New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Bora Bora???

Old Jun 28th, 2014, 06:28 AM
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New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Bora Bora???

We are a family of 6 from Katy, Tx just outside of Houston. We have 4 kids and at the time of travel they will be 17, 15, turning 14, and 10. We want to take a big trip when the kids are on break Dec.22-Jan.5. Kids have to be in school on the 6th. We will be celebrating Christmas, one of our kid's 14th b-day, New Years and our 20th wedding anniversary. Needless to say, we love being with our kids and want to experience a great trip with them to celebrate these things.
We have always wanted to visit New Zealand, but don't want to do a ton of driving as I've read about in other forums. We also want to move on to another island to stay in huts over the water, but we are quite stuck making a great decision because travel sites make everything seem great. We are not into art museums, shopping, and just looking at country side. We are more active than that, but also want to relax. Can someone help me narrow down some of the stops. I think the kids would love the glaciers, hot springs and mud, dolphins and whales, beaches, kayaking, possibly horseback riding and rapids. We don't have to see everything but want a good taste of New Zealand without hours of driving or hotel hopping.
Lastly, we have always wanted to stay on the beach, in a hut on the water. I know Tahiti and Bora Bora have these but I'm not sure which would be the best island for us. An all inclusive for this would probably work great and what a relaxing way to end this trip.
Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
tdagley is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2014, 09:45 PM
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Wow, where to start.

I count 15 days - does that include travel time?

With two weeks you can see a wee bit of both the North and South Islands, or quite a lot of one. Adding a third location with so little time will be quite a challenge.

The Cook Islands are a possibility - they're halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. Most flights to NZ from the US leave from LAX though.

I'm partial to the South Island, and truly, I think only a week there is giving it short shrift, UNLESS you're happy to plunk yourself down in one or two areas and just enjoy. There's just no way you can see much of the SI in a week, due to travel distances. Sure, NZ looks small on a map, but believe me, this has deceived many a visitor.

There are only so many roads and few places with airports, so distances are a major factor when planning trips to NZ.

Traveling over Christmas will present its own set of issues, including possible closures, which could well impact your stay.

As you're active, you'll find plenty to keep you busy on either island of NZ - the tramping tracks are endless, the water activities and adventure abundant.

You mention glaciers, hot springs and mud. To me that means the West Coast of the South Island (glaciers), Hanmer Springs on the South Island and Taupo on the NI (hot springs) (although there are many, not all natural though: http://www.nzhotpools.co.nz/) and Rotorua (mud), which is on the North Island. Dolphins can be found in many locations, but the best spot for whale watching trips is Kaikoura (South Island). Beaches are abundant, kayaking can be done from many areas including Abel Tasman, the Marlborough Sounds and Milford Sound on the South Island. Horseback riding...hmmm, Glenorchy, Queesntown and Te Anau come to mind although I'm sure there are many other options. Rapids, I think maybe Taupo.

Getting to/from each of those places will be the challenge as the above wish list encompasses both islands with some long distances between locations.

I suggest you sit down with a guidebook and figure out what most appeals to you and your family, look into flight options from Texas and determine where you'll arrive and depart from, and how many days you'll actually have on the ground.

Now lets talk about jetlag...
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Old Jul 5th, 2014, 05:55 AM
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Wow, thank you Melnq8! Excellent start. May not seem as if you've helped me narrow it down a bit, but you have. I will get a book and really look at these spots closely. Thanks for the tip about closures...I'll try to figure that out as well when planning.
Thank you!!
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Old Jul 5th, 2014, 05:56 AM
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Also, yes, that would include our travel days
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Old Jul 5th, 2014, 03:36 PM
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It seems to me that you are looking at two types of holiday. In Fiji, Tahiti, Bora Bora you would be staying at a resort, probably with little choice of meal venues and, particularly in Tahiti and Bora Bora, quite expensive especially in the over-water accommodation.
In New Zealand, you would have more choice of accommodation and places to eat, and most likely, a lot cheaper. There is a lot more to see and experience for the children.
All the places you mention are beautiful - I guess it depends on whether you want a 'doing' holiday against a relaxing one in a beach venue.
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