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20 nights in New Zealand - Please review the itinerary.

20 nights in New Zealand - Please review the itinerary.

Mar 14th, 2005, 10:57 AM
  #1  
KWP
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 149
20 nights in New Zealand - Please review the itinerary.

My husband and I will be visiting New Zealand in November for the first time. We will have a rental car. We are active, but like a relaxed vacation. We enjoy hiking, walking, biking, scuba, kayak, nature, gardens, wine, and friendly people. Accommodations are important to us (views, etc). We do like privacy and an ensuite bath. Hotels, motels, farm stays, or B & B's are fine. Our budget would be appproximately US$100 - $150 NZ$136 - $203 per night. We will pay more for an x-tra special property. We would appreciate suggestions if you liked a place you stayed or a day trip you liked in any of these places. Web site addresses are very helpful.

NORTH ISLAND (11 nights)

Arrive from U.S. 7 AM Nov 5.

Nov.5-8 Auckland
(maybe an overnight on Waiheke Island)?

Nov 8 Omapere or Opononi
(or any suggestions of towns nearby)

Nov 9-11 Ahipara
We liked the looks of the Beachfront.net.nz accomodations. Has anyone stayed there? We will take a tour to Cape Reinga on Nov 10. Any tour company ideas? The 4 X 4 or small coach is appealing.

Nov 11 - 13 Kerikeri
Has anyone stayed in the B & B Kerikeri Village Inn? We are open to Pahia too if someone has a special place to stay. Will scuba dive in the Matauri Bay. Any scuba operators you would suggest?

Nov 13 - 16 Whangarei
Will scuba dive out of tutukaka. Any scuba operators you would suggest?
Fly from Whangarei to Queenstown Nov 16.

SOUTH ISLAND (9 nights)

Nov 16-18 Queenstown
Do you know a tour operator that does the shotover jet boat?

Nov 18-20 Te Anau
(want to see both Milford
Doubtful Sounds)
We are considering
Lakefront Lodge.

Nov 20-21
Doubtful Sound Cruise overnight
Which company do you recommend and why?

Nov 21-22 Dunedin or Oamaru

Nov 22-25 Christchurch
Would be interested in day trips from here.

Fly out of Christchurch Nov 25 mid day.

Thanks for any help with this itinerary.


KWP is offline  
Mar 14th, 2005, 01:27 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 110
We just returned from a 26 day trip to NZ -- 22 days in South Island, 4 days on North. Re your South Island itinerary, I would spend less time at the 2 Sounds and Christchurch and more time exploring other beautiful areas such as Abel Tasman, Marlborough Sounds, Kaikoura, Otago Peninsula, the West Coast, and/or the Catlins. 4 days for the Milford and Doubtful Sounds is far too much in my opinion. We were a bit disappointed by the Sounds after all of the hype and would recommend doing an overnight trip on 1 Sound (preferably Doubtful) rather than seeing both. Also, Te Anau is swarming with tourists and is not a great place to stay. Rather than using Christchurch as a base, you could spend a day or 2 in beautiful Akaroa (90 minutes away) and the same in Kaikoura (2 hours away). In Christchurch itself, there isn't much to see apart from the excellent botanical gardens and the gardens at Mona Vale.
xxxxx is offline  
Mar 14th, 2005, 01:35 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 110
Regarding accommodation, I can highly recommend the following b&b's. All were of high quality, with ensuites and include breakfast:

In Akaroa, Oinako Lodge

In Kaiteriteri (near Abel Tasman), Bellbird Lodge

Near Nelson, Kina Colada -- fantastic view

In Kaikoura, Miharotia B&B -- another fantastic view

Near Takaka, in Golden Bay -- Golden Bay Lodge -- also a great view

Punakaiki Rocks Villas -- same, right on beach

In Otago Peninsula, Chy-an-Dawr -- great hosts, good view

In Wanaka, Wanaka Homestead -- no view, but great hosts, free internet and laundrey, nice room

A few places I would not recommend:

Queenstown House -- overpriced, not good view

Wilderness Lodge -- overpriced, in my opinion

xxxxx is offline  
Mar 14th, 2005, 03:55 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,647
xxxx -

I'm relieved to hear that there's someone else out there who felt that Milford Sound is "overhyped". We've taken the Milford Sound cruise twice and were disappointed each time. The drive to Milford is spectacular though. Have yet to see Doubtful Sound, but I've heard it's wonderful.

