Something like this...
Bay of Islands
I have a month in total and looking to appreciate the landscape, do activities and party by the night.
[ Edit: Edited on 13-Feb-2009, at 11:37 by wanderitch ]
you should be able to make it. but it's gonna be close. not impossible but it leaves no room to relax and no room for missing a bus or getting lost in fact it looks like you'll be on the road almost everyday! and it's almost a waste to travel at night because you can't take in the scenery.
you have some odd locations on there, Barrytown? Rarrgitata? do you know people that live there,
but Goodonya for adding makarora that area and the area between the two lakes is just stunning. I can't describe it, but it's easily the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen in my life. Make sure you see it on a nice day! I'm not kidding, if I hit the lottery I'm buying a house down there. It's absurd, I remember thinking, "you have got to be kidding me" I just couldn't believe I was seeing something so perfect and untouched
make sure you have a bus booked to the bay of islands for a few hours after your plane arrives in Auckland. or rent a car immediately and drive north (you can see the CBD from the car. That's enough.) With the amount of time you have, don't spend any of it in auckland. I spent a month and a half there, and looking back on it...I can't say I regret it because I met an awesome girl there that I dated for awhile and I made a really good friend there who I will most definitely travel with in the future....but it doesn't feel like NZ. The auckland region is nice, but not the city part of it.
Thanks for your advice, I should have added im there the month of june so I think there are definately a few changes to be made.
Is Bay of Islands still worth seeing in the winter? I should probably miss out on hahei as its better for summer.
Barrytown is just there as all the bus tours have it on their itinerys and it obviously breaks up the driving distances, I take it I should go straight to Franz Josef? Same with rarrgitata.
I've been to NZ a couple of times; lived there for 6 months (and travelled round before coming home) and spent a month there the second time. So I'm no expert, but I know what I like! Here are my comments...
Auckland - worth a visit to see the sky tower and hire a car (or find a bus) but I wouldn't stay too long - a couple of days or so would be more than enough.
Waitomo - Good idea. I skipped Waitomo and went to some glow worm caves in the south isle instead, but they were rubbish, a real disappointment..
Rotorua - Yup, spend a couple of days here at least, make sure you see Wai-O-Tapu...
Taupo - Another good stop. Checks out Craters of The Moon for some free thermal action!
Wellington - Lovely city, could easily spend a few days there. The museum is fantastic.
If you can, I'd also go and see Napier; a lovely art deco town with a stony beach and zero nightlife (!!) It's really quaint and pretty though...
Abeltasman - Yup, good spot for Kayaking.
Barry Town - Never heard of it! While you're on the West coast, avoid Westport and Greymouth unless you need a bed for the night! They're really just 'passing through' places...
Frans Josef - Yup, full day glacier hike is awesome
Wanaka - Nice, quiet place. Very pretty.
QT - I did a helicopter ride here, it was fantastic!
Kaikora - Stop here for a whale watch or dophin trip but I wouldn't spend a massive amount of time...
CC - Another lovely city, feels quite English
Have you got time for a stop in Lake Tekapo? There isn't a massive amount there, but there are some striking pale blue lakes (glacier water) that make for good photos.
Also - I think you might be missing one of the highlights of NZ, Milford Sound, absolutely stunning scenery, mountains and waterfalls...
Hope that helps - give me a shout if you want any more detail
Great, thanks for the tips. I will jot them down in my diary so I dont forget.
Personally I thought the Waitomo caves were a disappointment so I would miss them out, but they do seem to be a popular tourist attraction so you may enjoy them. I'd also miss out Barrytown - it would be a waste of a night. I stopped there with stray bus for the night and I'm not sure why they bother as there is nothing to see there. I'd do the drive from Abel Tasman down to the glaciers in a day (i'm actually doing this drive myself next week) and stop at Punakaiki on the way to see the panacake rocks and blowholes.
I think you would be rushing to do all this in a month so I would consider cutting Hahei and Raglan out of your itinerary - both are nice, but I wouldn't say they are must -sees. I spent a month doing just your South Island itinerary and could have had longer!
I stopped at Makarora for a night and it's stunning.
I haven't heard of Rarrgitata.
If you go to the Waitomo caves make sure you do the 'Black Water rafting'. At the time i was hung over to hell, and having to put a cold wet suit on and go diving around ice cold water really made me fell queezzy at the time.
But looking back it was fantastic! Pencil it in for something to do.