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2 Week Trip to New Zealand...Early Planning Stage

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My husband & I are looking to travel to New Zealand March 2014 for our wedding anniversary and our last big adventure vacation (for a little while at least) before we settle down and start a family. We are in our later 20s and want to travel to New Zealand for the beauty and adventure. We love hiking (which I hear is called "Tramping" over there). With travel time we will only have 10 - 11 days in New Zealand. We would like to see both islands and get a great overall feel of what New Zealand has to offer. We are Lord of the Rings fans...not fanatics, so we would like to see some of the places it was filmed if possible. I've heard of Milford Sound, Waitomo Caves, Tongagiro Crossing...etc. I'm sure everything is beautiful, but if there is something that is a must see or not worth it, we would love to hear it.

Would it be best to go with a tour group or go individually? Is renting a car a good option? Has anyone had experience with the Magic Bus? Would it make any difference to start on the South or North Island? Most likely we will be flying into Auckland or wherever we can find the lowest airfare.

It is really early in our planning process so we would appreciate anyone's opinions. Thank you for your time!

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