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Would love your feedback on possible N.Z. itinerary

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We are going to N.Z. in February. I welcome your feedback on my first stab at an itinerary, which is below.

We like hiking, biking, kayaking, flora and fauna, beautiful scenery, local culture, and interesting museums.

We went to the North Island 10 years ago, but did not go to Wellington. We went to Tongariro on that trip but were not able to hike the Track because it was closed the day we’d hoped to do it. Hence, the presences of both of those on our itinerary. (Another reason for including Tongariro is that we’re going with a friend who’s a LOTR fan.)

I originally planned to go to Christchurch because we have two sets of friends there. But it is far from other places we are going, so I am considering dropping it. Ditto for Tongariro, because it’s in the opposite direction.

I have done more research on the beginning of the trip (Wellington and Tongariro) and the end (Queenstown, Te Anau, and Milford) than on what’s in between. For a lot of places we have in mind going biking, hiking, and/or kayaking. Please let me know if some of the places I have mentioned are better for those than others. I don’t want too much repetitiousness. Also, please let me know if you have suggestions of alternative places to spend the night during the middle of the trip.

The version of itinerary below has us staying in nine different places; I tried to minimize the number of one-night stands. I’d rather not stay in that many different places, but it may be inevitable given the distances between places.

I look forward to your feedback. Thanks in advance.

Tues., Feb. 13 – Arrive Wellington at 12:05 pm. (We are starting in Los Angeles.)

Tues., Feb. 13 - Thurs., Feb. 15 (2 nts.) – Wellington (possibly add one more night)
Tues. pm, Feb. 13 - rest and look around downtown Wellington (perhaps something listed under 2/15)
Wed., Feb. 14 - Te Papa Museum, Zealandia Eco-Sanctuary (perhaps it’s too ambitious to try to do both in one day)
Thurs., Feb. 15 - Something else in Wellington (e.g., Aquarium, National Tattoo Museum, Karori Sanctuary, Weta, cycling)
- Pick up rental car, drive to Tongariro (3-1/2 hrs.)
Thurs., Feb. 15 - Sat., Feb. 17 (2 nts.) – Tongariro (stay at Discovery Lodge) (possibly skip Tongariro altogether)
Fri., Feb. 16 - Hike Tongariro Crossing (12.5 miles)
Sat., Feb. 17 - ? am Something in the Tongariro area in morning
- Drive to Wellington (3-1/2 hrs.), drop off car, take ferry from Wellington to Picton
Sat. Feb. 17 - Mon., Feb. 19 (2 nts.) – Picton
Sun., Feb. 18 - Hike Queen Charlotte Track or kayak Queen Charlotte Sound or Marlborough Sounds
- ? National Whale Center (open till 6 pm; closed Mondays)
Mon., Feb. 19 - ?a.m. in Picton?
- Drive Picton to Nelson – 83 mi. (1 hr. 46 min.)
- Some time in Nelson (e.g., WOW, bike part of Tasman Great Taste Trail)
- Drive Nelson to Abel Tasman National Park – 41 mi. (1 hr. 13 min.)
Mon., Feb. 19 - Wed., Feb. 21 (2 nts.) – Abel Tasman N.P. (possibly only one night)
Tues., Feb. 20 - Something in park (hike, kayak)
Wed., Feb. 21 - Drive from Tasman to Christchurch (269 mi., 5 hrs. 46 min.) – LONG!
Wed., Feb. 21 - Fri., Feb. 23 (2 nts. ) – Christchurch (possibly skip CC altogther)
Thurs. and Fri. am - Visit friends
- Christchurch, Akaroa, Banks Peninsula
Fri., Feb. 23 – Drive Christchurch to Arthur's Pass (86 mi.)
- Spend time in Arthur’s Pass NP
- Drive Arthur's Pass to Hokitika (55 mi.) (or spend night in Arthur’s Pass)

(If skip CC, Abel Tasman to Hokitika is 213 miles (4 h 38 min). Abel Tasman to Arthur’s Pass N.P is 228 miles (4 h 54 min.)

Fri., Feb. 23 (1 nt.) – Hokitika (or Arthur’s Pass)
Sat., Feb. 24 - Drive Hokitika to Franz Josef (83 mi.) (Arthur’s Pass to Franz Josef is 132 miles
[2 h 48 min])
- Spend time at Franz Josef
- Drive to Haast (172 miles, 3 h 34 min)
Sat., Feb. 24 (1 nt.) - Haast
Sun., Feb. 25 - Spend time in Mt. Aspiring N.P. (e.g. Blue Pools Walk)
- Drive to Wanaka (88 mi., 1 h 47 min.)
Sun. Feb. 25 - Tues., Feb. 27 (2 nts.) - Wanaka
Mon., Feb. 26 - Tues., Mar. 27 am – Bike and/or hike in Wanaka area
Tues., Feb. 27 - Drive from Wanaka to Te Anau (140 mi., 2 hr. 55 min). On the way stop in Queenstown (e.g., bike ride in Arrowtown)
Tues,. Feb. 27 - Thurs., Feb. Mar. 1 (2 nts.) - Te Anau (perhaps add another night)
Wed., Feb. 28 - Day in Milford area, hiking and kayaking (Drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound is 74 mi., 1 hr. 47 min., each way)
Thurs., Mar. 1 – Leave 7:30 am, drive from Te Anau to Queenstown (107 mi., 2 hrs. 9 min.), fly home.

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