16 Days NZ Trip

Old Sep 24th, 2015, 02:33 PM
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16 Days NZ Trip

Hi

I am planning a 16 day trip to NZ in Nov end-Mid Dec. Wanted suggestions on 5-6 things that are must dos as well as the itinerary. Me and my wife are in 30's with an infant and parents aged 60+ and they are not very fit (long walking is a no for them, though me + wife are ok doing a couple of short walks/hikes). I am also the only driver in this group.

Nov 25: Land in Queenstown
Nov 26/27: In Queenstown (in between drive to Arrowtown or Glenorchy)
Nov 28/29: Te Anau incl Milford Sound
Nov 30: Te Anau to Wanaka
Dec 1: Wanaka to Franz Josef
Dec 2: Glacier (Heli/ Walk) and then to Greymouth
Dec 3: Greymouth to Abel Tasman
Dec 4/5: Abel Tasman
Dec 6: To Picton and Ferry to Wellington
Dec 7: At Wellington: Museums etc.
Dec 8: Wellington to Le Taupo
Dec 9/10: Taupo/ Rotorua
Dec 11: Rotorua to Auckland and board flight (have a afternoon 2.50pm flight)

Suggestions? Pace? Since i am not incl Christchurch, are Mount Cook and Kaikoura reallly good or can be missed. Also have added Abel Tasman and kept 2 days as I have been reading great things on this forum on that region. What are the best areas to stay in terms of scenery and acces and what are the best activities. As to interest, enjoy beaches and things to do, but coming to NZ to hopefully see spectacular scenery. This wil prob be the only visit to NZ, so want to cover most "great" things without over rushing.

Thanks
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Old Sep 24th, 2015, 06:18 PM
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Rush is an understatement...far too much driving and one night stays.
You cannot see it all so decide on your highlights. I would pick Mt Cook over Kaikoura. You will see more spectacular scenery if you spend your 16 days in the South Island.
Some of your intinerary doees not work at all and as the only driver you will get very tired and fed up.
Dec 3 is a 5 hour trip on narrow winding sometimes hilly and slow roads. I hope your baby sleeps a lot!
Dec 11 a 2.50 pm flight means you need to check in at 1 pm so that means in the morning you have a 4 hour drive from Rotorua with lunch/rest stops/Auckland's motorway hassles/hand back rental car...you get the idea.
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Old Sep 25th, 2015, 08:38 AM
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Thanks Tasmangirl. Which of the things do you feel that I should skip- I thought of skipping North Island but the only place I have read (mostly on Fodor forums) which seems as not to be missed is Rotorua/ Lake Taupo. I am open to taking a couple of flights and/or public transport/buses if that is more efficient.
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Old Sep 25th, 2015, 08:52 AM
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Ditto what tasmangirl says.

Waaaay too ambitious.

If Rotorua is a must for you, something else will have to give.

Maybe visit Rotorua, then fly to QT and concentrate on that bit of the SI. From QT you can visit Milford, Te Anau, Glenorchy, Arrowtown and Wanaka. You can also see a wee bit of the West Coast as a day trip from QT, perhaps drive as far as Haast, but I suggest leaving the glaciers, Abel Tasman, Picton and Wellington for another time. And yes, there probably will be another time.
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Old Sep 25th, 2015, 02:36 PM
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I don't follow the logic of a daytrip to Haast from Queenstown, I'd never suggest that adults, much less with an infant.

You've written your itinerary in a format that can be deceiving. I've re-written it as:

1 Arr Queenstown (3nts)
2 explore
3 explore
4 drive to Te Anau (2nts)
5 explore Milford Sound, stay Te Anau
6 drive to Wanaka (1nt)
7 drive to FJG (1nt)
8 drive to Greymouth (1nt)
9 drive to Kaiteriteri (assumed) (3nts)
10 explore
11 explore
12 drive to Picton/ferry to Wellington (2nts)
13 explore
14 drive to Lake Taupo/Rotorua (TBD) (3nts)
15 explore
16 explore
17 drive to Auckland / fly out

If our concern is 1-night stays, the only section of one-night stays is from Queenstown to Abel Tasman. Is it in the budget to fly this section? It's fine as is, but a lot of time in the car. I also wouldn't pick Greymouth as a destination - better to be Hokitika or Punakaiki, even Westport.

