Itinerary Honeymoon in NZ - Please help us out

Old Sep 11th, 2011, 07:01 AM
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Itinerary Honeymoon in NZ - Please help us out

Hello to everyone,
We are trying to organise our honeymoon in New Zealand, but it's really hard: so much to see and, as it seems, not enough time.
Would be very grateful if you could give us a hand in making the final decisions.
We should arrive in Auckland on Wednesday 21 December early in the morning and are flying back from Auckland on Sunday 8 January early afternoon.
We are considering to extend our stay with 3 more days, but need to check with the airline if that is possible without a ridiculous extra charge. If we were to extend, please also advise where you would add the three days.
Day 1: Auckland-Waiheke: stay and relax in Waiheke
Day 2: Waiheke
Day 3: Waiheke-Auckland-Bay of Island
Day 4: Bay of Island - Waihi
Day 5: Waihi-Rotorua
Day 6: Rotorua
Day 7: Rotorua-Wellington
Day 8: Wellington-Picton-Marlborough
Day 9: Marlborough
Day 10: Marlborough-Motueka
Day 11: Motueka-Franz Joseph
Day 12: Franz Joseph-Wanaka
Day 13: Wanaka-Te Anau
Day 14: Te Anau
Day 15: Te Anau-Dunedin
Day 16: Dunedin-Christchurch
Day 17: Christchurch
Day 18: Christchurch-Auckland
Day 19: Auckland (and flight back)
We are thinking of taking a flight out of Rotorua to Wellington to save time and have more time to visit Wellington. Is that a good plan or would we miss out on a nice roadtrip?
If we were to take out any of these places, what would you give up on? I am thinking maybe Waihi and the Coromandel or maybe Motueka and the Abel Tasman National Park? Is there anything else you would change to this itinerary?
We could also consider taking a flight from Dunedin to Christchurch, but I seem to understand that the landscapes between the two are very much worth the drive?
Thanks very much to all who can give us a hand !
scheldekaai is offline  
Old Sep 11th, 2011, 03:05 PM
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The flight between Rotorua and Welington would give you more time in one of my favorite cities.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Old Sep 11th, 2011, 04:40 PM
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Hi scheldekaai -

Your South Island itinerary has you driving almost every single day, which leaves you very little time to see the places you're driving to. A lot of your time will be spent in the car and checking in/out of hotel rooms. If this is how you like to travel, fair enough, but do be aware that it takes more time than you might expect to get between point A and point B, as roads are narrow and winding, and there are alot of one way bridges, etc.

For instance, Motueka to Franz Josef is a 471 km drive, which will take you close to seven hours, Franz Josef to Wanaka is a 287 km drive, which will take you close to five hours, and Wanaka to Te Anau is 273 km, which will take you close to four hours. You'll have plenty of daylight in December, but you'll still be limited in what you can see and do once you arrive as you have very few 'full days' in which to explore your destinations.

This distance calculator might help:

The drive from Dunedin to Christchurch is nothing to get excited about, believe me. The section along the east coast from Oamaru to Christchurch is probably the least scenic drive on the SI, and one I avoid at all costs.
Melnq8 is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2011, 12:37 AM
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Why don't you just fly home from Dunedin, making your connection to your international flight in Auckland? Just make sure that you leave enough time for your connection (more than three hours), as flights out of Dunedin can be delayed due to fog.

There is a lot to do and see in Dunedin, more than in Christchurch (though nearby Akaroa is pretty).

Dunedin is the "wildlife capital of New Zealand." You can see Northern Royal Albatross, Yellow Eyed Penguins, Royal Spoonbills, Hooker Sea Lions, Fur Seals, and much more. The city has beautiful Victorian and Edwardian architecture, a gorgeous botanical garden, probably the third best museum in New Zealand (the Otago Museum), good restaurants, many lovely beaches. The environs are also worth exploring: the Orokunui Eco Santuary, Port Chalmers, Aramoana, Warrington. Dunedin is also a university town, so it has a lively young energy and an abundance of cafe culture.

If you find yourself with time to spare the drive from Dunedin to Oamaru is worth doing. Oamaru is home to a Blue Penguin Colony and a tiny but lovingly restored historic center. Between Oamaru and Dunedin, stop at Moeraki Beach to have a look at huge round boulders strewn across the sand. If you are hungry, stop at Fleur's Place in Moeraki.

If you feel like shopping for possum-merino woolen garments (jackets, sweaters, wraps, scarves) for loved ones or yourselves, consider driving all the way up to Waimate (just a bit beyond Oamaru). The prices at the Waimate factory outlet are 20 to 30 percent cheaper than in the stores.

