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3 week trip to Australia, New Zealand

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I am planning a 3 week trip to Australia and New Zealand in late November. So far I am thinking of one week in Sydney, one week in Cairns or Brisbane and a one week road trip from Auckland to Wellington. I would appreciate any suggestions. I would like to see the highlights and enjoy the culture. I love scenery, markets, music, walking and collecting rocks along the beach, going to good eateries, seeing the off-the-beaten track sights, etc. I am willing to revamp my itinerary.

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    Welcome to the forum, Gemstar. I think what you have planned is a great reasonably-relaxed trip. There is plenty to do and see in Sydney. I spent 6 1/2 days there last October and only saw a bit of what there is to see, so I am going back again on 30 September for 2 weeks, this time taking my husband! A friend has lent me a book called "Sydney in a Week" published in 1997 which has the main areas of Sydney, including beaches, covered over 7 days, but not sure if it is available any more. I have used this book plus this very helpful forum to loosely plan our time in Sydney. A couple of links to help you for some ideas:

    http://www.sydney.com/destinations/sydney/sydney-like-a-local

    http://www.manlyaustralia.com.au/information/what_to_do/walksViews.asp

    I like Cairns - it is a relaxing place to stay, and gives you access to many great places to visit - Atherton Tablelands, Undarra Lava Tubes, Mareeba Wetlands (have not made it there yet, sadly), Daintree, Cape York, and of course The Great Barrier Reef just to name a few.

    And of course Auckland to Wellington is an interesting drive, depending on which way you travel - through the centre of the island or via east or west coasts. A good place to go to for help planning this leg is at the following link:

    http://www.aa.co.nz/travel/activities-attractions/great-kiwi-road-trips/

    Good luck with your planning.

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    You should be able to have quite a relaxing trip of the North Island within a week.

    The main highlights of any North Island trip in my opinion is Rotorua, Far North and maybe the Waitomo Caves. The Volcanic plateau is also impressive, but more a drive through attraction.

    Starting in Auckland, I do not believe you would have time to do North land. If you enjoy sea life maybe a trip to the Goat Island marine reserve. Its about 30 minutes north of the city.

    Heading south, the caves at Waitomo are impressive, but not overly unique. Maybe with the exception of the Glow Worm cave. Apart from the caves, these not a lot to do in South Waikato.

    The east coast has the Coromandel Peninsula, which is rather scenic but I was not overly impressed with with Cathedral Cove their flagship attraction.


    Could easily spend 2-3 days in Rotorua, these Geothermal, Cultural, Wildlife and adventure activities to do. As a relaxing way to begin or end the day I like to walk beside the lake or in the Red Wood forest just out of town.

    Taupo has a bigger lake, but less attractions then Rotorua. A part day is enough time to get a feel of the place.

    East Coast or West Coast is your next decision. I find Taranaki and New Plymouth to be boring, but I find Wanganui to be surprisingly photogenic despite being a beneficiary town. A boat ride up the Wanganui river is the main attraction. Also allow a few minutes to ride the escalator inside the mountain. I like to do it in the evening to watch the sunset over the city.

    The east coast offers the wine district of the Hawks Bay.

    The lower north Island, until you reach wellington is rather boring.

    So a potential itinerary.

    Day 1: Auckland: Visit Goat Island marine reserve, laze around the city.
    Day 2: Waitomo or Coromandel Pensiula
    Day 3: Rotorua
    Day 4: Rotorua
    Day 5: Rotorua>Taupo
    Day 6: Wanganui or Hawkes Bay via Volcanic Plateau.
    Day 7: Wellington.

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