3 weeks in NZZ in November

Old Aug 8th, 2022, 10:28 AM
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3 weeks in NZZ in November

Trying to plan a 3 week trip to New Zealand this November. Have to land in and out of Aukland but want to spend most of our time in South Island. Any recommendations on an itinerary and places to stay?We are two senior travelers that like a little bit of lux travel but will do whatever to see the best sights. Thanks!
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Old Aug 9th, 2022, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by hawaiiantraveler View Post
Trying to plan a 3 week trip to New Zealand this November. Have to land in and out of Aukland but want to spend most of our time in South Island. Any recommendations on an itinerary and places to stay?We are two senior travelers that like a little bit of lux travel but will do whatever to see the best sights. Thanks!
Three weeks is a perfect amount of time for the South Island, so even though you are flying into Auckland, I think I would be tempted just to hop on a connecting flight to Christchurch and start from there.We have done three 2 month trips to New Zealand, always in a camper van and always in winter. We usually split our time 3 weeks north and 5 south. Whilst the north has some stunning attractions, I think I would just stick with the south for a first time visit, 3 weeks is not enough for both IMO.

Campervans are not for everyone though they do provide a huge amount of freedom and are a very efficient way of packing more into a trip but, as you "like a little bit of lux travel" they are probably not for you. A rental car is likely the best option though roads are narrow, driving is on the left. There are some great places to stay in terms of hotels but from what I have seen it is more about stunning locations and unique experiences than out and out luxury. Maybe other will put me straight on that.

A few websites we found really useful in planning our trips:

http://www.newzealand.com/uk/

http://www.maui-rentals.com

http://www.doc.govt.nz

As a starting point this may be useful https://www.newzealand.com/uk/featur...ers-itinerary/

I would list our key, "don't miss" locations but there are just too many. High on most peoples lists would be Mount Cook, Milford/Doubtful Sound, Queenstown, Wanaka, the West Coast Glaciers & Abel Tasman NP

If you did want to include some time on the NI I would probably look at a few days in Lake Taupo?Rotarua for the volcanic activities, hot springs geysers etc.

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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 04:24 PM
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I'm guessing you'd like to see a variety of landscapes, including mountains, beaches, rainforests, lakes, towns and cities, all of which you can find on the South Island. There are also glaciers on the South Island and the best way to view them is from a helicopter. It would be helpful to know about your other interests. Fine dining? Wineries? Hiking? Cycling? Wildlife viewing? Fly fishing?

How are you planning to travel around? It's best to rent a car and drive around on your own as this will allow you to make stops along the way at your leisure. Driving around can take a while as most roads are one lane in each direction, and can be steep or winding. Occasionally you might come across a one-lane bridge. And, as Crellston previously mentioned, roads are often narrow. Three weeks can go by quickly on a South Island road trip. My advice is to not try and pack in too many destinations.

Most people on first trips to the South Island spend a few days in Queenstown (on Lake Wakitipu) and/or Wānaka (on Lake Wānaka). I recommend you plan on spending a few days in this area, or more, depending on your interests. Wanaka is a little more than an hour's drive northeast of Queenstown via the scenic Crown Range Road. Or you can take a longer route that will take you through Central Otago wine country, best known for its pinot noirs and rieslings.

Queenstown is busier, but offers a wide variety and abundance of activities, such as Lake Wakitipu cruises, Shotover River jet boat rides, 4WD trips along stunning Skippers Canyon, the scenic gondola and luge, hiking trails, etc. It has many dining options and a vast range of accommodation, including luxury hotels and resorts both within the city or in the more serene outskirts of the city. It's close to Glenorchy, a picturesque village on the lake, and Arrowtown, an old gold mining village on the Arrow River, where gold was discovered in 1862. The road to Glenorchy, along Lake Wakitipu, is highly scenic. There are also some nice walks in and around Glenorchy and horseback riding is also a popular option.

Wanaka is not as busy or crowded as Queenstown, but just as scenic and it's the gateway to Mt. Aspiring National Park.

