1st Trip to New Zealand in May 2011

Old Oct 31st, 2010, 01:42 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
1st Trip to New Zealand in May 2011

Hi fodorites,

I'm planning for a 9-day trip to New Zealand in May 2011 and need your advice with regards to my planned itinerary. There are actually 7 people in my group and I'm planning for a more relaxing trip as 5 of the members are in their 50s (I don't wanna tire them too much )

Initially, I had planned to join those tours operated by Grayline or private agencies to get to Rotorua from Auckland and Queenstown from Christchurch but the high cost has rendered that option almost impossible for me to consider.

Therefore, I'm now planning to rent a large car or campervan and explore New Zealand ourselves. However, I do have some major concerns as I'm not familiar with the roads and driving conditions in New Zealand. So is it advisable for a Singaporean to go for this self-drive option?

Lastly, your comments will be deeply appreciated and thanks for reading!

15 May (Sun): Reach Auckland at 9am
16 May (Mon) : Drive to Rotorua from Auckland in the morning and spend a night there
17 May (Tue): Drive to Auckland from Rotorua and catch a flight to Queenstown
18 May (Wed): Relax for a day at Queenstown
19 May (Thu): Drive to Te Anau and stay there for a day
20 May (Fri): Milford Sound Cruise in the morning and drive to Wanaka after that
21 May (Sat): From Wanaka, drive to Fox Glaciers and visit Mt Cook
22 May (Sun): After spending a night at Fox Glaciers, drive to Christchurch
23 May (Mon): Spend a day at Christchurch
24 May (Tue): Depart for Melbourne in the afternoon
ahdibuao is offline  
Old Oct 31st, 2010, 05:00 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 19,867
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Roads in NZ are generally very good.

Your itinerary is fast paced. You might want to drop the trip to Rotorua entirely.
mlgb is offline  
Old Oct 31st, 2010, 05:43 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,710
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
Sorry, but your itinerary isn't even remotely relaxing.

Don't underestimate the travel times, especially with a group of seven people, who might all want to do different things, eat at different times, stop for different photos, make multiple bathroom stops, etc.

The drive from Milford Sound to Wanaka is 394 km, close to six hours, so you'll want to get on a very early cruise, which will limit your time in the area. Don't forget that if you're spending the previous night in Te Anau, you'll still have a two hour drive to get from Te Anau to Milford.

May 21 - I assume you mean FLY over Mt Cook from the glaciers? The glaciers and Mt Cook are on entirely different driving routes, the only way to 'visit' Mt Cook from the glaciers is via a scenic flight unless there's some new way I'm not aware of.
Melnq8 is online now  
Old Nov 1st, 2010, 05:37 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks very much for all your advise! I had severely underestimated the size of New Zealand! I'd made some amendments and here's my revised itinerary. Thanks!

Sat AKL

Sun AKL

Mon AKL - Waitomo Caves - Rotorua

Tue Rotorua

Wed Rotorua - Queenstown

Thu Queenstown - Milford Sounds - Queenstown (Coach & Cruise Tour)

Fri Queenstown - Te Anau - Queenstown (Self-drive)

Sat Queenstown - Mt. Cook

Sun Mt. Cook - CHC

Mon CHC

Tue CHC - MEL
ahdibuao is offline  
Old Nov 1st, 2010, 08:43 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 19,867
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
That's more like it! Assume you have checked for flights eg Rotorua Queenstown and they have those...
mlgb is offline  
Old Nov 1st, 2010, 04:54 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,710
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
So you've added a day?

Air NZ flys turbo props from Rotorura to Auckland, but you have to change plans in Auckland before going to QT.

I'm curious why you're making the drive from QT to Te Anau twice, once by bus and once self-drive? The bus from QT to Milford Sound goes right through Te Anau, so you'll have already been there.

I can't help but think your time would be better spent going to Glenorchy or Arrowtown that second day, or perhaps just exploring QT, which has a lot to offer.
Melnq8 is online now  
Old Nov 3rd, 2010, 06:07 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oops, I guess I typed wrongly...

