Help with Trip to New Zealand - Feb

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Dec 4th, 2008, 04:46 PM
  #21
 
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Here is the best website on NZ penguins..where, when and how

http://www.penguin.net.nz/

The yellow-eyed "hoiho" aka the noisy penguin (!) is the one commonly viewed around the Otago peninsula. They come ashore during the daytime, unlike the little blues.
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Dec 4th, 2008, 05:04 PM
  #22
sph
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Thanks again for all your help. I am using Kiwi Rob's suggestion with a little modification and here is what I have so far - pls let me know what you think and if you can fill in any lodging holes.

Christchurch 1 night (Heritage)
Punakaiki 1 night
Motueka 3 nights (Resurgance)
Blenheim 1 night (Marlborough)
Kaikoura 1 night (Hapuku)
Franz Josef (2 nights)
Wanaka 1 night (Wanaka Homestead)
Queenstown 2 nights
Mt Cook 1 night
Christchurch to Auckland
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Dec 4th, 2008, 05:29 PM
  #23
 
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Sorry if I have caused any confusion. I did say that, if you have only one shot at seeing the South Island, and if you have the time, my recommendations would be ... I think that the figure eight is do-able in two weeks, but if you want to do a few of the walks, etc, and spend any length of time in the various stops, then you will need to expand the time or contract the itinerary.

That said, I think that the allocation of time that you have made to the various places is about right in your circumstances. I agree that basing yourselves in the Motueka area will help in the best use of your time up there. From Mot, you can cover the Nelson wine and craft trail, visit Kaiteriteri (a beautiful, golden sand beach very popular with local holidaymakers over summer) and get over The Hill to Golden Bay quite readily.

There are several motels available at Punakaiki or Punakaiki Resort Hotel. The Resort has a great location right on the beach and is a 5 minute walk from the track leading to the Pancack Rocks and Blowholes. The Resort costs about $225 per room.

I haven't stayed down at Queenstown or Mt Cook for a while, so can't really help with any accommodation suggestions down there. I understand that The Hermitage at Mt Cook is quite nice now.
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Dec 4th, 2008, 06:06 PM
  #24
sph
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Thank you everyone for all of your time - it is appreciated. For some reason this trip was more difficult to plan so the figure eight option to catch the highlights is so helpful. I worry about some of the one night stays etc but since it is our first trip it is good to see as much as possible. I also thought that since we have 3 nights near Abel Tasman we can take several hikes and same with Franz Joseph area. I wish I would have planned 6 mos ago however as I find most recommended lodging is already booked.
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Dec 4th, 2008, 06:22 PM
  #25
 
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Hope you enjoy it, sph. I'm sure you will.
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Dec 4th, 2008, 08:10 PM
  #26
 
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A few lodging suggestions:

Te Puna Bush Haven -

www.tepunabushhaven.co.nz/

If they're booked, you might ask about their other properties.

I've had my eye on the Resurgance near Motueka for some time - it looks like a great place - please report back on that one.

Bella Vista Motel in Franz Joseph is an option - we've stayed there and it was fine.

If you have too much trouble finding accommodation in Franz, you could consider staying in Fox which is about 40 minutes further south.

Regarding Blenheim - are you referring to Chateau Marlborough? If so, we stayed there twice a few years back - first time was great, second, not so much.

Regarding lodging in Mt Cook, mlgb might have already suggested staying in Twizel (haven't read this entire thread, so not sure) which I think is a great option if you have trouble finding accommodation right in Mt Cook
village.

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Dec 5th, 2008, 02:38 PM
  #27
sph
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melnq8 - thanks for the information. I will definitely give you details on Resurgence upon our return. I will take your advice on the Marlborough and look at other options - thank you. Also, per KR's advice I booked the Hermitage in Mt Cook. Looking into FJ now.

Thanks to all of your help I can relax a bit knowing we have an itinerary and bookings - now I can't wait for February!!
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Dec 5th, 2008, 03:14 PM
  #28
 
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Have fun on your vacation.

I won't try again to argue that you are giving the south end of the South island too little time. It will be beautiful no matter where you go.

I would just caution you to leave Kaikoura quite early on the day of your 500-kilometer drive to the west coast. My experience with average driving times is about 60 kilometers per hour at best when you're on a two-lane mountain road in summer, behind slow moving camper vans and long, long stretches with no passing.

Try plotting out your driving route using one of the on-line mapping tools. You may decide to drop something.




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Dec 7th, 2008, 03:40 PM
  #29
sph
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I thought I was finished bothering everyone but have another question...

I am taking out wanaka from my itinerary. I wonder if we should stay in Te Anau or Queenstown or is it possible to stay one night in Te Anau along with the two nights in Queenstown - or 3 nights in one or the other? we definitely want to do some hiking in milford sound area but I think it is possible on a day trip from Queenstown so maybe 3 nights in queenstown???

I reserved the Straw Lodge in Blenheim -thanks for the info on the recent post.

THANKS AGAIN
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Dec 7th, 2008, 04:13 PM
  #30
 
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sph -

Te Anau is a two hour drive from Queenstown, then it's about another two hours to Milford Sound from Te Anau. Many people do travel to Milford from QT in a day for the cruises, but it's a very long day, and doesn't allow time for hiking.

So, if you hope to do some hiking in/around Te Anau, you'd do best to spend at least a night there, longer if you're looking at some all days hikes.

I'm not clear on what your latest itinerary is, would you mind posting it?
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Dec 7th, 2008, 04:14 PM
  #31
 
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Sorry, just found it.
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Dec 7th, 2008, 05:20 PM
  #32
 
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You are going to be doing a fair bit of driving, but it seems that you are prepared for this. Whether you do Franz/QT/Te A/Mt C or Franz/Te A/QT/Mt C probably doesn't make much difference.

The caution from mlgb regarding the drive from Kaikoura to Franz is valid, but generally I find the times when slow traffic is a problem are usually in our peak holiday periods, which this won't be. You should, however, regard this as a repositioning day and not plan too much more for it.
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Dec 7th, 2008, 07:15 PM
  #33
sph
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got it - thanks - still looking for lodging in Franz J as Punga Grove is booked but once I get that done I will be set - I do understand the drive time and expect to be leaving early from Blenheim to Kaikoura to enjoy the entire day and also leave early from Kaikoura to Franz J - I look forward to posting my trip report - thanks again I hope you know how invaluable all of your advice has been.
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Dec 7th, 2008, 07:32 PM
  #34
 
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kiwi rob, that was my experience in November 2006, which was probably less of a "peak" than will be February. I don't think sph will be alone on the road, given that she is finding some of her desired lodgings already booked in February.
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Dec 7th, 2008, 08:13 PM
  #35
 
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I agree that it takes only one or two inconsiderate drivers to make a journey much more troublesome than it needs to be. We are introducing more passing lanes in bothersome areas, and this is helping a lot.

It will be interesting to see what happens with our tourism industry next year. Many people connected with it are predicting mass cancellations through Feb/March so, maybe, some of those advance bookings won't, actually, be taken up. A few of the main tourist centres are anticipating a move to survival mode next year.
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