Itinerary for 10 days in New Zealand

Old Jan 8th, 2013, 09:47 AM
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Itinerary for 10 days in New Zealand

Hi All

I am planning to visit NZ in end of March. 22nd Mar - 31ist Mar. Wish to cover North partially as follows:

Mar 22 - Arrive Auckland at 12:15 - stay overnight
Mar 23 - AUCKLAND - WAITOMO - ROTORUA
Mar 24 - Should we spend the day at Rotorua or leave for Christchurch the same day
Mar 25 - Mar 30 - Undecided!!!!!
Mar 31 - Christchurch to Auckland early morning to catch the departing flight

Wish to cover the best of South Island in these remaining days. Seek your advice on how to make the best use of these 6 days in South (7 in case we need not spend Day 3 in Rotorua).

We are planning to go on self drive. Is it doable in our time frame ....

Thanks in advance.

Shveta
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Old Jan 8th, 2013, 04:28 PM
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I'm confused...how many days do you have total?
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Old Jan 8th, 2013, 11:08 PM
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Hi ... effectively 9 days since the 10th day would be consumed in travelling back from Christchurch/ Queenstown to Acukland and then back home ....
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Old Jan 8th, 2013, 11:11 PM
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Let me reword it.

North Island

Day 1 - Arrive Auckland at 12:15 - stay overnight
Day 2- AUCKLAND - WAITOMO - ROTORUA
Day 3 - Should we spend the day at Rotorua or leave for Christchurch the same day

South Island

Day 3/ Day 4 - Day 9 - Undecided!!!!!
Day 10 - Christchurch to Auckland early morning to catch the departing flight
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Old Jan 9th, 2013, 12:32 AM
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Okay, so you've got 6 full days on the SI, Days 4-9. I'm not counting Day 3, as it'll be used in transit, and won't be a full day.

As to whether or not you should stay longer in Rotorua...have you sorted out the drive distances between Auckland-Waitomo-Rotorua? Auckland to Waitomo - 2.5 hours, Waitomo to Rotorua, 2:15. So, Day 2 is pretty much a full day of driving. In which case, it would make sense to spend all of Day 3 in Rotorua, which means Day 4 would also be spent in transit, giving you only five full days on the SI.

But, how are you getting from Rotorua to Christchurch? Are you driving back to Auckland and then flying? If so, you've got another five hours of driving before your flight.

Any reason you're going to Christchurch? Sure, it makes a logical starting point if you've got enough time to make a driving circuit, but you don't.

So, considering all of that, I'd suggest you fly into Queenstown and base yourself there for the full five days. You can see quite alot from Queenstown...Milford Sound (long day trip, but doable), Arrowtown, Wanaka, Glenorchy, Cromwell...

Or, you could fly to Christchurch, rent a car and work your way down the West Coast to Queenstown, and then fly out of Queenstown. A popular route is Christchurch-Arthur's Pass-Greymouth-Hokitika-Glaciers (you'd overnight in Hokitika or press on to the glaciers for a night, or as I suggest, two), then continue down the West Coast to Wanaka, or Te Anau (to access Milford) or Queenstown, or a bit of all of them.

Another option is to start in Christchurch and then take the inland route instead of the West Coast, which will lead you through Lake Tekapo, on to Mt Cook, Wanaka, and then Queenstown.

It'll be fast-paced, with lots of driving and not much time to DO anything, but you'll see some of the best of the SI.

All depends on what you want to do, and which you'd like to see more - glaciers/West Coast or Mt Cook/alpine scenery.
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Old Jan 9th, 2013, 09:37 AM
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Thnx Melnq for your detailed inputs .... does it then make more sense to leave North from our trip and concentrate only on South in which case we will have 9 clear days with us for SI... or in the alternative if I extend my trip by 2 days then will it make more sense ....

No specific reason to go to Christchurch, I mentioned it only because most of the itinerary given by the travel agents had Christchurch as the starting point ....

The other option I was thinking of was to come back from Waitomo to Auckland on Day 2 and taking a flight to Christchurch / Queenstown early on Day 3 so that we have an additional day in SI .... by skipping Rotorua are we missing on something great?

You will think how confused I am but that is exactly what I am .... therefore seeking advice from veterans like you ...

I for sure do not want the holiday to be too fast paced without really enjoying it ... and that adds to my woes since we are pressed for time.
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Old Jan 9th, 2013, 02:32 PM
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It absolutely makes sense to limit yourself to one island, without a doubt.

Regarding skipping Rotorua - personally, it didn't do much for me, but only you can decide if its important to you, and you won't know until you go. Have you ever been to Yellowstone? If so, you'll probably be underwhelmed with Rotorua's thermal activity. However, Rotorua isn't only about the thermal activity, it's also about Maori culture.

Sounds as if you're putting a great deal of effort into getting to Waitomo. I assume it's for the black water rafting...have you checked to see if it's even possible to drive there and back in a day and still have time for the rafting? What if there's a weather issue? You've left no time whatsoever for contingencies. How badly do you want to go black water rafting? Only you can decide.

