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Advice on New Zealand itinerary

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1. Posted by zahbs29 (Budding Member 6 posts) 2y

zahbs29 has indicated that this thread is about New Zealand

Hi there,

We're a family of 5 visiting New Zealand from November 10th to 24th. I've put together the below itinerary based on what I've read online and through traveller experiences. Any recommendations/feedback on this?

Also, whats the best way to travel from North to South Island? Is it feasible for us to drive to all the below places or will it be more expensive and confusing considering we know nothing about New Zealand.

Lastly, recommendations for good hotels and tours etc would be most appreciated.

Thanks,
Z

Saturday, 10th Nov
- Arrive Auckland

Sunday, 11th Nov
- Visit Waikatere Ranges and the Arataki Centre (around 30 mins drive from Auckland City)

Monday, 12th Nov & Tuesday, 13th Nov
- AKL to Bay of Islands
-Bay of Islands to Cape Reinga
o Stay one night here?

Wednesday, 14th Nov
- Visit Coromondel Peninsula/ Bay of Plenty
- Depart for Queenstown by flight at night?

Thursday, 15th Nov to Monday 19th Nov
- Arrive Queenstown
- Adventure sports etc
- Ziptrek Ecotours
- Arrowtown (30 mins from Queenstown)
--- Start driving towards Christchurch and en route stop at:
o Lake Wanaka (puzzle land)
o Milfred Sound day cruise
o Mt Cook
o Franz Joseph Glacier (helicopter ride?)
---Eventually arrive in Christchurch
o Visit Hanmer Springs for jet boat, rock pools, bungee jumping
- Christchurch to Golden Bay

Tuesday, 20th Nov
- Back in AKL
- Recoup

Wednesday, 21st Nov to Friday, 23rd Nov
- Leave early for Rotorua (Spend one/two nights?)
o Wai-o-Tapu Geothermal wonderland and Devil’s pit
o Enjoy traditional Maori concert at Maori village Te Tawa Ngahere Marae Pa
o Tongoriro National Park
o Waitomo Caves (Black Water tubing ??)
- Head back to AKL on 22nd night or 23rd morning

Friday, 23rd Nov
- Arrive AKL
- Visit Bay of Plenty
- Visit black sand beach?
- Pack and depart

2. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 611 posts) 2y

That's an awful lot to cram in to 14 days.
I don't know why you're flying in and out of Aukland several times.
Try to link as many of these things together geographically so you're not doubling back too much.
We arrived in Christchurch, did the south island, then crossed over and did the north before leaving from Aukland - no doubling back.

3. Posted by Rhmyers (Budding Member 38 posts) 2y

Look up my name and check out my itinerary.
I was alone and no kids so I had more of a Naturalist approach.

With kids looking for action, you seem to have it covered.
The country is Beautiful.. So enjoy the rides... getting there is half the fun. and more.

Definitely do two days in Rota Roa. Liked all you have planned there. Morai are fine people ... Learn the Houka !!!
I liked the South Island more than the north.
I thought Dunedine in the South of the South Island was outstanding... Don't miss the Penguins
or may Kaiakora for whales and penguines.

As for rooms, each city/town has a NZ Tourist Center... that has rooms categorized in about 5 levels.
You can book for the night or ahead for anywhere in NZ.

Have a good time.
Leave a little (alot) of time to meet the people ... their great.

Have a good time !!!

Quoting zahbs29

Hi there,

We're a family of 5 visiting New Zealand from November 10th to 24th. I've put together the below itinerary based on what I've read online and through traveller experiences. Any recommendations/feedback on this?

Also, whats the best way to travel from North to South Island? Is it feasible for us to drive to all the below places or will it be more expensive and confusing considering we know nothing about New Zealand.

Lastly, recommendations for good hotels and tours etc would be most appreciated.

Thanks,
Z

Saturday, 10th Nov
- Arrive Auckland

Sunday, 11th Nov
- Visit Waikatere Ranges and the Arataki Centre (around 30 mins drive from Auckland City)

Monday, 12th Nov & Tuesday, 13th Nov
- AKL to Bay of Islands
-Bay of Islands to Cape Reinga
o Stay one night here?

Wednesday, 14th Nov
- Visit Coromondel Peninsula/ Bay of Plenty
- Depart for Queenstown by flight at night?

