First trip to Nz for 2 weeks in June 2020

Dec 2nd, 2019, 02:05 AM
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First trip to Nz for 2 weeks in June 2020

Couple aged 40, with a child 13 years, frequent travelers from Pakistan in the months of June/July, are now planning our first trip to New Zealand and combining it with our 2nd trip to Australia(is a must, as close family in Melbourne)

We are now at the very initial stages of our planning. We have a good idea of our Australian trip, but not much about New Zealand, except that we need to reach Auckland in first week of June for a meeting & we will have about 12--14 days and then rent a car to mainly explore the South Islands beauty, greenery, scenic places, National Parks etc

We may enter New Zealand either from Melbourne or Brisbane and back to the other, meaning if we enter from Melbourne, then we need to return from Nz to Brisbane or vice versa. Which loop should we follow and which would be the best places to visit for a Newbie who would love to see the magical Nz with all the lovely and scenic beauty of Nz

We love to self-drive a lot in USA, AUSTRALIA etc and sure that Nz would not be any problems for us, rather we would enjoy the road trip.

We do not Ski, but maybe would like to see some snow, if close by.

Thanks a lot

Last edited by asimm; Dec 2nd, 2019 at 02:29 AM.
asimm is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2019, 01:50 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Will you have two full weeks to visit the South Island or will the Auckland conference also be part of the two weeks? I know you're not interested in skiing (anyhow, ski fields generally don't open until mid-June), but what activities are you interested in? Hiking? Wildlife viewing? Wineries? Fine dining? Bungy jumping? Jet boat rides?

You will see snow, and "beauty, greenery, scenic places, National Parks". You might not actually see it snowing, unless you are in the mountains (mountain passes, ski fields, etc.) as it's still early winter. You'll probably want to fly into Christchurch and out of Queenstown (or vice versa) Or fly into or out of Christchurch, or into and out of Queenstown. Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island and has the greatest choices of flights and car rental agencies.

As you've mentioned snow, I'm guessing you know you'll be coming at the start of winter. So the days will be short and it'll be cold. You might encounter bad weather and road closures, but this can happen any time of year. Right now, for example, parts of the country are being hit by a fierce storm, even though it's summer. The West Coast of the South Island and Fiordland get the most rain year round.

These itineraries will allow you to spend time by the mountains, lakes and coast. A lot of visitors to NZ spend a couple of days visiting the glacier villages of Franz Josef and/or Fox. Many take scenic flights up to the glaciers or heli hikes on the glaciers. I'm thinking if you're coming from Pakistan this is no big deal for you. But please correct me if I am wrong. As in much of the world, NZ's glaciers are disappearing, but you can still see them, though they're not like they were even a few years ago. I won't go into detail about this. You can also see glaciers at Aoraki Mt Cook, which is a lovely place with easy hikes and can have excellent stargazing (it's part of a International Dark Sky Reserve).

These are typical itineraries:

Day 1 Christchurch
2 Punakaiki (via Arthur's Pass)
3 Hokitika
4 Franz Josef
5 Franz Josef
6 Wanaka
7 Wanaka
8 Wanaka
9 Te Anau
10 Te Anau (self-drive or coach tour to Milford Sound)
11 Queenstown
12 Queenstown
13 Queenstown

1 Christchurch
2 Hokitika
3 Franz Josef
4 Franz Josef
5 Wanaka
6 Wanaka
7 Te Anau
8 Te Anau (self-drive or coach tour to Milford Sound)
9 Queenstown
10 Queenstown
11 Aoraki Mt. Cook
12 Aoraki Mt. Cook
13 Akaroa

Last edited by Diamantina; Dec 2nd, 2019 at 02:12 PM.
Diamantina is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2019, 07:37 PM
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Posts: 7,705
Have you considered a campervan as opposed to renting a car + Accomodation. Not for everyone but we wouldn’t do NZ any other way. In winter rental rates come down considerably and hiring a van from someone like Wilderness, you will get a very well equipped van which, being fully insulated is designed with winter travel in mind.

What we like is the flexibility it offers in that you can change plans on a whim, you don’t need to pack and unpack at each destination and it provides the opportunity to stay at some truly jaw dropping locations that are just not possible in hotels or B&Bs. For me at least it is the ultimate NZ road trip.

As for itineraries, even though we have done three, two month trips around NZ we still struggle deciding which way to travel and where to go. Diamantina has provided two excellent options, although I would say that using a Campervan would enable you to include more locations than would otherwise be possible or advisable.

