New Zealand in May?

Mar 25th, 2018, 11:49 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2017
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New Zealand in May?

We are planning to visit New Zealand in May, from the 17th to the 27th - and trying to decide whether we should cancel our flights and book for another time of year.

I booked these dates based on our work schedules, as it's an ideal time to travel for us, but now that I'm beginning to plan, I keep running into articles and forums advising against traveling to New Zealand in May. This is primarily due to the shorter days, cooler weather, and increased rainfall.

I'd love some advice on this!

If you do think we should still go, I'd love to know what you recommend doing. We stay away from touristy stuff - we are most excited about being immersed in nature, seeing beautiful views, and possibly also doing some adventure sports. We fly into Auckland but would like to see as many parts of New Zealand as we can!

I'm thinking that maybe some areas are better to visit in May than others?
ShannonLynArnold is offline  
Mar 26th, 2018, 06:54 AM
  #2  
 
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We've been visiting NZ since 1993 and we specifically chose May this year because 1) We always travel in low or shoulder season - fewer people, temperature more to our liking, deserted walking trails, lower accommodation rates, etc and 2) May has a better chance of decent weather than the winter months, yet none of the crowds - the kids have returned to school, the Chinese have returned to China, and the locals have recovered from the summer influx of tourists.

FWIW - it can rain any time of year in NZ - they had a particularly ferocious February this year from what I understand, and that's the height of summer! Trying to plan a trip around what might or might not happen weather-wise is an act of futility.

We're spending a full month on the SI - we've been many times, so our itinerary may not work for a first timer, but since you asked for suggestions, this is what we're going to do - we're flying into Auckland, then continuing on to Queenstown, and we'll be departing from Christchurch back to Auckland. Our main focus is hiking, wine, scenery, peace and quiet.

Bannockburn - five nights
Manapouri - four nights
Glenorchy - four nights
Fox Glacier - two nights
Cape Foulwind - two nights
Tasman - five nights
Rarangi - five nights
Coalgate - three nights
Melnq8 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2018, 12:19 AM
  #3  
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Melnq8 - Thank you so, so much for this! I'm so happy to hear that you chose May after visiting many times, and your itinerary is so helpful because it sounds like you are wanting the same kind of trip that we are. I will look into each of the places you listed. Thank you again!!
ShannonLynArnold is offline  
Mar 27th, 2018, 01:01 AM
  #4  
 
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Just one thing to add about the shorter days of May. This means longer nights. When it's clear, the night skies above New Zealand are perfect for stargazing. The galactic core of the Milky Way is directly overhead.
https://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/maga...-beauty-behold

10 days is not very much time. You'll have to choose well, North or South Island, but probably not both.
Diamantina is offline  
Mar 27th, 2018, 09:42 PM
  #5  
 
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Our last trip was late May to early June. It was cool to cold, especially at night, but we were prepared for cold and rain so it didn't bother us. We also had a number of sunny days.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Mar 27th, 2018, 11:56 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2015
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May is fine - I think you are overanxious about this! It's certainly better than July or August. New Zealand does get a lot of rain but that's why the place is so green and the sheep so happy. Not to mention our dairy cows eating all the fresh green grass so we can have wonderful ice cream and cheese. Just bring a jacket and keep in mind the rain does not last for long.l
March or November would be other good months.
tasmangirl is offline  
Mar 28th, 2018, 11:16 AM
  #7  
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Hi ElendilPickle - This is helpful! What did you do on the rainy days?
ShannonLynArnold is offline  
Mar 28th, 2018, 11:18 AM
  #8  
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Hi tasmangirl - It's actually comforting to hear that I may be overanxious about the timing of our trip. To clarify, are you saying that it typically only rains for a short period of time - not all day? I have heard that your ice cream is to die for!
ShannonLynArnold is offline  
Mar 28th, 2018, 11:19 AM
  #9  
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Diamantina I hadn't thought of that! We will definitely plan for some stargazing. That will be amazing.
ShannonLynArnold is offline  
Mar 30th, 2018, 12:36 AM
  #10  
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I've put together our itinerary and I'd love your feedback, especially on our plans for the Coromandel Peninsula. We're also trying to decide whether to see the caves by boat or water rafting in Waitomo.

