Trip overview - New Zealand

We spent 8 days road-tripping the Northern Island of New Zealand. In total we drove about 2000km mostly slept for free and enjoyed the beautiful nature very much. In the review below you can see our route, places where we slept and our expenses.

Map of our route
More detailed map of our route

13th day of our AU-NZ trip or Day 1 on New Zealand: 9.11.2015
We had night flight from Melbourne to Auckland. Arrived early morning, rented a car and then drove to Auckland city center, where we met with local IAESTE students, who were our tour guides for the day.
Accommodation: At IAESTE New Zealand's national secretary place - free of charge. Wuhu! :)
Return flight ticket Melbourne-Auckland with JetSrtar was 170€ per person, including 20kg checked luggage.

14th day/ Day 2: 10.11.2015
Left Auckland early morning and headed north. First stop was Orewa beach, where we had our breakfast. Next stop was at Waipu caves, where we explored this beautiful cave on our own. Around lunch time we were already near Whangarei and in late evening we arrived in Tapotupotu Bay.
Distance: 460km
Accommodation: Topotupotu Bay DOC campsite, free of charge

15th day/ Day 3: 11.11.2015
Tramp (hike) from Topotupotu Bay to Cape Reinga, followed by sand boarding on Giant Te Paki dunes and in the evening we were trying to find some kiwi birds on Aroha Island - and succeeded! :)
Distance: 210 km
Accommodation: Aroha Island EcoCamp, we got a bit of discount so the price was 8€ per person

16th day/ Day 4: 12.11.2015
This day we had a lot of driving ahead of us. From Aroha Island we went all the way to Arohena. But we did some stops, too. First one was Kawakawa, where we cheked public toilets designed by famous architect Hunderwasser. Further north we stopped on beautiful Uretiti beach and spend some sun and sea time there. In the evening then we finally reached Arohena.
Distance: 460km
Accommodation: Landing Rd, Arohena DOC camp, free of charge

Camping under the stars, Arohena
17th day/ Day 5: 13.11.2015
We had an easy morning along the Waikato river and in the afternoon we moved further to Whakapapa village and prepared everything for our next day's hike.
Distance: 180km
Accommodation: Whakapapa Holiday Park - backpacker's lodge, 17€ per person

18th day/ Day 6: 14.11.2015
Tongariro Alpine Crossing tramp (hike) including ascent to Mt. Ngauruhoe. After the long walk we drove further towards Rerewhakaaitu lake.
Distance: 220km
Accommodation: Rerewhakaaitu – Ash Pit Rd, DOC camp, 4€ per person

19th day / Day 7: 15.11.2015
Morning bath in warm but stinky Kerosene Creek, then continued to Rotorua, where we walked around the smelly city and found many bubbling mudpools. In the afternoon we wanted to visit Matamata's main attraction, but all the tours were already sold out.
Distance: 150km
Accommodation: Opal Hot Springs & Holiday Park, 12€ per person

Kerosene Creek, air temperature: 15°C, water temperature 50°C :)

20th day / Day 8: 17.11.2015
We managed to get spots on a tour to Hobbiton - film set from Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films! Price of the tour: 50€! After that we still had some time, so we climbed to a nearby waterfall, which is actually the highest waterfall on the Northern Island, called Wairere falls. It was time to head back to Auckland, where we had our very last burger from Burgerfuel, last city stroll and then back to the airport!
Distance: 190km
Accommodation: at the airport, free of charge of course

21st day / Day 9: 18.11.2015
Early morning flight back to Melbourne, Australia.

Gasoline: 193€
Tolls and parking fees: 23€
Rent-a-car at Ace car rentals 308€
Food costs (mostly we self-catered) 58€ per person
Accommodation 41€ per person
Entrance fees and other activities: 70€ per person

Although New Zealand is known as quite expensive country to travel, we managed to spend very little. It is all due to giving up comfortable accommodation and staying in camps and cooking our own meals.



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