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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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16-day NZ itinerary: Suggestions and Confirmations Wanted

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Good Day Fellow Global Travelers,

My wife and I are adventurous go getters and we are departing for our 16 day trip in New Zealand next Month! We are hoping to do the best of both islands for us, and we would like some help from our Kiwi friends & other experienced NZ travelers. We packing in a lot which is OK, yet if there are areas that we should be excluding for sake of sanity, please share your thoughts. We arrive in Auckland 30th of May, and depart from Queenstown 14th of June. My estimated drive time per day to the next destination is in ().

North Island Itinerary
1 Land at 6am and spend All day in Auckland (N/A)
2 Leave Auckland, visit Hobbiton, then on to Rotorua by evening (3.5 hrs)
3 Explore Rotorua/Maori customs then to Lake Taupo (2 hrs)
4 Do morning Hike in Taupo area, then to Napier for wine time (3 hrs)
5 Leave Napier mid morning for Welly - visit museum/wharf (5 hrs)

This is where we can use some help and are open to suggestions. Originally we were going to do the Island Ferry from Welly to Picton, however, my wife discovered the beauty in Kaikora and the Whale watching / baby seal pups that play in the warmer water falls this time of year. As of now, we have the following itinerary. We'd like to know if this is worth it, or if we should stick to the island transfer to Picton/Nelson, and continue along the West/Southerly route to Queenstown etc.

Current South Island Itinerary
6 From Welly, Fly into C.Church & explore recovery, drive to Kaikora (1hr flight 2.5hr drive)
7 Kaikora after whale watching/seal pups - drive to Nelson (3.5 hrs)
8 Explore area via Kayak or hiking in Nelson/Tasman park - stay nearby (N/A)
9 Drive to Glaciers/Mt. Cook areas (7 hrs)
10 Explore Glaciers/Mountains all day (N/A)
11 Drive to Queenstown and take our time heading south (6 hrs)
12 Explore Queenstown - walk around, drink wine, etc drive to Te Anau (3.5 hrs)
13 Get to Milford Sound early - we are kayaking not doing big boat tour (5 hrs roundtrip)
14 Back to Queenstown early for more exploring, wine drinking, etc (3.5 hrs)
15 Ski-fields and recap an amazing exhausting trip to NZ (N/A)
16 maybe catch a museum before our 4pm flight that leaves out of QTown (N/A)

Alternative South Island Itinerary (no visit to Christchurch or Kaikora)
6 Island Ferry transfer to Picton, then to Nelson...drink wine (5.5 hrs (includes boat time))
7 Hike/Kayak in Nelson or Abel Tasman Park. Stay in Nelson (2 hrs)
8 Drive to Punakaiki Beach area, see pancake rocks, relax (3 hrs)
9 Drive to Glaciers/Mt. Cook areas with no agenda, just sightseeing (4 hrs)
10 Explore Glaciers/Mountains all day (N/A)
11 Drive to Queenstown and take our time heading south (6 hrs)
12 Explore Queenstown, walk the town, get to Te Anau by night for glow worms (3.5 hrs)
13 Get to Milford Sound early for kayaking not the big boat tour. Each way about (2.5 hrs)
14 Back to Queenstown early for more exploring, wine drinking, etc (3.5 hrs)
15 Ski-fields and recap an amazingly exhaustive trip to NZ :) (N/A)
16 maybe catch a museum before our 4pm flight that leaves out of QTown (N/A)

Are we Crazy or are we on the right track? Which Itinerary looks best, and most doable? What would an experienced Kiwi or NZ traveler add/subtract?

My wife and I lived in Colorado and adored the mountains and outdoors, the picturesque scenery, adventure, etc yet also love to kick back during our downtime with good wine, food and locals! We are hoping this itinerary allows us to capture all that is wonderful about NZ and its people. If we are lacking something, please tell us and if we need to emphasize something we already have on our agenda, please inform us. Please Help us have a trip of a lifetime!

Sincerely,
Brian & Holly G.

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