Best?? of NZ in 12 days..comments please

Jan 30th, 2005, 02:39 AM
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Best?? of NZ in 12 days..comments please

This will be my first time in NZ, I know I cant cover NZ in 12 days but would like to spend a few nights in North Island before pushing to the South. Do you think this itinerary will work or is it better to skip the North and spend more nights in the South?

Day 1 Arrive Auckland, Visit Kelly Tarlton's. Overnight at Waitomo.
Day 2 Visit Waitomo Cave. Drive to Rotorua.Visit Tamaki Maori Village. Overnight at Rotorua.
Day 3 Wai-O-Tapu Thermal.Drive to Wellington. Overnight at Wellington
Day 4 Wellington. Te Papa Museum
Day 5 Ride ferry to Picton. Drive to Christchruch. Overnight at Christchurch
Day 6 Christchurch. Gondola. Antarctic Attraction.
Day 7 Leave for Greymouth by TranzAlpine. Overnight at Greymouth.
Day 8 Drive to Franz Josef. Visit the glaciers. Overnight at Franz Josef or Fox Glacier.
Day 9 Drive to Queenstown. Shotover Jet.
Overnight at Queenstown.
Day 10 Day tour to Te Anau. Overnight at Queenstown.
Day 11 Drive to Mt Cook. Overnight at Mt. Cook.
Day 12 Leave for Christchurch. Fly to Auckland.
eugene is offline  
Jan 30th, 2005, 01:42 PM
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You're going to be driving a lot; keep in mind that it will usually take longer than you think to get anywhere. But if you really want to do your trip this way, I'm sure you'll manage, and I see you're planning to visit some of the places we enjoyed on the North Island. You'll certainly see a lot of beautiful scenery as you travel!

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Jan 30th, 2005, 01:56 PM
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Some of those drives that you have planned are very long (in terms of time). Many roads are single lane each way and it can take considerable time to cover distances that look shorter on the map.
ned is offline  
Jan 30th, 2005, 07:48 PM
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Give Kelly Tarltons a miss - its a bit run down now. Go to the Auckland Museum instead. It is far more interesting. Yes everyonr goes to Rotorua but have you heard of the Buried Village - the Pompeii of the South Pacific. Te Anau - don't know if I would waste a day on it. Gondola - a great place to see the smog from. Considered Nelson - Abel Tasman region - simply fantastic.

12 day only! Make sure you come back

go2nelson is offline  
Jan 30th, 2005, 10:37 PM
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Hi Go2Nelson,

When were you last at Kelly Tarltons?

It has recently undergone a major refit for new exhibits, could this be where your confusion has arisen as regards it being "run down"?

The new exhibits including as area where you can "Pet" rays recently opened.

I have not seen the latest exhibit myself but last time I went a year or so back we greatly enjoyed it. If you have kids I think they will enjoy it.


Kiwi_acct is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 12:08 AM
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Your trip sounds fabulous - you've definately picked some of our best attractions! Unless you really want to see the centre of the North Island by road, I'd suggest flying from Rotorua to Wellington - you'll save yourself a 5 hour drive and the road is very windey and mostly 1 lane each way. Wellington (my home city) is great - Te Papa will take you half a day - but make sure you also go up the Mt Victoria lookout for great views of the city and also ride the cable car up to the botanical gardens.
In the South Island, the "Coastal Pacific" train from Picton to Christchurch is very scenic, will give you time to relax from all the driving and connects with the Morning Ferry from Wellington. The Picton train station is a 3 minute walk from the Ferry terminal! It would get you into Christchurch @ 7pm, just in time for dinner.
Zavier is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 01:49 AM
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thanks for your comments... I will be going with two lady friends and I expect I will be the one driving most of time, maybe I'll die of exhaustion after our trip!... the Buried Village is also in Rotorua, right? Nelson is great but it will be out of our way going to Christchurch. I'll check out Mt Victoria and will also consider the TranzCoastal.. if I still have strength left after the Rotorua-Wellington drive, maybe it's better to take the car so we can stop for more photos shoots. sigh! my 512MB CF will not be enough, I hope I can find Kodak Stores along the way to unload it. Do you think it's better to spend a night at Kaikoura instead of Mt. Cook? how about Dunedin?

eugene is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 07:27 AM
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The best I can figure is that the driving is 1500 miles. I am exhausted just reading this itinerary.

