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qube

WLG -> AKL Drive

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Hi team,

I may be looking at doing a drive from Wellington to Auckland (never done this drive before).

What is the preferred route? Not necessarily looking for twistys, mainly looking at scenery and just overall nice drive. Will be in a heavy station wagon :P

SH 1 to Turangi to 32 back to 1 through Hamilton? (fastest route on google maps and it looks like goes through desert road (never been through here before)

SH 3 to Whanganui then off to SH 4 up past Taumaranui back to SH3 past Te Kuiti then 39 or 3 to Hamilton?

Wont be too rushed for time, will aim to leave around noon and get back before end of the night same day.

Cheers!

 

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Though only from Palmy, I did the drive through the desert road, and boy was it gorgeous. a little monotonous, but worth a look once, it is unlike anything I had seen in NZ... thought I was in Arizona in some parts. 

The War Museum and the peak views can be rather breath taking. 1031666221_WhatsAppImage2020-09-08at18_33.25(1).thumb.jpeg.1d2a93da270c88c62d3af1b903172333.jpeg

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Depends on what you are looking for I guess but I used to enjoy the Road through National Park rather than Desert Road, less trucks and long sweeping bends.

Desert Road gets very twisty just before Turangi so I tried to avoid that bit when towing.

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1 minute ago, E30 325i Rag-Top said:

Desert Road gets very twisty just before Turangi so I tried to avoid that bit when towing.

The twisty bits are absolute fun on your own, but if loaded with passengers, less so. 

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Wellington - SH2 through to Woodville, over the Saddle to Palmy.  Back roads through Vinegar Hill to SH1.  Up to Waiuru.

Then you have two options.  Ohakune or Taupo.  If you wanted to detour up the mountain I would go Ohakune.
The rest of the way to Auckland isn't too interesting to me.

Avoiding SH1 as much as possible bar between Waiuru and Taupo is recommended.

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1 hour ago, qube said: Will be in a heavy station wagon :P

SH 3 to Whanganui then off to SH 4 up past Taumaranui back to SH3 past Te Kuiti then 39 or 3 to Hamilton?

Wouldn't recommend SH4 in a heavily loaded car - it's a bit shorter distance but no passing lanes and lots of logging trucks.

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Not heavily loaded. Just gonna be a normal 5 series station wagon 2 passengers. No other luggage. 

Sorry it i was confusing in my op. My point was im not gonna be in some super nimble sports car

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1 hour ago, Driftit said:

Wellington - SH2 through to Woodville, over the Saddle to Palmy.  Back roads through Vinegar Hill to SH1.  Up to Waiuru.

Then you have two options.  Ohakune or Taupo.  If you wanted to detour up the mountain I would go Ohakune.
The rest of the way to Auckland isn't too interesting to me.

Avoiding SH1 as much as possible bar between Waiuru and Taupo is recommended.

 

Is SH2 to woodville/palmy more recommended above SH1?

Not sure what "over the saddle" means googled it, saddle road lol.

I do like the look of the back road to vinegar hill to join back up the SH1. 

from Waiouru, i can definitely go through ohakune up to nat park ways but been through here many times for snowboarding, is there any reason to avoid desert road to turangi and then taking a left instead of going to taupo? dont want/need to go through taupo been there plenty of times too.

Edited by qube

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Bugger saddle road, that thing is a disaster of a road. The only good thing is the wind farm at the top, otherwise its horrible road surfaces mixed with heavy, slow, traffic.

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^ any advice from a local wellingtonian?

im all ears. The trip is booked for next weekend. flying down on sat spending the day in the city, then sunday late morning will start the drive up taking it slow and making plenty of stops along the way like a tourist

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You could do Paihiatua track instead of the saddle, which is pretty rooted & congested being the main link to theHB from Wellington and Manawatu. 
 

But yes going up through the Wairarapa& Vinegar Hill would be the go (or instead of Vinegar Hill go Kimbolton- Apiti Rd and come out at SH1 Mangaweka via Rangiwahia). 
 

Carry on from Vinegar Hill or Mangaweka up SH1 to Turangi. Turn off western access towards Whakamaru. Then back road to Kihikihi/Te Awamutu along Waipapa dam then across to SH39. 
 

That was my go to route when I used to live in Auckland and often go to Wellington in my motorbike. Except I’d do SH1 south of Turangi. Young and dumb on my gsxr1000 Highbrook Dr on ramp to Aotea Quay in just over 5 hours. 
 

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The Wairarapa is far nicer than SH1. SH1 is now a half finished heavily patrolled highway.

The Wind farm on the hill before you hit Palmy is a great look out point. And from the top of vinegar hill you can see Ruapehu and Taranaki on a clear day.

Its about the scenery out this way.

SH2 can provide some great views of the Tararuas (Mountain Range splitting East and West Coast). Snow on them at the moment. 

I always turn off at Turangi and take 31 then 42 through to Tokoroa. It's usually deserted and surrounded by pine forests. Also a dam to take a look at. Then turn off at Tirau and head through to Matamata.

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2 hours ago, coop said:

You could do Paihiatua track instead of the saddle, which is pretty rooted & congested being the main link to theHB from Wellington and Manawatu. 
That was my go to route when I used to live in Auckland and often go to Wellington in my motorbike. Except I’d do SH1 south of Turangi. Young and dumb on my gsxr1000 Highbrook Dr on ramp to Aotea Quay in just over 5 hours. 
 

Awesome road that Paihiatua track on a scooter - done it , loved it!

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West side of Taupo after Desert road at Turangi, over the Whakamaru dam and down Old Taupo road ;)

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another question,

i will be spending saturday in the cbd and spending the night before heading off in the morning.

is there any free parking near central i can leave the car for the day while I explore the city?

near thorndon is good as thats where my accomodation is

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25 minutes ago, qube said:

another question,

i will be spending saturday in the cbd and spending the night before heading off in the morning.

is there any free parking near central i can leave the car for the day while I explore the city?

near thorndon is good as thats where my accomodation is

On the weekend you might be able to find some.  But usually everything is paid or taken up by residents around there.  And they patrol it.

Also just went over the Paihiatua Track on Saturday.  The road is stuffed and not worth going over.  I took the Saddle road back and it was far better.

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just looking on google maps from wellington to turangi, there is a big time difference of about an hour between going on SH1 vs SH2 + backroads. 

if we leave cbd around 11am, its going to be a long drive up if we decide to make a few stops along the way.

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I can't recommend one place to stop along SH1.  So you would make good time.

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A fish burger and chips rom the Samson fish’n’chip shop is worth a stop - good value and a sizable burger! Tip, don’t order any additional fish 😎

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20 minutes ago, treone said:

A fish burger and chips rom the Samson fish’n’chip shop is worth a stop - good value and a sizable burger! Tip, don’t order any additional fish 😎

whats the actual name? doesnt come up on google. shows an Australian place

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@qube pretty sure he means Sanson. In the Manawatu. There's only one fish and chip shop in town (if you can call it a town)

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Sorry, I indeed was meant to say the metropolis of Sanson 😊.

Yup, only fish and chip shop in town and always busy (which is a good sign in my book). They are the first (or last depending which direction you're traveling) shop by the main SH1 and 3 intersection, next door to Z. Actually, they are now the last building standing at that intersection.

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found it, probably wont be passing by as Im leaning towards heading up SH2.

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i would vote for SH1 to Bulls, then to Whanganui, National Park, Te Awamutu, rejoin SHI at Ngaruwahia

Nice roads, less traffic...

Or SH2 to Napier, then to Taupo, SH1 North... 

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