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3 1/2 weeks in New Zealand

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Aug 24th, 2016, 09:00 AM
  #1
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3 1/2 weeks in New Zealand

My husband and I will be traveling to NZ for the month of November. Presently, I am fine tuning our first few days. We arrive in Auckland at 5:00am - will rent a car and drive to Devonport where we will spend our first night. I have not found lodging there yet, and would appreciate some suggestions. For the next 4 nights we want to explore the bay of Islands area. Is Whangarei a good local spot to make as our base or should we do 3 nights there and 2 nights in Russel? Our lodging in Whangarei is the guest house at the Ara Roa Lodge, and if we go to Russel, I am looking at the Russell Cottages. After leaving the NI, we fly into Queenstown. Unfortunately, this is the week prior to the QT Marathon and lodging is filling up quickly. ( Villa del Laggo is full). Due to the expected crowds, should we locate in Arrowtown and if so, will we still be close enough to enjoy the darling city of QT? I would appreciate some suggestions for lodging in Arrowtown. We would like a special spot since we are celebrating our anniversary. From here, we will travel to TeAnu for 2 nights and go to Milford Sound. Again --info on favorite lodging spots is so helpful. thanks --to be continued.....
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Aug 24th, 2016, 11:31 AM
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Esplanade Hotel in Devonport is in a great location right by the wharf and beach. We have not stayed there but have eaten at the restaurant.
You need to be further north for a good explore of the BOI - 3 nights in Whangarei seems a bit long. Better to have 2 there and 3 in Russell as it's a much more attractive place.
Arrowtown is not far -about 20 minutes drive. Stay there is you cannot get anything in Queenstown.
I can't recommend any particular places to stay as we have a timeshare and stay in Queenstown. There are many high end B and B's in the area.
Blanket Bay is where the rich and famous stay but it's expensive at more than $1000 per night.
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Aug 24th, 2016, 01:42 PM
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In the past we've enjoyed Orchard Cottage near Arrowtown:

https://www.holidayhouses.co.nz/properties/23653.asp

Last year we stayed at Speargrass Gallery, but it seems they've taken their listing down.

You might check here for other options:

https://www.holidayhouses.co.nz/Arrowtown.asp

In Te Anau we like The Croft and Birchwood Cottages.
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Aug 24th, 2016, 02:13 PM
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thanks for the lodging suggestions. I will make reservations TODAY since the QT marathon is causing a swell in bookings. Regarding the NI --I hesitated to spend the bulk of our time in Russell since I thought it was more remote than Whangarei. Is this a misconception?
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Aug 24th, 2016, 03:33 PM
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What about Paihia or Kerikeri then.
Russell is more remote but it is in the BOI. Most tourists bypass Whangarei - it's like Hamilton just one of those places considered a bit boring!
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Aug 24th, 2016, 05:53 PM
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I think I was attracted to Whangarei since it is connected to the mainland of the NI, plus Ara Roa looks amazing. I will reconsider Kerikeri but Paihia is a bit too fast moving for us. I have, however, booked the Russel cottages for 2 of our 4 nights. I am still having trouble finding lodging in QT or Arrowtown due to the marathon.
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Aug 24th, 2016, 07:05 PM
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Ara Roa does look amazing! You will enjoy staying there as there is some beautiful scenery in Northland.
Can you rework your itinerary to be in Queenstown another time? Queenstown does get booked out at peak times. Wanaka is an hour away but that's a bit far to do every day.
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Aug 26th, 2016, 09:54 AM
  #8
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Re: Whangarei --from here, I thought we could easily do the TuTuKaKa coast. Then 2 nights in Russell. So flexible with this NI itineray however, and have not confirmed any lodging. For the SI-- We fly into QT on Nov. 15th and have confirmed reservations at The Croft in TeAnu on the 18th. I guess we could go directly to TeAnu, but that still puts us in QT on marathon weekend. The Heritage has availability but I have not booked it yet. Pricey and still 20 minutes from QT. thoughts?
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Aug 26th, 2016, 09:58 AM
  #9
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BTW--also confirmed Esplanade in Devonport. thank you!
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Aug 27th, 2016, 12:45 AM
  #10
 
