My husband and I will be traveling from West Coast USA to NZ for the first time. We are in our 30s and mostly interested in the beautiful NZ scenery. A few details about the trip.
- Excluding travel days - we will have 12 full days in NZ.
- We will be traveling mid-March.
- We are flying in and out of Auckland.
- We plan on renting a car and driving
- We are ok with skipping - Fox/Franz Glacier tours/treks - done glacier trekking in Argentina and given all the other beautiful places to see we would like to skip them this time, Christchurch - more interested in Queenstown and Wellington, wildlife, Maori culture related shows - saw one in French Polynesia few years back - so ok with skipping it this time around.
I have reviewed a lot of itineraries on the forum and have been able to narrow down the places we want to visit. But we would really need a very efficient itinerary to accomplish all this. So I would really appreciate any help with optimization and advice on the following.
Here are the places we want to see.
Rotorua - mostly interested in geothermal activity
Abel Tasman National Park - want to spend a day hiking/kayaking
Aoraki Mount Cook - want to spend 1 to 2 nights here to explore the area
Queenstown - want to spend 2-3 nights
Te Anau - Milford Sound - want to do a day trip with a afternoon cruise - trying to decide if one night in Te Anau will be enough.
Other areas of interest which I don't think we can fit in are - Bay of Islands and Tongariro National Park
Day 1 - arrive in AKL at 10:30 pm - go to sleep - preferably hotel close to airport
Day 2 - Drive to Rotorua (3 hours) - spend day exploring - drive to Taupo in evening (1 hr). Sleep in Taupo.
Day 3 - Drive to Wellington (4.5 hour). Spend whatever time is left exploring Wellington. Spend night in Wellington
Day 4 - Take InterIslander Ferry to Picton (3 hours). Drive to Nelson (2 hours). Spend day exploring Nelson - sleep in Nelson or Marahau (1 hour away)
Day 5 - Explore Abel Tasman National Park. Drive to Punakaiki (3.5 hours)
Day 6 - Explore Pancake rocks. (Drive close to Aoraki Mount Cook - to shorten the drive the next day - which town?)
Day 7 - Finish Drive to Aoraki Mount Cook (? hours) - need help - this drive seems too long to cover in a day from Punakaiki - any suggestions on breaking it up? Sleep in Mount Cook
Day 8 - Explore Mount Cook area - sleep in Mount Cook
Day 9 - Drive to Queenstown via Wanaka (3 hours). Explore Queenstown. Sleep in Queenstown
Day 10 - Explore Queenstown. Sleep in Queenstown or Drive to Te Anau and sleep in Te Anau?
Day 11 - Head to Milford Sound (2hours). Afternoon cruise - drive back to Queenstown.
Day 12 - Explore Queenstown. Afternoon take flight to Aukland.
Day 13 - Fly back home from AKL
Does it seem doable?
Would appreciate advice with Days 6 and 7 specifically with regards to drive from Pancake Rocks to Mount Cook.
We want to drive through the Arthur Pass - as have read it is very beautiful. Is it possible with this itinerary.
Should we substitute any of the above driving for a local flight? Was debating if we should take a flight from Rotorua to Wellington or Queenstown.
Thank you in advance!
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