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

Jun 19th, 2013, 10:17 AM
  #21  
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Average drive times are going to be slower than you think,>>

lol, that's what we say to americans coming to the UK and europe!

thanks to both of you, I think I need to look at the sorts of hikes/excursions that we can do from each potential base and work from there.
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Jun 19th, 2013, 11:19 AM
  #22  
 
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Hi ann - didn't realize you were planning for NZ - saw the mention on the SL thread. Just to throw another itinerary into the mix, this is the one I did back in 2004:

http://www.yha.co.nz/travel-shop/tou...nerary/details

The absolute high point (the high point of the whole ten month trip) was the flight over the Franz Joseph glacier, followed by Napier, the National Museum, the TranzAlpine train and Milford sound. I did think the scenery was better on the SI.
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Jun 19th, 2013, 01:05 PM
  #23  
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thursdaysd - thank you to you too.

I'll have to get reading!
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Jun 19th, 2013, 01:35 PM
  #24  
 
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Google Maps "street view" works on many of the rural roads in NZ. You can see what the views are like along your routes and in the towns where you might want to stay.

Of course they are all taken when the sun is shining!
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Jun 19th, 2013, 01:59 PM
  #25  
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thanks, mlgb. more great advice.
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Jun 21st, 2013, 02:05 AM
  #26  
 
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Ann there are wineries in Marlborough but there are also a lot in the Nelson area, which you could visit when you are staying in the Motueka area. I second mglb's suggestion of taking the Queen Charlotte Drive from Picton through to Havelock. It is a windy road but great scenery. You will love the ferry trip from Wellington to Picton, hope you get a nice calm day.
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Jun 21st, 2013, 01:07 PM
  #27  
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thanks, Nelsonian. if we got an early ferry from Wellington, where could we head to to spend the first night on the SI?

BTW, I'm praying for a smooth passage, as I'm a terrible sailor.
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Jun 21st, 2013, 04:03 PM
  #28  
 
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I am a terrible sailor too Ann, I get seasick normally on a calm day!!! If you can, sit outside, or in the middle of the ferry.
I think I would still stay a night in the Picton/Blenheim area and have a look around there. If you stayed in Blenheim you would need to backtrack to Picton to take the Queen Charlotte drive to Havelock but that is only about a 20 minute drive. It is about a two hour drive to Nelson but you probably would want to stop and take a few photos etc so could be longer than that.

If you like mussels Havelock (a small village) but the centre of the green lipped mussel industry) is a good place to stop for lunch!!
It is another 40-45 minutes from Nelson to Motueka. It you are in Nelson on a Saturday there is a wonderful Saturday morning market in the centre of town.
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Jun 22nd, 2013, 05:35 AM
  #29  
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HI Nelsonian,

thanks as ever for the input. i am finding travelling distances and times hard to sort out in my head, but decisions gradually being made here with the help of all of you.

first of all, i think that we've decided to jettison the Bay of Islands and limit ourselves to 5 nights on NI. then we're thinking of forgetting about the overnight cruise at Milford sound, and spending a longer time in Queenstown, possibly flying back from there to Christchurch. that gives us more time to play with generally.

that gives us this:

Nov 26 - arrive Auckland. Drive to Rotorua.
Nov 27 - Rotorua
Nov 28 - Drive to Napier
Nov 29 - Drive to Wellington
Nov 30 - Wellington
Dec 1 - ferry to Picton, stay Picton/Blenheim
Dec 2 - Drive to Motueka
Dec 3 - Motueka
Dec 4 - drive to ?
Dec 5 - Drive to Fox glacier/Franz Joseph
Dec 6 - Glaciers
Dec 7 - drive to Queenstown
Dec 8, 9, 10, 11 - tour area [5 nights including day trip to Milford or Doubtful sound]

Either
Dec 12 - fly to Christchurch, stay night
Dec 13 - fly to Sydney

OR
Dec 11 - drive to Mount Cook
Dec 12 - drive to Christchurch
Dec 13 - fly out.

comments, anyone?
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Jun 22nd, 2013, 08:32 AM
  #30  
 
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I use a rule of thumb of 70km per hour maximum for estimating drive times. If you think you will be stopping often for short walks and photo stops, it could be even less (50km per hour is what I usually averaged).

I would not substitute Napier for driving via the volcanoes/Tongariro on the way to Wellington. Overnight at National Park, perhaps.

I don't think you need to do both Dec 5th and Dec 6th overnight at the Glaciers. If you end day 4 in Hokitika you are maybe 2 hours from Fox. You have that afternoon to do your excursion, and a backup of the next morning.

I would not drop the drive back via Mt. Cook. The route over the Lindis Pass and then Lakes Tekapo/Pukaki is spectacular. Even if you don't catch a glimps of Aoraki. But try to make time for driving into the Mt. Cook NP if at all possible.

If you are considering adding flights, have you looked into the excursions that heli one way back from Milford Sound? I have heard it's spectacular.