BTW, why would you stay in Greymouth instead of picking up a car there and going then to FJ?
Jed is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 11:46 AM
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I just have a few comments. The first day may be a tough one if you are flying in from Europe or North America. If you are flying in from eastern Australia it may be just fine. Secondly you do not need all day to do the Tranzalpine to go to Greymouth, Would drive on to the Glaciers and stay the night there. Thirdly the drive from the glaciers to Queenstown is a long one. Fourth, I would not miss Doubtful or Millford Sound. You can drive it in one day but it is a very long day. Would recommend breaking it up into two days or taking a bus tour. I know time is short to try to do alot. You might consider flying from Rotorua to either Queenstown or Christchurch or even Nelson to give you more time in the south island.
mjs is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 01:08 PM
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The TranzAlpine will be in Greymouth at 12:45 and the drive to FJ will take about 3 hrs?... I think we can do that and do the glacier walk the next morning. After the glacier walk, can we drive to Haast and spend one night there before heading to Queenstown?

eugene is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 02:49 PM
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Actually did "almost" this identical trip about 5 years ago now--my ex drove but I was exhausted and really couldn't enjoy.

When we returned in the car in Auckland--the guy just about dropped dead at the mileage we had accumulated

The only difference is we went up the west coast - Tasmain Sea back to Auckland and then back in Auckland headed north to the Hyacinth--or some flower coast.

What a killer trip! lol

It was beautiful--but would never attempt such a feat again.
libretango is offline  
Jan 31st, 2005, 06:38 PM
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Too much! What I suggest is going to Christchurch directly from Auckland. If you are arriving early am in Auckland, don't even leave the airport. You just saved 5 days. Christchurch: Skip the Antarctic Attraction. See the Botanic Garden, Arts Center, museums if you like those. Might be easier just to rent a car for the west coast leg unless you are a super train buff. Three days from Christchurch to Wanaka via the west coast is okay. I would stay in Wanaka rather than Haast (is there even anywhere to stay there?) Queenstown, one day for shotover jet (which is a very short trip) and some other activities (TS Earnslaw maybe). Substitute day tour to Milford Sound (bus/fly package?) for Day tour to Te Anau. The drive to Mt Cook is beautiful. Great restaurant in Fairlie if you can time it right (Old Library or Old Post Office cant remember which). When you arrive back in Christchurch, either (1) continue via Kaikoura to Picton and the ferry, or (2) fly to Wellington or even Rotorua. I am not sure I would drive between Wellington and Auckland, its a long way. I'm not sure I would even go to Wellington on a whirlwind first trip, sorry bout that! I would think about adding in Abel Tasman or Dunedin if you decide not to see as much of the North Island. As for the tourist sites around Rotorua, Waitomo Cave nice but don't go out of your way, yes on Whaka Thermal Park, yes on Buried Village.
mlgb is offline  
Feb 1st, 2005, 11:36 AM
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Here's a suggested itinerary:

Day 1 --arrive Auckland; fly to Christchurch; tour Christchurch
Day 2 -- scenic drive to Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook; stay Mt Cook
Day 3 -- see Mt Cook area; pm drive to Queenstown (3-4 hours)
Day 4 -- Queenstown (Shotover, etc)
Day 5 -- Milford Sound day trip; overnight Queenstown
Day 6 -- drive to Wilderness Lodge (near Haast) via Wanaka and Haast Pass (stopping for a few hours at Wanaka)
Day 7 -- drive to glaciers; see glaciers; stay in Fox or Franz Joseph
Day 8 -- drive scenic West Coast to Greymouth; 1:45 pm Tranzalpine, arriving Christchurch 6:05 pm
Day 9 -- early drive to Kaikoura; whale watching or dolphin trip; drive to Picton; overnight Picton
Day 10 -- early ferry to Wellington; Te Papa
Day 11 -- early flight from Wellington to Rotorua; visit thermal areas; stay in Rotorua
Day 12 -- Waitomo Cave; Auckland
xxxxx is offline  
Feb 1st, 2005, 04:23 PM
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It would be wasteful in regard to Wilderness Lodge to arrive late and leave early.
Jed is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2005, 04:55 AM
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Now, really am contemplating on adjusting my plan to have more time on the South Island.

Day1:Arrive Auckland, Fly to Christchurch.
Day2: Christchurch, Kaikoura, Christchurch.
Day3: Christchurch to Oamaru.Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony.
Day4: Oamaru to Dunedin. Cadbury Factory. Larnachcastle.
Day5: Dunedin to Invercargill. Nugget point.The Catlins. Cathedral Caves.
Day6: Te Anau Glowworm caves.Doubtful Sound Cruise.
Day7: Te Anau to Milford Sound.
Red Boat Milford Sound Cruise.
Day8: Milford Sound to Queenstown. Shotover Jet. Gondola.
Day9: Queenstown to Mt. Cook
Day10: Mt. Cook to Christchurch
Day11: Christchurch to Auckland. Kelly Tarlton's.
Day12: Auckland. Fly back to Japan.
eugene is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2005, 06:53 AM
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To save time, you could fly from Auckland to Queenstown. Then you would have time to see the glaciers.