Ask yourself what you absolutely don't want to miss, and go from there.
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Old Jan 9th, 2013, 05:19 PM
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I'm not a bit fan of Rotorua but it does give you an opportunity to experience some Maori culture and there are some great geothermal sights. It will be much harder to find these in the South Island. If neither of these interest you or you are able to come back another time, then concentrate on the South Island.

The TranzAlpine train is worth the trip from Christchurch to Greymouth (and then pick up hire car there).
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Old Jan 10th, 2013, 12:03 AM
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Hi ...

After considering your advice I have decided to leave North from my itinerary. Now since flying directly in and out of SI is seeming difficult because it is too time consuming so we have to have our international flights to and from Auckland. So what is almost final here is this:

Day 1 - Auckland - we arrive at about 12:30. Spend the day there. What are the things we can do there? Is there a nice beach nearby?

Day 2 - Fly to Chirstchurch/Queenstown early morning and spend the rest of the days in SI

Day 3- Day 9 - in SI

Day 10 - Take a flight to Auckland and catch 1:30 PM flight back home - is it doable or too tight?

My questions:

Are 8 clear days enough to complete the loop of SI, if yes how should we go about it. One of the suggested itineary was something like the one given below. is it doable, not just rushing through things but doable at a decent pace ..


Day 3 CHRISTCHURCH – MT COOK - QUEENSTOWN
Travel across the Canterbury Plains to reach Mt. Cook by lunch time. A rare opportunity here to take an optional
scenic flight for an overview of Mt Cook' s ice falls, snowfields and glaciers. Your journey continues over the
Lindis Pass and through the Kawarau Gorge to Queenstown.

Day 4 MILFORD SOUND EXCURSION (600 kms)
An early start as you follow Lake Wakatipu via Kingston arriving at Te Anau. From here you enter Fiordland National Park. Travel through beech forest, passing majestic
mountains, on through the Homer Tunnel in time to board your catamaran for the Milford Sound Cruise. You
will pass Mitre Peak, the highest mountain in the world to rise vertically from the sea. View the Stirling and
Bowen Falls as you cruise out to the Tasman Sea. Return to the pier where you reboard your coach for your
return journey to Queenstown.

Day 5 QUEENSTOWN
This is completely free day for you to pursue your own activities. Queenstown offers jet boating, lake cruised,
bungy jumping, rafting, hose riding, gondola rides and may be a visit to the Sky Alpine Casion.

Day 6 QUEENSTOWN - WEST COAST GLACIERS (420 kms)
Travel to the Kawarau Gorge past Lake Dunstan on toward Wanaka. On past Lake Hawea as you head toward
"the neck", a stop is made in Makarora before crossing the Southern Alps as you enter the Haast Pass. We pause
Southern at Knights Point to view magnificent seascapes. From here pass Lakes Moeraki and Paringa then past Bruce Bay
to arrive at the Glaciers region in the evening.

Day 7 WEST COAST GLACIERS (B)
A full day at leisure to enjoy the magnificent glaciers. Climb on to the slow moving river of ice or take a scenic
flight (optional) for a bird's eye view of this spectacular terrain.

Day 8 WEST COAST GLACIERS - GREYMOUTH – CHRISTCHURCH (420 kms) (B)
Travel along the coast to Greymouth to join the Tranz Alpine Express across the Southern Alps to Christchurch
(seat-in coach passengers only). (Self-drive passengers travel via Arthur's Pass road en route to Christchurch).
drive

Day 9 DEPART CHRISTCHURCH
Early this morning a tour on the ‘Hot Air Balloon’ is suggested if time permits.

Going by the above itinerary we have one additional day, where should we utilise that day?
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Old Jan 10th, 2013, 12:08 AM
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Forgot to mention that there are extremely rare (or perhaps none) chances for us to come back to NZ another time so wanted to ensure that we cover the best of NZ atleast ...
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Old Jan 10th, 2013, 01:05 AM
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If you were doing that trip in a tour bus, it would be doable - just. Those are some huge days on the road - are you planning on hiring a car and driving yourself? For example, Christchurch to Mt Cook would be a good 5 hours - and that's without stopping to enjoy Lake Tekapo or any of the other lovely sights along the way. Queenstown is then about 4 hours from there.

Milford is about 5 hours from Queenstown so that is 10 hour driving in one day without even taking time for the trip on the boat.

Day 1 - Auckland - you will probably be off a long haul flight. Head to Mission Bay and enjoy the city beach and have dinner at one of the local restaurants or fish and chips on the beach.
Day 2 fly to QTN and chill out there for the day
Day 3 You could then do a fly/drive to Milford Sound - the flight over the Milford is one of the best things I've ever done, and you fly over the Alps. It is pricey though. Consider overnighting in Te Anau. IF the fly/bus is too expensive, then the bus the whole trip.

Day 4 head back to Queenstown and enjoy things around there.

DAy 5Then up to Fox Glacier - take a full day for the drive stopping along the way at Wanaka and consider the walk to the blue pools in the Haast Pass.