KWP -

In Queenstown, you might consider staying at Villa Del Lago - their units face the lake and have incredible views. www.villadellago.co.nz

Here's contact info for a shotover jet operator in Queenstown:

www.shotoverjet.com
[email protected]

Have fun.
Melnq8 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2005, 04:28 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 65
We went to NZ in apr last yr.I wld give more time to Sth island as it is bigger and IMHO more beautiful.The place I loved most is Akaroa off Christchurch.Spend a night or two there instead of day tripping fr Christchurch.It is a quaint little sea front village with great 360* views from the surrounding volcanic (extinct)hills.One reason for going there is the best french r'rant in all of NZ-C'est La Vie.I have been to 3 michelin star r'rants in France but I can still taste this r'rants Duck L'orange mmm mmm mmm!
wein is offline  
Mar 14th, 2005, 05:15 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,119
I've been to Milford Sound on a couple of occassions and was not in the least bit disappointed. It was winter on both occassions - I'm sure the snow only adds to it's grandeur.
RalphR is offline  
Mar 14th, 2005, 07:25 PM
  #7  
KWP
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 149
Thanks for the replies. I have re-worked this and have given more days to the South Island. I now have 8 nights North Island,and 12 nights South Island.

We will fly from Whagarei, NI to Nelson SI November 13. What would you suggest our route be if we have to depart Christchurch November 25?

How many nights would you stay in Nelson?

The post about Golden Bay Lodge near Takaka looked great. I also liked the idea of staying in Akaroa instead of Christchurch at the end of our trip.

We will take the Doubtful Sound cruise and pass on Milford Sound this trip. I know we will be back some day.

We are OK with some "one night stands", but we prefer a relaxed pace. It is OK if we skip something.

I appreciate all comments.
KWP is offline  
Mar 14th, 2005, 10:00 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 468
just be aware that if you fly whangarei to nelson it'll be in a itsy bitsy plane. No bigger than a saab (1 seat on one side of the plane and 2 on the other).

If you don't care it'll be a pretty flight.
wilees is offline  
Mar 14th, 2005, 11:16 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,647
Yikes, you wouldn't find me on that tiny plane!

KWP -

If you want to spend some time in Takaka, you might want to leave Dunedin for your next trip. We've found it hard to cover both the far north and the south in one trip, especially at a relaxed pace.

You might also consider flying from Queenstown or even Dunedin back to CH.
This would save some travel time.

Here's one possibility assuming you begin in Nelson:

Arrive Nelson - drive to Takaka - this is roughly a 90 minute drive - spend a couple of nights in Takaka

Drive from Takaka back to Nelson, spend a couple of nights there

Drive from Nelson to the West Coast (stay a night in Greymouth or Hokitika or keep driving to the Glaciers, and spend a couple of nights there - long drive day)

Drive from the West Coast to Queenstown (or Wanaka), spend a few nights there (long drive day)

Drive from Queenstown (or Wanaka) to Te Anau - you might need to spend a night here on either side of your Doubtful Sound cruise, not sure of the logistics.

Drive from Te Anau to Dunedin (3:40) - spend a few nights here, then fly to CH to catch your flight home

OR something like this:

Arrive Nelson - drive to Takaka - stay a couple of nights

Drive Takaka to Nelson - stay a couple of nights

Drive from Nelson to Kaikoura - stay a night or two

Drive from Kaikoura to Banks Peninsula, stay a couple of nights there

Drive from Banks Peninsula to Queenstown or Wanaka (long drive day) -spend a couple of nights there

Drive from Queenstown to Te Anau/Lake Manapouri for your Doubtful Sound cruise

Fly from Queenstown to CH to connect with your flight home.

The biggest challenge I've found in planning NZ intineraries is TIME. There never seems to be enough time.

Your personal pace will also be a factor - if you don't mind one night stays, you can cover more ground. If you prefer to fully explore, you'll need to take it a bit slower.

