Tips for a 12 night trip to New Zealand's north island

TRAVELLING WITH MY HUSBAND TO THE NORTH ISLAND, NZ, IN MARCH FOR 12 NIGHTS. ANY ADVICE ON CAR HIRE, ACCOMMODATION AND MUST-SEE AREAS? S. MCCUDDEN, PORT MACQUARIE, NSW

You have a choice of hotels, motels, resorts in some areas and self-catering accommodation, it all depends on your personal preference and budget. The official New Zealand tourism website newzealand.com has masses of helpful information and Flight Centre flightcentre.com.au has holiday deals that bundle flights, car hire and accommodation. As for your itinerary, what you could do is spend the first three nights in Auckland with a walk around the city, the War Memorial Museum, the Auckland Art Gallery, the New Zealand Maritime Museum, a cruise on the harbour, a ferry ride to Devonport and a stroll around the pretty village of Parnell. Take the ferry to Waiheke Island and join a wine tour there. Drive north to the Bay of Islands for a look at New Zealand's sunny side as well as some of its historic attractions, take a cruise among the islands and stay in Russell rather than Paihia - what Russell lacks in convenience it more than makes up for with charm. You could then drive to Rotorua for another three nights and take in the spurting, steaming sensations of New Zealand's thermal wonderland, as well as its lovely lake and forest scenery. After that, head for Lake Taupo, take a fishing trip on the lake with Chris Jolley, chrisjolly.co.nz. If you have time, drive further south to Tongariro National Park, where you can admire the dramatic scenery used to depict Mordor in the Lord of the Rings films and do some amazing walks.

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