2 weeks in New Zealand

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1. Posted by Marty 6 (Full Member 45 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!


I have two weeks in NZ- flying in and out of Auckland and arrive on June 4th. Any advice as to where to go, what to do to get the most out of my limited time?



2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5492 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

I did a two week trip from Auckland to Christchurch in early March together with a friend. I had the luxury of 10 previous months of experience to draw upon, so we could just go and (re)visit the best bits, but with that in mind, this was (roughly) the itinerary:

day 1: exploring Auckland, doing the coast to coast walk (recommended; ask at visitor center for a map).
day 2: driving to Ohakune (Tongariro National Park), by way of Matamata ($50 Hobbiton tour - sounds expensive, but totally worth it, especially when the weather's nice).
day 3: walks in Tongariro.
day 4: drive to Wellington, exploring Wellington.
day 5: Ferry to Picton (stop for dutch buttercake at the "picton village bakkerij"), drive to Greymouth by way of Punakaiki blowholes (try to plan to be there at high tide).
day 6: drive to Franz Josef Glacier.
day 7: drive to Queenstown.
day 8: Milford Sound daytrip.
day 9: exploring Queenstown, drive to Lake Tekapo.
day 10: Climbing Mt. John to get a view of the Southern Alps and infinity. Sitting behind the big windows in the Lake Tekapo YHA, relaxing, finding one's self, eating Carbonara Pizza
day 11: idem. (Yes, Lake Tekapo is that good.)
day 12: daytrip to Mt. Cook (based on "not bad" weather)
day 13: drive to Christchurch, exploring Christchurch.
day 14: exploring Christchurch, flight back to Auckland.

We rented a car for this. In hindsight there were slightly too many days of driving for slightly too long. Especially the drive from Picton to Greymouth is too long - I'd see about taking an extra day for that, staying around the Nelson Lakes area perhaps to explore that.
The drive from Franz Josef to Queenstown was very long as well, but you don't have much choice there. (Other than perhaps stopping in Wanaka.) We were tired enough that we skipped Milford Sound (as that's 10+ hours sitting in the bus) and just recuperated in Queenstown for a day, souvenir shopping and doing some short walks and such. (I had planned for the recuperating in Lake Tekapo, which is _perfect_ for that, but yeah, it was too much.)

The Southern Alps will be glorious (assuming no unusual drought) covered in fresh snow all the way. If you are at the glaciers, at Mt. Cook or in Lake Tekapo, have the money, and the luck to get good weather, be certain not to miss taking a helicopter flight over them, perhaps even with glacier landing. I've never managed to yet, always bad luck with weather, but just from flying over them in a regular plane, I know this must be one of the most unimaginably good experiences ever.

Given that you'll be doing this in winter, I don't know if circumstance will be good for walking in Tongariro, and I highly doubt doing the Tongariro Crossing itself would be wise. Of course, if you're into skiing or snowboarding, Ohakune makes perhaps the most perfect base for doing that on the slopes of Mt. Ruapehu, and you'll probably want to aim for a longer stop in Queenstown as well.

Assuming that's not your thing (or not your goal for this trip) however, and that you would be up for renting a car (though transport by intercity/newmans bus works almost just as well), I'd recommend doing something like:

day 1-2: exploring auckland
day 3-4: take two-day trip to somewhere. Options are Bay of Islands, Matamata, Whitianga, Mt. Maunganui, Rotorua, ... - whatever draws you.
day 5: flight to christchurch, exploring christchurch
day 6: drive to Franz Josef via Arthur's Pass. (Tranzalpine train and intercity bus gets you there in a day as well.)
day 7: stay at Franz Josef, do glacier hikes (if you have your own car, drive to Fox glacier (30 mins) and see Lake Matheson as well)
day 8: drive to Queenstown. (Intercity bus gets you there in a loooong day as well.)
day 9: explore Queenstown.
day 10: do Milford Sound daytrip. (Don't even think about driving yourself; take a bus. You do not want to drive the road to Milford at this time of year, what with avalanche danger.)
day 11: drive to Lake Tekapo.
day 12: stay in Lake Tekapo / see Mt. Cook.
day 13: idem (seriously), drive to Christchurch at the end of the day
day 14: see more of Christchurch, flight to Auckland, flight out of the country.

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5492 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Oh gah - use this link for Lake Tekapo is that good instead. (The other one works, but will needlessly throw up all kinds of security warnings about an invalid certificate.)

  • makes note to self to go and see about getting this "edit post" functionality working one of these days*
4. Posted by leanneh (Budding Member 59 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!


seeing as we are talking NZ - i am going to book my round world trip very soon and need to decide if i am going to fly into christchurch and out of auckland (or the other way round) or just in and out of the same one. I probably wont spend more than 2 weeks in NZ, if that. I dont really know too much about the place as yet - just that i want to see it as i have heard good things about it!

any advice would be great


5. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hi leanneh,

I definitely liked the South island the best. Don't think you should miss the South Is. So you have to decide whether to see both or just the South. Queensland is a nice town also.

I personally flew into Auckland and out of Christchurch. I reanted a car on both Islands (and took a quick flight from Wellington to Christchurch.

6. Posted by jeffp (Budding Member 15 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hi Martin,

We did a 3-week tour of both islands and put together a website of our journey with an itinerary and pics and so forth that could be of help to you.

We really loved the South Island, stunning! North Island has its charms too and we also tracked down Hobitton (Matamata) 'cause we're a bit sad like that.

If you travel towards Christchurch, take a look at doing some whale watching at Kiakoura. It's a great experience, one of those unforgettable ones really.

The Kiwis also do a great white wine so check that out too.

Have a great trip.

http://web.ukonline.co.uk/jeff.jane (Our journal of 3 weeks in New Zealand)

7. Posted by madmonkey (Budding Member 9 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!


I spent just under 2 months in New Zealand, if you only have two weeks i would say try and do more in the south Island as its stunning! The alps are beautiful and if you can get some tramping in Routeburn down near Queenstown is fantastic. Queenstown is a real party town gd fun especially if you are an adrenaline junkee. Milford sound is really cool do a boat trip if you can. I prefered Christchurch to Auckland, if you can get up to the Porthills its very beautiful and a great look out point. However taking the ferry over to the islands in Auckland is a good plan. The bay of islands are just up the coast, loads of maori culture and sea kayaking around there is a laugh. My favourite place was Abel Tasman in the north of South Island so so beautiful and theres some nice walking around there. I did a sky dive and it was the highlight of my trip. Kaikoura is amazing, as is the coromandel esp cathedral cove. If your into walking the Tongario crossing is a must. Rotorua smells like rotten eggs but is pretty cool with bubbling mud and thermal activity. If you go to Taupo, head towards huka falls there is a wooden bridge about 10mins walk out of town and under it are natural hot springs so bring swimmers :)

As your going in June the weather will be turning so you could even get some snow good for boarding....

Dunno if thats any use. I went all over so if you need anything just drop me a mail