4 weeks NZ - itinerary suggestions?

Nov 7th, 2008, 03:34 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 7
4 weeks NZ - itinerary suggestions?

starting a 6 month trip around the world in New Zealand with a friend.

Feb 17 Arrive Auckland
Feb 18 Explore Auckland
Feb 19 Explore Auckland
Feb 20 Drive to Matamata
Explore Hobbiton/Matamata
Overnight near Waitomo Caves? Where?
Feb 21 Explore Waitomo Caves Region
Drive to Tongariro National Park Region
stay overnight? Where? Camp possibly?
Feb 22 Tongariro Crossing
Feb 23 Explore Tongariro National Park
Feb 24 Drive to Wellington stopover night halfway but where??
Feb 25 Arrive Wellington
Feb 26 Explore Wellington
Feb 27 Explore Wellington
Feb 28 Ferry to Picton
Drive to Kaikoura
Mar 1 Kaikoura Dolphin/Seal Swim
Drive to Nelson
Mar 2 Explore Nelson/Abel Tasman
Mar 3 Drive West Coast of South Island
Stop Pancake Rocks
Mar 4 Franz Josef
Mar 5 Franz Josef
Mar 6 Drive Wanaka
Overnight in Wanaka
Mar 7 Arrive Queenstown
Mar 8 Explore Queenstown
Mar 9 Day Trip to Glenorchy
Mar 10 Day Trip to Arrowtown
Mar 11 Drive to Te Anau
Mar 12 Milford Sound
Mar 13 Doubtful Sound
Mar 14 Depart Queenstown to Sydney via Christ Church.

is this do able? what changes would you make? we want to see a lot but not feel too rushed or exhausted from too many long drives.
aricmartin1114 is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 05:23 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,490
I can only comment on your North Island portion, which seems doable to me.

It's about four hours from Tongariro National Park to Wellington, so you don't absolutely have to make a stop unless you want to visit the Hawkes Bay area.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 05:25 PM
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Posts: 11,490
I forgot to add we stayed in the YHA hostel at Waitomo; the public spaces felt a bit institutional, but it was a very nice hostel. We were in one of their chalets.

In Tongariro NP, we stayed at the Skotel. The standard room is really tiny, with barely enough room to walk around the bed, but it's a nice property. They have larger rooms as well as a backpackers' section.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 10:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 18,153
I think I might not have Doubtful Sound as the last day before departure. Possibly move the "explore Queenstown" day to the last day. Just in case something happens along the way you'd have a day's flexibility.

If you arrive early on the 17th I don't think I'd spend three full days in Auckland city. If you run out of sights in Auckland I recommend a trip to a West Coast black sand beach such as Bethell's Beach or Muriwai as a day trip.

Depending on what ferry you take from Wellington you might be able to continue onward toward Kaikoura the same day. I didn't find Picton particularly worthy of much time.

Other than that your itinerary looks fine.
mlgb is offline  
Nov 9th, 2008, 10:27 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,523
Yes, I think it's do able. We did a lot of miles too, but it wasn't too much.
What changes would I make?

I would include Rotorura, and in particular south of there , Wai-o-Tapu, to see the fantastic thermal bubbling mud and pools.

On the south island, I'd choose either Milford or Doubtful ( my choice was Doubtful) adn do the overnight cruise. Don't think the day trip will do it... it won't! There is nothing like the overnight tour. One of the real highlights of my trip.

kodi is offline  
Nov 9th, 2008, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,523
Oh and I meant to say, if you need to cut a day in order to see Rotorura, I'd cut a day out of Wellington. I loved it, but it can be enjoyed in 1 day. Do go to the Te Papa museum there.
kodi is offline  
Nov 10th, 2008, 01:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,352
A few hotel suggestions:

Waitomo - well actually a suggestion of where NOT to stay. Do not be tempted to stay at the Waitomo Caves Hotel not matter how good the pictures look! On Trip Advisor it is described as either Fawlty Towers or the hotel from The Shining! We stayed there for one very long night!

Kaikoura - we stayed at the Endeavour B&B - lovely views over the town of Kaikoura. Here's a link to their website - I recommend the Te Moana room because the bathroom is contained within the suite - the other room (the one we stayed in) the bathroom was just down the hall - although completely private as you are the only people on that floor


We went swimming with dolphins and it was magical!

Wanaka - we stayed in an old style motel (Fern Lodge http://www.fernlodge.co.nz) which was very reasonable - also really enjoyed Amigos Mexican restaurant (!)

Te Anau - stayed at Lakeside Motel - http://www.lakesideteanau.com - another very nice, modern motel. (when we were there they didn't have internet access but the website shows it now - not sure if it's wi-fi though if that's important to you)

We were trying to keep our costs under $100 so stayed in a lot of motels and they were universally owner operated and lovely. I used the Jason's books that are free at all the "I" tourist spots - very helpful.

Elizabeth_S is offline  
Nov 16th, 2008, 07:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 469
A few suggestions:

Feb 19- I'd depart Auckland and start your road trip a day sooner.

Feb 27 - I'd allow 1.5 days in Wellington and then get to South Island sooner.

March 2 - Get out to Abel Tasman early and spend as much time there as possible. It is just beautiful.

March 5 - If possible the helicopter ride to the top of the glacier is fun. I'm not much for ice hiking so it was a good alternative for me. We went late in the afternoon, tourists were gone, we got the copter to ourselves.

March 10 - Arrowtown always seems to get suggested but it did nothing for me, Glenorchy is a small, dusty town. However, both the drives to/from can be scenic and worth it just for that reason.

March 11 - You could drive to Te Anau and do Milford that afternoon on a 2-3 hour cruise. Then you could do the overnight on Doubtful, March 12-13 which you'll just love.

Overall, I suggest you add time to South Island and cut out 1 full day in both Auckland and Wellington as previously suggested.
Parrothead is offline  
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