25 days in New Zealand- need itinerary suggestions

Old May 24th, 2012, 12:20 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 156
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
25 days in New Zealand- need itinerary suggestions

We have 25 full days in New Zealand next February and would appreciate any suggestions on itinerary. I know we will be doing a lot of driving but I want to break the drives up so we don't have 8 hour drives, if possible. We want to focus on countryside not city.
We arrive in AKL early AM and the plan is to drive or fly (what do you suggest) to Bay of Islands to start our trip. We plan on staying there 2 or 3 nights then head to Rotorua but want to break that up with stays perhaps in Cormandel or Bay of Plenty.
On to Napier for wine then Wellington. We will visit the Marlborough Sounds area and do some wine there, too, then head south. We want to stay in a lodge at Arthur's Pass for 2 nights then on to FJ glacier, Milford Sound. I am really confused on where to stop along the way to see all these places. Then on to Mt. Cook. Is it best to see that via Dunedin or from Wanaka? We will end up at Christchurch so we can fly back to AKL for our flight to the US. Again, any suggestions to get me headed in the right direction are appreciated.
cavergirl is offline  
Old May 24th, 2012, 04:03 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,386
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
So, how much time on each island? Knowing this will help us help you.

Mt Cook can easily be incorporated into your drive back to Christchurch from Queenstown or Wanaka. You can drive from either in a day, stopping at Mt Cook enroute, or spending a night or two in Mt Cook before returning to Christchurch.

You'll need to break up the trip from Franz Josef to Milford...entirely too long, something like 10-11 hours. I suggest at least a night in Wanaka, then heading to Te Anau/Milford from there.
Melnq8 is offline  
Old May 25th, 2012, 08:00 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 156
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nothing is cast in stone yet but I was figuring 10 - 11 days on North Island.
cavergirl is offline  
Old May 25th, 2012, 04:29 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,386
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
Okay, so that leaves a full two weeks for the SI.

I assume you're taking the ferry from Wellington to Picton?

If so, a possible drive itinerary could be something like this:

Starting point: Picton/Marlborough Sounds/Blenheim
Ending point: Christchurch

You have a couple of options - you can drive south via 63/SH 6 (inland), thereby making a stop at Punakaiki before driving to Arthur's Pass, or drive via the east coast down to Christchurch and then up and over Arthur's Pass. The advantage of the inland route is that you'll end up near Westport (back on the coast) and can fit in Punakaiki along the way. The disadvantage is that you'll have to backtrack from Arthur's Pass when you head down the West Coast, but it's not a long drive.

If you took the east coast route, you'd drive through Kaikoura (whales) and Waipara (another lovely wine region) before reaching 73. You could then head across Arthurs Pass. If you definitely want to see Punakaiki, it's easy enough to make the detour from Greymouth (takes about 45 minutes each way), and then backtrack to Greymouth and work your way down the West Coast on the same day you drive to the glaciers.

From the glaciers, Wanaka makes a good next stop, then Te Anau/Milford and back to Queenstown. It's quite possible to drive from QT to Christchurch in one day, including a detour to Mt Cook...or just stop in Mt Cook for a few days, before you finish the drive to Christchurch.

The hard bit is deciding how much time to stay in each place, which wholly depends on what you wnat to see and do.

You can check travel distances here:

http://www.newzealand.com/travel/get...ances-home.cfm
Melnq8 is offline  
Old May 25th, 2012, 09:54 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 156
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks much for all the info.
We are planning on taking the ferry from Wellington. I read somewhere that it is actually better to turn in your car in Wellington and take the ferry then pick up another rental car in Picton. We want to do some hiking though not long treks that include overnighters.
cavergirl is offline  
Old May 26th, 2012, 12:52 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,386
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
I don't know if it's "better", but many car rental agencies require you do this.

If you let me know where exactly you plan to base yourself in Marlborough, I can suggest some specific hikes.
Melnq8 is offline  
Old May 26th, 2012, 08:03 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 156
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Okay. Good to know. What about the Dunedin area? I was thinking we should try and go there on our way back to Christchurch. Would it be better to shorten our stay on NI (like maybe skip going to Bay of Islands) to have more time on SI?

I am waiting for some specific info on Marlborough (a friend of a friend spent a lot of time there) so not sure yet where to base. I considered Nelson but perhaps you have a better recommendation.
cavergirl is offline  
Old May 26th, 2012, 08:31 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 156
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Another idea is we could drop our car somewhere (like Rotorua??) and fly to Nelson and skip the Napier region. We have a lot of flexibility.

