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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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(ahem) NZ itinerary, take 3! NOW with more South Island!!! :)

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I've gotten some very helpful advice for my ten-ish day non-driving winter New Zealand (and on to Fiji) trip for August of 2016, and I've got just a few more questions. The international flights are in place, so here's where I am:

Arrive Christchurch (what? oh, about $900 to 1600US difference from landing in ZQN, that's what!) on Saturday, July 30, about 1:30PM. Booked into Rendezvous Hotel 'cause I got it for $30 with Expedia points. (Cheap, yes, I am. Of necessity.)

So here is the first question: (Sunday, July 31) There's a bus tour taking in Church of the Good Shepherd/Lake Tekapo, Mt. Cook and its national park, and various other orchard/jammy things from a number of companies, departing from Christchurch and landing in Queenstown about 7:30PM. This would be about twice the cost of a flight into Q'town, but certainly seems to provide some great sight-seeing. So, question (subjective, of course!) is, does this sound like a good plan or should we just hop a quick morning flight to ZQN? I should note that both Jess and I are amazing sleepers so would likely have slept most of the way on the plane. (You should have seen us on the way to Oz a few years ago: thirteen hours flat out. Her twin sisters were also with us and wanted to kill us as they stayed awake pretty much the whole time.) That might be TMI but just to say that while a 12 hour bus trip sounds exhausting, we should be in better shape than some. Or we'll fall asleep on the bus, also possible.

I'm looking at Queenstown Motel Apartments for our stay there, which would be Sunday PM until Wednesday AM. (Yes, it's now four days! Ish!!!) Anyway, Monday would be our day for a half-day LOTR tour, such as Pure Glenorchy, and then some leisure time in the afternoon. Tuesday I'm looking at the Barbecue Bus Milford Sound trip, which will again be a long day in the bus but, well, no longer than if we were driving it, and quite frankly a lot easier. :) I know this is still not enough time for the South Island (TA forum: "You need to stay in the South Island. End." {paraphrase}) but it does expand our time there.

Wednesday: Air NZ has an 8:15 flight into Wellington from Queenstown and then there's an afternoon flight into AKL on Thursday, so we'd have a day and a half for Te Papa, Weta, and the general wandering about Cuba Street etc. I'm waiting for a reply from Weta on the possibility of their "There and Back Again" tour dropping us at the airport, as of course Weta is nearer the airport than to Downtown Wellington, and therefore we could do the Weta Workshop/Cave Thursday AM. Or we could just get a taxi or Uber, but not sure about what to do with luggage.

Friday, August 5th we would leave Auckland on a three day Waitomo, Hobbiton, Rotorua, and Agrodome "Budget" tour, which includes, get this, a farm stay. And I wasn't even looking for one. I had been hoping for the train excursion I'd found earlier that was similar to this, but Kiwi Scenic Rail haven't posted anything beyond "We're hoping to have this up by the end of March!" and have taken down their links to book the tour on the train, so this trip seems much more likely to be a go. http://www.tourandtravel.co.nz/tour/3-day-waitomo-rotorua-tour-inc-hobbiton-tour63

That gets us back into Auckland on Sunday 12:30ish, with a Monday departure for Nadi, Fiji. First night in Fiji is at Raffles, then we take the Yasawa Flyer out to Navotua for a homestay in a bure on the beach with meals made by various villagers, then Ratsun Apartments near the airport for our final night before flying out.

It sounds a bit packed as I'm writing it, but it's a doddle compared to last year's five-hotels-in-the-first-five-nights escapade...in Spanish. (It wasn't actually planned that way...http://www.fodors.com/community/south-america/if-its-tuesday-this-must-benicaragua-the-peruvian-amazon-or-colombia.cfm )

Any suggestions, warnings, thoughts--happily welcomed! Thank you again for the previous help!

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