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nelsonian Aug 2nd, 2010 11:43 PM

14 days in NZ, your suggestions welcome
I have been asked to give some travel advice to a young US couple who are planning a 14 day belated honeymoon in NZ in November.

They are flying into Auckland, are staying three days with a friend in Wellington and have another 11 days to travel around.

Their tentative plan is to either rent a camper van or car and drive around the North island and then pick 2 or 3 cities in the south island to visit the last half of the trip before catching a flight back to Auckland to fly home.

They want to try to avoid spending too much time in the car driving from place to place.

I thought they could probably spend two or three days in the Auckland area, visiting the Bay of Islands, Waiheke Island, having a look around Auckland itself. Then hire a camper van and travel to Wellington via Rotorua, Waitomo Caves etc.

Spend three days in Wellington with their friend, leave the camper van in Wellington, and then fly to Queenstown. Spend two or three days in this area, visiting Milford Sound, then travelling to Franz Joesf via the Haast Pass, drive back over the Arthurs Pass to Christchurch.This does involve a lot of driving, but that seems to be the reality when you visit New Zealand.

Alternatively they could fly to Christchurch from Wellington, pick up a camper van, do a side trip to Akaroa, then travel via Mt Cook to Queenstown. Spend some time in this area, and fly back to Auckland from Queenstown.

They will have missed the Nelson area though, and the whale watching in Kaikoura. There are so many alternatives I am at a loss as what is the best thing to suggest.

All ideas welcome

nelsonian Aug 3rd, 2010 12:55 AM

On reflection not enough time to do the Bay of Islands.

Melnq8 Aug 3rd, 2010 04:27 PM

Hi nelsonian -

I'm going to say what I usually say...with only two weeks they should probably pick either the north or the south. Because they want to visit friends, they'd probably go for the NI.

If they definitely want to see both islands, then I'd suggest they fly to QT and spend some quality time in that area and then either fly from QT back to Auckland, or drive from QT to Christchurch via the West Coast.

What they do on the SI really depends on how much time they plan to spend on the NI though. Have they expressed any interest in specific areas?

nelsonian Aug 3rd, 2010 05:25 PM

Hi Melnq

I sent them a big long e-mail last night giving them several options which probably totally confused them!!

They said they want to do outdoor activities but not sure whether that means things like white water rafting, bungee jumping, jet boating etc. I suggested they fly to Queenstown from Wellington and spend some time there. I will see if I get some more info when they write back.

Diamantina Aug 5th, 2010 04:46 AM

I agree that if they mainly want to spend time on the North Island, visiting friends in Wellington and seeing the Bay of Islands, but still want to do a bit of the South Island, that they should fly to Queenstown and spend a couple of nights there to see the alpine scenery, as it is completely different from what they will have seen on the North Island.

However, depending on their interests, they might consider as an alternative to Queenstown--since they will be in Wellington anyhow--taking the interisland ferry over to Picton, renting a car and touring the Marlborough wine country for a few hours, and maybe follow this with a late lunch. They could then return to Wellington or spend the night in Blenheim or elsewhere in the area. If they feel inspired, they could turn a day or overnight visit to the north end of the South Island into a two- or three-night trip, by driving in the direction of Abel Tasman, where they could go kayaking, or in the other direction to Kaikoura, where they can whale watch or dolphin swim before returning to Wellington. If the weather is pleasant, the ferry ride across to Picton is gorgeous. The ferry frees them up from having to book up flights in advance and committing to an itinerary, which cannot so easily be changed. Though flying certainly is faster.

peterSale Aug 6th, 2010 02:37 AM

Go back to the start. Where to they live? Where have they been before? What have they seen and done before?

If they come from the mountains or have been to similar places then they can give the Moutains of New Zealand a miss. I'm not degrading NZ. I've been three times. It is beautiful but so are other places in the world.

Focus on the "Things" they haven't seen rather than the "Places".

Have they seen boiling mud eg Yellowstone which would far surpass NZ. Have they seen Glow worms?Do they want to see Glow worms?

Do they want city or country?

I've "done" the top half of NI in about 10 days and a goodly bit of the SI in the same, but not to the Fiords. That was threeweek trip. It is a big country. It just looks small next to ours. Think of Washington DC to Florida - roughly.(I just stuck my thumb on a map.)

I would stick to the NI. Depth rather than breadth. They are young they can go back. is very goodthermal stuff as is Hell's gate.
Fly by Helicopter to White Island. Not the boat trip.
Possum Hunting at Whakatane was fabulous. Stargazing and spotlighting and shooting any vermin you happen to see. Farmer wins tourists wins. (They will teach you how to shoot)
Coromandel peninsula.

They can't see it all in two weeks so why try. We used to do the grand tours but now just stick to one or two spots.

I think Queenstown is a bit over rated as you can do most of the "Thrills" elsewhere and cheaper. The scenery is great, but wall to wall tourists.

Campervans will be at a premium or almost at that time of year. They are only worthwile if you dont stay in caravan parks. A cheap car and hostels will be cheaper. Do all caravan parks have kitchens? They did when I stayed in them 20years ago.

Roll a dice. Draw lots.

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