In addition to those places listed, some of my personal favourites include Abel Tasman National Park, The Marlborough Sounds, Lake Tekapo. You won’t have time for everything so you need to be very selective and Theron lies the problem, there is just so much to see! I find this website to be very helpful in planning . If you scroll all te way down you can order a free, high quality touring map which has a number of pre planned touring routes which I find immensely helpful. There is also the facility to build and save your own trip online.
crellston is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2019, 11:59 PM
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Asimm, sorry, I was in a rush earlier so could not include details about the stops I listed.

Day 1 Christchurch
2 Punakaiki (via Arthur's Pass) Pancake Rocks and Paparoa National Park3 Hokitika Hokitika town and nearby Hokitika Gorge4 Franz Josef village and home to Franz Josef Glacier, if you drive 35 minutes farther you'll reach Fox village, which is home to Fox Glacier and Lake Matheson; these are both part of Westland Tai Poutini National Park
5 Franz Josef6 Wanaka pretty lakeside town surrounded by mountains and close to Mt. Aspiring National Park. It has nice walks and is home to Puzzling World.
7 Wanaka8 Wanaka
9 Te Anau
10 Te Anau this small town is the gateway for self drives and coach tours/scenic flights to Milford Road and Sound (which are in Fiordland National Park). It also has nice walks glowworm caves, and a bird sanctuary11 Queenstown
12 Queenstown
13 Queenstown Many sights and activities in and around Queenstown!14 Fly to Australia from Queenstown

The second itinerary has you arriving in Christchurch and driving back to Christchurch, in other words, making a loop. This would also allow you to see Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park and Lake Tekapo, which is just a bit farther along. Aoraki Mt. Cook is NZ's highest mountain. Aoraki Mt. Cook village is not only highly scenic but home to an International Dark Sky Reserve. There are some beautiful, fairly easy walks here.
Lake Pukaki, which you'll pass on the side road that gets you to Aoraki Mt. Cook village, is like Lake Tekapo, a glacial lake. Lakes Tekapo, Pukaki and Ohau are a milky turquoise due to their high content of rock powder, minerals that have washed down from the glaciers and been ground down to a fine dust.See:
I suggested Akaroa as a final stop because it's only a 1 hour, 20 minute drive from Christchurch. Akaroa is a cute village on a harbor surrounded by the scenic Banks Peninsula.

Last edited by Diamantina; Dec 3rd, 2019 at 12:04 AM.
Diamantina is offline  
Dec 5th, 2019, 11:43 PM
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crellston We havent used a camper van before, though at the end of our last trip to California in 2019, i thought that maybe next time i should hire a RV or campervan, but we do like the relaxation of a hotel room after a tiring day and we dont cook on our holidays, therefore maybe i think we will stick with our regular pattern of hiring a car

I would also like to mention here, that my initial plan for 2020 holidays was for Europe mainly Italy, Switzerland, Norway and Denmark, but due to a family get together we are now planning this trip and i think that especially New zealand would not disappoint me in terms of scenic beauty as i compare Switzerland with New Zealand (i understand that Switz has a terrific transport system)

Diamantina thank you for the complete itinerary, which is under consideration and research and most questions would be put forward later

As mentioned before, Auckland is a must and maybe i may have to visit Wellington for another meeting, so my question is
1. Should i travel from Melbourne or Brisbane to Auckland. Does that make any difference
2. If i need to go to Wellington, is it worth renting a car and drive, as i understand that Airfare is cheap
3. At the moment, i dont think i would do the loop, so maybe Auckalnd to Wellington and drive to Christchurch and Queenstown and back to either Melb or Brisbane which ever is left

As you may understand that i am trying to figure out from where to enter Nz and from where to exit

Please suggest
asimm is offline  
Dec 6th, 2019, 03:17 AM
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1. Melbourne to Auckland takes about 20 minutes longer (approximataely 3 hours 35 minutes) than Brisbane to Auckland (approximately 3 hours 15 minutes), so really not much difference. I would pick which ever flight is most convenient and economical. In each case you have a choice of several airlines.

2, Yes, airfare is cheap. Otherwise, it's an 8 hour drive without stops (most people overnight along the way or make several overnight stops along the way), There's also a train that takes all day to go from Auckland to Wellington, the Northern Explorere, which is said to be very scenic.

