Around feb time I will be flying into Auckland then a month later fly out of Christchurch. Does anyone have any recommendations on how to get from Auckland to Christchurch? best things to do on my way down? places to see??etc etc!
Lucky you! NZ is my favourite place and a month is nowhere near long enough!
Still, from Auckland, Rotorua is a must for its thermal activity.
Lake Taupo nearby might be worth a stop. If you go towards Waitomo (middle of the North Island), stay at Te Tiro cabins (look in guide books or ask at TI centre). The Tongariro National Park contains Mt Ruapehi - or Mt Doom from LOTR. It's mighty impressive, looking for all the world like Kilimanjaro, except you can just drive right by it!
Wellington gets good reviews, but I missed out myself.
The South island is heaven. You could spend a month here. The NE is wine country. Down the E coast is Kaikoura where you can go whale spotting.
Franz Josef Glacier is on the west, as is the spectacular Milford Sound, further South - stay at Te Anua not far away.
Dunedin is a nice town (SE) and there are loads of others dotted about. Christchurch is in the Canterbury Plains - totally flat, by way of contrast with most of the rest of the place.
I recommend some sort of Maori experience. We went to Waitangi where the treaty was signed in 1859. Our warrior showed us around and took us to the Marae. It was a spiritual experience. Highly recommended.
Waitangi is in the Bay of Islands which, unfortunately is North of Auckland.
Car hire is reasonable - you can get a 'rent a dent' as well as all the big companies.
But by far the best way is to hire a motorhome. Not cheap, but well worth it if you're travelling regularly, as it save you looking around for places to stay all the time.
Can't believe I forgot Queenstown. You just have to go there if you want some thrills. It's also a very beautiful spot.
Check out http://www.kiwiexperience.com.
It is a bus service for travellers going almost any where here.
I have no idea of cost etc, but it may help you.
Hi There lukegar,
In addition to the replies you have already had...
Kiwi Experience is particularly suitable if you like to get drunk, do drugs, and run off with a different partner every night. If you would like to share your tour of New Zealand with 60% of a bus of Americans, then that is for you. By the way... it is expensive.
If you would rather use a typical 'Kiwi' bus line, use Intercity. This was the government transport department before being privatised. The company allows you to buy stages of journeys, and is reasonably priced.
Mt Doom in the Central Plataeu is actually not Mt. Roapehu, but rather Mt. Ngarahoe.
Mt Ruapehe offers the North Islands most developed ski fields (but not in Feb)... the entire region (named Tongariro) offers some spectacular hiking.
If you would like to experience the friendliest kiwi's, head south. South of Auckland becomes friendlier and friendlier. If you continue past Christchurch, and then on to Invercargill (via Dunedin or Queenstown) you will be stunned at the welcoming attitude of the folk down there.
New Zealand has such a variety that it would be foolish for me to try and tell you more, because I am only guessing what you want in a trip.
Visit http://www.newzealand-focus.com and if you want some further info, Email me through the 'Travel Help' section. Only to happy to help.