I'm planning on heading to new zealand in August 2010 for about five weeks before i go to uni in the september. Does this give me enough time to travel round the two islands? The itinerary is by no means decided yet.
Also I know its Winter at that time of year and was wondering if this would effect the amount we could do?
If anyone could help that would be great!
In 5 weeks you can see a lot of NZ; I would recommend 1 week on the north island and 4 on the south. I did the South Island in 4 weeks and although I could have spent longer there I didn't feel like I was rushing it too much (like a lot of people were).
It's fine to travel in August but be prepared for the South Island to be cold; make sure you take waterproofs and winter weather gear. It shouldn't stop you doing anything and in fact I think it's a good time to travel around as you don't get the hordes of tourists that you get in summer, and you won't have to worry about booking accommodation in advance.
Perhaps read my profile to see my qualifications here....but basically, I am a travel professional over the last 20 years and have decided to give back to the public by means of these travel forums.
I believe that 6 weeks will be plenty for you to discover NZ.....it will also be enough time for you to take your time to see everything. there are some really great products on the market for traveling around New Zealand for backpackers....such as The Kiwi Experience & Magic Bus...economical bus passes.
I would plan to spend about half your time in each island if I were you. Both islands bring a lot to the table for you. Check out purenz.com the national tourist board web site for New Zealand....it is an excellent site packed with information.
Winter time will take you away from the beach activities and the hiking season. But you will still be able to do water based activities like swimming with dolphins.
Hope this information helps you a little with your travel plans to New Zealand.