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12 days vacation in New Zealand! :)

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific 12 days vacation in New Zealand! :)

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1. Posted by ShravyaK (Budding Member 9 posts) 2y

Hey there.
We will be travelling to New Zealand next week for 12 days!! If I could get any information on the following queries it would be very helpful..
1) Is 12 days enough to cover both the north and south islands?
2)Which is the Best mode of transportation?
3)Is this the right time to go whale watching??
4) My husband prefers more of a quiet vacation to unwind...which place would be the best?
5)How many days is sufficient to stay in Queenstown and Christchurch respectively?( I am more of an adrenaline would love to do a bit of adventure sports!)
5) What are the attractions in and around Auckland?

Thanks a ton in advance!!!! :)

2. Posted by Andyf (Travel Guru 649 posts) 2y


12 days is not a lot of time. For all that NZ doesn't look too big on a map, driving distances add up with a lot of fairly slow roads and not many motorways. If your husband wants a relaxing vacation, he's not going to enjoy spending all of it driving, and 12 days mostly driving would be what it would mean to see both islands in any sort of detail. A straight drive Auckland to Queenstown would take maybe 24 driving hours.

Unfortunately the things you've mentioned are spread out around the islands a lot. Are you flying into Auckland?
Whale watching, the most famous spot is I think Kaikoura, north of Christchurch, but I think you will find it as an option in various places on that coast.
Christchurch, you could see the centre in a day. It's somewhere you could linger much longer and use as a base for a wider area, but if you're pressed for time you may be better keeping your time here short.
Queenstown - similarly you can spend as long as you like on adventure sports or sightseeing around here. It would be easy to fill a week with things like the Shotover Jet, bungee jumping, fly by wire, taking the TSS Earnslaw lake cruise, hiking, going up the gondola, and exploring wider such as Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Wanaka, Mount Aspiring park. I've not been at this time of year so I'm not sure what the weather and conditions are like but maybe someone else can advise. I think there are ski centres on the Remarkables.

You also asked about things around Auckland, this kind of depends what you want to see and do. Head North up to Paihia and Russell and there's the historical stuff about Waitangi, this is also the warm subtropical area although it's still spring so maybe not bikini weather, I'm not sure. Southeast from AKL is Rotorua geothermal area with a lot of geysirs, mud pools, fumaroles, and Maori cultural stuff. There's also the Hobbiton film set at Matamata. Auckland itself is very nice but a different experience to New Zealand proper - the Skytower is worth a visit, the revolving restaurant up there isn't a rip off. After that it's mostly nice parks, nice bars and restaurants, ferry trips over to islands, a mediocre sea life place and a modest bridge climb experience - much like any big city, okay but nothing earth-shattering.

With only 12 days I would be inclined to dump a lot of places in favour of seeing and enjoying a couple of areas. Auckland and Queenstown make sense based on what you've said; flying between the two. In both places you may want to spend a little time on foot exploring the town and then hiring a car for some days to explore wider. If it were me I'd spend more of the time based in Queenstown than Auckland, I'd do a couple of days loop south of AKL to see Matamata and Rotorua, maybe the blackwater rafting at Waitomo Caves if you're an adrenalin junkie, and just by there there's a Hobbit Motel at a place called Woodlyn Park, if that;s your thing. :-) If hubby wants a nice place to chill out, the Bay of Plenty / Mount Maunganui may fit the bill. Near there are boat trips out to White Island volcano too.
And from Queenstown again I'd spend a few nights in the town before getting a hire car and exploring for a few days and staying in motels along the way, if seeing the scenery is your thing. (If it's really just the adrenalin sports then stay put!) For me the wow experience out from Queenstown, but maybe a bit of a long drive at 4hrs each way, is Fox Glacier where they run Heli Hikes onto the ice, and an over-the-ice trek to see the ice caves.

Hope there's some ideas in there for you. :-)

3. Posted by ShravyaK (Budding Member 9 posts) 2y

Thank you I was wondering if 12 days is a bit too much..and it turns out there is soo much to do!!!.will plan my trip accordingly!!:) thank you!!!

4. Posted by Borisborough (Respected Member 443 posts) 1y

Andyf doesn't even live here and he's summed up New Zealand pretty well indeed.

It is spring here and it's not cold but it was pretty miserable in Auckland today (raining a lot and windy). There is a bit more to do here - the War Memorial Museum is good (free for Aucklanders but $25 each for other adults), a ferry across the harbour and a walk around Devonport (up the volcanoes) is a good half-day, a ferry and a climb of Rangitoto is a good day out and there are some pretty good beaches (west coast, north shore , east coast bays) but you'd need to be pretty hardy at the moment.

Climb Mt Eden for great city views and Auckland zoo ($28) is one of the better zoos around, small but well-maintained and animal-friendly (as animal-friendly as any zoo can be) and MOTAT (Museum of Transport & Technology) ($16) next to the zoo is entertaining. And, as Andyf said, if you've been to Sydney Aquarium, Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium ($30 with a discount) hardly rates as mediocre.

But it's still a wonderful place to live! Enjoy! :)

5. Posted by ShravyaK (Budding Member 9 posts) 1y

Thaank you Boris... :)

Post 6 was removed by a moderator
7. Posted by Andyf (Travel Guru 649 posts) 1y

Last post is odd, like a cut-and-paste from a travel guide? Is it spam?

[ Edit: referenced post has now been deleted ]

Post 8 was removed by a moderator
9. Posted by ShravyaK (Budding Member 9 posts) 1y

Thank you Andrea...we will be spending a couple of days at christchurch to go whale watching..will look up the other places you mentioned as well :)

10. Posted by ShravyaK (Budding Member 9 posts) 1y

Andy it loooks more like a post from a local person...very informative!thank u so much for all the help guys!Cant wait to come there! :)