itinerary help

Mar 22nd, 2008, 09:52 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 209
itinerary help

What do you think. I know it looks rushed, but the cost of this trip is huge, and I don't want to expect that I will be able to come back to NZ some other day. We are 4 active 35 year olds from Coloado.

North & South Islands
DEC 23 - Auckland - Drive to Tutukaka
DEC 24 - Dive the Poor Knights
DEC 25 - Drive to Waitomo
DEC 26 - Waitomo Glow worm caves - Drive to Rotorua - Maori Show
DEC 27 - Hell's Gate or Waitapu geothermal area - Drive to Taupo
DEC 28 - Tongariro Crossing
DEC 29 - Drive to Wellington/ Ferry to Picton (Can the drive and the Ferry be done in one day?)
DEC 30 - Marlborough wine country (or moving up everything one day to insert the Milford day cruise later)
DEC 31 - Drive to Nelson
JAN 1 - Kayak Abel Tasman (Can the drive to Nelson from Picton and kayaking be done in one day?)
JAN 2 - Drive to Queenstown (can this drive be done in one day?)
JAN 3 - Routeburn Track day 1
JAN 4 - Routeburn Track day 2
JAN 5 - Routeburn Track day 3
(If time allows, Insert Milford sound day cruise and Stewart island for 2 days here, we are trying to change our international flights)
JAN 6 - Drive to Dunedin/Oamaru - View Penguins
JAN 7 - Drive to Queenstown or Chiristchurch to fly back to AUK
JAN 8 - Fly back home to the US

Thanks for any input. I need to know what is possible as far as some of the drive times. I don't have a realistic viewpoint yet.
koala is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2008, 07:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,789
It's too much.

You can use or to get some idea of drive times. Or you can use an average figure of 50 KILOMETERs per hour.

If you've looked thru these boards you'll see a common theme, that first time visitors did not realize it would take them so long to get between places. Most roads are winding two-lanes with limited passing, lots of trucks and slow moving campervans, and too many photo ops.
mlgb is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2008, 08:07 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,126
Wow! you must be super fit to schedule all that seriously active stuff with no rest days.

But seriously, some of those activities would need to be booked in advance. And how were you thinking of handling accommodation? Book in advance too? With such a tight schedule (I think it's un-double but that could just be me) you can't chance winging it, because you can't afford at any time to spend an unscheduled day somewhere. Bear in mind too that it is high season, school holidays and all that, demand for accommo and activities will be high.

In other words you almost have to book everything beforehand. And so what you are setting up is a high-stress project where nothing can go wrong, and if something does you will have to rearrange everything that is supposed to come afterwards.

I think I'd stop, take a deep breath, decide what your real priorities are, and construct version 2.

Happy travels.

afterall is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2008, 09:35 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 225
Way, way, WAY too much...

Yes, New Zealand is roughly the size of Colorado, but the driving is completely different over there. Roads are long and winding with many hairpin turns, often very narrow, sometimes steep. Takes longer than you might expect to go from Points A to B.

You really need 2 full weeks to experience the highlights of just one island. If you are very active, I would actually recommend you consider just spending your entire trip on the South Island. Further, other than Abel Tasman which is terrific, I would say to focus mostly on the southern half of the Southern Island as it is the most scenic with Franz Josef/Fox Glaciers, Mt. Cook/Mt. Aspiring, Milford Sound, the Caitlins, Stewart Island, etc.
Ceidleh is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 12:29 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 786
This itinerary is madness to put it bluntly. For one thing, it is right in the middle of our season and the roads are busy especially in the north island.
You need to look at previous suggestions on this board and plan something that is easy to manage. Too often people come here from big countries, look at a map and compare the sizes and think this is a breeze to move around, it isn't.
We have enough problems with people rushing around like lunatics on our roads to see as much as possible and being the subject of road accidents through inexperience of driving on our roads. Plan something that is manageable.
KathyNZ is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 03:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,126
Other posters have stated the obvious. I'm much too polite.

I mean, this is yet another example of .. what should we call it?

Youthful exuberance, or American ignorance.

afterall is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 06:02 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 225
Yes "Afterall", from your other posts on this site, we know how "polite" you are to make sweeping generalizations that all Americans are ignorant.

