We are planning to visit NZ from 8th Dec, 2014 to 23rd Dec. 2014 on our Honeymoon. We will be landing in Auckland and will be leaving back from Queenstown.
We need your help in finalising the itinerary. Having gone through so many Trip Reports and guides.. My mind is swimming with options.. But I need your guidance for the practicality aspect. We want to cover NI and SI both and we do realise that this short duration will not to justice to the beauty that is NZ. But, we can't stretch beyond this and would really like to cover as much as possible.
Having said that, I'd also like to mention that I don't mind backpacking the entire NZ but my fiance (even though he won't admit it) would like a relaxed time there. But we both enjoy road-trips and want to self-drive all around NZ.
Please review my itinerary and do let me know if it would ensure we relax as well as touch the highlights of NZ. We are going to concentrate on the SI more because I've heard Bay of Islands etc. is too crowded that time. Also, I have planned a north to south trip. Would it be better if I reverse it? Since our trip ends on Christmas Eve.. Should we be at less crowded cities that time.. Because I've kept Queenstown in the end.
Day 1: 8th Dec. Arrive at Auckland. Collect rental car.
Day 2: Head to Rotorua (via Hobbiton). Rotorua overnight
Day 3: Rotorua
Day 4: Catch a flight from Auckland/Rotorua to Nelson
Day 5: Spend the day at Abel Tasman National Park. Nelson overnight
Day 6: Punakaiki. Greymouth Overnight
Day 7: Greymouth
Day 8: Fox Glacier
Day 9: Fox Glacier
Day 10: Wanaka
Day 11: Te Anau
Day 12: Te Anau
Day 13: Queenstown
Day 14: Queenstown
Day 15: Queenstown
Day 16: Take flights out of Queenstown
We are not into wineries, museums, architecture etc. More into nature, adventure sports, walking around etc.
1) Would we be relaxed tripping with this itinerary or always on the rush. If on the rush.. How bad is it going to be? Should we remove something from the itinerary? Taking a domestic flight would give me 1.5 days extra.. Otherwise I was keen on travelling to Wellington after Rotorua and catch the ferry for Nelson.
2) Also, we are on a tight budget so should we consider booking accommodation and tickets for rides etc. through a travel agent or should we go about doing this on our own? Will it save us some bucks? Do I need to keep specific NZ Govt. taxes etc in mind if I book everything on my own?
3) Like I mentioned earlier, would this itinerary be more cost-effective if we reverse it?
Keenly waiting for some answers as its already too late in booking air tickets and accommodation considering Dec is peak tourist season.
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