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Help with New Zealand in 4 days...we're not crazy, please read on!

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Hi everyone,

My fiance and I have finally decided we are going to the Cook Islands (Aitutaki) for our honeymoon from October 25-November 1 2009!! We are looking into the airline tickets now, and discovered that almost all the return flights to the U.S. (LAX) are routed through Auckland, NZ. We think it is crazy to be stopping in New Zealand and not see it at all. The problem is, we really can't take more than a total of 2 weeks for our honeymoon--so we will only have 4 days (that excludes travel days) in New Zealand.

I know 4 days is not ideal. From reading other posts, it sounds like even 2 weeks for either the North or South Island isn't really enough. But we think it is a shame not to get a taste of NZ when we are going to be this close--and we hope we can go back on a future trip and explore more in depth. (If you think we are totally nuts, that would be helpful to know, too. I guess we could always just extend our Cook Island trip by 3 or 4 days.)

My question is two-fold:

-Should we do the North Island or South Island? We would be flying into Auckland, so the North Island makes more sense, but everyone seems to think the South Island is the most stunning, and I'm wondering if the SI might give us the most scenery and excitement for such a short trip. On the other hand, it involves another flight (albeit, a short one) from Auckland to Queensland or Christchurch. And it also sounds like some of the glaciers/mountains are somewhat of a drive from the main cities.

-With just 4 days, does anyone have a suggested itinerary (for either NI or SI) of a few nice things close together that we could do in a short space of time? We like mild hikes, stunning scenery, great food! We aren't into any extreme sports or strenuous hiking. Any tips for romantic, well-situated lodges or hotels would be appreciated, too!

As always, thanks so much everyone!!
Kaitlyn

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