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4 weeks in NZ in Feb. 2015

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We are a couple in our mid 60's taking our first trip to NZ & Australia.
Since we will be flying from Boston, USA, we will stay a night in LA and then on to Aukland. We are now thinking maybe one week in the North Island and 3 weeks in the South Island. We are very comfortable driving, but also wonder whether we should hook up with some of the all day tours or will it be easy enough for us to navigate the roads and be able to self drive and tour. We would love some suggestions about best places to stay and favorite sights. We are not going to do any extreme sports but would like to get out and see the beautiful places even if it requires some not too difficult hiking. We would like to stay in clean, moderately priced motels, B&B's, or even a small apartment for a few days. It would be nice not to have to eat out all of the time. I have read that most of the motels, etc. have small kitchen areas which I would like just to make a small breakfast or small snack. I have heard about Air B&B, and it does intrigue me.
Then off to Australia early in March for probably two weeks. Based on the weather are we correct in assuming that NZ should be the beginning of our trip and AU in March considering the weather in both countries? We would like to see Sydney, Melbourne, Ulura & Cairns, We are also thinking of a few days in Fiji at the very end of our trip, just because it is so close and what if I never get back to that part of the world??? Maybe that is too much but it is something I would like to consider. Thank you for any help you can give us.

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