How does this Australia/NZ itinerary sound?

Apr 25th, 2002, 11:51 AM
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How does this Australia/NZ itinerary sound?

Thanks to everyone for all of the great advice on this forum. My sweetie & I have done a lot of research, and I have put together the following 14-day itinerary based on many recommendations here (not enough time for everything we want to do, so we had to limit our destinations -- already making another list of "save for next times"). We are using frequent flier miles for this trip and trying to keep our accommodations to an average of around $100 U.S. per night so that we can afford to do all the great activities we've read about. We would appreciate any comments from those who have "been there and done that."

Depart Washington Dulles 6 pm Fri. Nov. 15, change planes in LAX, arrive Sydney 8 am Sunday Nov. 17. Three full days and nights in Sydney (considering Four Points Sheraton in Darling Harbour). Zoo, Opera House, Aquarium, Botanical Gardens, daytrip to Blue Mountains?

Wed. Nov. 20 depart Sydney 9 am, arrive Cairns 11 am, rent car and drive to Palm Cove. Four days and nights in Palm Cove (considering the Reef Retreat) with daytrips to Great Barrier Reef and Daintree.

Sun. Nov. 24 fly from Cairns to Christchurch, NZ, arriving 9:20 pm. Overnight in Christchurch (considering Rydges).

Mon. Nov. 25 rent car and drive to Mount Cook for overnight stay (Hermitage).

Tues. Nov. 26 drive to Otago Peninsula (want to see the penguins). Overnight at Larnach Lodge?

Wed.-Thurs. Nov. 27-28 drive to Te Anau for two nights with daytrips to Doubtful and Milford Sounds. (stay at Centra Te Anau?)

Fri.-Sat. Nov. 29-30 drive to Queenstown for final two nights -- Gondola, Shotover Jet, Luge, winery stop (stay at Parkroyal or The Point?)

Sun. Dec. 1 -- fly out of Queenstown at 12:30 pm, change planes in Auckland & LAX, arrive Washington Dulles 8:30 pm.

Does anyone think we should drop the Otago Peninsula and add another night in Queenstown? Other thoughts?
Apr 25th, 2002, 01:18 PM
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Have been to a few of those places. Don't miss a walk from the Botanical Gardens past the Opera House, by Circular Quay and around the Rocks. It is gorgeous. Explore that area. From there is is a short jaunt to Darling Harbour and the Aquarium which is spectacular, great shopping if you want to shop.

In Christchurch, we went to the Cathedral Square and had a good laugh listenening to the Wizard of Christchurch. Very politically incorrect but ever so funny. We wandered through that area and enjoyed most of Christchurch and what we saw there.

We were six weeks in NZ and thought that we would have enough time to visit everywhere but decided to take it more slowly and only made it as far south as Christchurch. Loved the Coramundel Penn. We generally stayed out of the cities other than Christchurch.

You will have so much fun, I envy you.

We didn't bother visiting the glaciers etc. as we are from Canada and have seen enough of them!
Apr 27th, 2002, 07:08 AM
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Just returned from Australia and NZ and I think you are pushing too hard.Will you really want to sit on a train for several hrs. to the Blue Mts after your long flight ? Additionally the weather there is dicey and you could get fog and thus see nothing.Why not stay in Sidney proper the whole 3 days...maybe take a Matilda cruise and enjoy the harbor itself.The interior opera house tour is very interesting..about 1 hour but go early so you don't have to wait.
Another save some time consider a bus into Milford from Te Anau and a flight back out.This would save you at least half a day.
Have a great time and feel free to Email me.
Apr 27th, 2002, 01:43 PM
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Lisa -

I would recommend doing the bridge climb of Sydney Harbour Bridge. I did it last summer and it really was fun (if you are not scared of heights). I'm planning a trip to South Island New Zealand for next Feb. so I'm interested in hearing where you decided to go and what it was like - please post a trip report.
Apr 28th, 2002, 10:45 PM
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A few thoughts:

1) We stayed at the Rydges in Christchurch & it's good but not great. ALL the restaurants close early there so don't plan on dinner that night after you land.

2) Check some of the last minute hotel sites to speed your room shopping. worked the best for us but we also used and for some cities. All 3 only take reservations for the next 14 days but we found some great deals and made excellent use of the flexibility to alter how long we stayed in some places.

3) Wild idea - do the shark dive in sydney aquarium. I did it in Melbourne but it's the same thing in sydney. You can do it even if you're not scuba certified with a practice dive that covers the basics (it's not deep so there isn't much to learn). This required a couple days lead time in Melbourne as spots fill up fast.

4) Milford Sound was much better scenery than Te Anau in our book. If you do the day trip, allow time for a long cruise , ideally one with sea kayaking as an option.

5) We stayed at the Parkroyal in Queenstown (the one on the lake near the Loaded Hog restaurant). It's a tour package hotel but great location & decent rooms.

6) The Shotover jet was fun, luge was so-so but came in a package with gondola visit. Consider river surfing (very fun & different).

We kept a web site of our trip as we went. Check it out at for more ideas.

Enjoy NZ & Oz!
Apr 29th, 2002, 06:06 AM
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Thanks for your feedback everybody. Jackie, we agree with your advice and think that given we only have 3 days for Sydney, we will save the daytrip to the Blue Mountains for another time.
Apr 29th, 2002, 09:31 AM
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I was in Aus & NZ very recently. I have a couple of suggestions:

1) Instead of the day trip to B Mountains (which I enjoyed, it was a nice hike through different kind of vegetation) you could consider a day in some of the beaches near Sidney.

2) Both Doubtful and Milford Sound seems like to much. I went to Doubtful as it was more convenient for my schedule, loved it. I know Milford is more famous (but also farther away), so I would go with only one of them.

Good luck

Apr 29th, 2002, 06:05 PM
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You have to go to the Blue Mountains! They were beautiful when i went but that was before all the wildfires. They resemble the Appalachians alot. Don't miss the three sisters or Kotumba while you are in the Blue Mountains.
Apr 29th, 2002, 06:07 PM
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