I'd suggest you decide what you absolutely don't want to miss, and go from there.
Melnq8 is offline  
Mar 15th, 2005, 08:45 AM
  #10  
Jed
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,546
We are taking the Doubtful sound overnight cruise in 2 weeks. There is only 1 company, Real Journeys.
http://www.realjourneys.co.nz/index.cfm/
Jed is offline  
Mar 16th, 2005, 08:37 AM
  #11  
KWP
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 149
Thanks so much for all your help. I will get to work on these great ideas. I'm still open to any more suggestions.
KWP is offline  
Mar 18th, 2005, 01:54 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 469
KWP,
We were there in Feb 2002. We had a car the entire time and never once had a problem getting a room on the fly, w/o advance reservations. Everywhere we stopped, they let me preview the room and many offered discounts for stays of 3+ nights. Just something to consider.

I agree with xxxxx to avoid Te Anau. We booked our overnight on Doubtful in Q'town with one day notice. At that time it was called Fiordland Travel, but I checked the web, seems to be the same boat we used that Jed is booking through Real Journeys.

Our favorite places were Abel Tasman and Doubtful. Hubby liked Q'town more than me, but it is a fun place. The road to Milford is awesome as is Arthur's Pass on south island. Enjoy.
Parrothead is offline  
Mar 19th, 2005, 07:12 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 122
We visited NZ last month and spent about 3 weeks on the North and South Islands. I would highly recommend staying at the Seibel Suites in Auckland. It's located right in the middle of
America 's Cup Village. Our room was large and included a kitchenette and washer and dryer. We had a nice view of the marina and it had a balcony. The amazing thing was the room rate was less on weekends and more expensive during the week. It was $153 per night (includes the 12.5% GST). The hotel is located near lots of restaurants and walking distance to main DT area. Also, I highly recommend taking the ferry to Devonport for the day.

I would also recommend going to Waiheke Island. We spent 2 nights there. I can't recommend our B&B place (nothing special) but the island is beautiful with 30 wineries and tramping trails.

In Queenstown, we stayed at the Heritage Hotel. It was about 10 minutes away from the main town. If you have a car then it's no problem. They have a shuttle that goes to the town every 15 minutes if you don't feel like driving. Walking takes about 15 minutes. We had breakfast included in our room rate. The breakfast buffet had a good selection. Our room rate was about $155.

The drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound is 5 hours so we decided to skip it because 10 hours to and from would of been insane.

We drove from Queenstown to Dunedin which took about 3 1/2 hours.

The drive from Dunedin to Christchurch is 5 hours.We were glad that we arranged flights from Rotorua to Wellington and then to Queenstown on our visit. Spending 2 nights in each place as driving can be very tiring.

We liked Christchurch very much and we stayed 3 nights there. However, we wished we stayed a night in Akaroa. We have to say that this tiny French town was one of our highlights of our trip to this amazing country.

Have a fantastic holiday!

portobelloB is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 07:28 PM
  #14  
KWP
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 149
Thanks for those helpful suggestions.
KWP is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 06:45 PM
  #15  
amythewang
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Posts: n/a
Again, I hate to add chaos to the wonderful wealth of information, but I can't resist putting in my opinion (again) --

I feel that NZ travelers could be divided into two kinds: the nature kind (flora and fauna, rocks and glaciers), or the people-culture kind (bungy jumping, snow sports, hot springs, good eats).

If you are the nature kind, go to Milford Sound, stay in Te Anau, exclude Queenstown, include Dunedin/Otago Peninsula.

If you are the people-culture kind, definitely go to Queenstown, ignore the Sounds... well really, if you're the people-culture kind, try the North Island instead.

Two things I feel both groups of people would enjoy: glacier hiking at Fox or Franz Josef Glaciers, and a few days meandering the modern and cultural big city of Christchurch.

If you like animals, you HAVE to go to Dunedin (by the Otago Pen.), where you can get up close in the wild with two types of penguins, and even more precious, get to see the majestic Royal Albatross, one the loveliest and grandest creatures in the world (imo).
 
Mar 29th, 2005, 06:28 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 20
Hi there,

We have just come back recently from a 3 1/2 week trip around both islands (I will do a lengthy report one day and post it up here) but thought I would offer some of my experiences in NZ.

Paheke B&B (http://www.paheke.co.nz/)
was where we were based in the Bay of Islands area. It is in a little town starting with O, about 10 minutes from KerriKerri, and it was amazing! Clean and spacious and private room, with HUGE breakfasts and helpful hosts. I am recommending it to 2 other couples we know who are going over there for their honeymoon.

The watching dolphin cruise was wonderful- there are heaps of operators who do these cruises- I think they are all very similar.

