Advice needed for New Zealand itinerary

Jan 23rd, 2007, 07:11 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 818
Advice needed for New Zealand itinerary

Hi! I am in the very early stages of planning a trip to NZ around Xmas 2007. We have about 20 days. Family of 4 (grown up kids 18 and 20), we like cities, hiking, beach, driving, wildlife. Boys probably will want to do adventurous things like bungee jumping, surfing, snowboarding (?) etc. I saw this driving itinerary which looks good. It's down as a 14 day drive. Any opinions?
Day 1
Auckland to Waitomo Caves
Day 2
Waitomo Caves to Rotorua
Day 3
Rotorua to Taupo
Day 4
Taupo to Wellington
Day 5
Wellington to Nelson
Day 6
Nelson to Marahau
Day 7
Marahau to Westport
Day 8
Westport to Franz Josef
Day 9
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Day 10
Wanaka to Queenstown
Day 11
Queenstown to Te Anau
Day 12
Te Anau to Milford Sound
Day 13
Te Anau to Queenstown
Thanks for any comments or suggestions.
carrom is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 10:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 35
wow you'll certainly cover most of the major NZ attractions. check out which will allow you to calculate distances and driving times between all locations.
NZSophie is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,916
I'm also researching a trip to NZ, but not planning on covering nearly the same amount of ground. Are you sure you want to spend part of every day driving from one location to another, checking in and out of hotels?
thit_cho is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 955
Dear carrom: This is a very aggressive schedule, but something concerns me. You said "I saw this driving itinerary which looks good..."
Have you done any homework and tried to determine what the family wants to see. I found that 14 days is not enough for one island, let alone two, and it was a process of elimination.
It sounds like you picked up some body else's itinerary and believe it will fulfill your expectations.
Specifically, Christmas time is the middle of summer in NZ, yet you say you want snowboarding? and...
You have only one night in QT, yet that is the center of much of the activity you mention; bungy, jetski, etc.
My suggestion; cut out a few things, and slow the whole thing down. Trying to see too much may very well spoil it all.
BillJ is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 04:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,556
You asked for opinions, so here goes...

Thirteen hotels in 13 days doesn't sound the least bit fun to me.

Let's look at Day 5 - Wellington to Nelson - I assume you're thinking about taking the ferry? If so, the ferry alone takes three hours, not to mention the time needed to drop off car, check in, board, unboard, rent another car, then drive from Picton to Nelson and then.... what? Check into a hotel, eat, sleep, get a peek at Nelson, then wake up and get back in the car the next day? Yikes.

Suggest you cut out an entire island and/or trim your stops by at least a third.

I completely understand the temptation to squeeze in as much possible, but I'm with BillJ on this one - trying to do too much can potentially ruin your whole trip.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 04:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 818
Thanks for all the suggestions. I got this itinerary from the official tourist board website! I think they mean that 14 days is the minimum but we have approximately one week more so we can use the extra days to stop over longer in some places eg Queenstown. Some of the drives are under 2 hours. Regarding the ferry I believe that they all take cars. We don't mind changing hotels often however I would be quite happy to cut out a few things but not a whole island! What would you cut out? We don't like things like theme parks, oldest railway, biggest peanut etc but we do like wineries, good restaurants, nature parks, wildlife, scenery, architecture. Obviously wrong about snow boarding but good beaches would be much appreciated. I know i have a lot of reading up to do still but advice from this forum is always so useful!
carrom is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 04:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,556
Regarding the ferries taking cars - yes they do, however it's my understanding that most car rental agencies require you to drop off your car and collect a different car on the other side. Be sure to read the fine print on this one.

As far as cutting out a whole island, well that's just me. I've only been to the NI once and have felt no need to go back, whereas I've been to the SI six times (once for a month) and still haven't had enough. So, make of that what you will...

Good beach on the SI - Kaiteriteri near Marahau

Good wineries and winery restaurants on the SI - Nelson, Motueka, Blenheim, Queenstown, Cromwell, & Wanaka

What I'd cut out (in addition to the entire NI!) - Westport. Not that exciting, but some pretty coastal views from Westport down the west coast. I'd add days in Nelson, Marahau (or vicinity) Franz Josef, and Queenstown, but once again, that's just me.

