New Zealand in four days

Dec 30th, 2003, 01:13 PM
  #1  
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New Zealand in four days

I know that four days is not nearly enough time for this great place, however, it is all that I have. If you could go one place in New Zealand where would it be? We will be spending time in Sydney so would prefer a quaint town with good scenery perhaps a wine region. Will we need a car??
mansfield is offline  
Dec 30th, 2003, 07:39 PM
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The answer might depend on when you're going. I just got back from NZ. A couple of suggestions:

1) Fly Sydney-Wellington-Napier (East Coast of N Island, about mid-island). Napier/Hawkes Bay is a (usually sunny) seaside town near a great wine region. Plus Napier is of great historical/architectural interest. It was destroyed by an earthquake in the early 30s, and rebuilt in Art Deco style. The buildings are well-preserved. A quirky budget hotel is the Masonic Hotel (with a resident cat). You could get away without a car, but it will be easier to tour around with one.

2) Option 2. Fly to Wellington, take the ferry across the Cook St to the South Island (gorgeous), then pick up a car and drive east and then south to explore the Marlborough wine regions (Nelson, etc), maybe travelling as far as Kaikoura (small coastal town, the capital for whale watching, seal swimming etc).

3) I also really liked Dunedin (moody Scottish-style town on the S Island) and the beautiful Otago peninsula (with penguin-watching and a castle to sleep in) - but no wine tours, I think.

It's very easy to hop around the country on cheap airfares (booked with an NZ address), so you might be able to pack more into a four-day trip than you think.

There are other, probably more spectacular sights in NZ, but these are quaint, a bit quirky and picturesque.

I can answer more questions if you like.
Kate_W is offline  
Dec 31st, 2003, 05:27 AM
  #3  
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thanks for the info. We will be there in late Feb, are you ruling out Auckland and Queenstown because they are slightly larger cities and I will be in Sydney first? All places sound great. Are there any "Lord of the Rings-ish" areas with good bed and breakfast inns?
mansfield is offline  
Dec 31st, 2003, 02:09 PM
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I ruled out Auckland because you wanted to focus on smaller towns with character. Auckland is fine as an entry or exit point, but I wouldn't waste much time there on a short trip. Also, the surrounding wine regions aren't as interesting as those I mentioned.

I spent a little time further north - in Tutukaka and Whangarei - for scuba diving. I can highly recommend them for diving - but not sure about "quaint". Since you'll be getting some "tropical" weather in Sydney, the South Island's more temperate and mountainous climate might be a more interesting contrast for you.

I didn't go to Queenstown because I grew up on the West Coast of British Columbia - Queenstown sounds like Whistler BC (overpriced, albeit gorgeous, adventure capital). I've heard that Wanaka is a smaller, less commercialized alternative. I also didn't recommend the usual Milford Sound/Franz Josef Glacier option (because I don't think they meet your "quaint wine country" interests - although they are supposed to be spectacular. (Again, as a northern BC girl, I decided to skip these sights and focus on something a little different).

I wasn't particularly impressed with Christchurch (but I wasn't there for very long) - it might be the kind of place that has more to offer if you can spend a few days - but I didn't (and you apparently don't) have a few days to spend there.

The options I mentioned in the earlier post were itineraries that I found carried a lot of bang for the buck as a "quaint and grapey" complement to Sydney. But you should also consider the "mountain adventure options" available on the South Island, and possibly Rotorua on the North Island as alternatives that will show you some of New Zealand's unique features.
Kate_W is offline  
Dec 31st, 2003, 09:30 PM
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When I think of quaint towns with good scenery in a wine region, I think of Queenstown and the Marlborough area, between Nelson and Motueka along Ruby Bay.

With so few days in NZ, you might do well to plant yourself in an area with alot to offer.

If it were me, I'd probably choose Queenstown. It's a town of 7,500, a bit touristy, but the scenery is gorgeous and there's loads of things to do there.

Queenstown is surrounded by wineries, as is nearby Wanaka.

Personally, I'd opt for a car, because
it offers more flexibility. With so little time, a car would enable you to do what you want, when you want, without having to rely on bus or tour schedules.
Melnq8 is online now  
Dec 31st, 2003, 09:59 PM
  #6  
 
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As far as "Lord of the Rings-ish" areas, you might want to consider Glenorchy - it's a tiny town of 215, located 47 km from Queenstown at the head of Lake Wakatipu. It's incredibly scenic and the gateway to Mt. Aspiring National Park. Parts of Lord of the Rings was filmed here.

I can't recommend a particular B&B there, but you can easily stay in Queenstown and drive to Glenorchy for the day - this is also where the Dart River Jetboat Safari begins, which I highly recommend (you can take their bus from Queenstown as part of the tour if you don't want to rent a car).

Like the previous poster, I wasn't all that impressed with Christchurch and I've been there several times.

I've also been to Dunedin several times. While I like Dunedin, it's a city of 110,800, not what I'd consider a quaint town. Personally, I'd choose Queenstown over Dunedin for such a short visit.

For unique lodging options, you might want to check out these sites:

www.lodgings.co.nz
www.bnb.co.nz
www.placestostay.co.nz

No matter what you decide, I'm sure you'll have a great time!

Good luck with your planning.
Melnq8 is online now  
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