Find me a place to stay in NZ?
May 14, 2012 1:30 AM   Subscribe

North Island of New Zealand travel recommendations? Help us make my conference into a holiday.

We have 6 nights in July in New Zealand-- flying into Auckland and wanting to stay on North Island. Last year we did Rotorua and south of Auckland and I definitely did my fill of Auckland with 5 days there alone. I also went to Piha-- loved it.

I would like any recommendations for great places to stay or see in the north. I have the LPlanet and I have some ideas about where to go: Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga area in the far north. I would probably like suggestions, particularly, on where to stay-- we like accommodation that has some character or is particularly stylish without being too expensive (recognising that this is a rare and splendid thing....). I am open to suggestions of must-do hotels, b and bs, hostels or experiences, keeping in mind that it will be winter.

FYI, we are Australian and English.
Thanks in advance.
posted by jojobobo to Travel & Transportation around North Island, New Zealand (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you have any interest in history / culture, I think Wellington is definitely worth a visit. The museum there is pretty amazing, and I caught a play that was OK, but did help me understand New Zealand mindset.

If you are at all fit and like the outdoors at all, the classic one-day hike: Tongariro Alpine crossing is really worth any effort it might take (very photogenic as well).

(And FWIW, I found it more difficult to find cool places to stay on the North Island compared with South..)
posted by Jon44 at 6:46 AM on May 14, 2012

I respectfully disagree with the Tongariro crossing suggestion. It's is not going to be feasible in winter. It's a hard slog, even in summer conditions.

Raglan would make a nice overnight/2 night trip - lots of cute cafes, great sights, surf (chilly!). Get a car and you could have a lovely time exploring the area. We stayed at Solscape in summer in a tipi, but I'd love to go back for a caboose stay.

The Hokianga Harbour in the Far North is also spectacular - off the beaten track but very very beautiful:
posted by teststrip at 7:17 AM on May 14, 2012

I drove from Auckland to the bay of islands during fall (march?) and it was super beautiful. If the weather is nice (and they do it in the winter), grab the boat ride on the old-timey square-sailed boat. It's a tour around the bay w/ a stop for lunch at an island. It's totally possible this is a summer sort of activity. All I can say is that it was beautiful and fun. I'm pretty sure I stayed at the Swiss Chalet there. I remember it being not the cheapest, but pretty cute. IIRC there is a backpacker side of town where there's more bars and such a few blocks to the southeast.

There's also sky diving just outside of town. Lonely planet and I both agree, it is quite the beautiful location to fall out of an airplane from.
posted by Phredward at 8:45 AM on May 14, 2012

I'd second the Hokianga and Bay of Islands suggestions. When we lived in NZ, we'd do mini-breaks up there from Auckland fairly regularly, and they were uniformly great. (We stayed in self-catering cottages and B&Bs, but I couldn't really give you any recommendations as it's been 7 years since I left Auckland and any information I have is long out of date.) Also, the far north is probably the best part of the country weather-wise in July. While I love Wellington with all my heart, you wouldn't be seeing it at its best in winter. At all.
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:14 AM on May 15, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for your answers- I'm going to keep it open in case there are other accomodation based answers. Incidentally we went south of Auckland last time so are definitely wanting north of Auckland this time.
posted by jojobobo at 1:54 AM on May 15, 2012

I just came back from NZ and liked the North Island way more than the South. We didn't go to the Bay of Islands, but we saw lots of ads for bach/crib bookings while we were in Coromandel - basically people letting out their holiday cottages. You could try Book A Bach and see what turns up. (And if you have a chance to visit Coronandel, it is SO beautiful.) Also July will be freezing and I would have thought most people would be in Queenstown or skiing down south so you might find it quiet enough to wait til your over there before looking/booking?
posted by t0astie at 3:45 AM on May 16, 2012

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