Normally New Zealand is, I’m told, a very rural place where you can drive for hours and not see anyone and the sheep population outnumbers the human population. If you’re there during the off peak season (which we will be), there’s no need to book ahead or really worry about where you’re going. And then I discovered that we’ll be in New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup, when hordes of angry rugby fans will descend upon the country and claim all of the accommodation and transportation.
Since we hadn’t booked anything yet, we considered changing our plans and starting in Australia instead. But after thinking about it, we decided it would be pretty fun to check out the RWC, so we’re making lemons into lemonade and just going with it. Last night we bought a ticket to the USA vs Ireland game on September 11th in New Plymouth. (It’s Patriot Day, so America has to win, right?) We’re still working on the rest of our itinerary, but here’s what we have so far:
- Sept. 1 @ 5am: Arrive in Auckland.
- Sept 2-3: Explore Auckland and surrounding area.
- Sept 4: Get rental car, stay in Coromandel Peninsula. (2.5 hour drive)
- Sept 5: Coromandel
- Sept 6: AM drive to Rotorua (3.5 hr drive), for the night.
- Sept 7: 2nd day in Rotorua
- Sept 8: Drive to Taupo (1 hr drive), for the night.
- Sept 9: Drive to Tongariro National Park (Mordor), spend night in Turangi.
- Sept 10: ? Somewhere between Turangi and New Plymouth (edit: we’ll be in Wanganui for the night.)
- Sept 11: New Plymouth, Rugby Match USA vs Ireland
- Sept. 12: Drive to Wellington (5 hr drive) for the night.
- Sept 13: Wellington
- Sept 14: Take ferry to Picton
- Sept 14: Night at Kaikura.
There aren’t too many RWC games in the South Island, so hopefully we won’t run into many conflicts. Even so, we’ll probably still book places to stay in advance, just in case. I’m hoping this is the only time we’ll have to stick to such a rigid itinerary.