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19 Days in New Zealand in August

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My husband and I are traveling to New Zealand in early August. We will fly into Auckland and out from Christchurch with 19 days to travel. I have sketched out a rough itinerary below. I would love any suggestions!

Day 1 – Arrive Auckland
Day 2 – Auckland
Day 3 – Auckland
Day 4 – Train from Auckland to Wellington
Day 5 – Wellington
Day 6 – Ferry to South Island, stay in Nelson area?
Day 7 – Nelson area
Day 8 – Abel Tasman Park
Day 9 – Hokitka
Day 10 – Glaciers
Day 11 – Glaciers
Day 12 – Wanaka
Day 13 – Te Anau
Day 14 – Te Anau, Milford Sound
Day 15 – Queenstown
Day 16 – Queenstown
Day 17 – Mount Cook
Day 18 – Christchurch
Day 19 – Christchurch
Day 20 – Depart Christchurch

I don’t really want to spend as many days in Auckland as we have planned, but my husband LOVES trains so we are working around the Northern Explorer’s limited winter schedule. This was the only place I could figure out a train ride since our schedule does not include Arthur’s Pass. I guess an alternative would be to fly from Auckland to Queenstown on Day 3 and work our way up the west coast and across Arthur’s Pass, but I have heard that Abel Tasman and Nelson are really nice areas.

I tried to plan this so we wouldn’t have any days of incredibly long driving. I would really appreciate some suggestions on where to stay/how to tackle the Nelson/Abel Tasman part of the itinerary, as well as the Te Anau/Milford Sound/Queenstown portion. If it is possible to stay in one town and travel around that would be ideal. Also how much will our activities be limited by the fact that it is winter? Finally, we really like wine so I would love some suggestions on wineries to check out!

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