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New Zealand with Hannabelle

I am beginning to plan an all-too-short trip to New Zealand for March 2015. We’ll be flying in and taking a cruise back to Honolulu. The cruise leaves Auckland April 7. This trip will be my husband’s 80th birthday trip.

I am mostly dependent on a mobility scooter. I am fortunate that I can walk short distances and my scooter is light enough to carry up a flight of stairs and compact enough to fold and put in a car. So while things don’t have to be 100% accessible, they do have to be mostly amenable to scootering. Hannabelle (my scooter, so named because our initial trip together was through the Alps), my husband and I have traveled fairly extensively in Europe and the UK, although I do give real meaning to slow travel.

We will not be renting a car. DH refuses to drive on the left side of the road again (his last experience was Ireland, so this may be understandable) and there’s no way I can drive. So we’ll be using a combination of transport methods based on recommendations and research.

Our tentative itinerary:

Auckland: 2 nights. First day sleeping, second day seeing some of Auckland.

Rotorua: 2 or 3 nights. Not sure how we’re getting there. DH is a mild Lord of the Rings fan, so one possibility is a tour from Auckland with stops at Waitomo Caves and on to Hobbiton and then on to Rotorua. I know the cave is not accessible for me, but I don’t know about Hobbiton – some sites say it’s okay for a mobility scooter, some say it’s not. Alternatively we could bus / fly to Rotorua and then DH could do a Caves and/or Hobbiton tour from Rotorua on his own while I find a hot body of water or a museum to immerse myself in. One evening we want to do a hangi.

Wellington: 3 nights. Probably fly from Rotorua to Wellington.

Queenstown and environs: fly in and go to Te Anau (Bus? Shuttle? Car and driver?)

Te Anau: 2 nights. Day tour from Te Anau of Milford Sound. At the moment I’m leaning toward this tour: but I’d love to have other suggestions.

Queenstown: 2 nights. Glenorchy one day, Arrowtown the next. Touring company / car and driver suggestions welcomed.

Fly Queenstown – Auckland, over night, and on to the cruise.

I welcome any comments on the feasibility and accessibility of our plans. And I thank all of you (particularly indiancouple) for the very helpful trip reports that have gotten me at least this far.

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