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New Zealand 19 day Itinerary

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We are looking to travel to New Zealand in April for approx 19 days. We are a couple in our late 50's, enjoy the culture,nature and scenery, but not necessarily the tourist traps. We prefer not to have to change hotels every day, and not to spend every waking moment behind the wheel of a car. Any comments, suggestions are welcomed. I am not sure if I have hit the right spots on the north island. On the south island, do you recommend staying in Wanaka or queenstown? while at Teanua we are planning to do the milford sound cruise. What about the glacier - is it better for the fox or franz? Should we take the tranzalpine back to Christchurch or drive? The dates are for my use to try to figure out where/when. If needed, I can add one extra night to the itinerary. Thanks again for your input.

20leave NY
21 flying
22arrive- Auckland
23 Auckland
24 Comadoral
25 Rotorua
26 Rotorua
27Napier
28 Wellington
29 Kaikoura
30 Mt cook
1 Dunedin
2 Dunedin
3 Teanua
4 Teanua
5 Wanakaor queenstown
6 Wanaka
7 fox glacier or franz josef
8 fox glacier or franz josef
9 Christchurch
10fly back

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    Hi dewentworth -

    Firstly, for someone no wanting to change hotels every day, you're doing alot of moving around. Have you considered choosing one island and spending all of your time there?

    If you're referring to April 2013, keep in mind that school holidays run from April 20-May 5, and Anzac Day, a national public holiday, is on April 25. Many kiwis travel during school holidays and public holidays, so it's important that you book accommodation well in advance during these busy
    times.

    Wanaka or Queenstown....they're both 'worthy' and I'd suggest staying in both unless time is just too limited (which it seems that it is).

    QT is very touristy and I personally don't like it nearly as much as I used to, but there's alot on offer from a visitor's perspective. I've found that a good compromise is to stay in Arrowtown, which is a short drive from QT, but still provides easy access and is a much quieter place to stay.

    Wanaka is lovely, and there's certainly plenty to do there as well. It really boils down to what you're interested in.

    Fox vs Franz...the only real difference between the two is the size of the villages and the services on offer. Franz is a wee bit bigger than Fox, but honestly, that's about it. The glaciers are different, but not so much that you'd be missing much if you chose one over the other. It's quite easy to do both, as you drive through both en route up and down the West Coast and you can even walk to both in a single day.

    I won't comment on your NI itinerary, as I'm not as familiar with the NI as the south, but you SI itinerary is all over the place.

    I assume you're taking the ferry from Wellington to Picton and then driving to Kaikoura? That's a 2.5 hour drive, which is certainly doable, but then you're headed to Mt Cook? That's a 7:20 drive! Then to Dunedin? That's a five hour drive.

    It's difficult to fit in both the inland route (Mt Cook) and the West Coast route (glaciers) into so few days. They're separated by a mountain range, and there's only one major road, so there'a alot of driving if one wants to do both.

    My suggestion is to make a loop...Christchurch to Christchurch works really well, but you'll find it difficult to fit Kaikoura (north) and Dunedin (south) and everything in between into so few days.

    Are you dead set on these locations? Are you indeed arriving by ferry? Would you consider flying from Wellington to the South Island?

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    Thank you for your input. I have revamped the above, but I am still questioning where I should add an extra day. We will be there April 14 - May 3
    Fly to Christchurch,
    2 nights Christchurch
    1 mt cook
    2 dunedin
    2 Te Anau
    2 wanaka
    1 franz Josef
    1 somewhere between franz and nelson
    2 nelson
    Fly to auckland
    3 nights bay islands
    2 auckland
    Any and all feedback is welcomed. Thank you.

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    If you get an early start, you can drive from Franz Josef to Nelson in a day, about seven hours, thus preventing yet another overnight along the way. This also frees up another night, which I'd add to Mt Cook or or Nelson, or well, anywhere really.

    I'd put the other 'extra day' in Franz Josef. You have long drive days on either side - the drive from Wanaka to Franz and the drive from Franz to Nelson are both pretty full on.

    One night in Franz doesn't give you much time to do anything, as you'd arrive from a long drive, spend the night, then set out on yet another long drive early the following day. Two nights will give you at least one full day, and you need at least that to explore the glaciers, maybe walk a track or two, and just soak up the incredible beauty of the area.

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