Here goes - 1st attempt at a NZ 17 night itinerary.

Jun 16th, 2013, 03:52 AM
  #1  
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Here goes - 1st attempt at a NZ 17 night itinerary.

For some time I've been haunting these boards and butting into other people's threads, so i thought that it was high time that I had a go at working out my own itinerary for you all to take pot shots at.

The easy bit is that we fly from Brisbane into Auckland on Tuesday Nov 26th, arriving early afternoon, and out of Christchurch to Sydney on Friday 13th Dec on an early afternoon flight, which gives us 17 nights. The hard bits start with trying to work out how long to spend on each island, and then how to divide up our time when we are there.

Top priorities: time seeing the major sights [we're not that interested in cities, mainly nature], perhaps seeing a bit of the winelands, and doing some walking and boat trips. we don't mind doing long road stretches if we then have something worthwhile at the end of it. [being Brits we'll be driving on the "right" side of the road and we'll share the driving]

so here's my first attempt:

Nov 26 - arrive Auckland approx 2-pm. Drive to Paihia.

Nov 27,28,, Paihia - boat trips and perhaps a trip to the far north [I've read that there's a bus trip which is said to be good in the books I've read]

Nov 29 - drive to Rotorua via the west coast to see the Kauri forests. [yes I know that this is a long trip, and we could possibly overnight with friends in Auckland].

Nov 30 - Rotorua.

Dec 1 - drive to Wellington - yes, another long stretch, I know.

Dec 2 - Wellington

Dec 3 - ferry to SI. Drive to Nelson.

Dec 4 - Nelson - Abel Tasman day trip.

Dec 5 - Drive to Franz Joseph

Dec 6 - Drive to Wanaka via Fox Glacier

Dec 7 - drive to Te Anau

Dec 8 - Te Anau

Dec 9 - drive to Milford Sound, overnight on cruise boat.

Dec 10 - drive to Queenstown.

Dec 11 - Queenstown.

Dec 12 - Drive to Lake Tekapo

Dec 13 - drive to Christchurch for 2pm flight.

OK - start shooting!
annhig is offline  
Jun 16th, 2013, 08:31 AM
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Hi Ann - a few comments:

We stayed at this motel in Paihia - it was very nice

http://www.gatewaymotel.co.nz/

And we did a trip up to the far north (with a private guide/driver) - it was a long day but we enjoyed it very much. Also the ferry over to Russell is a cute trip

Re the drive - we drove from Waitomo to Paihia in one day - similar distance - it was fine (but like you we don't mind long drives)

More comments to follow
Elizabeth_S is online now  
Jun 16th, 2013, 06:41 PM
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I'll stick to the SI, as I know it much better than the NI.

Essentially you have nine full days on the SI. I'm not counting Day 3 and Day 13, as those are drive/transit days and you'll have little time to do much other than get to where you're going on either of those days.

The way I see it, you've got a two week trip squashed into nine days, and four one night stays. I personally dislike one night stays as it leaves very little time to explore the area; heck I don't even like two night stays, but I'm a realist.

My suggestion - choose the West Coast or the inland route - don't try to do both. Or pick one island and tuck in.

BTW, I've just completed my own SI itinerary struggle. I'm trying to show my brother the highlights of the SI in 13 days w/o rushing, as that's all the time he has to work with, and this will probably be his only trip to NZ. Like you, I had to make some hard choices. I went for diversity - lakes, mountains, sounds, blue pools, gorges, rainforest, glaciers, the coast, manmade wonders (Otira Viaduct), seals, rolling countryside, and just a wee bit of city and earthquake damage.

This is what I came up with:

Arrive QT - three nights (one full day for exploring QT, perhaps walk a track, visit a winery or two, one full day for Glenorchy to walk a section of the Routeburn or the Paradise Trust walk, perhaps take the Dart River Safari)

Drive from QT to Te Anau - two nights (one full day for Milford Road, Key Summit and cruise, weather providing. Ata Whenua in the evening - highly recommend this for you too annihig).

Drive Te Anau - Wanaka - two nights (one full day for a walk in Mt Aspiring Nat'l Park, perhaps walk to Mt Iron, explore the lake, perhaps catch a show at Paradiso)

Drive Wanaka - Franz Josef - two nights (sightsee en route, maybe visit the salmon farm, perhaps explore Fox Glacier if time allows en route, one full day for exploring glaciers).

Drive Franz Josef to Greymouth - one night (I've done this to allow time for the detour to Hokitika Gorge en route and to break up the next day's journey. As a bonus we should have time for a late afternoon Monteith's brewery tour in Greymouth, which brother will enjoy).

Drive Greymouth to Kaikoura via Arthur's Pass - two nights (See Otira Viaduct en route, if there's time I'm considering the detour to Punakaiki or Rakaia Gorge, but that might be pushing it with short winter days). One full day to see the seals and perhaps walk the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, eat seafood, whatever).