Day 6 Take the time for an early early morning walk around Lake Matheson (near Fox township) where you can see the reflections of Mt Tasman and Mt Cook on a mirror flat lake. You could do a helihike on one of the glaciers and you will possibly see Mt Cook again if the weather is right. Cheaper alternative is to do the walk on the glacier at Fox. No cost alternative is just to walk to tracks until you reach the barriers.

Day 7 head up through Hokitika and Greymouth and perhaps up to Punakaikai as well. Find out what time high tide is and try and arrive at the same time.

Day 8 Catch the TranzAlpine to Christchurch

Day 9 leave
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Old Jan 10th, 2013, 03:04 AM
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Shveta -

I agree with hereandtherenz that your proposed itinerary is doable, but just. There are several long drive days. For example, Day 4 ia an 11-13 hour day, most of it on a bus. If your plan is to squeeze in as much as possible and just scratch the surface, yeah, it's doable.

If you undertake this itinerary, you'll have to be very disciplined, and not get sidetracked along the way. And believe me, it's very easy to get sidetracked in NZ.

On the upside, you'll see many of the SI's highlights, and that's what it's all about.
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Old Jan 11th, 2013, 08:41 AM
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Hi hereandtherenz and Melnq....

Earlier I was planning to go on a self drive but am getting skeptical about it given the long distances .... so am now thinking on seat in a coach basis ... do the coaches stop en route for the beautiful sites ....

I am highly grateful for your inputs ....
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Old Jan 11th, 2013, 06:07 PM
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The coaches do stop, but you'd have to enquire with them regarding specifics. For example, I believe the stop at Lake Tekapo is more of a toilet break than an exploration stop, but it'll be sufficient to see the lake.
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Old Jan 14th, 2013, 09:46 AM
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What kind of clothes would we require in March end .. does it also rain during that time ...
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Old Jan 14th, 2013, 04:21 PM
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There's always a chance of rain on the SI! Suggest you take a fleece layer and a waterproof jacket that fits over the fleece, because you just never know what the weather gods are up to in NZ. The Milford Sound cruise can be quite chilly. Think layers.

Otherwise, casual clothes, sturdy shoes or boots (especially if you plan to hike) and perhps a sun hat. For March, I'd also toss in some shorts and swimmers.
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Old Jan 14th, 2013, 04:22 PM
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And bug spray for the sandflies!
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 10:08 AM
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Hi Melinq and Hereandtherenz

After much deliberation and discussions, the travel agent has offered the following itinerary on a seat in a coach basis:

ay 1 - ARRIVE CHRISTCHURCH

On arrival in Christchurch, 'The Garden City', seat in coach passengers will be met by our local representative and privately transferred to your hotel. Self drive passengers will collect your rental car at the airport and drive to your hotel.

day 2 - CHRISTCHURCH - GLACIER REGION

Depart Christchurch on the TranzAlpine train (seat in coach passengers only) and travel beside the Waimakariri River, over the Southern Alps and onto the alpine village of Arthur's Pass before arriving in Greymouth. Travel south along the rugged West Coast to arrive at the glacier region of Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. (B)

day 3 - GLACIER REGION

A full day at leisure to explore this magnificent glacier region. Optional activities include a scenic flight or guided walk on one of the glaciers. (Optional activities not included in the tour price). (B)

day 4 - GLACIER REGION - WANAKA

Travel down the West Coast past spectacular mountain ranges, native forests and lakes to the Haast Pass, gateway to the World Heritage Westland National Park. Continue around the shores of Lake Hawea to arrive in Wanaka early afternoon. (B)

day 5 - WANAKA - QUEENSTOWN

This morning is free at your leisure - optional activities include Puzzling World and scenic flights or short walks. This afternoon continue to Queenstown. (B)

day 6 - QUEENSTOWN

A free day to explore the endless optional attractions available. Queenstown offers bungy jumping, jetboating, white water rafting, gondola rides and much more.

day 7 - QUEENSTOWN - MT COOK

Travel south through Central Otago to Twizel before travelling around Lake Pukaki and into Mt Cook National Park. Optional activities at Mt Cook include scenic flights, a glacier boat ride and the Sir Edmund Hillary Centre.

day 8 - MT COOK - CHRISTCHURCH

Depart Mt Cook and stop on the shores of Lake Tekapo to visit the 'Church of the Good Shepherd'. Continue across the fertile Canterbury Plains to arrive in Christchurch. (B

day 9 - DEPARTURE DAY

Not sure if we are covering Milford sound in this itinerary ... can you please confirm ...
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 02:50 PM
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No, the tour doesn't seem to include Milford Sound. The only place you can fit Milford Sound in would be Day 6.

You could take an organized tour to Milford Sound from QT - it's a long day, something like 13 hours, but it's done all the time.
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 07:39 PM
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so we can extend one day (Day 6 & 7) at Queenstown and do Milford Sound right? in that case should we come back to Queenstown or can we stay at a place nearby ... also read about some overnight cruise at Milford is it good?
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