For AKL to Rotorua, I'm still contemplating of whether I should do a self-drive or take a $220/pax coach tour. Is it difficult to navigate and drive from AKL to Rotorua?

For QT to Milford Sounds, I'm thinking of taking a coach tour instead of driving there myself, as I'd read from a few articles that the route to Milford Sounds is quite hazardous in winter.

Maybe I'll take out Te Anau and replace it with Arrowtown instead. Lastly, comparing Mt Cook and Fox Glaciers, which is more relaxing (or tiring) as a trip?

Thanks v much for all your advise!
ahdibuao is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2010, 10:47 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,710
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
It's been ages since we drove from Auckland to Rotorua, but I don't remember any drama. Auckland has grown alot since we were there though.

Driving to Milford certainly isn't hazardous, but there are advantages to not having to drive yourself, especially if you're unaccustomed to driving on the left. May is still autumn, I'd be surprised if it snowed that early, but I guess it's possible. It depends more on your comfort level than anything.

You do realize that you go right through Te Anau when you go from QT to Milford right?

I don't really understand your question about Mt Cook vs the glaciers. The drive from QT to Christchurch via Mt Cook is shorter than the drive via the glaciers, but if it were me, I'd overnight somewhere regardless.
Melnq8 is online now  
Old Nov 9th, 2010, 04:45 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 107
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Mt Cook vs Glaciers: What do u want to do and see? Are u referring to the level of hiking difficulty. I did the F.J Glacier 1/2 day hike and the 4hr return Hooker Valley Track at Mount Cook. I'll say that the glacier walk is more strengeous as there's lots of uphill climb and walking on ice makes it harder. But it's a wonderful experience, if you haven't been on a glacier. You can opt for the heli-hike on the glaciers which takes away the strengeous climb up and down and brings you higher on the glacier peak, so you can just walk on the ice w/o the sweat. Hooker Valley Track is faily easy, mostly flat ground, no climbs. Own pace own target. Takes 1.5hr (return) to the 1st swingbridge and 2hr (return)
to 2nd swingbridge, 4hr (return) to Hooker Lake.


Milford Sound.
Joining a tour out to Milford Sound is less tiring than self-drive since it's about 2.5hr hours from Te Anau non-stop. But if you are driving a rented car in Queenstown, just drive out to Te Anau, spend a night, next day drive to Milford Sound and spend the night at Te Anau. Self drive is very manageable and you can explore the scenic stops along the Milford Drive. It's not encouraged to self drive a day trip from Queenstown....too long and tiring, unless you have a 2nd driver...maybe.
Chenoa is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2010, 07:05 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Chenoa,

Thanks for your great advise! For the trip from Queenstown to Christchurch, I've decided to have a one-night stopover so that the drive would not be that tiring. However, I'm in a dilemma on where should the stopover be.

The first option that I'm contemplating is to drive along State Highway 8 and stopover at either Lake Pukaki or Lake Tekapo. The other option is to drive along State Highway 6-73 and stopover at either Fox Glacier or Franz Joseph Glacier.

For Fox Glacier or Franz Joseph Glacier, I could spend a a day exploring the place but the driving route is much longer and strenous. State Highway 8 seems to be a more relaxing driving route but I'm afraid that there is nothing much for me to do if I stopover at Lake Tekapo or Lake Pukaki.

Thanks!!!
ahdibuao is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
kim34
Australia & the Pacific
9
Nov 7th, 2016 11:59 PM
jpham26
Australia & the Pacific
8
Dec 4th, 2014 12:20 AM
speedieDee
Australia & the Pacific
9
Oct 24th, 2012 09:28 AM
britomart
Australia & the Pacific
38
May 22nd, 2010 02:35 AM
lisa
Australia & the Pacific
6
Jul 10th, 2002 03:41 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:56 PM.