Honeymoon Intinerary Advice - NZ/Oz Feb March 08

Old Sep 22nd, 2007, 10:17 PM
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Honeymoon Intinerary Advice - NZ/Oz Feb March 08

We're in the midst of planning our honeymoon in New Zealand and Australia in Feb/March 2008 for about 18 days. We know what we're doing at the beginning and end of our trip but are looking for guidance on how to fill in the middle part!

This is what we know:

The first week of the honeymoon, we will fly straight to Queenstown, NZ and stay at a luxury hotel for two nights. We are going out on a guided hike on the Milford Track for 4 nights and will spend one more night at our hotel in Queenstown.

We also know that the last 5 days or so of the honeymoon will be spent in and around Sydney, Australia.

These are some of the places we are considering staying in the mid-part of our honeymoon. We want to make sure we take time to relax and aren't running around too much from place to place, so we probably only have room for a 3 night stay in about 2 different places, perhaps with other nights here and there as we're traveling from place to place:

Kaikoura - via Christchurch
Abel Tasman/Nelson
Marlborough Region/Blenheim
Melbourne, Australia
Byron Bay, Australia

We are excited that our honeymoon already has a combination of luxury, adventure, and city travel and will probably be looking to spend time in places that are both romantic and relaxing but also where we can be active and see a variety of unique sights. We had thought about going to the Whitsundays, but are concerned about the travel time, the stingers, and the potential for cyclones.

If you have any advice/recommendations for how to fill in our itinerary, please let us know! Thanks in advance!
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Old Sep 22nd, 2007, 11:15 PM
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Of the places you've mentioned as possiblities, Abel Tasman and/ Marlborough Sounds would be my personal choices, but I'm partial to the north of the SI.

Unless you plan to fly, you're looking at a very long drive from Queenstown; you'll need to overnight somewhere along the way, and this will cut into your time up north.

To give you an idea, the drive from Queenstown to Picton takes over 10 hours and the drive from Queenstown to Abel Tasman is close to 12.

Do you plan to fly from NZ to Australia via Christchurch?



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Old Sep 23rd, 2007, 09:28 AM
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Thanks so much, Melnq8 for your response!

To follow up, yes, we will likely fly to Sydney from Christchurch (unless once we are in the north part of the SI we end up going out of Wellington). If we end up flying to get to the north part of the SI, do you have any recommendations on the most efficient way to cover Abel Tasman and Marlborough? Would you recommend renting a car, taking the bus or flying between the two? If flying, what airline would you recommend? Also, do you have any tips on places to stay in either region?

Once we figure out the best way to get to the northern part of the island, we can take the train from Picton/Marlborough down through Kaikoura to Christchurch.

Thanks!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2007, 05:09 PM
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If you fly to the north of the SI, you'd probably want to fly to Nelson, then rent a car and work your way down to Picton and Blenheim. You could then drive yourself to CH for your departure. Your airline choices are going to be limited and I don't know offhand which airlines offer flights from QT to Nelson.

If Abel Tasman is your main focus, I recommend staying in Marahau, Motueka or somewhere between Mouteka and Nelson. Many people stay in Nelson, but Abel Tasman is about a hour's drive from there, whereas it's only about 15 minutes from Motueka. Kaiteriteri is also a possibility.

What are your plans for Abel Tasman?

If you're interested in taking day walks, you can arrange a water taxi into the park, then walk the track back, or vice versa. There's also a lot of kayaking opportunities or combo walk/kayak tours

There's only one place to stay within the park - Awaroa Lodge. If you're looking for an eco friendly lodge where you can relax and enjoy the park, this place is for you. It's only assessible by boat, small plane/chopper or on foot.

The best way to see the Marlborough Sounds is via boat. You can take a water taxi into the sounds and be dropped along the Queen Charlotte track, walk for several hours, then be picked up by a taxi and taken back to Picton. Or, you can join the water taxi on one of it's mail runs, which is a good way to see the sounds from the boat. OR, you can stay at a resort within the sounds and really relax and be pampered during your stay.

We spent several days in Marlborough Sounds and Abel Tasman just last month. If you're interested in reading about the details of our trip, just click on the "three weeks in paradise - NZ trip report" thread.
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 06:40 AM
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Jaspah:

First, congratulations and best wishes for the years to come.

Your travel sounds great.

My wife and I have only been to NZ four times but I would suggest that you rethink Blemheim.