Most tourists take a cruise on Milford Sound (actually a fiord), which you can do as a very long day trip from Queenstown or a far more comfortable day trip from Te Anau. By staying in Te Anau (about a two-hour drive from Queenstown, on Lake Te Anau), you can take your time stopping along Milford Road and even take some walks along the way. Milford Road is one of New Zealand's most scenic drives. If interested, please read this informative link:
https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-re...s-for-drivers/

You also have the option of joining a coach trip to Milford from Queenstown or Te Anau, if you prefer not to drive. Or, weather permitting, fly to Milford Sound from Queenstown and fly or take the coach back. Or do the reverse. Milford Sound cruises last from about 1 hour 45 minutes to three hours. You also have the option of spending the night on Milford Sound, which includes kayaking, dinner, and breakfast. When the night is clear the stargazing can be lovely, particularly during the new or crescent moon.

Some people prefer to visit Doubtful Sound, which is bigger, but on a first trip to New Zealand, I would recommend Milford Sound.

Are you interested in spending any time in Auckland or Wellington? As Crellston mentioned, you can fly into or out of Christchurch. Some tourists prefer to fly into or out of Queenstown. Both cities offer a wide choice vehicle rental options.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 06:56 PM
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To the list of fantastic South Island suggestions I would add the Catlins. In addition to Milford Sound and Aoraki Mount Cook, a trip through the Catlins was a major highlight of our trip. We could have easily spent several days there. There's also plenty to see in and around Auckland; Waiheke Island is very worthwhile if you're into hiking, wines, and just enjoying the views.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 08:56 PM
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I forgot to mention that you should prepare for any type of weather by packing a wind and waterproof jacket, particularly if you plan on being outdoors a lot, as, say, doing a lot of walking/hiking (tramping), or being out on the water, as on a wildlife cruise or kayaking. November can be wet and windy and even somewhat cold on the South Island. The weather can also change quickly so it's useful to dress in layers. A thin fleece or woolen layer comes in handy--the daily weather forecast on Metservice will recommend how many layers to wear and if you'll need a windproof layer. This being said, NIWA, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, which makes long term weather forecasts, is predicting a drier and warmer-than-average spring and summer for the South Island and a wetter and warmer spring and summer for the North Island due to La Niņa.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/...year-on-record

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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by tripplanner001 View Post
To the list of fantastic South Island suggestions I would add the Catlins. In addition to Milford Sound and Aoraki Mount Cook, a trip through the Catlins was a major highlight of our trip. We could have easily spent several days there. There's also plenty to see in and around Auckland; Waiheke Island is very worthwhile if you're into hiking, wines, and just enjoying the views.
We loved the Catlins too but I just wonder, in the context of a 3 week trip, whether it is just a little too far /time consuming? This is a pretty major consideration when planning a trip in NZ. Whilst it looks small, roads are mostly narrow and slow meaning it take a lot longer than expected to get from A to B. There is the added issue that as you drive along, there are so many places calling and begging to be explored! any journey always seems to take a lot longer than the driving sites indicate. Some photos of the Catlins on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/new-zealand/ third entry Southern Scenic Route.

These scenic driving routes are really good and can be found on the www.newzealand.com website. String a few together and you have a ready made trip. You can then use the DOC site to drill down to some of the individual sites and walks. One of the joys of NZ is there well signed walking trails for all levels. Not all are long hikes, many are approx 1km ad direct from the roadside. a great way to break up the driving.
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Old Aug 11th, 2022, 07:57 AM
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Thank you!
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Old Aug 11th, 2022, 11:03 AM
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We've done two South Island trips--one starting in Nelson and driving down the west coast to Queenstown (with a jaunt to Milford Sound). Our second trip we flew into Blenheim and after spending time in the wine region there, we took the east coast through Christchurch down to Queenstown. With three weeks, you could probably do both coasts depending on your travel style, but it would mean a lot of miles. (Or kms, as the case may be.) We preferred the west coast, but on that trip we were blessed with perfect weather (in November) and it was back in 2008 when there were considerably fewer tourists than our second trip in 2018.

While we flew out of Queenstown both times, we actually spent the bulk of our time in that area in Wanaka, which we grew quite fond of. In fact, we're even likely to include a trip to Wanaka during an upcoming trip that will be focused on the North Island.
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