Day 1 -- Auckland; fly to Queenstown
Day 2 -- Queenstown; Shotover, etc.l late drive to Te Anau (2-3 hours)
Day 3 -- Milford Sound drive & boat trip; overnight Te Anau
Day 4 -- Doubtful Sound/glow worms; overnight Te Anau or Riverton (en route to Dunedin)
Day 5 -- drive to Dundedin via Catlins; overnight Dunedin
Day 6 -- Dunedin/Otago Peninsula; overnight Dunedin
Day 7 -- drive to Wanaka (3 hours); overnight Wanaka
Day 8 -- drive to glaciers via Haast Pass (long drive but scenic); stay near glaciers
Day 9 -- glaciers; Lake Matheson; stay near glaciers
Day 10 -- drive to Greymouth; Transalpine to Christchurch; overnight Christchurch
Day 11 -- day trip to Kaikoura; overnight Christchurch
Day 12 -- fly Christchurch to Auckland; Kelly Tarltons

If you want to skip the glaciers, you could drive from Dunedin to Mt Cook via Omarau on Day 7; see Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo on Day 8 en route to Christchurch; day trip to Kaikoura on Day 9; then fly from Christchurch to Rotorua early on Day 10; see thermal areas; see Waitomo Caves on Day 11; return to Auckland area on Day 12. One way flights are not a problem. The coast from Christchuch to Dunedin is skippable. Better to take the scenic inland route to Mt. Cook area.

xxxxx is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2005, 09:41 AM
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My husband and I did a similar trip last July for our honeymoon.
1)Flew Auckland directly to Christchurch - overnight
2)Tranzapline to Greymouth, picked up car and drove to Franz Josef (took many detours along the way because we were so awestruck but very doable, even in mid winter)
3)glacier hike & on to Wanaka - overnight
4) 3 nts in Queenstown - well worth it
5) drove to Mt. Cook - overnight
6) drove to Christchurch - overnight
7) flew back home

The only two things I regret are: missing Milford/Doubtful (we knew we'd be pushing it to try to squeeze it in) and going to Mt. Cook. True, the drive is beautiful but the resort/town itself was least impressive of all the places we'd been (for NZ anyway) and we were told it was a 'must-see'. Just our opinion though.
My advice:
Don't try to pack too much in, it's almost a sure thing you'll return someday - it's just that amazing. We'll be returning in Nov. to check out a warmer New Zealand and Milford / Doubtful.
Happy Travels!
Canadian_Traveler is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2005, 11:18 AM
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I think your revised trip looks pretty good, although, I would still advise that it isn't necessary to do Doubtful and Milford on the same trip. You should see some wildlife along the Catlins Coast and Otago Peninsula so don't feel like you will be missing penguins if you go inland via L. Tekapo instead of to Oamaru. I have to concur that the drive along the southeast coast is much less scenic than the inland route. As for driving to Mt. Cook village, I might skip going all the way in if is obvious that Mt. Cook will be clouded over. The lakes and Mackenzie pass are still worth the trip. If you leave out the southeast coast, you could go up the west coast and back thru Arthurs Pass as Canadian suggested. PS It's a good idea to plan a loop clockwise and counterclockwise. South Island is like Hawaii, one side will probably be cloudy/rainy while the other is clear. Enjoyment of the west coast and Milford will depend largely on your weather conditions (allowing views of the Alps /Mitre Peak or not).
mlgb is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 06:58 AM
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Just 5 days more and I'm off to NZ!
This will be more or less my itinerary.
Day 1 -- Auckland
Day 2 -- Auckland and vicinity
Day 3 -- Fly to Queenstown, proceed to Wanaka
Day 4 -- Wanaka
Day 5 -- Mt. Cook/Lake Tekapo
Day 6 -- Christchurch to fetch friend
Day 7 -- Christchurch
Day 8 -- Fox/Franz Josef Glacier
Day 9 -- Queenstown
Day 10 -- Queenstown
Day 11 -- Milford Sound/Te Anau
Day 12 -- Invercargill/Catlins Heads/Dunedin
Day 13 -- Dunedin

and I plan to book these hotels/B&B.
Auckland - Aspen House (already booked)
Wanaka - Aspiring Images is fully booked, I will try Harpers
Lake Tekapo - Lake Tekapo Scenic
Christchurch - City Central Motor Inn or Croydon B&B
Fox/Franz Josef - Glenfern Villas or Lake Matheson Motel
Queenstown - Blue Peaks Lodge
Te Anau - Motor Lodge or Campbell Auto Lodge
Dunedin - Hulmes B&B

Any comments are still welcome.
eugene is offline  
Apr 17th, 2005, 10:51 AM
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That itinerary sounds more reasonable. I'm a big fan of Hulmes Court, have stayed there three times (I think). The locations in Christchurch around Armagh St. are excellent, I think Croydon House is one of those. I stay at Windsor House which is nearly alway full, they do not have private baths but they keep the share facilities spotless even between guests.
mlgb is offline  

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