For the record, this youthful American planned her trip to New Zealand knowing full well that size doesn't really matter when it comes to planning a trip (I spent 2 months in New Zealand, visited both Islands and know I could have spent another 2 months there and still not been able to see and do everything I wanted).

Yes, I know there is much that is wrong with America today - but I also don't make sweeping generalizations of a country (any country) or its citizens that would make me sound, well - ignorant.

However, I do admit to making sweeping generalizations about people who hide behind a computer tossing about insults to other cultures. Generally I would say its either a man with a very small penis (oops! guess size really DOES matter sometimes) or the kind of woman that is routinely ignored by her family and/or co-workers when she speaks. Which one of those categories do you fall into?
Ceidleh is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 06:03 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 786
Ceidleh, for goodness sake, get over it. How do you know that Afterall is not in the US of A?
We are trying to be helpful here and avoid the obvious, holiday burnout by dashing about as I said already, like lunatics trying to do too much. This weekend has seen four people killed in a head on who arrived in the country on holiday the day before and were in a rental car and one other on holiday killed on a motorbike. Don't take this too lightly, we mean what we say, plan sensibly and it will be more enjoyable for all concerned.
KathyNZ is offline  
Mar 27th, 2008, 07:51 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 209
Thanks for the input. I suspected this was practically insane. Believe it or not a travel agent suggested it. I suppose she wasn't thinking as much about enjoyment as she was about bumping up the cost of the trip with activites she could make a premium on (I actually took out the balooning and glacier trek). We have decided to plan the trip on our own. I have pared it down to this, and starting in the south and going north. I suspect one of the drives may still be a stretch though. Any other input?

North & South Islands
DEC 23 - Auckland - Fly to Queenstown
DEC 24 - Milford Sound Boat trip
DEC 25 - Routeburn track
DEC 26 - Routeburn track
DEC 27 - Routeburn track
DEC 28 - Free
DEC 29 - Drive to Dunedin- Nugget Point
DEC 30 - Omaru and Penguins
DEC 31 - Drive to Nelson
JAN 1 - Wineries/Free
JAN 2 - Kayak Abel Tasman
JAN 3 - Ferry to Wellington
JAN 4 - Drive to Tongariro NP
JAN 5 - Tongariro Crossing/Free
JAN 6 - Waitomo Glow Worm caves
JAN 7 - Drive to Aukland
JAN 8 - Fly back home

I'd love to do Stewart Island, but there simply isn't time.

Thanks for the input.
koala is offline  
Mar 27th, 2008, 08:23 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,485
While you're in Wellington, take some time to visit Te Papa, NZ's national museum. It's fascinating, especially the information on Maori/Pakeha relations.

In Waitomo, I recommend the Black Labyrinth cave tubing tour with Legendary Blackwater Rafting Co. It's a lot of fun, and you'll see plenty of glowworms.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Mar 28th, 2008, 02:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,126
Would Koala care to comment on Ceidheh's comments?

Koala - good for you. Your revised itinerary will be wonderful.
afterall is offline  
Mar 28th, 2008, 03:48 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 236
I am so glad you are taking your time and doing the Routburn Track -

It is my favourite and I have walked it several times initially as a young uni student and most recently as a wise and fun 50 year old.

While NZ is relatively small it is actually deceiving; with so many views rushing at you at every turn and with quite meandering roads it takes much much longer than the straight mathematical equation would have it.

So follow the good travelling light principle:

"pack, discard one third and savour the rest"
angelnot1 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2008, 08:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,789
Use the distance calculator on this website to test your driving legs, and you may be able to allocate your free days to break up some of the ridiculously long drives you still have in the itinerary.

For example, Oamaru to Nelson is at least 10 hours (and realistically, more like 11 or 12). Neither a good idea nor a safe one.
mlgb is offline  
Apr 1st, 2008, 07:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 209
I have updated the itinerary one more time by rearranging our arrival point and split the longest drive into two days.

