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First visit to New Zealand and (possibly) Australia

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Hi -
My wife and I are at the preliminary planning stages of a trip to New Zealand. Depending on time we may visit Australia also, but New Zealand is the priority. We will be traveling from New York and are thinking of a stop over for a night in each direction in Los Angeles just to break up the flying a little.

Our initial thoughts were to go either in October or April. So the first question is, assuming we visit during a shoulder season, what time period would likely provide the best weather?

The second question may be more difficult. How much time would we need to have a reasonably relaxed vacation to see the highlights, do some hiking, etc.? I realize we could spend months and more time is always preferred, but is two weeks reasonable? If we wanted to add Australia, would we need an additional couple of weeks or would 3 weeks total be OK? And if we had only 3 weeks, would we be better off spending it all in New Zealand rather than trying to squeeze a little time in in Australia also? Because we will be traveling such a long distance, It would be a shame not to see both areas, but depending on the amount of time I have available, I would rather have a nice vacation than try to see everything and wind up feeling rushed and needing a vacation from my vacation :-).

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