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Heritage in Fernhill Road? It's 5 minutes drive but a 20 minute walk.
I'd say grab it and ask for a room with a view. You will look over the lake to the Remarkables. If you like things a bit quieter it should be ideal. Right in the middle on Queenstown could be noisy if you are next to a pub or bar.
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Aug 29th, 2016, 02:31 PM
  #11
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Ok--we just confirmed Arrowtown House Boutique, and for the NI we are going to do 3 nights somewhere in Russell. Now on to plan the FUN part. Thank you all for giving me some directions.
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Sep 10th, 2016, 01:37 PM
  #12
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We would like to do an overnight cruise on Milford Sound. Is there one company that is better than others? Also --we have 2 nights in TeAnu - what are some good hikes in Fjordland since we are saving our Milford experience until the day of departure. On the NI we thought we would look at the GlowWorm at Waipu cave. OR- should we see the glowworms at TeAnu? Thanks for any guidance.
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Sep 10th, 2016, 02:07 PM
  #13
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I have another request for information. After leaving TeAnu, we are driving to Wanaka. I sure would appreciate lodging recommendations. We would like something (very nice) overlooking the lake. thanks.
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Sep 10th, 2016, 04:32 PM
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Te Anau hikes -

Kepler Track - you can walk just a section as a day walk. In season, there's a shuttle so you can walk one way and take the shuttle back from various points.

http://www.newzealand.com/int/feature/kepler-track/

There are also many tracks on Milford Road:

http://www.doc.govt.nz/Documents/par...-day-walks.pdf

I've not taken an overnight trip on Milford, but have taken day cruises with at least three companies. Same sound, only so many places to go, so it really comes down to amenities. Real Journeys is the big player in the area (which is why I tend to avoid them).

I've not done the glow worms from Te Anau. I find there are so many opportunities to see glow worms without paying a tour operator - truly, if you've seen one glow worm, you've seen them all.

I really enjoyed my stay at Clearbrook in Wanaka, but it wasn't on the water - it was a short stroll to town though and incredibly convenient.

The Moorings is a two minute walk from the beach and tends to get good reviews, although I have not stayed there myself.
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Sep 10th, 2016, 08:06 PM
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Hi. I've done the overnight cruise on Milford Sound twice and the overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound once, always with Real Journeys. They might be the only company to offer the Milford Sound overnight trip. Fiordland Expeditions also offers the overnight trip of Doubtful Sound and is popular with people who'd like to do a bit of fishing; Milford Sound crayfish (lobster) is on their menu for dinner.

The first time we did the overnight cruise on Milford Sound was a coach-cruise-fly trip from Queenstown. But the weather prevented us from returning to Q'town on the scenic flight, so we ended up on the coach again. The second time we did the overnight cruise we drove to Milford Sound. Shortly after sunrise, we sailed to the mouth of the fiord and leisurely made our way back to the dock before 9 a.m. This gave us plenty of time to do the Key Summit walk on the way back and to make other stops before checking into our Te Anau accommodation.

I've never done a day cruise on Milford Sound, so I can't compare the experiences, but I understand unless you go on an early morning or late afternoon cruise, it can be crowded. That's not the case with the overnight trip. Even though Real Journeys had both the Mariner and the Wanderer doing overnight cruises on the fiord the afternoon/night we sailed, we never even saw the other boat until the next morning on our return to the dock.

You don't see anymore, or go any farther, on the overnight cruise than on the day cruise. You'll travel the same distance as the day cruises. What I enjoy about the overnight cruises is the feeling of solitude, the silence, the lack of light pollution (which makes for brilliant stargazing if the night is clear). You're given a choice of kayaking for an hour on the fiord or taking a zodiac boat nature cruise (life jackets provided). Some passengers will take a swim (brrrrr—a short swim).

The accommodations are not luxurious. The cabins are nice but small with just portholes for windows. They are nothing like the luxury accommodations on large cruise ships. (Cruise ships are allowed to enter Milford Sound during the day, but I don't think they overnight in the fiord. You'll be here at the start of the cruise ship season, so there probably will be only two cruise ships visiting MS during the entire month.)

I view the Real Journey overnight cruise as a overnight stay on a floating hotel or nice hostel, dinner and breakfast included, in one of the most beautiful, serene places on earth, with a chance to kayak and see rare wildlife. When I took the Doubtful Sound overnight cruise two of three years ago, the boat was not even half full. After dinner, I went up to the top deck and had the clear night sky seemingly all to myself; I literally counted my lucky stars.
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Sep 10th, 2016, 08:31 PM
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Wanaka's Lakeside Serviced apartments gets great reviews and is conveniently close to restaurants and shops.
http://www.lakesidewanaka.co.nz/

I've stayed at both The Moorings and Edgewater. Both had lake views and good locations. I was content with both accommodations, but neither were luxurious.
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Sep 10th, 2016, 09:06 PM
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I literally counted my lucky stars
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