May 19
- Fly in at 6 am
- Rent either a car or an RV
- Drive to the Coromandel Peninsula
- Go kayaking in Cathedral Cove (either the Remote cove tour or Cathedral Rock tour)
- Visit the Hot Spring Beach at low tide
- Stargazing at night

May 20
- Visit the Lost Spring geothermal pools + massage
- Drive to Rotura
- See the Redwood Tree Walk at night

May 21 - Day trip to Waitomo & Ruakuri Caves - we're trying to decide whether to see the caves by boat or water rafting

May 22 - Day trip to Blue Springs Putaruru

May 23 - Fly to Queenstown - any recommendations for activities? We'll fly in as early as possible.

May 24 - Day trip to Lake Hayes & Wanaka

May 25 - Day trip to Milford Sound (cruise)

May 26
- Drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook
- Drive to Christchurch

May 27 - Fly to Auckland to catch our 10 pm flight

Last edited by ShannonLynArnold; Mar 30th, 2018 at 12:42 AM.
ShannonLynArnold is offline  
Mar 30th, 2018, 02:07 AM
  #11  
 
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Shannon, Aoraki Mt. Cook is one of the best places to stargaze, if the night is clear and if the moon is not full. Because when the moon is full the sky is too bright and it's harder to see the contrast between the dark sky and the stars. However, you'll still see lots of stars.
Aoraki Mackenzie (New Zealand)

But most rural places with little to no light pollution in New Zealand are good places for stargazing.
Diamantina is offline  
Mar 31st, 2018, 06:34 PM
  #12  
 
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Posts: 7,922
Melnq what are you planning to do at Coalgate, I am thinking it must be hiking. When I was a kid we lived in Darfield and went to the Coalgate river in the summer for picnics and swimming. There was only a school there then, not sure what is there now.
nelsonian is offline  
Mar 31st, 2018, 06:35 PM
  #13  
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Diamantina, I just modified our itinerary to stay in the Aoraki/Mt Cook area on the 26th so we can stargaze at night. Thank you! This is the updated version.

May 19

- Fly in at 6 am

- Rent car

- Drive to the Coromandel Peninsula (just over two hours)

- Visit the Hot Spring Beach at low tide

- Visit the Lost Spring geothermal pools + massage

May 20

- Kayaking in Cathedral Cove at 8:45 am (either the Remote cove tour or Cathedral Rock tour)

- Drive to Rotura

- See the Redwood Tree Walk at night

May 21 - Day trip to Waitomo & Ruakuri Caves – Labryinth Tour @ The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co.

May 22 - Day trip to Blue Springs Putaruru

May 23 - Fly to Queenstown – maybe a late flight so we can go to Lake Okataina in the morning?

May 24 - Day trip to Milford Sound (cruise)

May 25 - Day trip to Arrowtown, Lake Hayes & Wanaka

May 26

- Drive to see Aoraki/Mt Cook

- Stargaze at night

May 27

- Drive to Christchurch

- Fly to Auckland to catch our 10 pm flight
ShannonLynArnold is offline  
Mar 31st, 2018, 07:03 PM
  #14  
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I'd also love some advice on the best place to go ziplining. We're looking at the Canopy Tour in Rotorua, but it seems like Ziptrek Ecotours or Paradise Ziplines in Queenstown may have better views? Being in nature + amazing views is what we're looking for.
ShannonLynArnold is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2018, 03:42 PM
  #15  
 
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Hi nelsonian -

Mostly hiking, plus it seems a good place to wind down and offers easy access to the airport without having to stay in Chirstchurch. As you know, we prefer off-the-beaten path.
Melnq8 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2018, 09:00 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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We just went ahead and did the things we had planned. The rain never lasted for very long, thankfully, except for the morning we spent in Akaroa.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Apr 6th, 2018, 10:47 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,460
Stay flexible on Coromandel Peninsula..or have a backup plan. It isn't good in the rain (if it does).
mlgb is offline  

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