South of Dunedin is the Catlins, which are also worth exploring.
Diamantina is offline  
Old Sep 18th, 2011, 05:11 AM
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Dear ElendilPickle, Melnq8 and Diamantina, thank you so much for your replies, very helpful !
I'm really sorry for not replying earlier, but here I was thinking that I would receive some kind of notification when someone replied (too much facebook .
Anyway, we will most likely add three days to the trip, which should be helpful. Also, I think maybe we should just give up on Abel Tasman national park.
So, assuming that, where would you add an extra day? I think definitely one in Dunedin, so that we can go see the Caitlins, which where on my list. I think I am also going to give up on the Bay of Islands... would that be a huge shame?
So this would be the new itinerary:
day 1 Waiheke
day 2 Waiheke
day 3 AKL - Coromandel
day 4 Coromandel - Rotorua
day 5 Rotorua
day 6 fly from Rotorua to Wellington in the early afternoon)
day 7 Wellington (it's going to be Christmas day)
day 8 Wellington - Picton - Marlborough
day 9 Marlborough
day 10 Marlborough- Kaikoura
day 11 Kaikoura
day 12 Kaikoura - CHC in the morning, rest of the day in CHC
day 13 CHC - FJ (quick question, is this the route that goes over Arthur's Pass?)
day 14 FJ
day 15 FJ - Wanaka
day 16 Wanaka - Te Anau
day 17 Te Anau
day 18 Te Anau - Dunedin
day 19 Dunedin
day 20 fly from Dunedin to AKL (see alternative option from here on below)
day 21 AKL
day 22 day tour to 90 mile beach and Cape Reinga
day 23 Aukland
day 24 flight back to Rome.

An alternative for the last days would be this:
day 20 fly from Dunedin to Aukland and on to Kaitaia
day 21 visit 90mile beach and Cape Reinga (any tips for a tour that is not too touristy, as I understand we are not allowed to take a rental car on the beach? if we do this with a tourbus, is there any need for us to rent a car?)
day 22 drive from Kaitaia to Bay of Islands and on to Auckland (I know, it will be a long trip, but my fiance loves driving and we can make a roadtrip out of it)
day 23 Auckland
day 24 flight back to Rome

I will come check back a bit sooner this time, so thanks very much again for the help you already provided and above and for any new suggestions you may have on the new itinerary!!!
scheldekaai is offline  
Old Sep 18th, 2011, 12:33 PM
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I hate to complicate things, but ... I loved Abel Tasman. However, for me, it's not the kind of place that you drive to, see it, and leave. It's a place to explore by boat and with long beautiful walks. The pink sunrises and sunsets were exquisite. But I wouldn't drive all the way there just to check it off my list--but then again ... I don't love driving.
Songdoc is offline  
Old Sep 18th, 2011, 03:58 PM
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If you're interested in the Catlins, why not stay IN the Catlins? You can drive to Dunedin the day of your flight from wherever you stay in the Catlins (depending on flight times of course). Otherwise, you're just passing through a small section of the Catlins.

Where specifically in Marlbrough do you plan to stay? Blenheim, Picton, the sounds?

<day 13 CHC - FJ (quick question, is this the route that goes over Arthur's Pass?)>

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Old Sep 18th, 2011, 11:22 PM
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If you are just flying up to the Bay of Islands to go to 90 mile beach and Cape Reinga, I feel it is not worth it. But I have not been to 90 mile beach and Cape Reinga, so maybe someone else will weigh in on this. First of all, I just looked up day tours to 90 mile beach and Cape Reinga from Auckland and it will cost you NZ$995 per person. My husband and I have stayed up in the Bay of Islands on two different visits to New Zealand and we do love it there--my husband even applied for a job in Kaitaia at one point. The Bay of Islands is subtropical, which differentiates it from, say, the South Island. But if you have been to Hawaii, the Bay of Islands won't be such a surprise.

To really see the Bay of Islands/Northland, you can't just fly up to one part of it, you have to see the towns of Paihia. Kerikeri and Russell, small communities like Mangawhai and Mangonui, and visit the enormous kauri trees of the Waipoua Forest on the Northland's west coast. I urge you to save your visit to Cape Reinga for a second visit to New Zealand, during which time you can see the Bay of Islands more thoroughly.

Te Anau to Dunedin in one day? I don't think will be so easy. You would miss too much along the way.
Diamantina is offline  
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