps you can look at leaving work/school earlier in the day so you are not driving into the night.

    For some different distance calculators, see these sites
    http://www.travelplanner.co.nz/driving/smlcalc.html
    http://www.car-rental.co.nz/NZ-map-d...calculator.htm
    http://www.tourism.net.nz/new-zealan...d/driving.html

    AA is a great place to check for B&B rates.. the average seems to be between $90-$130 per night for a double).
    http://www.aatravel.co.nz/new-zealan...Breakfast.html
    http://www.aatravel.co.nz/new-zealan...Breakfast.html
    http://www.aatravel.co.nz/new-zealan...Breakfast.html
    http://www.aatravel.co.nz/new-zealan...Breakfast.html

    Have you considered flying out? I checked on Air New Zealand, and the current cost to fly four adults to Wellington from Auckland (return) is about $1,104 (depending on when in the month you choose to fly) When you consider the cost of gas, and staying in a B&B, it might almost be worth it.
    https://flightbookings.airnewzealand...hForFlights.do

    Hope this helps you somewhat.

    Jenny
    Last edited by Jenny & Mark; 9th August 2006 at 05:31 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    West Auckland
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    Are we crazy???
    Hmmm, without meaning to sound rude the answer to that would be 'quite probably'. But hey, I drove from London to York with a baby and a toddler to meet people I'd only ever chatted to on-line, stayed the night then drove back the next day (so who am I to say anything about your plans ).
    It is a long drive but it's definately do-able. Have you considered the train?? Just a thought. I've never done it but watching travel programs it looks like a nice way to see the North Island.
    Good luck, let us know how you get on. (sorry, can't help with the accomodation questions).

  4. #4
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    Aug 2005
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    The last time I did that drive ( a few years ago now), we stopped in Turangi for the night, which is a convenient half way point. We got huge 2 bedroom motel units for some ridiculously cheap price. BUT, that was autumn. Is it ski season now? That could make motels harder to come by in the weekend.

    If you're driving with teens rather than little kids, I think it will be ok. Look at it as a sightseeing trip of the middle of the North Island, with a nice lunch thrown in.

    Watch the weather though, sometimes the Desert Road is closed by snow.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Blenheim
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    Thank you for your replies.

    Jenny - I was thinking it would be about 9 hours and we are prepared for that! We are looking into the possibility of hubby leaving work a bit earlier than normal so that might work. Thank you for the links to the various web sites I'll have a look at them soon. Mmmm, we had thought about flying but it will mean no car when we get to Wellington and all my nieces have kids and my sister is coming from Blenheim so she'll have no car either - we'd rather be independent than have to rely on my nieces, who we haven't seen for a good 10+ years, to run us about. Again, thank you for your thoughts!

    Debs - he he! Thought it might be a good bonding session with the girls!!! They can't escape that way, can they??!!! How brave were you to do that journey with 2 little uns and to see someone you'd never met??!!

    Avril (?hope I got that right!?). Thanks for mentioning Turangi - I'll look into that and see if I can find somewhere. Don't suppose you can remember the name of the place you stayed in, can you? As you say, they may well be fully booked but nothing ventured, nothing gained, hey? I've got a few weeks to find somewhere. Yeah, I think as long as the girls have their Ipods, a pillow and food, they will be okay! Think I'll have to find out where this Desert Road is then and pray for no snow. Is there no way around it when it's closed?

    Again, thank you all, I'll let you know how it went, that's if we survive it!

    G

  6. #6
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    Aug 2005
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    West Auckland
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    hi
    sorry, no clue on the motel - it was 6 years ago.
    the Desert Road is another name for the stretch of State Highway 1 between Turangi and Waiouru. You should know on the day whether there's bad snow in the area and be able to plan another route. SH 1 is the usual Auckland-Wellington route.
    Avril

  7. #7
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    Jul 2005
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    We have done the drive from Welly to Auckland in 1 day 3 times now - and I have to say its NOT easy. Next month I have to do Hamilton and back with 1 day in hamilton. Not looking forward to it.

    But anyway - heres what we do to get it done in one day (and the last trip took 11 hours door to door)

    We set off about 7am, and head to Palmerston north (about 2 hours) for breakfast (at the Cuba Cafe - the food is really good).

    Then we head up to Taupo and have a break for lunch. If its nice we grab take away coffees and sit by the lake. Thats about 2-3 hours.

    Then we head up to Hamilton and have another coffee break somewhere near there. (Last time we stopped at a 50's diner with a cute Mini outside it - south of Hamilton somewhere - town begins with P - good burgers).

    Final stint up to Auckland. We take it turns to do the driving.

    Each leg doing it that way seems about 2-3 hours depending on weather and traffic, and thats a good time to swap over.

    Just make sure you know which roads are open - for example we normally take the Dessert Road, and I know that was shut yesterday with snow.

    Have a good trip - and yes - you're nuts

  8. #8
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    Feb 2006
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    Blenheim
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    Thanks Avril - I'll do a search for places to stay in Turangi.

    Thanks for that Avalon - that sounds like a really good plan for the way back and I think we may have to "suck it and see" on the way down there!

  9. #9
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    Just an update on our weekend trip to Wellington from Auckland. It actually wasn't that bad and anyway, whatever it would have been like was outweighed by seeing all the family again - it was great!

    Hubby had the Friday off so we set off at about 10am and drove until we hit Lake Taupo then stopped for the picnic I had made us. We then set off after about an hour and the Desert Road was open which made it easier but.... the only thing is that we got stopped for speeding ($120 fine and 20 points on his non-existant NZ licence!!! Ooops - that did add to the expense of the weekend but it certainly made both he and I drive within the speed limit for the rest of the journey!). We then stopped at Palmerston North to meet up with some friends who emigrated 6 months ago from our town in the UK and had some lovely fish and chips with them. We stayed for a couple of hours and then set off for a short drive to Otaki (?I think that's right?) where we found the first motel we saw and booked in there for the night.

    We set off again at about 10, arriving in Lower Hutt at about 11.30 to meet my sister and all her kids for lunch at Valentines in Petone. We had a lovely afternoon and evening and stayed at the Top Ten Park in Lower Hutt.

    We set off from Lower Hutt on the Sunday morning at about 10.30 and drove until Lake Taupo where we had a McD's for lunch/tea. I then drove the rest of the way home, arriving at about 8.30pm. We were all absolutely shattered but it was a great weekend!

    I know that this is off the subject of the thread but today we received an email from our CO in the UK to say that we've been granted PR - that's such good news especially as our work visas were only valid until 22nd October!!!! I am so excited as it now means my parents can apply for residency under the Parent category as my sister has been here for 20+ years!!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Manawatu - NZ
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    What a lovely post - sounds like you had a great time. Are yourfriends in Palmerston North members of this forum?

    Congratulations on the PR by the way ..... good reason to celebrate.

    Diny

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