I will be in New Zealand for barely a week. Yes, I know it's not nearly long enough! But, I've never been before, so I am really looking forward to it. I've read tons of travel books, but since I'll be there for just a short time, I'd like to know what the absolute "do-not-miss" items are. Please help!
Auckland = exactly 1 full day
Queenstown = 1.5 days (afternoon & then the following full day)
From Queenstown, we will be going through Fox Glacier to Greymouth and then taking the TranzAlpine train from Greymouth to Christchurch.
Christchurch = 1 full day
I personally loved the Witomo Caves - although they are a bit out of the way from Auckland and maybe not worth the sidetrip if you've only got a few days. Still, blackwater rafting was a unique experience - and if you're searching for something different for your itinerary, then... I'd recommend it!
In Queenstown - provided the weather is nice - do the One Mile Creek track along the old waterpipe. You've never seen so much moss, or just green in general. Stunning. It's a bit of a search to find it (the lonely planet map with the start of the track marked is wrong - you need to go north/up earlier, and then further west along that street), but absolutely very worthwhile.
Coming down from the mountain it's probably easier to find: takes the gondolas up, and then follow the road down until it doubles back for the first time - right at that bend is the start/end of the track.
At Franz Josef Glacier (about half an hour's drive away from Fox) - make certain to do (part of) the Roberts Point track. The rainforest along here is stunningly beautiful beyond belief (more superlatively so than anywhere else I've seen, and I've walked quite a bit in this general area). And definitely absolutely whatever you do, make certain to do the five minute walk to "Peter's Pool" here (which is the start of the track to Roberts Point). Better than the mirror lakes, with the glacier reflected picture-perfect.
Five kilometers north of Greymouth, do the Point Elizabeth Walkway. Very easy walking, though very varried scenery. I think I'd call it the best one hour walk (to Pt. Elizabeth itself, though the track goes on further) that I've ever done.
Of couse, all that is assuming you like walking and seeing really absolutely gorgeous nature.
Like tway, I'ld recommened the black water caving in Greymouth. Its a day thing i think. and you get to have a spa after to warm up again. I've heard that the glacier is only spectacular on sunny days other wise its an ice walk.
1.5 days in Queenstown is not enough time really. You can keep yourself VERY busy. $$$$$$
Its coming up to winter soon so it wiil be cold and will start snowing in the alpine region around April/May. The Skiing And snowboarding are excellent in the south, indeed also in the north. But its doubtfull You have time.
Thanks everyone! I really appreciate your advice!