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South Island versus North Island NZ

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We are 59 year old very active Canadians going to NZ from Australia on Nov.9 for 4 weeks. We arrive n Auckland and fly the next day to Queenstown and the next day do a guided hike of Milford Sound for 5 days( cannot carry my own pack due to recent ski injury so can't do unguided).Then fly to Christchurch where we have a camper van booked for 11 days. We plan to go to Abel Tasman Park to kayak and hike. We plan to drive to Banks Peninsula, Otago and Mt. Cook. We are avoiding the glacier areas as we have experienced a lot in other countries and feel we have to pick and choose.

Now we are wondering if we should spend more time on South Island , then fly to Aucklamd for our return trip to Canada OR should we rent a car in Christchurch , drive to Picton and take ferry to Wellington , spend a day/ overnight there then do day hike in Tongariro , then Waitomo Caves , back to Auckland and back to Canada. We are not interested in seeing Aucklland or the thrill seeking experiences in Queenstown.
Any advice ?

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