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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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New Zealand National Park and itinerary help

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I've read/skimmed a few new zealand books, but could use help from those who have been there already. We like to visit national parks and other beautiful nature areas. We're not into bird watching or seeing wildlife-animals. As far as hikes this time we prefer short non-strenuous hikes, less than an hour long roundtrip--unless they're easy.

Thinking of skipping: Egmont NP, Kahurangi NP, Whanganui NP, unless one of you says that these are gorgeous and not to be missed. Not sure about Tongariro NP (Tawhai falls) or Te Urewera NP (Is Aniwaniwa falls nice?)--Are these worth visiting? Is it true that you can't get to Mt Aspiring NP unless you fly or boat--should we skip?

Debating about whether to visit Rotorua-and see Huka Falls, Lake Taupo, and volcanic springs. We've been to Yellowstone NP, which some say is similar?

So far we have:

1) ABEL TASMAN NP- short walks from black bay to torrent bay and from awaroa to torrent bay. but must cross at mid to low tide. catamaran or water taxi to Bark Bay. picnic. Then 3 hour easy walk to Torrent Bay (first track climbs steeply). Then from Torrent Bay on to Anchorage. Depending on tide cross estuary or walk around all tide track to Anchorage. Pass through DOC campground and relax on beach till boat picks you up.

2) NELSON LAKE NP- 30 minute walk near two Lakes: Rotoiti and Rotoroa.

3) PAPAROA NP- to see Punakaiki rocks. and Truman Track- 30 min hike to coast. Is Oparara Arch worth seeing?

4) Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki, hike to Tasman Glacier and Blue Lake. MOUNT COOK NP- (hooker vally track ? Is this hard hike?) Bowen Track Hike.

5) FRANZ JOSEF- sentinel rock- viewpoint of glacier, Mirror Lake, Peter's Pool Walk Hike, and Lake Matheson walk- one book said 1.5 hour RT the other said 3 which is correct?.

6) WESTLAND NP/ TAI POUTINI NP- viewpoint of fox glacier, Morraine walk, Minehaha walk, river walk lookout track.

7) ARTHUR'S PASS NP- Punchbowl Falls Track and Bridal Veil Falls hike- 1-1.5 hours each. Dobson Nature Walk. Haast Pass Lookout

8)WEST COAST- Hokitika Gorge.

9) FIORDLAND NP- Bowen Falls walk (30 min).

10) LAKE WANAKA

11) MILFORD SOUND - and DOUBTFUL SOUND- one book said you can't get to these yourself, need tour company? Bowen Falls, Mitre Peak.

-Which way would be best to drive this route?
-We will likely land in one place and fly home from another city- Please recommend which cities based on route?
-Tips for those who drive on the other side of the road and visiting NZ for the first time? How hard is it?

Thank you

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