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NZ with elderly mom - itinerary help please!

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Mom is 76 and her lifelong dream was to visit NZ, so hubby and I are taking her next Feb. BUT we only have 2 weeks off work and I'm realizing how much there is to see! We have already limited ourselves to Wellington + South Island and I took Ulva Island off my list (sad) because I figured it would need 3 days. Still, our current plan seems like a LOT of driving and I'm concerned we'll tire out Mom (and ourselves). Some of the other itineraries posted here just seem like a crazy amount of driving to me - I guess we are lazy on holiday! Our usual trips are hiking with no driving at all so that is where I am starting from! Appreciate any suggestions (especially anything to take off the list). Hubby loves wine, I love wildlife, Mom needs to visit Oamaru and friends in Christchurch. We thought about taking train from Picton to Christchurch, but the arrival/departure times in Kaikoura don't fit well with the wildlife activities which are best early morning (we would have to add an extra day in Kaikoura if we go by train) - but still open to this option to reduce driving hours. I was totally inspired by the 70th birthday couple currently on the Milford Track, however Mom is not that kind (never camped nor hiked even when she was 20, not keen to start now). Appreciate any and all advice!!


1. arrive Wellington, rest, evening Zealandia tour (2 nts Wellington)

2. day trip (Kakiri island? is it worth the trouble?)

3. ferry to Picton, pick up rental car, drive to Blenheim (2 nts Blenheim)

4. winery tours to Kaikoura, whale watch (1 nt Kaikoura)

6. swim with dolphins. Drive to Christchurch. Dinner with friends (1 nt Christchurch)

7. drive to Oamaru, see penguins (2 nts Oamaru)

8. Oamaru

9. drive to Cromwell, winery tours (1 nt Cromwell)

10. drive to Queenstown, drop car; bus to Te Anu (1 nt)

11. bus to Milford sound, lake cruise, overnt (1 nt boat)

12. fly to Queenstown (2 nts Queenstown)

13. extra day in Queenstown, jetboat or river raft

14. fly home

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