Drive Kaikoura to Christchurch (have booked afternoon Segway tour of the Red Zone in Christchurch)

Depart Christchurch

It'll be busy, but hopefully it will be a good trip.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 12:39 AM
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Mel - thank you again for your help and insights! i think that DH and I need to sit down and have a good chat about what we are hoping to achieve in the time we've got, and whether we want to do the sort of in depth trip that you are talking about, or a faster-paced "look see".

one advantage that we will have is longer days which will leave more time for exploring once we get to a place, though I appreciate that one-night stands don't give one much scope for exploration!

the places you have mentioned sound terrific and your route is definitely food for thought. presumably we could fly from, say, Rotorua to Queenstown which would save us a few days. Can i ask why you have omitted the north of SI from your itinerary? you have already convinced me to drop the south of the island, but there seems to be a lot to see in the north!

also, as we will be travelling in summer, is it not better to go north to south so as to have the sun behind us, and the view of the mountains ahead of us, or have i got that entirely wrong?
annhig is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 02:59 AM
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Hi annhig -

I'm not suggesting you follow the itinerary above, just sharing it as an example of what I feel are some of the highlights of the SI squished into 13 days. Greymouth certainly isn't a highlight, but a good place for an overnight with our particular itinerary. Kaikoura isn't a place I'd normally choose, but I know my brother will love the seals and we can get back to Christchurch for the CBD tour w/o having to spend any significant time there.

My husband and I will be in NZ two weeks prior to my brother and we've taken an entirely different approach. Our trip is geared towards hiking.

Arrive Christchurch - drive to Geraldine - one night
Drive to Mt Cook - three nights
Drive Mt Cook to Cromwell - two nights
Drive Cromwell to Manapouri - three nights
Drive Manapouri to Knobs Flat (between Te Anau and Milford) - three nights
Drive Knobs Flat to Glenorchy - four nights
Drive Glenorchy to QT to drop of husband and pick-up brother

I adore the north of the South Island, but spouse prefers the QT/Glenorchy/Wanaka area. Last year we did both, but found it was too much driving and not enough hiking, so this year we agreed to limit it to the south.

There is a lot to do both north and south, but you need TIME. Can you lengthen your trip?
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 03:27 AM
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Menq - no, the one thing we can't do is to lengthen the trip - though if the test match in Brisbane which is preceding it sees an Aussie win, we might wish that we had!

BTW, what is it in the north of the SI that you wish you had time to show your brother?

i can see that we might have the chance to come back in a couple of year's time so just having an over-view this time will be ok, but I don't want to be spread too thin. Ideally we would not book much accommodation ahead, [save for the first 2 nights, which I have already booked on a free cancellation basis in Paihia] but we probably need to book either the ferry or flights from NI to SI in advance so once that is done, it rather locks us into some sort of itinerary.
annhig is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 01:22 PM
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It's too much in my opinion. I would do either Paihia or Abel Tasman. Not both.

Check to make sure the ferries are running on a frequent schedule in Abel Tasman, not sure if it's a bit early for them.

Consider flying between North and South, or flying Auckand to Wellington if the ferry is something you want to do.

Another option is to drop Rotorua, do Pahia and the Kauri forests, then fly from Auckland to either Wellington or the South Island.

I still think indiancouples itinerary is one of the best I've seen on these boards.
mlgb is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 01:51 PM
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mlgb - I think that you have pre-empted my next question which was if one were to choose between the Bay of Islands, and Abel Tasman, which would you choose?

I think that the ferries start their summer timetable on 1st December which would suit our itinerary admirably.

Back to the drawing board [and more study of indiancouples' itinerary!]
annhig is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 01:59 PM
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annhig-

If you like hiking, then Abel Tasman. You can do a one day ferry/hike combo in Abel Tasman that is very pleasant. Nelson is an enjoyable town. I might be more inclined to lean this way, personally.
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Jun 17th, 2013, 02:31 PM
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mlgb - you and melnq are winning me over to the south island. Abel Tasman looks wonderful and less crowded than the Bay of islands.

so in a blatant attempt at copying indiancouple's itinerary, I've come up with this for our 17 night trip:

Auckland - i night
Rotorua – 2 nights
Wellington – 1 night
Picton [area] – 2 nights
Moteuka – 2 nights
Fox Glacier/Franz joseph – 2 nights
Waneka - I night
Te Anau – 2 nights
milford sound cruise - I night
Queenstown – 2 nights
Lake Tekapo – 1 night
Early morning departure for Christchurch to arrive by midday.

i could refine it further by missing out Auckland entirely, and going straight from Auckland to Rotorua then onto Wellington etc.

but that's "only" 16 nights - where would you spend the 17th night? Napier? - to break up the long stretch from Rotorua to Wellington?

Waneka? - to be able to do more treking/tramping?

