3 weeks in NZ self drive

Old May 15th, 2013, 03:12 AM
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3 weeks in NZ self drive

Hi we are a family of four with two older teenage children and planning a New Zealand trip in December 2013 for about 3 weeks. We like to travel independently and self drive spending time in the great out doors, taking in the splendid locations. Very keen on trout fishing, and landscape photography. Wondering if we should use a car and stay in lodges, guest houses etc and is pre booking accommodations essential and can one find places to sleep along the way. Other option we are considering is a camper van? We love to do our own BBQ's etc.

Should we cover South Island or North Island or both, 3 weeks should give sufficient time to cover larger distances.

Appreciate some guidance and tips on special places to see.
Mohammed is online now  
Old May 15th, 2013, 03:15 AM
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joining in as planning own similar trip.

[Hi Mohammed!]
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Old May 15th, 2013, 08:27 PM
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Campervans are only cheaper if you don't stay in commercial parks. There is still a lot of freedom camping in NZ.

December is the start to the busy season so I suggest you book at the places your really want to visit.

Three weeks will give you a very good look at either island. Two in the south and one in the north would give a very good overview.

I have a trip report of prices for Rotorua.
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Old May 17th, 2013, 08:01 AM
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We've got a trip coming up in July (nearly 3 weeks, both islands). We're renting a car and staying in motels and cabins at caravan parks. Decided against the campervan mostly because it will be winter (which won't be a problem for you), but several other people said the economics of a campervan didn't work out for them.

There appear to be quite a lot of decent motels and caravan parks, at fairly reasonable rates (although those might be winter prices). Look into the cabins at caravan parks; they appear to usually be quite decent and not too badly priced. Then you can do your own BBQs without getting the campervan.
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 07:23 AM
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We drove and stayed in motels booked a few days in advance (it was February) - we found most hotels offered nice communal BBQs so we were able to cook quite a bit.

We used this website for a lot of our bookings - at the time they had booklets widely distributed in NZ so we would book a couple of days in advance

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Old May 22nd, 2013, 09:40 AM
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We've traveled through NZ on three separate occasions with our kids, the last time being when they were teenagers. If you are going in December, I would definitely pre-book. Once we tried to book as we went in the summer and there were some dicey days of almost not finding a room.

I agree with the others that 2 weeks on the South Island and 1 week on the North Island would be a very good way to apportion your time.

Some places that were very popular with our teens were: 1) Queenstown--to see and/or participate in adventure sports, 2) Franz Josef Glacier--for the glacier hike, heli-hike and/or helicopter tour, 3) Kaikoura--for swimming with the dolphins, and 4) Hollyford Track--for scenic hiking. (We did a guided hike for the Hollyford Track and it was well worth it! On another visit, we did the self-guided Kaikoura Coast Track hike and it was very good too.)
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