4 weeks in New Zealand

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Apr 6th, 2017, 11:28 PM
  #21
 
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Karore, two nights in Christchurch should be more than enough to get over jetlag and see the city center attractions (on foot). Most Air New Zealand flights from the U.S. to Auckland arrive very early in the morning (two days later because you cross the International Dateline), with connecting flights arriving in Christchurch between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Not sure about the other airlines that fly from the U.S. to New Zealand.

"I guess there something for everyone in Queenstown." That's a good way of putting it.
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Apr 7th, 2017, 05:01 AM
  #22
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Thanks again Diamantina, Melnq8, tasmangirl and everyone for your input. I will be updating this link as I book travel and excursions.
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Apr 7th, 2017, 03:08 PM
  #23
 
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Tdiddy, it would be best if you started your own thread so this thread doesn't lose its focus on karore's trip.
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Apr 7th, 2017, 03:51 PM
  #24
 
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Tdiddy -

Your SI itinerary needs some serious tweaking. It's best to start your own thread as Diamantina suggests, but let me start by saying that 15-16-17 ain't happening!

As far as Timaru - why? See you over on your new thread.
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Apr 7th, 2017, 04:42 PM
  #25
 
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Thanks Diamantina and Melnq8, I have started a new thread!
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May 24th, 2017, 07:10 PM
  #26
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I am having a rethink on the North Island itinerary and would like some input.

The original plan was based on flying to Napier for two days, then driving to Taupo for 4 days, followed by couple of days in Hahei before getting to Auckland.

Here is the revised version:
Day 20-21 Fly from Christchurch to Auckland, drive straight to Rotorua and spend the night
Day 21-24 Stay 3 days in Lake Taupo with excursions to Tongariro Crossing
Day 24-27: Drive through Waitomo to Auckland spend 4 days
Day 27-30: Drive to Paihia spend 3 days
Day 30-31: Drive to Auckland to spend the night before flying out.

The question is should we skip Coromandel for bay of islands?
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May 25th, 2017, 06:55 AM
  #27
 
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Why not fly Christchurch to Rotorua? There are nonstop flights every day.
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May 25th, 2017, 09:51 AM
  #28
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Money is a consideration here. If I rent a car from Rotorua and drop off in Auckland the price is $480USD; vs pickup and drop-off in Auckland $210USD.
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May 27th, 2017, 08:40 PM
  #29
 
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"The question is should we skip Coromandel for bay of islands?"
Yes for the first time tourist the BOI offers more. There are great beaches, the cute village of Russell, a trip to Cape Reinga and of course Waitangi the birthplace of NZ.
I'm not dissing Coromandel - I love the area but BOI is probably more interesting.
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May 28th, 2017, 04:32 PM
  #30
 
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If you go Bay Of Islands and have enough time, in addition to the attractions suggested by tasmangirl, you could also visit Hokianga Harbor and Waipoua Forest (home to NZ's giant kauri trees). I expect it will be busy during the time of year you'll be there.
http://hokiangatourism.org.nz/
http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-rec...aipoua-forest/
http://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-plants/kauri/

Looking over your itinerary, did you already book the Milford Track?
https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/trampe...red-price-rise
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May 29th, 2017, 06:39 PM
  #31
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Thanks a lot for the response.

So, we are definitely going to BOI and skipping Napier and Coromandel. I think 3 nights in Paihia might make it 4 nights in the area if we have to visit Cape Reinga.

Diamantina,
Yes, I booked Milford Track on the day it became available, the website was extremely slow because of traffic, it took about 4 hours to book but I am glad that I spent the time, since my dates were sold out the same day. I have made reservations for most of the South Island and will post the complete details as soon as I finalize everything.
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May 29th, 2017, 09:59 PM
  #32
 
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Congratulations! I'm glad you got your places for the Milford Track. I figured you would have kept your eye on the website, but thought it wouldn't done any harm to remind you.
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May 31st, 2017, 09:30 PM
  #33
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ok, so here is the complete itinerary, as usual please provide any feedback. There is still time for changes.

We are flying Fiji Airways roundtrip from LAX with a stopover in Nadi, this was $984USD which is a great deal considering the alternatives. I have points at Hilton, so I have used Hilton where possible.

