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Budgeting time in New Zealand

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Budgeting time in New Zealand

1. Posted by Shersim (Budding Member 7 posts) 2y

Greetings! My husband and I (early 60s) are beginning to plan our first excursion to New Zealand. We are interested in nature, culture, architecture, and just plain wandering. We are active and enjoy walking, but neither of us is interested in high adventure experiences.

It is possible that we might rent a car, though we are likely to travel longer distances by train or bus. On our 2-3 week trip, we would like to visit both the North and South Island, and perhaps the national park south of the South Island (I've forgotten its name at the moment).

We have one time-share week to use, and then we're likely to spend 2 to 4 nights in a variety of other locations. So here is my question: If we were to spend a week in a timeshare, somewhat anchored to one region, where would we best spend that time? What location would give us a week's worth of activities, whether they be museum visits, moderate hikes, or beach walks?

I would appreciate hearing opinions from others who have spent considerable time in New Zealand. I know we will have a wonderful time and regret that we can't stay longer, but I'd like to make the best of the time we have there.

2. Posted by Cyberia (Travel Guru 1818 posts) 2y

It is easily possible to do both islands in 2-3 weeks though you would have to spend a fair bit of time in a car (which is better than spending it waiting for trains and buses and only going where they go).

You do not have much time and using a timeshare will anchor you to one spot so not allowing you to see all the places you have gone all that way to see. Plenty of B&B and guest houses about for overnight stops.

Drop the car off where you pick it up to save a big one way charge. Crossing islands, you drop your car off one side, go across as a foot passenger and pick up a car the other side from the same company, at no extra charge.

I like the small towns of NZ too, like small town America decades ago.

Pick up a copy of the Lonely Planet guide (which is packed with useful information, so as not to miss anything) and get a good road map. Be careful of speed cameras, notably in the Auckland area.

3. Posted by hasbeen (Respected Member 602 posts) 2y

Quoting Shersim

Greetings! My husband and I (early 60s) are beginning to plan our first excursion to New Zealand. We are interested in nature, culture, architecture, and just plain wandering. We are active and enjoy walking, but neither of us is interested in high adventure experiences.

It is possible that we might rent a car, though we are likely to travel longer distances by train or bus. On our 2-3 week trip, we would like to visit both the North and South Island, and perhaps the national park south of the South Island (I've forgotten its name at the moment).

We have one time-share week to use, and then we're likely to spend 2 to 4 nights in a variety of other locations. So here is my question: If we were to spend a week in a timeshare, somewhat anchored to one region, where would we best spend that time? What location would give us a week's worth of activities, whether they be museum visits, moderate hikes, or beach walks?

I would appreciate hearing opinions from others who have spent considerable time in New Zealand. I know we will have a wonderful time and regret that we can't stay longer, but I'd like to make the best of the time we have there.

Most of my time in New Zealand has been on has been on cruise ships, staying a day in various places. It's a great way to get a feel of a place before venturing back.

But I did center a few days not on ships

Auckland of course would be a good center. Easy transportation in all directions and there are the ferries out to the islands which could soak up a week on there own. The bird sanctuary at the wonderfully named Tiritiri Matangi Island was a great day out. Has it's own ferry from the harbour.

Away for the ocean, Rotorua is another ideal center. The tourist center is very helpful & has all sorts of tours to recommend & you can book them there & they send a bus to pick you up to take you to the start of the tour. All sorts of THERMAL stuff nearby. Nothing better than seeing the earth in action & here you can see it right on the edge of town with a little park the has pools bubbling away. Easy walking area around the lake. I did not do it but there is a ride on the lake. I know you are not interested in high adventure but you might want to make an exception with the jet boat ride near Lake Taupo. Easily done in a day.

Camper vans seem a popular idea.

My advise is not to try to see too much. After all, you are going to go back! Right?

You are bound to enjoy whatever you choose.

I could quite happily move to New Zealand but thy do not seem to want old codgers even those with a steady income.

Steve

4. Posted by hasbeen (Respected Member 602 posts) 2y

OoopsI
I hit that button too quick.

The sland off the south coast may be Stewart island. I went to Ulva island which is on the edge of Stewart.

I mentioned to a 20 something girl that I might see Kiwis there as they are not necessarily nocturnal there, being slightly bigger than their brethren farther north.
Nocturnal? she said.
I thought Kiwis were a fruit!

The young - gotta luv em.

Steve

5. Posted by Shersim (Budding Member 7 posts) 2y

Thank you both for your advice. I know that staying in one spot for an entire week is not ideal, but that's the plan. We paid for it; we're going to use it! But knowing that one of you advises against it may influence the planning somewhat. Usually when we stay somewhere "free" for a week, we take a night or two away anyway. I know there are some timeshare possibilities in the Rotorua area and will look into Auckland.

Steve, I laughed at the kiwi comment. I love to eat them--the fruit, that is, not the birds. :) Would love to see some birds as well.

We've only driven on the left on one trip, in Australia. We found the roads there to be wide and well-marked. Easy to drive. When we visited Ireland, not too long after, we were glad we weren't driving ourselves, as the roads were narrow and winding. I wonder whether New Zealand's roads are more like Australia's than Ireland's.

6. Posted by hasbeen (Respected Member 602 posts) 2y

Hello

I would not advise for or against staying in one spot for a week. They both have their advantages. Depends how much you like driving. Personally, In a new place I cannot drive & appreciate the scenery at the same time. I drive in a 'Tunnel'.

I fear NZ is a very big place to see in two weeks. Such a lovely climate, I want to be outside a vehicle enjoying it.

Roads in NZ are very good. I doubt you will have a problem.

That's the beauty for me in a cruise. Your hotel floats from place to place overnight, & someone else does the driving.

Be very careful in the sun. It might not be all that hot but the sun is intense. Only place I have been where my hands got sunburnt.

If you care to click on my 'Posted by HASBEEN' on this post you can see that I have a few comments & photos of my first visit to New Zealand on the entry called 2007 A1 MERCURY - HAWAII to NEW ZEALAND. I have still need to add some notes in there

I am just starting my blog for the second visit. It was on a cruise. the first leg of which is under 2011 A1 H & A WORLD CRUISE, PART ONE - SAN FRANCISCO.
By this time next week I would have started on New Zealand. A fantastic trip.

Steve

7. Posted by Andyf (Travel Guru 640 posts) 2y

For architecture, Napier is a highlight with lots of art deco.

Auckland as a base isn't such a good location with limited time. Perhaps Queenstown? Hub for the outdoors stuff.

Driving isn't a problem with quiet roads but they're slow roads and 2-3 weeks isn't going to be relaxing and meandering. Could you just do south island and return another time for north island? That timescale is just right and a week based in Queenstown would fit that.

Suggestions: fox glacier heli hike, wanaka, mount aspiring, abel tasman national park, Christchurch, mount cook area, Milford sound, Dunedin. Kaikoura for whale watching.

Andy