18 Day trip to NZ in March 2004

Old Jan 25th, 2003, 06:51 PM
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Judy
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18 Day trip to NZ in March 2004

I'm planning a trip to New Zealand in March of 2004. We will have 15 days on the ground in New Zealand. I'm not concerned about the split of time between the North and South islands. Whatever we don't see, we will do in another trip later. We will fly from the US into Auckland and depart from Auckland as well. We only have 2 definite places that we want to see - the Rotorua area for at least 2 days and Abel Tasman for 2 days. We will rent a car and possibly purchase Air passes as well. The priorities as that the scenery be outstanding, the sites unusual, we drive no more than 4 hours a day and that the pace be leisurely and unrushed. We would also like to see some of the things that are off the beaten path. We would also like to focus more on coasts than mountains, more rural than urban. Please share your thoughts on itinerary and activities. Unless we fly into Queenstown to go to Doubtful Sound, I doubt that we will get much further south than Christchurch and perhaps not even that far south. Thanks for the assistance.
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 11:56 PM
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ALF
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If you like coastal stuff, you should go up to the Bay of Islands and take a boat tour (we liked the 'Cream Route' trip). Also, go further north, toward Cape Reinga for wonderful beaches. One of the coolest things we did was take a helicopter from Whakatane offshore to Wakaari (White Island), an active volcano.

One of the best things we did in Auckland was take a ferry to Rangitoto Island (another volcano), and make the short climb to the summit for great views of the Harbor, Gulf, and the City. If you like walking around islands, you can also take boats further up the Gulf to Tiritiri Matangi and/or Kawau.

Go to Waitomo, and do an 'adventure' trip, such as Blackwater Rafting through Ruakuri Cave.

In Rotorua, everyone goes to Whakarewarewa to see geothermal features, but you should also consider driving a bit further to Orakei Korako (Hidden Valley) to hike around and see some neat hot springs.
 
Old Jan 26th, 2003, 05:04 AM
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Graeme
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Alfs ideas are good.Please bear in mind that in much of New Zealand you will not average more than 50MPH so you may well need to travel more than 4 hours per day.
 
Old Jan 26th, 2003, 09:44 PM
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Judy
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Thanks for the ideas ALF, keep them coming. The folks on this site are a fabulous resource!
 
Old Feb 5th, 2003, 08:10 AM
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Just topping...hoping for some additional ideas.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 11:30 AM
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What are you planning to do at Abel Tasman? Are you planning on overnighting in the Park? We had a really fantastic time, taking a water taxi from Marahau to Totoranui, then hiking back. There is a great place to stay, Awaroa Lodge(http://www.awaroalodge.co.nz/), on a low bluff, about halfway through the Park. Even if you don't stay there, its a nice lunch spot. You can take a water taxi to/from pretty much any beach, so you can plan any itinerary you want. I've even seen some folks hike between beaches with just a day pack, and have a water taxi deliver their chillybin (cooler) and large canvas tent to the next day's campsite. Folks who are kayaking also have water taxis deliver stuff to campsites.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 12:05 PM
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Hi, I have a 8 page 7 weeks trip report of New Zealand you may be interested in. We did alot of off the beaten track. Email me at [email protected] and I will forward it to you. Wendy
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 02:02 PM
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From Abel Tasman, if you go along the west coast, the area around Punakaiki Rocks is beautiful. On the north island, the Coromandel has some beautiful and interesting coastline.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 04:49 PM
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Pick up a rental car in Auckland and head to Northland. With lots of fantastic coastline to explore and hopefully some good late summer weather, you will have a great time there.

Off to Rotorua, Taupo, Wellington.

Ferry to Picton and drive over to Abel Tasman N/P.

Head to the West Coast from here, explore the glaciers before heading over to Queenstown.

Fly back to Auckland from Queenstown OR Dunedin ( slightly cheaper then flying from Queenstown)

This is a very relaxed itinerary for the 3 weeks.

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Old Feb 6th, 2003, 07:39 AM
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I'd like to clarify Christa's suggestion of the ferry. We did it, and it was a beautiful trip, though I've heard it can be a rough ride, ours was not. One thing about it, regarding your car rental. You will need to leave your car on the north island, and then pick up another car on the south island. This is not a problem, just allow a bit extra time at the ferry terminal, to drop off the first rental in the assigned parking lot.

Christa's itinerary is excellent. If you need or want to eliminate anything, I'd skip Dundein. Don't skip Queenstown. There are so many beautiful spots there. The only area not mentioned, that we personally enjoyed, was Christchurch. It was my favorite city there.
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Old Feb 10th, 2003, 01:51 AM
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Hi Judy
Quite frankly I prefer the Coromandel area to the Bay of Islands, it's on your way south from Auckland, south east and has many lovely beaches and great coastal scenery. BOI is a fair hike from Auckland and windy roads and by the time you get back to Auckland you will feel like half your trip is over before you have begun. You can go down this way and turn in to the Rotorua area from Tauranga which is amost attractive city. Once again take a look at www.purenz.com
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