1/18/18 1/20/18 Christchurch Stay in Doubletree Christchurch
1/20/18 1/24/18 Drive to Abel Tasman Park
1/20: Equestrain Lodge in Motueka. Full day Kayaking on the 21st
1/21-24: GoldenBay Hideaway Little Greenie, http://goldenbayhideaway.co.nz
1/24/18 1/25/18 Abel Tasman to Punakik stay at Te Nikau Retreat
1/25/18 1/27/18 See Franz Josef Glacier stay at West Haven Motel Fox Glacier
1/27/18 1/29/18 Drive to Wanak stay at Wanaka View Motel
1/29/18 1/30/18 Drive to Te Anau stay at Aden Motel Te Anau
1/30/18 2/2/18 Milford Track 3 nights, stay in Huts. http://www.doc.govt.nz/milfordtrack
We are doing a self guided hike, it will be interesting since we are staying in huts
and will be carrying our food
2/2/18 2/3/18 Sandfly Point to Milford Sound and bus to Te Anau. Stay in Aden Motel Hotel
2/3/18 2/4/18 Te Anau - Queenstown stay in Hilton Queenstown
2/4/18 2/6/18 Queenstown - Mt. Cook stay in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park Lodge
2/6/18 2/7/18 Mt Cook - Christchurch stay in Doubletree Christchurch
2/7/18 2/8/18 Fly Christchurch - Auckland and drive to Rotorua stay at VR Rotorua Lake Resort
2/8/18 2/11/18 Drive to Lake Taupo stay at Hilton Taupo. Day trip to Tongariro Crossing
2/11/18 2/14/18 Drive Lake Taupo to Auckland via Waitomo stay at Hilton Auckland
2/14/18 2/17/18 Drive Auckland to Paihia stay at Cook's Lookout Motel
2/17/18 2/17/18 Fly from Kerikeri Airport to Christchurch. Flight from Christchurch to Nadi, Fiji
2/17/18 2/19/18 Stay on night in Hilton Denarau Island and second night in
Lomani Resort http://lomaniisland.com
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Jun 1st, 2017, 01:59 AM
  #34
 
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If you're picking up a car from Auckland Airport dropping it off at Kerikeri (Bay of Islands) Airport, make sure you won't be charged a hefty one-way drop-off fee. This link might be useful:
http://www.bayofislandsairport.co.nz/parking-transfers/

Sorry, but I had trouble understanding you travel dates. You'll spend three nights in Auckland, right? The Hilton Auckland has a great location. I've not stayed there, but I've stayed at the nearby Sebel Viaduct Harbour. Nice water views, great access to the restaurants, ferries, and buses. It's a short walk to the stop for the Sky Bus (shuttle to bus) to the airport.

As you enjoy hiking, you might want to take a trip to one of the islands in Hauraki Gulf. Rangitoto Island is not far away, a volcanic predator-free nature reserve, and home to NZ's largest pohutakawa forest (its blooms peak around Xmas).
http://www.doc.govt.nz/rangitoto
http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-rec...-summit-walks/
https://www.fullers.co.nz/destinatio...gitoto-island/
Looking out at Hauraki Gulf from Auckland, Rangitoto Island is the most distinctive landmark, a local icon. It's connected to Motutapu Island.
http://www.doc.govt.nz/motutapuisland

Tiritiri Matangi Island is another island nature reserve in Hauraki Gulf with rare birds, a lighthouse and walking tracks, but the ferry doesn't sail there every day, and the trip takes longer and costs more.

Waiheke Island, with wineries, walking tracks and beautiful beaches, is another popular day trip from Auckland but based on your previous comments, I think you'd find it too busy and commercial.

Looking at AA Drive Distance calculator (https://www.aa.co.nz/travel/time-and...ce-calculator/), you know you'll have some long drives on the South Island. But what it won't tell you is how curvy some of these drives can be. Takaka to Punakaiki, for example. Take a break along the way. A lot of people stop at the Buller River swing bridge in Buller Gorge. If you'll need groceries for Punakaiki, you can shop for these in Westport. There's also a pretty walkway to a fur seal colony near Westport at Cape Foulwind. But maybe you wouldn't want to take the time to see this.
http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-rec...lwind-walkway/

Christchurch to Motueka will also be a long drive. What time of the day will you be arriving in Christchurch? Early or late? Will you have two full days in CC?

The coastal road (SH1 from CC to Kaikoura to Blenheim or Picton) will probably be open in time for your trip. Maybe instead of spending two days in CC. You could spend your first day/night in CC, then your second night in Kaikoura (providing you've recovered from your jet lag and had time to see CC on your first day). It's a beautiful spot that faces the rugged sea and is backed by the Kaikoura Range.
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Jun 1st, 2017, 09:36 AM
  #35
 
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Christchurch to Motueka will also be a long drive. What time of the day will you be arriving in Christchurch? Early or late? Will you have two full days in CC? >>

5 ½ hours according to the AA website; you need to drop the brackets to make it work, try this:

https://www.aa.co.nz/travel/time-and...ce-calculator/

i'm sorry to say that I think that this is mad. I'm finding the way you lay out the dates very confusing to read, but as I see it, you have arrival day and Day 2 in C/C then on Day 3 you set off and on your first driving day in NZ you are going to spend all day in the car!!