To save some time on the return to Christchurch you can drop down via Geraldine and take route 1 back to Christchurch (one of the few roads in NZ where you really can travel at the speed limit of 100 kmph).
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Jun 22nd, 2013, 11:29 AM
  #31  
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thanks as ever, mlgb.

Napier was an idea because a friend has been there and likes it [he has family in NZ so DH looks on him as an "expert" though i don't think he's ever ventured outside NI] so I'll look at the alternative you mention.

so far as coming back is concerned, if we are staying longer in QT then a night at Mount Cook [I've already booked one night on a free cancellation basis] and then one in Christchurch would be ok; once we get to Sydney we'll be staying put!

That leaves me struggiig with the middle bit.

how about this:

Option A

Nov 26 - arrive Auckland. Drive to Rotorua.
Nov 27 - Rotorua
Nov 28 - Drive to Tongariro National Park and overnight.
Nov 29 - Drive to Wellington
Nov 30 - Wellington
Dec 1 - ferry to Picton, stay Picton/Blenheim
Dec 2 - Drive to Motueka
Dec 3 - Motueka
Dec 4 - drive to Hokitika
Dec 5 - Drive to Fox glacier/Franz Joseph
Dec 6 - drive to Waneka
Dec 7 - drive to Te-Anau
Dec 8 - drive to milford Sound, overnight cruise
Dec 9 - drive to QT
Dec 10 - QT
Dec 11 - drive to Mount Cook
Dec 12 - drive to Christchurch
Dec 13 - fly out.

trouble is, we're back to lots of one night stands again.

is this better?

Option B:

Nov 26 - arrive Auckland. Drive to Rotorua.
Nov 27 - Rotorua
Nov 28 - Drive to Tongariro National Park and overnight
Nov 29 - Drive to Wellington
Nov 30 - Wellington
Dec 1 - ferry to Picton, stay Picton/Blenheim
Dec 2 - Drive to Motueka
Dec 3 - Motueka
Dec 4 - drive to Hokitika
Dec 5 - Drive to Fox glacier/Franz Joseph
Dec 6 - Drive to Waneka
Dec 7 - drive to Queenstown
Dec 8, 9, 10, - tour area [4 nights including day trip to Milford or Doubtful sound]
Dec 11 - drive to Mount Cook
Dec 12 - drive to Christchurch
Dec 13 - fly out.
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Jun 22nd, 2013, 11:52 AM
  #32  
 
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I think the second one is better if you want a bit of stay put time.

Unfortunately if you want to cover a lot of ground in one visit, it's going to mean some one-night visits.

The good part is that NZ is very casual as far as dress goes, so no need to overpack. I highly recommend those superfine merino tops which can go a few days between washings
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Jun 22nd, 2013, 12:07 PM
  #33  
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yes, i like option B better, except that it misses out the overnight cruise on Milford sound.
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Jun 22nd, 2013, 01:02 PM
  #34  
 
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Not sure you need an overnight on Milford Sound. After all, you won't see anything after dark. Of course, it won't get dark that early.
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Jun 22nd, 2013, 01:35 PM
  #35  
 
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Usually if you drive yourselves to Milford Sound you can time it differently than the tour busses, so it will be a bit less hectic.

I also don't think an overnight is essential. But a lot of people enjoy it.
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Jun 22nd, 2013, 01:40 PM
  #36  
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thursdaysd,

the idea is to avoid the crowds that apparently descend upon the Sound during the day, and take an overnight cruise, which as you say should give us plenty of daylight to see it in the evening and again in the morning. i understand that it's possible to do it from QT but it would make more sense to go from Te Anau as you've then got most of the day to get to milford, and then the following day, we could drive back to QT.

mlgb - i don't think that we would want to drive all the way from QT to Milford and back in one day, so we'd probably do the coach tour if this ended up being our only option.
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Jun 22nd, 2013, 02:35 PM
  #37  
 
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I recommend the flight over the glaciers - it was one of the greatest things I did in NZ.

I'll miss you (or you've avoided me!) - I leave Sydney 8 December, return 3 January!
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Jun 22nd, 2013, 07:26 PM
  #38  
 
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I think if you do the first of last cruise of the day you can avoid the crowds. It will be getting towards the longest day there, and it is longer down South than it is here at the Top of the South!!! You would be able to do a late cruise and still drive back to Te Anau.
nelsonian is online now  
Jun 23rd, 2013, 02:58 AM
  #39  
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margo - thanks for the tip.

i'm sorry that we're going to miss each other this trip.

nelsonian - that's a good idea to play with. would we have time to get to QT? I'd prefer to have a longer stay there if I could.

i think I need to go back over all the trip reports we've got here and try to sort things out in my head!
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Jun 23rd, 2013, 04:39 PM
  #40  
 
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That's what we did on our last Milford Cruise - did our hiking and exploring on the way in, then took the last cruise of the day. Worked great - the tour buses were leaving as we got there and we practically had an entire boat to ourselves.

Made it back to Te Anau in time for a late dinner.
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