Queenstown, to give us at least one 3 night stop?

sorry about the double posting!
annhig is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 04:13 PM
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Allow your self a late day in Mt. Cook/Tekapo. I would try to lodge closer to Mt. Cook itself (Lake Tekapo a second choice, but still do stop there). Trying to reach Christchurch by midday = nearly impossible.

My experience with actually seeing Mt.
mlgb is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 04:23 PM
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Got cut off there...

I had best luck seeing Mt. Cook in the evening or in the morning, less so at mid day.

See if you can score a room here

http://www.aorakialpinelodge.co.nz/

Nice hike in Mt. Cook is the one to Hooker Lake and glacier. You might be able to do that in the morning of your second day, then visit the Lake Tekapo on the way to a night in Methven (lots of lodging in that town, about 1.5 to 2 hours from Christchurch).
mlgb is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 04:26 PM
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Availability on Dec 11 at that motel in Mt. Cook! I would back up the itinerary from there. Dec 12 I'd stay in Methven or Christchurch itself. Christchurch has a lovely botanic garden, it is a "must see" for me.
mlgb is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 04:35 PM
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Looks like you're making good progress annhig. As for what I'd like to show my brother on the north of the SI - Abel Tasman, Marlborough Sounds, maybe even Collingwood, as he'd get a kick out of the 4x4 tour of Farewell Spit.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 04:39 PM
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Also, I'd probably add that extra night to Wanaka, which would give you a full day to explore some of the tracks (the best of which are about an hour's drive from Wanaka). Or QT, which would give you a full day to explore the tracks around Glenorchy if you're so inclined.

It's all good.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 08:26 AM
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oh, now that's naughty. between you, Mlgb and melnq, you've given me 3 different places to spend my one extra night!

mlgb, i like the idea of counting back, and I was already thinking that it was pushing our luck to be trying to get to Christchurch airport that morning.

so here we go again:

Rotorua – 2 nights
Wellington – 1 night
Picton [area] – 2 nights
Moteuka – 2 nights
Fox Glacier/Franz joseph – 1 night
Waneka - 2 nights
Te Anau – 2 nights
milford sound cruise - I night
Queenstown – 2 nights
Mount Cook - 1 night
Christchurch - 1 night

yep, that's 17 nights. questions -

is a night on the west coast by the glaciers enough? [i wasn't thinking of doing more than going to have a quick look at them, to be honest]. and would it be better to have just a night in Queenstown and 2 at mount Cook? [DH loves mountains].

and where to stay near Picton? Blenheim? Picton? Nelson? Marlborough? we'd like to spend a day or so seeing some vineyards.

mlgb - thank you for that tip about the alpine lodge - the room is booked! [they do a free cancellation deal so I'm not risking anything!]
annhig is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 09:47 AM
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I would not spend more than one night in Picton. You will already being seeing the Marlborough Sounds if you take the ferry across from Wellington.

From there I would head to Moteuka or Nelson, you can sightsee along the way and perhaps work in a winery visit. That will save you one night right there that could use on the west coast if you need it. Note that you can take Queen Charlotte Drive, a windy road that goes along the bay between Picton and Havelock.

There is a bit to see on the north part of the west coast, so you might spend that night somewhere between Westport and Hokitika. Hokitika has a glow worm dell just north of town, a fun reason to spend the night there.

At the glaciers, the hike around Lake Matheson is worthwhile if the weather is clear and not windy. You never know if the west coast leg will be a bust at the time of year you are going. It can be pouring rain for a week, or not. Definitely keep on eye on the weather forecasts. Usually if it is bad on the west coast, east of the Alps on the Queenstown side is better.

One reason to spend a bit more time around Queenstown is that there are lots of excursions.

I think someone mentioned Glenorchy, you can continue farther to stay at Kinloch Lodge, which is one of my favorite spots in all of NZ. It's close to several trail heads, the Routeburn makes a good day hike (out and back round trip). Also quite a good chef there. Personally I would give up a night in Wanaka and spend it here:

http://www.kinlochlodge.co.nz/
mlgb is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 12:43 PM
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oh dear, i'm so confused.

just to be clear, mlgb, are you suggesting that we drop a day at Picton, and spend it between Moteuka and Franz Joseph? i get that, actually, it is a long way from Moteuka to FJ.

you then suggest dropping a night at Waneka and spending it at the Kinloch lodge. the trouble is that we then have several one night stands which limits the amount of walking that we can do. could be not see Kinloch from QT on a day trip?
annhig is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 03:51 PM
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Normally I'd say no, but as you just want a quick peek at them, then yes one night will do.



Yes, easy to do Glenorchy and Kinloch as a day trip from QT. Lots to do back there if you enjoy walking and gobsmacking scenery.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 06:45 PM
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If you want to hike the lower end of Routebuen Kinloch is the closest lodging.

Decide which hikes you want to do, Wanaka and Queenstown are also only about an hour apart. I personally don't see the need to stay in Wanaka at all.

I think you need a second night on the west coast. Average drive times are going to be slower than you think,
mlgb is offline  

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