If it were me, I'd do the Queenstown and Milford Sound thing, then drive up the West Coast (break up the 1-nt stays and plan 2 nights at Fox/FJG and spend time at Abel Tasman. Then I'd fly from Nelson to Rotorua.

It's not a bad itinerary for adults as is. I'm just thinking of how to relieve the time in a car for the infant and elders.
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Old Sep 25th, 2015, 09:05 PM
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Cut out Wellington?
I've considered this for you as Kaiteriteri to Picton is 3 hours so you would have to get the afternoon ferry and then you need to stay the night in Wellington before getting a flight to Rotorua. So it's not the best choice with limited time.
deSchenke's idea is better to fly from Nelson to Rotorua.
Can you leave the baby home with the parents? I'm joking here but plan a trip that everyone will enjoy.
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Old Sep 26th, 2015, 06:19 AM
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I misspoke, I meant from Wanaka.

There was I time I'd not have suggested this either, until last February when we did it ourselves for the sole purpose of hiking some tracks we'd not been able to fit in on our many slogs from the glaciers to Wanaka/Queenstown. It worked very well for us and might work for someone interested in seeing a bit of the West Coast but unable to make the full trip. Wanaka to Haast Pass is about 80 km one way.
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Old Sep 26th, 2015, 07:18 AM
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>>>Wanaka to Haast Pass is about 80 km one way.
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Old Sep 26th, 2015, 09:19 AM
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To each their own deSchenke, just a suggestion for the OP to consider.
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Old Sep 30th, 2015, 02:24 AM
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Thanks Melnq8, Tasmangirl and deSchenke. Appreciate the help.

I reviewed the trip, and found that not doing much on Day 4 so will stay in queenstown till day 3 but drive to te anau on day 3 itself. Day 4- mIlford sound and that leaves one more day at FJ.
Queenstown (2 night), Te Anau (2 nights), Wanaka (1 night), FJ (2 nights), Punakaiki (1 night), Abel tasman (3 nights), Wellington (2), fly to Rotorua (2) and then depart.

Does this seem better? I have taken off the drive from Wellington to Rotorua and an extra day at Te Anau. I am ok to fly from Nelson to Rotorua, if there is something better to do in place of Wellington, or if you advise somewhere i should rather spend my time.

Also i am a little vary to drive over 4/5 hrs a day, is there an alternate way from Queenstown to FJ and FJ to Abel Tasman... I have heard the west coast is a wonderful drive, but are there good buses, etc?
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Old Sep 30th, 2015, 02:27 AM
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As for the plan itself, the only things i have booked are the flights which are in and out of Auckland both at 2 pm odd. So am extremely flexible in terms of planning.
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Old Sep 30th, 2015, 07:34 AM
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Well, it's better, but still full on. Are you planning to take the ferry? If so, don't forget about the drive from Abel Tasman to Picton, and the time it takes to board/cross/disembark the ferry, which will take the better part of a day.

Wellington could very well seem hectic and busy after the SI, (it did for me) so be sure to give yourself some time to adjust and find your way around. I suggest you stay right in the city so that you're walking distance to Te Papa and local bus transport.

I'm not aware of any economical way to get from QT to FJ and FJ to Abel Tasman other than via road, although there are some private flights available, at a hefty price. Yes, there is bus service, but it will be considerably less flexible (and possible more expensive for five people) than driving.

Some info here from an old TA thread that might be helpful:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic...th_Island.html

Keep in mind that two nights only gives you one full day to explore. Absolutely better than multiple one night stays, but still quite busy, especially considering the age ranges of the travelers.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2015, 10:54 PM
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Hi, could you help me here. I have read that the guided glacier walks are not there and the only option to go on the glaciers is the heli hike. Is that the case? Also, could you recommend which is better fox or franz josef for this?
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Old Oct 3rd, 2015, 09:52 AM
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avidall - I have checked on the websites of both FJ and Fox glacier guides and neither are offering a standard glacier walk, which is what we did in December 2013. I'm not that surprised - there was a bus ride out to the glacier first of all, then a long walk up to it, leaving a relatively short period on the glacier itself. I suspect that they have retreated so far now that it's not possible to get people onto them safely or at least conveniently.

we didn't do a heli-hike, so i'm afraid i can't help you there.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2015, 10:54 AM
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We did a heli-hike years ago on Fox Glacier - it was spectacular. Pick your day well, as the weather makes all the difference.