If there is a great hike in the Marlborough Sounds area, we can find a base spot nearby. I can't tell you how much I appreciate all your help.
cavergirl is offline  
Old May 26th, 2012, 04:24 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,386
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
Dunedin is in the opposite direction of Christchurch.

There is alot to do in Dunedin, but I think your wish list is getting a bit long for only two weeks. If you decide to include Dunedin and then drive from there back to Christchurch, you'll miss the inland route that includes Mt Cook, unless you double back to Queenstown/Wanaka and then head up to Mt and then on to Christchurch from there. This will add alot more driving, but at least you'd miss the drive along the east coast between Oamaru and Christchurch, which is one of the least scenic drves on the SI IMO.

You're trying to see the far north and the far south of the SI in one trip, and that can be problematic with limited time. The SI looks small on a map, but the drives can be long, the roads narrow and winding. The map is very deceiving.

One possbility is to fly back to Christchurch from Dunedin, but you'll miss Mt Cook if you do that.

The Queen Charlotte Track is the most popular track in the Marlbrough Sounds. Like the Abel Tasman, you can arrange water taxi transport, which will allow you to walk a section of the track as a day walk, and then be collected by water taxi. It's a good way to see several sections of the track without having to walk the whole thing or stay overnight in a hut. You can also kayak in the sounds.

On our latest trip to Picton we discovered The Snout Track, which we quite liked. It begins at Victoria Domain, located between Waikawa and Picton - sections of the track offer some pretty fabulous views of the sounds. It was a muddy mess when we were there, but that was in June after torrential rain. February should be fine. The hike was 5.5 miles return.

Nelson makes a good base to see Abel Tasman (although I prefer staying closer to Abel Tasman, like in Marahau, Kaiteriteri, Motueka, Upper Moutere or Tasman), but it doesn't make a good base for the Marlborough Sounds.

If the Marlborough Sounds is your main focus, Picton and the sounds themselves are the best base. There are many accommodation options within the Marlborough Sounds - some are boat only access, some are walk in, others have roads.

Nelson is about 1:45 hour drive from Picton, so it doesn't make sense as a base for the sounds.

Blenheim, which is 25 minutes from Picton makes a more reasonable base, but the town of Blenheim is pretty soulless. There are some nice accommodation options spread throughout the outskirts of Blenheim, in wine country, but I wouldn't suggest staying right in town.

I can't offer any advice on the NI, as I've only been there once and it was ages ago.
Melnq8 is offline  
Old May 27th, 2012, 05:10 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,787
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
With your interests, I'm putting in a strong vote for Abel Tasman. Unless you want to see Wellington, I'd fly from Rotorua to Nelson -- then drive to Marahau for a couple of days exploring Abel Tasman. It's one of my favorite places for gorgeous, long walks that are not too demanding.

I like Wellington--but it is a big city--and if your primary interests are scenery ... I'd skip it and avoid all that extra driving.
Songdoc is offline  
Old May 27th, 2012, 12:53 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 156
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I just finished doing a lot of research and came in to send an email to Melinq8 saying I decided to start all over again with this itinerary to include Abel Tasman so great timing from Songdoc to confirm my plans. I think we will do as suggested and fly from Rotorua and cut short our time on NI so we can add a few more days to SI. We are both in our early 60's but fairly active (we live in Northern NV in the Sierra and do hike so think going to the park is a must. We don't want to do overnight camping but it looks like there are plenty of nice places to stay and I like the idea of doing a hike then getting a pick up back to your hotel. Back to the drawing boards. Thank you both for your help.
cavergirl is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2012, 04:44 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bay of islands is fantastic and I would also recommend cape reinga. Auckland sky tower. waihiki island makes a great place for a day trip. then down to Mnt. maumganui has a great beach and lots of shope. Matamata is where you can tour Hobbiton from Lord of the rings and The Hobbit. Rotarura has hot pools you can soak in.
Lisa_Lornie is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
jjheling
Australia & the Pacific
6
Mar 8th, 2017 08:58 AM
jo888
Australia & the Pacific
16
Nov 6th, 2016 05:17 AM
Sonya
Australia & the Pacific
7
Oct 26th, 2014 08:51 PM
Piccolina
Australia & the Pacific
24
May 14th, 2014 02:39 AM
tomarkot
Australia & the Pacific
8
Aug 19th, 2011 03:26 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