Nice walking tracks (SI) - Queen Charlotte, Heapy, Dart-Rees, Abel Tasman and a gazillion others.

Favorite SI tours - Helihiking on a beautiful clear day in Fox Glacier. Farewell Spit 4WD tour out of Collingwood. Dart River Safari out of Glenorchy.

You're really spoiled for choice. Have a great trip.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 06:27 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 955
I spent 2 weeks on South Island, but never went north of Christchurch. Akaroa, CHC, Wilderness Lodge, Glaciers, QT, TA, Fjords, Dunedin. STill missed stuff, let alone didn't see half of the island.
On north island, one week, Bay of Islands and Auckland.
I can't tell you what to cut out. You have to decide. We want to help, but it's hard for us not knowing your family's interests, etc.
BillJ is offline  
Jan 30th, 2007, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 18,145
I think the adventure stuff in the NI is concentrated around Waitomo and Rotorua (zorbing, sledging, etc). Not that I do any of that stuff. You might consider flying from Rotorua to the South Island which adds 3 more days. The main disadvantage is that if December 2007 weather is half as bad as Dec 2006, you might wish you had stayed on the North Island!.

There is so much to see and do that it's really hard to cut things out, but if you want activities, I would try to spend two nights in several locations to allow for that free day where you can hike, kayak, etc etc.
mlgb is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 08:14 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 22
We just returned from a great trip and read this site carefully before going. I'm so glad that we did, because, like you, I was planning on such a route. After returning, I would agree with the previous posters - it's way too much. I also planned off of the site you saw and the roads were slower and winding, esp on the South and took longer. There are so many great things to see along each drive that the temptation is too great not to stop.

If you want to stay to such an agenda, my big suggestion would be to rent a 6 berth or 4 bert campervan from Maui or Kia rentals. That way there is no pack and unpack hassle. You can stop anywhere, take breaks - have small lunches, etc... You can arrange holiday parks along the way, but map out your course and reserve them in advance. They have great showers, laundry facilities, etc... Then you can breakfast and or lunch from the van and use your money on nice dinners.

We focused on the South Island and I'm so glad that we did. We drove over 3,000 kil during our 16 days and that was more than enough. The North Island would be better if you want to be assured of warm weather and beaches.

In Dec on South you will have 4seasons in one day often. Buy nice breathable rainsuits. Get sand fly repellant when you get there.


With that age boys, the tracks and hiking are the best in the world. There are multi-day hikes you could reserve now and even consider letting them go on them so you and your wife get a little time. The hikes are safe and have huts for each night.

From Queenstown, do a bunge jump and jet boating. Also you can get an excursion to Milford Sound. We like the Red Boat tours. The boats are smaller and can get closer to neat stuff.

Abel Tasman - kyak expedition or hiking the track.

Fox Glacier - The helicopter excursion to the top of the glacier is breathtaking and unforgettable. You can also schedule an expedition to hike back to the glacier and hike up onto it.

Kaikora is a cool little town especially for getting lobster (crayfish the call it) from one of the trailers on the North side of town.

You can take a bike ride through wineries in the Marlborough region - there are many great ones close together.

There are a bunch of remarkable short hikes off of each route and they are all marked.

If you need or want more, let me know. Good that you are planning a year out. Some things should be booked soon, others can wait.

SenohDH1 is offline  
Feb 4th, 2007, 03:02 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 818
Thanks so much everybody....sadly I think we'll have to skip NZ for this year as it turns out we won't be able to take a long break. I'm now looking at Vancouver for August instead...hoping I'm not too late. However I will treasure all the above advice as this trip is definitely on our list. So your help has not been wasted! Thanks.
carrom is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Australia & the Pacific
Jan 23rd, 2018 09:56 AM
Australia & the Pacific
Sep 8th, 2016 09:23 PM
Australia & the Pacific
Feb 25th, 2016 01:16 PM
Australia & the Pacific
Sep 6th, 2015 12:21 PM
Australia & the Pacific
Aug 11th, 2004 08:59 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:30 AM.