You can walk independently to the terminal face of both glaciers, which we do on every visit, but both are quite ugly from the bottom, that beautiful glacial blue ice can only been seen from up top.
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Old Oct 5th, 2015, 12:54 PM
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Thanks Melnq8 (and annihig to graciously check on the sites). Annihig, i went through your full plan in detail and coincidentally I am also planning from 26 Nov to Dec 13- though 2 years late !!

It looks like a heli hike would be good. I am mulling two options: I know both cannot be done. How are the views from 1) Wanaka to FJ to Punakaiki to Abel Tasman/ Nelson; or 2) Wanaka to Mount Cook to Christchurch. Will do the heli hike on to the glacier from Mt Cook or FJ depending on the route I take. I will probably fly own from either of these to Auckland/Rotorua.

Option 1: Queenstown (2), Te Anau (2), Wanaka (2), FJ (2), Punakaiki (1); Abel (2); Nelson (1); Rotorua/Taupo (3); Auckland (1)
Option 2: Queenstown (2), Te Anau (2), Wanaka (2), Tekapo(2), Christchurch(1); Rotorua/Taupo (3); Auckland (1)- this leaves me with a few days.. should I do Bays of Islands?
Also is there any preference in terms of movement from North to South or vice versa at that time of the year.
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Old Oct 6th, 2015, 03:44 AM
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avidall - that's a lot of moving around - you could easily add a day to QT and to Nelson I think or miss out Nelson and spend a couple of days around the Marlborough sounds which sadly we missed out on

we amended our itinerary [is that what you refer to? - I never posted a TR but I did post a planning thread somewhere here] so as to cut down on the driving fairly early on in our trip and I was so glad that we didn't try to fit in the B of Islands too.

if you think you've got time, the Coromandel peninsular is lovely and well worth a couple of days at least.
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Old Oct 6th, 2015, 08:13 PM
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I looked at the flight options and connectivity and have basically reversed my schedule. I really wanted to do the glaciers, but 3 days of driving (Wanaka-fj, FJ-Puna, Puna-Abel Tasman) + 1 day at FJ i.e 4 days started to cut out the option. Btw, I have not mentioned we will be coming in from Delhi after a 17 hr journey (5+ 11) So here goes:

DAY
1: Land Auckland rest Auckland
2,3: Coromandel (based on Annihig glowing reviews, or should I push to the end)
4,5,6: Rotorua: 6- Rotor to Auck, flight to Nelson 8 pm
7,8,9: Nelson/ Abel Tasman: Flight to Christchurch 7.30pm
9,10: Lake Tekapo: Garden at Christchurch followed by en route to Lake Tekapo. Heli Hike to Tasman Glacier.
11,12,13,14: Queenstown: 11-Drive tekapo-day at Wanaka-Qtn; 12: Qtn; 13: Qtn; 14: qtn- evening to Te Anau;
15: Te Anau- Milford Sound
16: Te Anau- Qtn
17: morning 9 am flight to Auckland (flight from Auckland-at 2.50 pm)

(Have tried to cut most all drive days, so Wanaka-Nelson go, ferry and drive to Rotorua, and as a casualty FJ and Wellington go).
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Old Oct 7th, 2015, 12:43 PM
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well, I defer to Mel, but IMO that looks pretty good.

my only worry would be leaving your flight back to Auckland till the day you are flying home. not sure how to avoid that, perhaps others will have some good ideas.
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Old Oct 7th, 2015, 07:48 PM
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I can potentially fly from Qtn the night before. Te Anau- Qtn Airport- Auckland.. But I figured a 9am flight from Qtn will reach at 11am giving me enough transfer time.
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