3. Sounds like you'll have far less than two weeks for your South Island.driving trip.

I think you'll find that New Zealand is far cheaper than Norway and Denmark, and cheaper than Switzerland, maybe not Italy depending on where you go. I was in Denmark and Norway in June 2018. They were experiencing a heat wave. You won't have to worry about a heat wave in New Zealand in June! In fact, you'll need to dress warmly. New Zealand has a wide variety of landscapes: coasts, mountains, lakes, glaciers, temperate rainforests, fiords and sounds, geothermal areas, volcanoes, limestone glowworm caves, tussock grasslands, pastures covered with more sheep than you're likely ever to see, and so on.
Diamantina is offline  
Dec 7th, 2019, 01:11 AM
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Yes with these meetings and at different places we will have less days for South Island. At the moment i think i need to give 6 nights for Auckland + Wellington and maybe drive on this route, if i can find it interesting more than South Island, which would leave me with 8 days for South Island. So how to trim down the above itinerary.

The train is a nice idea but its quite expensive USD200/ or so, so why not rent a car and explore at your own pace and will.

I agree Nz is cheaper than most Europe hyped cities, where it is difficult to find a reasonably clean hotel, in a central location for a family of 3 for less than USD200/, whereas my initial re-search makes me believe that i can find nice, comfy, centrally located 4* hotels in under USD150/. Correct me if i am wrong.

Since we come from a hot city, Karachi, & can only travel in the months of June/July, we have been loving for the past couple of years our holidays in cold (not snowing/freeing), except Melbourne which was quite cold, places Australia, California, Turkey etc, so we are sure that we would enjoy Nz weather in June/July, though days are shorter and offcourse the sheeps, though Swiss cows are wonderful too
asimm is offline  
Dec 7th, 2019, 02:12 PM
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In June, NZ's South Island will definitely be as cold as Melbourne. The latitude of Melbourne is 37.8136 S, 144.9631 E; the latitude of Queenstown, NZ, is 45.0312 S, 168.6626 E. The elevation of Melbourne is 31 metres; the elevation of city of Queenstown is 310 metres. Queenstown is on the 45th parallel south, that is halfway between the equator and the South Pole.

With the exception of the mountainous regions of the North Island (particularly the North Island Volcanic Plateau), the lower altitudes of the North Island shouldn't be as cold, but will likely be wetter than the South Island. The South Island is particularly cold when the Southerlies winds blow up from the Antarctic. The South Island lies in the windy "Roaring Forties":

According to the Australia tourism website, with respect to Melbourne's weather, "In winter, average temperatures range from 6.5 - 14.2C (43.7 - 57.6F), and snow falls in the north-east of Victoria, known as High Country. The weather is frequently cold and cloudy, and nights can be accompanied by frosts. Heavy rain is rare at this time of year." Source:
You can check Queenstown's weather on their tourism website:
You'll see that temperatures will be much colder in Queenstown.

I am originally from California and was just there last month for a visit, so I can tell you that California is way warmer than New Zealand in June! In California June is summer (Northern Hemisphere). In New Zealand, June is winter (Southern Hemisphere).

The great thing about coming to New Zealand in June is that there will be fewer people and rates for accommodation and car rentals will be lower. You won't have to book all of your accommodation far in advance, as you would have to do in summer. Yes, you'll have fewer daylight hours to explore. It'll get dark at around 5:30 p.m. If you're self-catering, produce prices rise in winter and the selection is far more limited than it would be in summer. For New Zealanders, this is a popular time of year for ski vacations or, for those seeking warmth, to vacation in the South Pacific islands or Queensland, Australia.

In whatever season, NZ's weather is unpredictable. I live in Dunedin, one of the colder cities of mainland New Zealand, but we've been enjoying warm and sunny beach days for weeks. We've hardly had any rain. However, other regions of New Zealand have been suffering summer weather mayhem:
But the weather could change quickly, and we could experience a reversal, Dunedin could suddenly experience stormy weather, while other regions could enjoy fine weather. That's how it is here. So please be prepared for this, bring the right clothes and footwear.

Last edited by Diamantina; Dec 7th, 2019 at 02:28 PM.
Diamantina is offline  
Dec 7th, 2019, 10:37 PM
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Very informative , thanks

Higher altitude for Queensland than Melbourne , would mean more chilly in winters

We didnt mind Melbourne at all , but yes it had the chill & we even travelled to Mt Hottam to explore more cold & snow, maybe cuz we are deprived of it in our city

California, I guess has a very pleasant weather all year round but since we drove for a few nights on the PCH1 which was great but due to the ocean it was cold there especially at the piers of Pismo, SF etc

I have been watching cricket being played bw Pak & Nz & I remember few places were too too windy & that is why we would be keeping our Beanies, -20cent gloves, mufflers etc
asimm is offline  
Dec 8th, 2019, 01:34 AM
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You wrote, "Higher altitude for Queensland than Melbourne , would mean more chilly in winters."
No, this is not correct, Queenstown, NZ, is at a higher altitude than Melbourne and farther south, thus colder.
Diamantina is offline  
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