New Zealand 2017 - North or South Island first

Mar 14th, 2016, 09:37 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 35
New Zealand 2017 - North or South Island first

We are a late 50's retired couple planning our trip to NZ in Febuary and Marchbof next year.
Pretty flexible on dates, and currently are looking at leaving the US second or third week in Febuary for a trip of about five weeks. Using Auckland as arrival and departure city.

We are physically active and plan on doing mostly day hikes, kayaking, biking, and generally touring about. Will rent a car and stay at B&B's, home stays,, or hotels and motels.

We chose the end of summer and beginnig of fall in the hopes that it be be easier to get accommodations on the go and change itinerary as we go.

That being said, does it make any sense to spend our first few days around Auckland to get over jet lag, and then fly to SI and work our way back to the NI ? We are thinking that we could take advantage of the warmer weather early in the trip on the SI. Or is the weather difference in that time frame not a big difference in late Febuary early March on the SI ?

kensulli is offline  
Mar 14th, 2016, 03:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,781
If you like warmer weather, it does make sense to begin on the south of the SI first, and then work your way north.

I suggest you forgo those first days in Auckland and head right to the SI, and then visit Auckland last. It seems counterproductive to me to stop in Auckland first just to return to the airport a few days later to take a domestic flight and then return to Auckland again on your way home.

Why not just keep going and get over your jetlag gazing at a beautiful lake or on a walk through the rainforest on the SI?
Melnq8 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2016, 05:48 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 975
We stopped for 3 nights in Auckland before heading on to the South Island. It was a great place to recover from the long flight (we ame from San Francisco via Sydney) and whet our appetites for what was to come in the South. Though flying directly to the South after arriving at Auckland airport would indeed save the cost of taxi fare (or the hassle of bus transportation) to the city from the airport and back, it wasn't all that expensive, and it gave us a much-appreciated break between flights. And perhaps you will want to take the boat back to the North Island from the South and make your way back to Auckland by car--so there would be no duplication there.

I suggest thinking about what you makes most sense to you and go with that--you won't go wrong either way.
aprillilacs is offline  
Mar 14th, 2016, 11:55 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,753
Chinese New Year will be on January 28, 2017, followed by Golden Week holidays. Expect New Zealand to be busiest with Chinese tourists from about January 27 through February 11 (Lantern Festival). Reasonably priced accommodation in Queenstown will be especially heavily booked at this time. February is high season, in general.

If I were you, after arrival in Auckland, I would connect to a South Island flight to take advantage of February weather, as you would like warmer weather. By March, the days could get cooler and will get shorter.

Keep in mind some flights from the U.S. arrive early in the day, around 6 a.m. You might not be able to check into your hotel until 1 or 2 p.m. If you book a connecting flight to the South Island, try and give yourself around 2.5 hours between flights, as customs and immigration could be swamped. You don't want to worry about missing your connecting flight.

In general, I would say NZ's weather is unpredictable and highly variable at any time of year. Have a look at today's temperatures, keeping in mind it is mid-March.
Diamantina is online now  
Mar 18th, 2016, 09:46 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 35
Thanks for the comments. Leaning towards heading to the SI on arrival day-leaning towards Queenstown right now but still open to other destinations.
kensulli is offline  

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