It is a pleasant town, clean as is most of NZ, but pretty quiet with not much to see/do.

Melnq8 seems to be on top of NZ things. Perhaps she [he?] will respond.

Have a good one.

Woodie
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 05:44 PM
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Hi Woodie -

Personally, I have mixed feelings about Blenheim.

We've stayed there on two trips and I'm glad we did, but we were there primarily to visit the many wineries in the area. As we drove through Blenheim on our last trip a few weeks back, I had a pang of regret for not allowing a few nights there.

If we return to NZ, I hope to revisit Blenheim; I'd choose to stay in a vineyard cottage on the outskirts of town (Renwick area).

I guess it all depends on Jaspah's interests - Blenheim is a great base if you're into wine, but not very exciting if you're not.

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Old Sep 28th, 2007, 10:33 PM
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Thanks everyone for your input! We now think we have a bit more figured out. We are going to have two nights to stay between Kaikoura and Wellington. We will be taking the train from Kaikoura to Marlborough/Picton. We are considering accommodation in either Blenheim/Renwick or on the sound, such as at Bay of Many Coves. We are interested in doing a bike/wine tour, and would also be interested in sailing on Marlborough Sounds. Do you have any suggestions for where we might maximize our time? We will probably take the ferry to Wellington from Picton on our way out, stay a night in Wellington, and then fly to Sydney the next morning for the Australia leg or our trip.

If anyone has any recommendations for what to see/do or where to stay in Wellington, we'd also very much appreciate it!

Also, would three nights be too much in Kaikoura? We will have come away from four nights of tramping, a night recovering in QT, a flight the next day to Christchurch and one night there, followed by an early morning train trip up to Kaikoura. We could potentially spend either two or three nights there. My concern is that we are going to feel like we are moving around too much -- but it is so tempting! There is just so much to see!!

We are excited to hear more from all of you experienced NZ travelers!
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Old Sep 29th, 2007, 03:49 AM
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Jaspah -

Bay of Many Coves is a wonderful resort and I recommend it highly (stayed there twice). However, keep in mind that if you stay there, you'll be traveling to and from the resort via water taxi (about $70 per person return). It's a great location for exploring the sounds and Queen Charlotte Track, but as the resort isn't right on the track, you'll either need to take a water taxi to a point on the track, such as Ship Cove or Furneaux Lodge, or hike a very steep 90 minute undeveloped track just to access the Queen Charlotte Track.

The resort is a great place to relax and/or walk the track, but may not be the best choice from which to visit wineries.

I certainly don't want to discourage you from staying there, I love the place, but you'll spend a lot of time and $ getting in and out of the resort if you want to take a winery tour from there. The resort has a sailboat and offers boating trips to guests.

Personally, I don't like to spend fewer than three nights in a given location, but I think three nights in Kaikoura might be a bit much, unless you plan to do some hiking or have specific activities in mind. Other posters may well disagree with me, and perhaps I've missed something, but I just don't find Kaikoura all that interesting.

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Old Sep 29th, 2007, 03:41 PM
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Thanks again Melnq8 for your helpful advice! We have nixed Bay of Many Coves as we agree that it would sort of isolate us during our stay there and prevent us from seeing as much of the neighboring area as we'd like (even though it looks beautiful).

This is how we think our itinerary will work out (if you have suggestions for alternatives to our current plan to stay one night in Christchurch and one night in Wellington while in transit such as to save time by taking short flights, please let us know)!

Arrive QT
2 nights in QT [booked]
4 nights Milford Track [booked]
1 night QT [booked]
[fly to Christchurch, spend afternoon and one night in Christchurch]
Take TranzCoastal rail to Kaikoura
2 nights Kaikoura [booked]
Take TranzCoastal rail to Blenheim
2 nights in Renwick [booked]
[TranzCoastal rail to Picton, ferry to Wellington, 1 afternoon/night Wellington]
Fly to Sydney, Australia.

We'd be curious to know what you think!
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Old Sep 29th, 2007, 03:53 PM
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Jaspah -

Looks like a good itinerary to me. I've never taken the train, but would be intersted in hearing what you think about the journey upon your return.

Just curious - where are you staying in Kaikoura an Renwick?
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Old Sep 30th, 2007, 09:29 AM
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We're staying at Hapuku Lodge in Kaikoura and at Vintner's Retreat in Renwick.
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