Need Help with Itinerary


May 18th, 2005, 10:54 AM
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Need Help with Itinerary

My husband and I are planning a trip to NZ. Even though we are well-traveled, I am having a hard time putting together our itinerary. There is so much so see and do in NZ that I'm overwhelmed! First, I want to know the best time to go. I'm thinking either Fall or Spring (theirs). We will have 3 weeks including travel time. Can anyone help me with suggestions for where we should spend our time? All responses are appreciated.
yodi1 is offline  
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May 18th, 2005, 05:16 PM
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My husband and I were in the same boat this past year, planning a trip to New Zealand with a knowledge base not much higher than zero. We had the luxury of spending 18 days on the South Island and 8 on the North. We reasoned that the South Island likely was more remote and possibly more beautiful than the North, although the northern sections of the North Island are reputedly the equal of the South.
Lonely Planet and Fodor's were helpful, as was a NZ government sponsored website (sorry but I no longer have that address). Our trip began in Queenstown; we drove our way northward, flew between the two islands and left out of Auckland.
Everything we did was amazing and wonderful. If we had to choose two things to repeat, I would opt for Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge
and Lake Taupo, where we stayed at a glorious b&b, Wharewaka
As well, Abel Tasman National Park and its Golden Bay are stunning, although difficult to reach.
Hope this helps in getting you started -
Carol L
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May 19th, 2005, 01:00 AM
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Yodi1 -

I feel your pain. There's so much to see in NZ that it's difficult to narrow down. First you'll need to decide if you want to see a little of both islands, or alot of one, and then go from there.

There are several tour companies that offer suggested itineraries online. This is a good place to start your research - you'll quickly learn the "must see's" and you'll get an idea of what you can fit into the time you have.

As far as when to go...

We've visited the South Island in September (spring) several times. We've always gotten a mix of weather including cold sunny days, lots of rain and even snow here and there.

This year we decided to go in mid-April through the first week of May and the weather was incredible! We were told by the owner of a cottage we stayed in that April is NZ's most stable month weatherwise.

I'd suggest you go in April or May, but keep in mind that NZ school holdays fall during this time. You can check exact school holidays dates online.

This was the first time we'd been to NZ during school holidays and while there was definitely more traffic and more people at attractions than we'd ever seen in September, it was far from crowded (except Queenstown).

Most hotels/motels in NZ lower their rates at the beginning of May as well.

If I can be of further help don't hesitate to contact me at [email protected]

Melnq8 is offline  
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May 20th, 2005, 12:52 PM
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We just went in November, and the weather was beautiful in the north, rainy and colder everywhere else, though the locals said it was unusually rainy and cold this year.
The weather was not all that important to us, we just wanted fewer crowds. We spent 21 days on the South Island, so if you want any help with that, I can give you more information. I recommend getting a tour book with color pictures to help you decide what the "highlights" of your trip are going to be --- for us it was Abel Tasman, the glaciers, and Doubtful Sound. After that, we just filled in the gaps of how to get from place to place.
Other comments would be:
-we loved kayaking in Abel Tasman-- if I had to do it again, we would do an overnight trip (though we were with friends who would not have been able to this time.)
-I would spend more time in the Catlins; we loved the opportunity to see penguins and sea lions up close, and would have loved more time
-Don't miss the overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound-- simply delightful!
-We loved the glaciers, even though we were shut out of the helihike 4 times!
To be honest, I can't really think of anyplace we didn't love; it's just a matter of where we might have spent more time, or spent time differently.

jonesie is offline  
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May 22nd, 2005, 06:41 AM
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I would suggest that the best time to travel to NZ would be Feb March April or Oct Nov Dec.
All of NZ is lovely I was born there but now live in Australia
The West coast of the South Island is very scenic as is Wanaka and Queenstown.
Dunedin is an interesting city to visit but it can be cold and wet any time of year.
Christchurch to is interesting.Most of the other places have already been suggest by others on the board.
Have a good trip to the land of the long white cloud.
Joybell is offline  
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May 22nd, 2005, 11:47 AM
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I had the same problem last year. I read many of the itineraries of the usual catalog tour companies, the airlines, the online tour companies, and of course the many trip reports on this forum. Then I went through Fodor's and Frommer's books and made a list of the highest recommended activities.

We went for 3 weeks starting late March, went to both N and S islands, had only 2 days of rain which did not interfere with any activities, and had cold weather only in the catlins.

Where you go and what you do depend on your interests. What might they be?
Jed is offline  
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May 25th, 2005, 12:38 AM
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We spent 10 days on the North Island last April. The weather was lovely; we only had rain the last couple of days of our trip, and it didn't last all day.

You can see some of our pictures at

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
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May 25th, 2005, 07:02 AM
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Lee Ann - Beautiful pictures.
Jed is offline  
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May 25th, 2005, 12:49 PM
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Thank you, Jed! My dh took most of them.

Lee Ann
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