Thursday, 15th Nov to Monday 19th Nov
- Arrive Queenstown
- Adventure sports etc
- Ziptrek Ecotours
- Arrowtown (30 mins from Queenstown)
--- Start driving towards Christchurch and en route stop at:
o Lake Wanaka (puzzle land)
o Milfred Sound day cruise
o Mt Cook
o Franz Joseph Glacier (helicopter ride?)
---Eventually arrive in Christchurch
o Visit Hanmer Springs for jet boat, rock pools, bungee jumping
- Christchurch to Golden Bay

Tuesday, 20th Nov
- Back in AKL
- Recoup

Wednesday, 21st Nov to Friday, 23rd Nov
- Leave early for Rotorua (Spend one/two nights?)
o Wai-o-Tapu Geothermal wonderland and Devil’s pit
o Enjoy traditional Maori concert at Maori village Te Tawa Ngahere Marae Pa
o Tongoriro National Park
o Waitomo Caves (Black Water tubing ??)
- Head back to AKL on 22nd night or 23rd morning

Friday, 23rd Nov
- Arrive AKL
- Visit Bay of Plenty
- Visit black sand beach?
- Pack and depart

4. Posted by Andyf (Respected Member 335 posts) 2y

We had five weeks and didn't dawdle; trying to do what you listed is a punishing schedule in two weeks.

Driving is your best bet for getting around quickly to see things, but the distances on the map may be deceptive - NZ feels like Britain without (many) motorways, and the volcanic terrain makes for some runs being windey and hilly. Allow plenty of travel time.

My suggestion (depending on your priorities) would be to skip Northland, Bay of Plenty and Coromandel. Fly down to Queenstown and work your way back overland to Auckland. Getting between the islands is simple - use the Interislander ferry; our car hire company had us drop off one car at Picton, cross as foot passengers, and pick up a new car at the other side. Nice voyage through the Marlborough Sounds.

Queenstown - great base for adventuring.
Franz Josef - I did the heli hike on Fox Glacier and it was a great experience.
Christchurch - was a lovely city; I hear it's going to be a long time rebuilding.
Hanmer Springs - wasn't amazing, hot springs okay.
(If pressed for time perhaps you can skip Chch and HS)
Golden Bay - are you planning to see Abel Tasman national park? Popular thing to do there is water taxi then hike back along the coast, but needs scheduling with tide times.

Tongariro - we went up Ruapehu, wish I'd had more time there to do more.
Rotorua - great mix of cultural and geothermal stuff, more to see in one place than, say, Yellowstone or Iceland. The polynesian spa was good fun.
Waitomo caves - not worth the effort, in my view, though I see you're going for the tubing. Easy to see gloworms elsewhere. But if you do go, I recommend staying at the hobbit motel at Woodlyn Park- www.woodlynpark.co.nz
If you go to Coromandel, I recommend visiting Driving Creek Railway.

5. Posted by bitbythebug (Budding Member 9 posts) 2y

I agree, with the others that it's A LOT to fit into 2 weeks. New Zealand is an incredible country and you don't want to ruin the experience by blasting through it and not being able to have time to enjoy what's great about the place: the people you meet and the gorgeous surroundings. I also have to agree that it seems like you guys are doing a lot of zigzagging. I feel like the best way to do NZ is by car, more freedom, and just make your way from one island to the other that way you spend less time on the flights and airports and more time enjoying the scenery.

I spent a year exploring New Zealand and some favorite doable spots for a family were
>The Northland

  • Bay of Islands, From Paihia, take the Gungha II day sailing tour- best way to see the bay, get in the water, kayak, hike, snorkel all at once. I worked here for a few months and Capt. Mike is awesome. He's been doing it for years, has sailed around the world, and has awesome stories to share! I stayed at the Mouse trap hostel which is pretty family friendly and is run by a couple with two young (adorable) girls. Russel is a historic, quaint town across from Paihia. (First capitol of NZ) Waitange just a quick walk north of Paihia is also the site of the Waitange Treaty. If you're there Feb 6th (waitange Day, there's a lot of awesome stuff going on. Tribes from all over NZ come with their wakas (decorated canoes), haka performances-big festival.
  • Definitely Cape Rienga, It's beautiful, as well as important culturally to the Maori, and interesting too from a oceanographic stand point! You can go on some beautiful hikes around the cape or just stop off on one of the many gorgeous bays and villages on the way up there.