Te Anau- Stayed at Antler Lodge B&B- Very tidy and clean B&B. We decided to do the Doubtful Sound day cruise rather than the Milford Sound, and are really glad that we did. We went with a company called Fiordland Explorer Charters http://www.fiordland.org.nz/Activiti...r-Charters.asp , and we were really happy with them- The have a maximum of 16-20 per trip- the guide was great and informative, and it was a wonderful day. We sailed past a Real Journeys boatload of around 80 people, and were glad we had chosen the quieter option. The website I have given is not very good- But it was all I could find on them over the internet.

Christchurch- I would definately recommend staying at Akaroa near Christchurch- A VERY pretty town. A fairly quiet place with a few walks around, and some nice little shops to look at. Probably not the place to go if you are looking for an action rush though.

A FANTASTIC day trip for us was to the Open Range Zoo near Christchurch airport. We spend over 6 hours there, and really enjoyed it. It's not the biggest zoo around, but they have lots of feeding times you can go to, and you can see the animals up quite close- And you can feed and pat the giraffes which was something different.

Hope this is of some help. Most of the accommodation we stayed at were fairly standard motels.

Whatever you do, don't stay at the Casino Court Motot Lodge!!!!!- We booked it as it was budget accommodation in the centre of the city- the owner was downright rude when we checked it, and was not at all interested in helping us when we asked for some information on the city. The rooms were old and the bathroom was teeny tiny and OLD. She was also incredibly rude when we went to reception at 10pm and had to check out due to a family emergency. My mother had been taken to hospital, and we had just finished re-arranging flights to get home ASAP. I was crying and upset, and all she did was complain about us disturbing her at that hour, and she was just as rude even AFTER she had been told of the situation. I felt that she was unprofessional and rude in all of our dealings with her, and would highly recommend that you AVOID that place like the plague. We actually had to leave the day we checked in due to the family emergency, but if we had stayed there any longer, I would have walked out, and demanded my money back.

R





Nov 8 Omapere or Opononi
(or any suggestions of towns nearby)

Nov 9-11 Ahipara
We liked the looks of the Beachfront.net.nz accomodations. Has anyone stayed there? We will take a tour to Cape Reinga on Nov 10. Any tour company ideas? The 4 X 4 or small coach is appealing.

Nov 11 - 13 Kerikeri
Has anyone stayed in the B & B Kerikeri Village Inn? We are open to Pahia too if someone has a special place to stay. Will scuba dive in the Matauri Bay. Any scuba operators you would suggest?

Nov 13 - 16 Whangarei
Will scuba dive out of tutukaka. Any scuba operators you would suggest?
Fly from Whangarei to Queenstown Nov 16.

SOUTH ISLAND (9 nights)

Nov 16-18 Queenstown
Do you know a tour operator that does the shotover jet boat?

Nov 18-20 Te Anau
(want to see both Milford
Doubtful Sounds)
We are considering
Lakefront Lodge.

Nov 20-21
Doubtful Sound Cruise overnight
Which company do you recommend and why?

Nov 21-22 Dunedin or Oamaru

Nov 22-25 Christchurch
Would be interested in day trips from here.

Fly out of Christchurch Nov 25 mid day.

rarmalb is offline  
Mar 29th, 2005, 06:33 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 20
I need to correct the post I just made, and don't know how to edit it- The negative comments I made were actually about the CASINO PARK MOTEL (http://www.casinoparkmotel.co.nz/) NOT Casino Court. My apologies for giving the wrong name. Stay away from the Casino Park Motel!

R
rarmalb is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 10:16 AM
  #18  
KWP
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 149
I appreciate all the suggestions from experienced travelers. It helps so much with our plans. R - I was so sorry to hear about your mother and the rude way you were treated
KWP is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 12:04 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 18,216
For Dunedin, so long as you are not allergic to cats, look into Hulmes Court B&B. It has a central but quiet location back of the Art Museum in center of town. Another poster here has given it the thumb's up. They have an internet site. Owner is a young man who travels a lot, and the staff are mostly college students, very pleasant. Lovely breakfast room, free TV and Free Internet.
mlgb is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 12:05 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 18,216
Why did I type free TV, I meant free laundry. On site parking but it's got a steep driveway. Not a problem with experience and a small car.
mlgb is offline  
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