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Newzealand - break up self drive and bus travel

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Hi,

I read a lot of forums but couldnt find an answer to what I was looking for. Maybe this post would help.

Me and my husband (both 30) are travelling to New zealand for 15 days in February of 2014 and here is our itinerary -
Day 1 Start from Auckalnd -- to Waitomo Caves and then head to Rotorua (Stay here)
Day 2 Geothermal park and then if time permits - bungee and then to Taupo (Stay here)
Day 3 Tongariro crossing and back to Taupo (Stay here)
Day 4 Taupo to Napier (stay here)
Day 5 napier to wellington (stay)
Day 6 Wellington to christchurch - flight (stay)
Day 7 Christchurch to Greymouth via Tranzalpine and Punaikiki by road (Stay in Greymouth)
Day 8 Greymouth to Franz Joseph (Stay)
Day 9 Franz joseph glaciar tour (Stay)
Day 10 Franz joseph to queenstown (stay)
Day 11 Skydiving in Wanaka and stay in Queenstown
Day 12 Milford SOund (stay in queenstown)
Day 13 Wellington to Auckland by flight

The first 2 days are going to be spent with friends in Northland doing Bay of islands

Now the question is we want to do some self driving and do some bus travel and want to break it up. Which is the best island for self drive? Also looking for how difficult the roads are to drive on, can we stop anywhere on the way (on the side of the road obviously) when we see a beautiful spot? Would there be snow on any part of our ride?

From what we read, we were thinking of taking the bus in the northland and self drive in the South island from Greymouth to Queenstown. Or would you suggest the other way round?

Please help us decide if this is a good plan.

Thanks!!!!

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