DEC 23 - Auckland - Fly to Dunedin
Dec 24- Otago Peninsula and Yellow eyed penguins
Dec 25- Nugget Point Hike and Drive to Queenstown
Dec 26- Milford Sound Boat trip/ Queenstown wineries
Dec 27- Routeburn track
Dec 28- Routeburn track
Dec 29- Routeburn track
Dec 30- Drive to Franz Joseph Glacier
Dec 31- Drive to Nelson (see pancake rocks along the way)
Jan 1- Free/Wineries
Jan 2- Kayak Abel Tasman
Jan 3- Ferry to Wellington
Jan 4- Drive to Tongariro NP
Jan 5- Hike Tongariro Crossing/ Free
Jan 6- Waitomo Glow Worm Caves and Black Water Rafting?
Jan 7- Drive to Aukland
Jan 8- Fly back home

We would like to fly directly to Dunedin from Aukland. Are there other airlines that fly there besides Air NZ?

Will the wineries potentially be open for business on the Christmas and New Years Holidays?

Any other thoughts?

Thanks for the input.
koala is offline  
Apr 1st, 2008, 10:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,227
Hi koala –

Regarding your SI itinerary:

Dec 25 – The drive from Dunedin to Owaka (near Nugget Point) will take you about 1:45 (118 km)

Suggest you pick up a Catlins map before you leave Dunedin as the Owaka visitors center will most likely be closed on Christmas.

Which route are you planning to take from Owaka to QT? The most direct route will take you about four hours (289 km). If you plan to continue along the Southern Scenic Route towards QT, please be aware that there are many, many places to stop along the way and this can add considerable time to your journey. The walk to Nugget Point is short – about 20 minutes return (assuming this is the hike you’re referring to).

Dec 26 –

Milford Sound is a four hour drive (one way) from Queenstown. You simply won’t have time to visit wineries in QT on the same day - most of them close by 5 and there are only one or two wineries really close to QT, so you’ll need to account for some drive time too.

See this site for opening times:

Day 27 - From which end are you starting the Routeburn? If you're starting from The Divide, it makes absolutely no sense to return to Queenstown after your Milford cruise, as the trailhead is about 36 km from Milford. It doesn't make sense to start from the Glenorchy end, as you'd have to return to QT, drive to Glenorchy, and then take the long, unsealed drive to the beginning of the track from that end.

Are you taking a guided walk on the Routeburn, or freedom walking? Where will you end up (Glenorchy end or Milford end?).

This detail greatly affects your entire SI itinerary.

Dec 30 –

Assuming you’re driving from QT (which is a 40 minute drive from Glenorchy if you end your walk there) it will take you 6-7 hours to drive to Franz Josef, depending on stops – and there are many reasons to stop. You've not left your time much time to see the glaciers once you get there as you're leaving the next day for another long drive.

Dec 31 -

The drive from Franz Josef to Nelson is about 469 km – just under 7 hours.

Jan 2 –

Marahau, the gateway to Abel Tasman is a 60-90 minute drive from Nelson. If your main focus is Nelson area wineries and Abel Tasman, consider staying in between Nelson and Mouteka - you’ll be right smack in wine country and your drive to Abel Tasman will be shorter, giving you more time to spend there.

Personally, I think this itinerary makes no sense. With all due respect, have you looked at a map?

You’re trying to squeeze in the far south and the far north of the SI in too short a time and you’ve not allowed any time to do anything, other than the three days you’ve reserved for the Routeburn (which is a fantastic track).
Melnq8 is online now  
Apr 2nd, 2008, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,485
The Tongariro Crossing will take most of the day; you'll probably just want to relax that evening.

If you go black water rafting the next day, you'll see plenty of glowworms without taking that additional cave tour. You can also go out on the Ruakuri cave path at night and see a lot of them.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Apr 6th, 2008, 04:44 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 209
Thanks Leann and Melenq8, you have brought up a lot of thoughts that I will have to research in more detail.

We weren't really all that excited about seeing the glaciers (as were going to Alaska soon) but found them to be a convenient midway stop from the fiordland area to Able Tasman. Any thoughts on a better way to get there?
koala is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Australia & the Pacific
Sep 6th, 2016 12:58 AM
Australia & the Pacific
Sep 26th, 2015 09:28 AM
Australia & the Pacific
May 21st, 2014 12:24 PM
Australia & the Pacific
Jul 8th, 2008 04:42 PM
Australia & the Pacific
Sep 12th, 2005 09:24 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:48 PM.