from personal experience, [and in our case we are used to windy roads and driving on the left] driving in NZ is quite tiring and takes some getting used to. It seems to me that you may have some days elsewhere that you could "borrow" to make your first few days less of a chore, but I've had to put your itinerary into separate days to understand it:

18 Jan Arrive C/CStay in Doubletree Christchurch
19 Jan Christchurch
20 Jan Drive to Abel Tasman Park, stay Equestrain Lodge in Motueka
21 Jan Full day Kayaking stay Golden Bay Hideaway, goldenbayhideaway.co.nz
22 Jan
23 Jan
24 Jan Abel Tasman to Punakik stay at Te Nikau Retreat
25 Jan Drive to Fox, stay at West Haven Motel Fox Glacier
26 Jan 1/27/18 See Franz Josef Glacier
27 Jan Drive to Wanak stay at Wanaka View Motel
28 Jan Explore Wanaka
29 Jan Drive to Te Anau stay at Aden Motel Te Anau
30 Jan - 2nd Feb Milford Track 3 nights, stay in Huts. http://www.doc.govt.nz/milfordtrack self guided hike,
2 Feb Sandfly Point to Milford Sound and bus to Te Anau. Stay Aden Motel
3 Feb Te Anau - Queenstown stay in Hilton Queenstown
4 Feb QY
5 Feb QT
6 Feb Queenstown - Mt. Cook stay in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park Lodge

Etc. The way you have set it out means that you are in danger of double counting days, particularly the ones that you are using for travel.

what occurs to me from the above that you could take a day from Abel Tasman and use it as an extra travel day from C/C to Motueka, as Diamantia suggests; that would give you this:

18 Jan Arrive C/CStay in Doubletree Christchurch
19 Jan Christchurch
20 Jan Drive to Kaikora
21 Jan Drive to Abel Tasman Park, stay Equestrain Lodge in Motueka
22 Jan drive to Golden Bay Hideaway, goldenbayhideaway.co.nz
23 Jan Full day Kayaking
24 Jan Abel Tasman to Punakik stay at Te Nikau Retreat
25 Jan Drive to Fox, stay at West Haven Motel Fox Glacier
26 Jan 1/27/18 See Franz Josef Glacier
27 Jan Drive to Wanak stay at Wanaka View Motel
28 Jan Explore Wanaka
29 Jan Drive to Te Anau stay at Aden Motel Te Anau
30 Jan - 2nd Feb Milford Track 3 nights, stay in Huts.


I have also moved your kayaking a day so that you're not doing it just after a full travel day.

Hope that helps!
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Jun 1st, 2017, 09:41 AM
  #36
 
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mmm - looking at the AA website, it is possible that you can't presently get through from Kaikora to Blenheim, so it's distorting the travel times, but hopefully the road will be fixed by Jan '2018. Perhaps locals will know more about that?
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Jun 1st, 2017, 02:20 PM
  #37
 
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Personally, I would not count on SH1 being open by mid-January. They say it will open in December 2017, if there are no more setbacks. But I'd honestly not count on it and would plan on SH1 being closed. If your trip were in March or April, I'd assume it would be open. Not so in January.
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Jun 1st, 2017, 02:28 PM
  #38
 
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Hanmer Springs would be a good point to break up the drive between Christchurch and Motueka, if that's what you want to do.
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Jun 1st, 2017, 11:38 PM
  #39
 
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Yes, I even advised Karore early on that SH1 from CC to Picton might not be open by Xmas (which has been the government's goal) because the original itinerary had included Kaikoura. I guess I'm hoping to feel more optimistic now.

When I think I might have to change or cancel my plans close to the date. I'll make a booking that allows for free cancellation up to 24 hours before. So, if you want to break up that drive from CC to Motueka, a booking could be made for two different destinations along the way to Motueka, each allowing for free cancellation. If the road isn't isn't open by Xmas, cancel the Kaikoura booking.

I just plugged in a random January 2018 date for Kaikoura accommodations on Hotels.com and it returned about a dozen places with free cancellation.

Winter's only begun, and the portion of the road that's already been opened remains "fragile." http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9243...-for-christmas
http://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/931781...rthday-weekend
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Jun 2nd, 2017, 03:04 PM
  #40
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Hi Diamantina and Annhig

Thanks a lot for the feedback and sorry about the confusion with dates.

I agree that Christchurch to Motueka and then Pohara to Punakiki are long drives. I was thinking that the two nights in Christchurch will give us some rest. We arrive in Christchurch on Jan 18th around 2pm, so we can start the drive on the morning of Jan 20th, which should allow us to add stops on the way. I had planned the 4 nights in Abel Tasman to recover before the second long drive.

I agree that if SH1 to Picton is open then a stopover in Kaikoura would be ideal. I will make a reservation and if the road doesn't open we can keep the schedule as-is.
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