I am currently in Australia and will be moving on to NZ on the 11th March. I would love some ideas on what to see and do while I am here. I was thinking of getting a bus pass (found one for 17 stops start/finish anywhere for $225 NZD) and seeing as much as I can for as little as I can. My only restriction is that I start in Christchurch and fly out of Auckland and have 6 weeks.
I would love to cage dive with great white's, see some glaciers, do some white water rafting, visit Middle Earth and go whale/dolphin watching. But this is just a little taste of what I can do here, please advise me on what else to do!!
My budget is on the smaller side but don't let that stop you from any thoughts!
Hi Adam, I had a bunch of places to reel off, but you would be better off with a car really for most of them!
I did whale watching in Kaikoura, I was not that impressed and it was expensive. I paid half that in Argentina and got way more action... not the whales fault I guess!
I did a glacier walk on Franz Joseph, again not cheap but it was a very good tour.
Queenstown is very touristy, many Kiwi's I know prefer Wanaka, but, I rafted in QT, my first time rafting and I loved it. I hear the rafting is good in Rotorua also...yet to try that... There is a place, or few, where you can do cave rafting and all sorts.... basically anything a Kiwi can jump off/swing/surf/raft/climb or a combination of..your sorted here!
Not much going on in Christchurch still at the moment.
Dunedin is a cool city though.
Air NZ and Jet Star have some cheap internal flights at the moment...
I have yet to do the Able Tasman and The Catlins national Parks but I hear they are amazing...
Hope that helps! If your flying into AKL the tourist info center is more like a library, I was astounded with everything they had, considering the size of NZ!
Forgot Milford Sound, not a cheap tour again, but the scenery is awesome!
[ Edit: Edited on 27-Feb-2013, at 18:48 by Jonbee82 ]
Thanks very much jonbee that's a great help!
Get yourself a Lonely Planet guide to New Zealand. It will make sure you don't miss anything as it's packed full of information, and has lots of cheap and good accommodation so will quickly pay for itself.
I liked the Franz Joseph glacier too but it is quite a bit out of the way. Not a lot in Invercargil if you are thinking of going that far south.
We spent 2 months in NZ in 2011, toured round in a Juicy camper for 8 weeks so we got alot in.
My top recommendations would be;
Queenstown - Nevis bungy, sample Fergburger (I've been all over the world and its the best I've ever had. We had 3 different one's while we were there!)
Wanaka - Stunning place, we were there in Winter so I went skiing at one of the resorts, was very nice! We also did Jet boating on the lake (got an offer on groupon) highly recommended if price is right! There's also a unique cinema there, old skool type and they did amazing fresh cookies on the break.
Franz Josef - We did the full-day glacier walk and it was excellent. You have to be reasonably fit but the experience is great and to top if off at the end of the day you get into the hot spring pools in the town, great way to end a long day!
Milford Sound - Even though we never got to go there, we got snowed in at Queenstown its highly recommended again by alot of people we spoke too. Just google it and you'll be able to find all the info you need.
Dunedin - If you make it here, there's a cadbury & beer factory tour you can do. Beer one is worth the admission, chocolate one not so much.
Our favourite stops were Lake Taupo, Mount Manunganui and Bay of Islands.
A few suggestions:
The Tongariro Crossing or go up Mt Ruapehu
Napier Art Deco tour
Rotorua geothermal sites
Hobbiton set tour at Matamata
Hobbit motel at Woodlyn Park, Otorohanga
Abel Tasman national park - coastal trail using water taxis
Franz Josef or Fox glaciers. Heli hike amazing.
Queenstown for adventure central in a great setting surrounded by mountains and lake
Also loved Driving Creek Railway on the coromandel peninsula.