Itinerary Feedback Requested- May 8-May22

Old Feb 21st, 2010, 12:27 PM
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Itinerary Feedback Requested- May 8-May22

Hello all!

I'm hoping to get some feedback on my itinerary for New Zealand. I'll be leving LAX on May 8th, getting into Auckland on May 10th, and then leaving Auckland on May 22nd.

My mother and I are doing this as a birthday celebration (though both our birthdays are actually in August!), and there are a few things that are absolute musts on our list. We must see the Sky Tower (and for me do the Sky Jump). We must see the glow worm caves in Waitomo. We must go zorbing in Rotorua. We must go swimming with dolphins. We must go to the Christchurch area and stay at the Garden View B&B in Rolleston. These are our musts.

Here's our itinerary. We're hoping for some feeback from you NZ experts on if it's do-able or not, and then we're going to start booking things down.

May 8- leave LAX.
May 9- disappears as we fly!!
May 10- Arrive in Auckland.
-Sky Tower, inc. Sky Jump and a meal at either Orbit or The Observatory
-Aotea Square
-Waitemata Harbour and Bridge

May 11- Waitomo
We plan on taking a coach tour from Auckland to Rotorua via the Waitomo Caves. The tour of the caves is supposedly included in the charge. It leaves at, like, 7 or 8 am and gets into Rotorua at 4:30 pm. Since we're getting in at 4:30 pm, we also plan on doing the Mitai hangi that evening.

May 12- Rotora
-Agroventures at the Agrodome: Zorbing and Freefall Extreme!
-St. Faith's Church/Tamatekapua
-Drive to Tauranga

May 13- Tauranga
-Tauranga Dolphin Seafari- starts at 8am, supposedly lasts about 4-5 hours
-Kiwi 360
- Fly from Tauranga to Queenstown

May 14- Milford Sound
-Drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound
-Overnight cruise on The Mariner, inc. underwater observatory

May 15 & 16- Queenstown
-Drive from Milford Sound to Queenstown
-Minus 5 bar
-Skyline gondola and luge
-Kawarau jetboat
-Air Wakatipu (we get to fly our own plane for 20 minutes!!)

May 16 & 17- Queenstown to Greymoth
-We're going to drive up the West Coast from Queenstown to Greymouth, stopping along the way to see things like the glaciers and Shanty Town and stuff like that

May 17- Tranz Alpine train
-We're going to take the TranzAlpine rail from Greymouth to Christchurch, though we're also thinking of just driving this since supposedly that's faster. However, we do like the idea of getting a break from driving for a little while!

May 17/18/19
-Christchurch Cathedral
-International Antarctic Center
-Up Up and Away hot air ballooning (maybe)
-Punting on the Avon
-City Mall
-Art's Center
-Port Hills
-Sign of Takahe
-Barry's Bay Cheese Factory
-Banks Peninsula
-Akoroa Lighthouse
-Pohatu penguins

May 20
-Fly from Christchurch to Wellington
-Botanic Gardens
-Parliament Beehive building
-Tepapa musem
-Bay tour of seals and penguins

May 21
-Fly from Wellington to Auckland, hang out in Auckland

May 22- Leave from Auckland at 1:30 pm

It's very ambitious, we know that. We are fairly well traveled, which I think helps in or favor. But are we being TOO ambitious, aka unrealistic? Where should we allow more or less time? Keep in mind, we're not big into hiking or anything like that.
MalTru is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2010, 05:48 PM
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Hi MalTru -

Well, your itinerary is certainly ambitious and I'm exhausted after just reading it.

Don't underestimate the effects of jet lag. I don't think jumping from a 192 meter building on your day of arrival is particularly wise, although I certainly admire your enthusiasm. What time do you arrive in Auckland?

I sincerely doubt you're going to have time to squeeze your Christchurch wish list into 2.5 days. I suggest you pick a few activites you don't want to miss, instead of exhausting yourself trying to do it all. It takes time to get from place to place and time to organize activities and you've not left yourself any room for error. You could easily spend a full day on Banks Peninsula alone (it's about a 90 minute drive from Christchurch).

The drive from Milford to Queenstown takes close to four hours, so that will eat up a big part of May 15 unless you leave at the crack of dawn.

I've counted NINE one night stays...I wouldn't wish that on anyone...
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Old Feb 21st, 2010, 09:06 PM
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We're thinking of cutting out Wellington in order to spend more time in the Christchurch area. It is a lot of jumping around and not really being able to get settled in any one place, but this is more than likely a once in a lifetime trip. I've been saving for three years already, and will likely be going back to school after this trip, since the money I've been saving for the trip will be used for school instead!

Maybe I will save the Sky Jump for the day before we leave!

We get into Auckland at 7:25 am on the 10th, btw. We also depart Auckland at 13:30 on the 22nd.
MalTru is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2010, 10:49 PM
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Fair enough.

As you're into adventure sports, you might prefer to have that extra day in Queenstown. They don't call it the Adventure Capital of the World for nothing. Maybe some heli-bungy???
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Old Feb 22nd, 2010, 11:00 AM
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Aotea Square? You might want to follow up on that a bit later, I don't know what it will look like (and if it will still not be worth visiting) by the time you visit.

Check your arrival time in Queenstown and make sure you can reach Milford Sound in time. I might drop the day in Wellington and put it here. For an activity you could do Skippers Canyon or the Dart River.
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Old Feb 28th, 2010, 11:58 AM
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Just a few comments:
1) Listen to Melnq8 - a wise woman
2) I found the Antarctic Center in Christchurch to be a total waste of money (sorry)
3) We enjoyed staying in Akaroa, but if you are planning on driving there and back in one day you might think about eliminating it and adding it to Queenstown.
4) We just visited Wellington for the first time and enjoyed it far more than Christchurch. Maybe because we had great weather, good meals and a fabulous place to stay? (I'm working on my trip report as fast as I can.) Te Papa was a great way to learn about the Maori and more recent history of NZ. I can see how eliminating Wellington could simplify your schedule, though.
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Old Mar 6th, 2010, 07:21 AM
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Hi MalTru,

I agree with Other Mel (as I like to call her!) - your itinerary/activities are quit ambitious! You said this was "the trip of a lifetime", not a Death March!

Yes, I know, everyone goes to the Waitomo Caves, but unless you're seriously into caves or glowworms, I've always thought it to be kind of boring. Seriously, for all we know, those could be leftover Christmas lights twinkling on the top of the cave! sorry.

Zorbing? Please report back - I've been waiting for YEARS for someeone to post about their experience! I've mentioned it to my clients but no one's tried it yet.

Te Papa's a WONDERFUL museum, and you could easily spend the whole day there; however, since you're trying to simplify your itinerary and cut down on the number of stops, wouldn't make a side trip just for that (and you could do gardens in Christchurch, as afterall, it's known as the Garden City).

In Queenstown, allow extra time for luging! It is SO much fun. I've done the bungy jump off the Kewarra Bridge and would prefer that to AKL. (just my 2 cents).

I liked the Antarctic Centre, and I didn't think I would - I just went to do a site inspection and found it to be interesting. It's an easy thing to fit in because the car rentals are right across the road, so if the timing works out with your flights it's time well spent vs. waiting in the airport!

Hope this is helpful!


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