I am travelling to New Zealand with my boyfriend for three weeks over Xmas and the New Year. I have done some planning and was just wondering if you had an opinions on my proposed itinery.
We have booked a car already and some accommodation. I would be really grateful if you could let me know whether I am being over ambitious with driving times etc, and also if our route will actually work. We want to see as much as possible in the time we have:-
I must let you know that my bf has friends in the Raglan/Hamilton area which is why we are spending some time there.
19th Dec - Arrive in Auckland, early morning. Explore the City - accommodation booked
20th Dec - Auckland to Raglan
21st Dec - Raglan to Hamilton
22nd Dec - Hamilton - Taupo
23rd Dec - Taupo to Wellington
24th Dec - Early morning ferry crossing, travel to Nelson - accommodation booked
25th Dec - Nelson - accommodation booked
26th Dec - Nelson - accommodation booked
27th Dec - Nelson - Punakaiki
28th Dec - Punakaiki - Franz Josef
29th Dec - Half day glacier tour - Queenstown
30th Dec - Queenstown - accommodation booked
31st Dec - Queenstown - accommodation booked
1st Jan - Queenstown - Wanaka
2nd Jan - Spend time in Wanaka/local area
3rd Jan - Wanaka - Mt. Cook
4th Jan - Mt. Cook to Christchurch
5th Jan - Christchurch
6th Jan - Fly out of Christchurch home
The problem I have is that i want to see the glaciers and do the Milford Sound tour, do you think it will be possible to do both in light of the above.
Any help you may have would be really appreciated!
Many thanks Laura
Looks good but don't really see much point in going to Hamilton - there isn't much to see there.
Nelson is a great place - make sure you spend some time in the Abel Tasman national park when you're there. I've been to Kaiteriteri about the same time of year and it was glorious (I think that part of NZ receives the most sunlight in the whole of the country).
Milford Sound is a long way from Queenstown (3.5hrs by car one way) so be prepared for a long drive - otherwise there is the option for a scenic flight (flights operate from Queenstown) but obviously this is more expensive, the weather is a big factor and services are often cancelled at short notice.
Have a great trip
I would recommend just going on a daytour to Milford Sound from Queenstown. If driving yourself, you'd only be stuck behind the tour busses anyway (and would want to stop at all the same places, and pile on into a simiar boat when there), so better to let someone else get tired on that extremely long day.
It's a shame you've already booked accommodation, as I'd spend a day less at Nelson; it's a nice enough town, but really not much of a tourist highlight, and not really that convenient a base for Abel Tasman either. Punakaiki is also not worth more than a short stop (ideally timed for high tide). Better to drive straight on to Franz Josef, so you can have a full day there (and another half day at Fox). There's gorgeous hiking in the rainforest (I can recommend Peter's Pool and Roberts Point Track).
Other than that the overall shape of the itinerary looks good. I'd personally spend a day more in Auckland, would skip Taupo (staying somewhere in Tongariro National Park instead) and would go for Lake Tekapo rather than Mt. Cook as an overnight destination (doing lunch at Mt. Cook village en route, though), but that's minor quibbles.
Agree with Sander about Mt Cook.
We were due to stay overnight but decided to bypass it and drive straight to Christchurch instead.