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Honeymooning 28 days Sept./Oct. New Zealand N&S Islands by car

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We are a fit mid-60's couple flying into and out of Auckland. We will rent a car and plan to take ferry both ways. We are interested in 5-10 mile walks/hikes, gardens, architecture, culture, mountains, waterfalls, & out-of-the way spots. There are so many interesting places, it is hard to narrow down our choices. While honeymooning, we are frugal and plan on more budget accommodations with perhaps a splurge at 1 or 2 homestays. Please help us with itinerary and accommodation suggestions. We have decided to skip Waitomo caves. We have checked some of the forum postings, especially indiancouple, and have ideas; but wonder what is best for 9/23 through 10/20. Thanks.

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