> Coromandel

  • great place to relax, everything is super slow pace, even by NZ standards. It is a bit out of the way and beautiful. Not sure what your kids are in to but there's kayaking, fishing and hiking but can't remember too much "extreme sports" going on for tourists.

> Tongariro National Park

  • STUNNING. Rigorous full day hike especially if you include Mt Ngarahoe (Mt Doom from LOTR). Definitely worth the sweat.

>Rotorua

  • Its probably the biggest tourist trap in NZ but it's probably a great way to a intro to Maori culture.
  • I went to Oraki Korako for my geothermal experience and it was AMAZING! It's a bit out of town but was cheaper and much less crowded apparently than the main one. It had heaps of geysers, crazy colored pools, bubbling pits of mud, walkways over wide shallow streams of boiling yellows, pinks, reds and teals. So cool, and on top of that you take a little ferry across a lake to get there so you totally feel like you're going to Jurassic Park.

>Wellington

  • Along with Dunedin, favorite city in NZ. Lots of great food, music, and arts scene. Coolest museum is Te Papa, massive, super educational, lots of natural history and cultural exhibits.

> Abel Tasman NP

  • Beautiful! Do it! Beware of the sand flies! Marlborough Sounds are also amazing! Mountain biking here is great!

6)West Coast NZ

  • Franz Josef Glacier-AMAZING!

> Dunedin

  • cool university city-lots going on but the penninsula that it sits at the base of is gorgeous and great for a day of exploring beaches and for wild life like penguins, albatross, and sea mammals.

> Queenstown and Wanaka
Queenstown is the tourist trap of the South Island, and for a reason. It's got EVERYTHING! Set in the most picturesque place, and full of fun activities. The hikes from here are world class and is the mecca for extreme sports. I loved the Nevis Bungee. SO FUN!
Wanaka is the quieter but just as beautiful neighbor of Queestown. If you're not into being swarmed by tourists and people trying to sell you trips and skydives and more into the just doing things your
own way Wanaka's got great hiking, views, food, beer, rock climbing and a big beautiful lake surrounded by pristine mountains! It does have skydiving and companies will take you to the same activities as Queenstown but it's on a smaller scale.
>Milford Sound
Also a must experience. Waterfall heaven! There's a cool underwater viewing building in the sound that some of the tours will take you too. I'm an ecology nerd so I loved it. it's a half submerged building with big viewing windows so you can see all the normally deep water species that live at much shallower depths in the sound.

I'd say, skip Auckland, Waitomo Caves, Christchurch-although it'd be great to support their economy, and Bay of Plenty. Think about renting a car or van and driving it in one circuit(but thats probably a personal preference) and cutting out a good chunk of what you've got in your itinerary to save for next time. You'll enjoy your holiday more that way :)

Hope that helps! Enjoy!

6. Posted by Andyf (Respected Member 335 posts) 2y

Damn you, bitbythebug, your enthusiasm has reignited my wanderlust for a return to nz to see all the great bits I missed!

7. Posted by groverkiwi (Budding Member 15 posts) 2y

Ki ora

I as a Kiwi would have to agree with all the above comments, the key points are :

It will take you far longer than you are probably used to taking to drive distances on the map.
Slow down do more by doing less.

I see that you are planning a night flight to Queenstown , due to the terrain around queenstown such things do not exist with the Airport closed from before dusk. So a flight from Auckland will consume most of a day.

It would probably better to plan a routue using either Christchurch or Auckland as your arrivial point and the other as your exit.

Camper hire is an option you could consider with a bit more room for the family and increased accomadation options.

Good luck and have fun I am sure you will.

Grover

8. Posted by zahbs29 (Budding Member 6 posts) 2y

[quote=stevieh]
Hi Stevieh,

Thanks for that - the only reason for flying in and out to Auckland is because my sister lives there and I want to spend my last few days with her before departing NZ..

9. Posted by zahbs29 (Budding Member 6 posts) 2y

Thanks @ Rhmyers

And, will check out your itinerary as well..

10. Posted by zahbs29 (Budding Member 6 posts) 2y

Thanks @ Andyf

Some good advice in there!