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Building our NZ trip from the inside out

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We would love your help in building an NZ trip plan from the inside-out. By that, I mean that the ONLY thing that has been booked to-date is a four-day Milford Track hiking adventure with Ultimate Hikes in early March 2017... and we want to plan our trip around that experience, on either end. We do need to fly into and out of AKL, but we’re thinking of focusing primarily on South Island this time around and possibly returning to NZ in the future.

I hesitate to use a word like “itinerary” because it is far too early for that. I’m really just looking to sketch an outline in broad strokes at this point. Due to work schedules (etc.), we will only have about 12 or 13 days to work with, in total. Right now, here’s what I’ve got:

Day 1: Arrive AKL from ORD. Explore the city and rest a bit.
Day 2: Day trip to Waitomo caves?
Day 3: Fly down to Queenstown. Check out Q-town and Arrowtown?
Day 4: Unknown daytime activity (winery tour? bungy jumping? Dart river safari?); mandatory evening meeting with UH staff and fellow hikers
Days 5 thru 8: Milford Track hike (already booked)
Days 9 thru 11: Return to Qtown, rent a car and begin meandering adventure. Need help here. Dunedin? Wanaka? Mt. Cook? End up in Christchurch, drop off the car.
Day 12: Fly back to Auckland.
Day 13 AKL to ORD.

So, clearly I have some holes to fill. If you would be so kind, please let me know what would make the most sense. Note: we are a fairly active couple in our early 50s. Our style is moderately upscale, but definitely casual and not fancy. We’re not really foodies or hardcore party-people, per se, but we do love a good meal and drinks.

Any advice would be welcomed gratefully!

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