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Our First Trip to New Zealand

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Our son is living Queenstown, NZ for the next year and we want to go see him. The plan is for my wife, me and 2 friends to travel to NZ in Feb/Mar 2015. We are very middle class, so we do not have unlimited funds...but we can afford to do this trip properly also. We are pretty average working class people all around 60 yrs. old and in good shape, so outdoor activities are welcomed. We are limited to 3 weeks time and know that travel to and from the US will consume 3-4 days.
Obviously we want to spend some extra time in Queenstown to be with our son, but would like to see both islands. It seems like Auckland is where most international flights arrive, so we would probably start there and work our way south.
We have been planning this for a while, but have not committed to anything yet. I understand that even though NZ is relatively small, auto travel is slow, due to roads and terrain.
Questions we have are:
Should we fly into Auckland, travel around NZ and return to Auckland or should we try to fly out of Christchurch to save time?
We love to camp, but RV Campers are pretty expensive. Is an RV worth it or should we rent a car and use B and B's instead? Are there other options?
We want our schedule to be as flexible as possible. For the most part, are B & B reservations needed in advance to insure a place to stay or are there enough so this is not a real issue?
Is late Feb and early Mar. a good time or will it be too cool?
For activities, we are open to almost anything. Some of our interests are hiking, bungy jumping, wineries, the mountains, ferry/boat rides, Rotorua, Maori. Almost anything. We do enjoy going "off the beaten path" also, so roughing it a bit is fine also.
Any help, suggestions or experiences will be greatly appreciated. We want to do this right.
Thanks
Steve

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