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New Zealand (North or South Island?) interests!

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1. Posted by JRockwellC (Budding Member 21 posts) 10y

Here is my timeframe: Jan. 5th - Jan. 19th

plan?: Auckland ---> Wellington, New Zealand (approx 300 miles).

Here are a few of my interests...

-Marokopa falls
-Waingaro hot springs
-Mount Taupiri
-Mokena Geyser
-Waitomo caves


-Whakarewarewa Thermal Village
-Rainbow Springs
-Hamuruana Springs
-Kakahi Falls
-Hell's Gate (mudbath!)
-Mt. Tarawera
-Te Wairoa Waterfalls track
-Lake Taupo (trout fishing)


-Rimutaka Forest Park

  • I am interested touring/visiting vineyards and fruit farms also* Specific locations would be helpful.

What am I missing? Should I invest time going to the South Island in search of more scenery i.e... mtns, springs, geysers, lakes, and beaches or spend most of the time on the North Island? I will be traveling from Fiji and would like to avoid icy regions due to lack of warms clothes and not being able to transport my snowboard! Is there enough to keep me occupied from Auckland to Wellington in 2 weeks? I am in search of free adventure. For example; hiking, mtns, springs. Not interested in guided tours or things that require much money.

My question is...

Is there anything that is a MUST see in the South Island?
Going to the South Island would ultimately raise my budget expenses. But from doing a little research the Milford Track, Pupu springs, and the Abel Tasman National Park have arroused my interest. If I were able to make it to both Islands - should I start in the south and go north - or vice versa?

Anyone with any knowledge on this subject... PLEASE HELP ME OUT! Thanks!

2. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru 454 posts) 10y

Personally, I like the north island a lot more than the south. Being from Scandinavia, N.I. is more different and exotic to me. Though I totally admit that S.I. is pretty cool too. But you only have two weeks and it will defenitely be stressful enough for you to see N.I. - and there's always the opportunity of going back on a different trip, later in life. Don't try to squeze too much in - after all you are on vacation, right?!?!?
If you have the opportunity, try and go up north from Auckland. The Northland is my favourite part of NZ. Extremely wild and absolutely never ending beaches!! Mmmm... beautiful.

Good luck!

3. Posted by jo1986 (Inactive 19 posts) 10y

I personally preferred the south island but still really loved the north aswell. Abel Tasman is definately worth visiting if you go to the south island. I agree with snatterand though, you shouldn't try to cram in too much. I think after a couple of weeks there you will definately want to go back again for longer. It's probably worth staying in the North island on this trip so you can really get to see places properly. I also reccomend Northland, Cape Reinga is lovely but it's probably best to go early to avoid the coach trips.

4. Posted by Fern1 (Full Member 53 posts) 10y

There are plenty of orchards (fruit farms) vineyards and wineries to visit in Hawke's Bay.(East coast of the North Island) weather is usually great. You then can say that you have visited the region/s of the first in the world to see the beginning of a new day.

5. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru 454 posts) 10y

Wellington is a great city too. Lots of cosy caf├ęs and clubs, good museums and beaches... Much nicer than Auckland (where I lived while studying in NZ).

6. Posted by Clanger (Respected Member 202 posts) 10y

I see your list of things to see in Rotorua....fine & dandy - so long as you have your own vehicle OR prepared to take tours to each of these places! These are not within walking distance of each other.

Many people have asked me about which island I preferred. I spent one month on both, and there are too many different things you can do/see on both (free & otherwise), I couldnt possibly choose.

If I were to live in Aotearoa (the name it was given before the Dutch arrived) I would have to say I would live in a converted bus, and travel around different places in both islands.

Even though Im not a big fan of big cities, Auckland had plenty of greenspace to appease a country lover such as myself. I did think it had plenty of charm, and wasnt too sprawling to be able to walk around the main parts in the few days I was there.

7. Posted by peeps (Full Member 114 posts) 10y

i was there a year and for me the north island is beautiful but the south island is spectacular.
i would recommend just a couple of days for auckland, then maybe heading north to paihia for a couple of days.the coromandel peninsula, rotorua, waitomo, Mt manganui, the east cape, hawkes bay,napier, taupo, and then wellington.
i loved wellington the most out of everywhere in the north island, its were i lived for 6 months, but for most people who are there for a few days dont like it that much.
the south island is a must see (especially queenstown/wanaka/milford and doubtful sounds), but with only 2 weeks i wouldent recommend it. if you do have time though try to pop over to nelson and abel tasmen for walks and kyaking.
how are u planning on getting around. if you want a tour group i went with stray. and there basic but they do the job.

8. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru 454 posts) 10y

Quoting peeps

i loved wellington the most out of everywhere in the north island, its were i lived for 6 months, but for most people who are there for a few days dont like it that much.

Hey I loved Wellington too, though I only spent like 3 days or so. It's one of my favourite cities!

9. Posted by JRockwellC (Budding Member 21 posts) 10y

Im not sure how Im getting around. My buddy told me about some hostel type tour that takes you from Christchurch to Auckland stopping at all the low-budget hostels along the way. Has anyone heard anything about that???

10. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru 454 posts) 10y

There is something called "The Kiwi Experience" which basically is a "jump-on-jump-off" bus ticket taking you around the islands, but also it's tailored for younger people that don't want to travel alone and don't want to do bookings of hostels/activities by their own (which isn't that hard, by the way). There is a lot of drinking involved and a lot of teenagers, so honestly I would prefer travelling alone. Intercity Coaches have the same kind of "jump-on-jump-off" ticket but without the drinking and the teenagers, and it's a lot cheaper, too.
I did hitchhike around NZ and found it incredibly interesting and fun. I didn't one single time feel insecure, I just met loads of cool people who invited me to their homes, gave me free food and made detours just for me. But I don't know, some people says it's not safe to hitchhike, so... it's up to you.