New Zealand itinerary

Sep 9th, 2016, 07:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 7
New Zealand itinerary

We will be travelling to New Zealand and we have about 14 days between the 2 islands. We are considering this itinerary and would like some recommendations

day 1 (11th): fly to Christchurch (arrive at night)
day 2: (12th) drive to Fox Glaciers - love to see pancake rocks but looks too far.
day 3: (13th) fox glaciers/drive to Queenstown that night
Day 4: (14th) Queenstown - jet boating
Day 5: (15th) Queenstown/Milford Sound - should we maybe drive to Te Anau the night before
Day 6: (16th) QT to Mt Cook area (we decided to skip Dunedin - is there something else worth seeing?) where to stay the night?
Day 7: (17th) drive Mt Cook to Christchruch and fly to Auckland that night
Day 8 & 9 (18&19th) Auckland - Hobbitron (a must see for our lord of the rings family)/Waitomo Cave black water rafting/Tongariro NP?suggestions for the 2 days?
Day10: (20th) Auckland - Son flies home that night - we stay 3 more days
Day 11-13: (21-23) Bay of Islands or COROMANDEL
PENINSULA - suggestions?
Day 14 (24th) - Auckland - fly home that night

Appreciate the input! Thanks!!
mlynne is offline  
Sep 10th, 2016, 12:13 AM
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 631
It's too much for 2 weeks IMO. 2 weeks is a good length of time for the South Island only without adding in any of the North. What you have planned will take 3 weeks for a comfortable trip.
What month is this?
Something has to give so either the West Coast or Mt Cook if you want to go to Hobbiton.
Day 2 drive to glaciers is too long.
Day 3 and 4 staying 2 nights gives one whole day for the sights
Day 5 stop at Wanaka - Queenstown is too far.
Day 6 Queenstown
Day 7 Te Anau/ Milford Sound ?? another very long driving day
Day 8 drive back to Queenstown
Day 9 skip Mt Cook fly to Auckland
Day 10 Hobbiton stay night at Rotorua
Day 11 explore Rotorua
Day 12 Rotorua to Waitomo
Day 13 Waitomo back to Auckland
Day 14 fly home.

Day 8 and 9 have activities planned that are at least 2 hours driving from each other so do not fit into 2 days. Are you planning to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing or just have a look at the area?
There will not be time for the Coromandel or Bay of Islands.
tasmangirl is offline  
Sep 10th, 2016, 05:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,772
OMG. No.

You simply do not have enough time to fit all of this into two weeks. Period.

You need to look at a map, look at drive distances/times and ask yourself why you're going to NZ in the first place and what YOU want to see the most.

Day 1 - where are you arriving from? Have you taken jet lag into consideration? Are you familiar with driving on the left?

Day 2 - it is possible to drive from Christchurch to Franz Josef (Fox is 45 minutes further) with a detour to Punakaiki (45 minutes from Greymouth each way), but ONLY if you leave early and limit your stops and only if you're visiting at a time of year with LOTS of daylight (Nov-March). You will be driving through some very pretty countryside, alpine areas (Arthur's Pass) and coastal areas, and the temptation to stop every few minutes will be hard to resist.

As Day 2 is a full day and Day 3 is a full day (at least six hours of driving), you have left absolutely no time to see the glaciers. So why even go?

Day 4 - doable

Day 5 - the drive from Queenstown to Milford and back takes 13 hours!!! - and that's when a professional is driving and only making limited stops. Is it doable? Barely. Would I advise it? Absolutely not. It's gruelling. And again, time of year makes a HUGE difference.

Day 6 - so, you're going to drive to Mount Cook, just to turn around and drive to Christchurch the next day? WHY? Why are you even going there if you've left no time to explore the area (ie hikes)

Day 7 - now you've completely lost me.

This is not a holiday, this is a marathon.

My suggestions:

Start over
Look at map
Look at drive distances/times
Pick one route on the SI - inland route (Mount Cook) or West Coast route (glaciers)
Drive one way - meaning fly into Christchurch and out of Queenstown or vice versa - do not even attempt to make a loop
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2016, 07:14 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 7
Thanks for your input. We will have been in Australia for about 2 weeks prior so jet lag will have come and gone. We are arriving in November. We have looked at distances and added about 1-2 hours to each way and do realize it's alot of driving.

We will take into account all your suggestions. We have eliminated Punakaiki and are considering flying out of queenstown now and skipping mt cook. We are also thinking of adding a day and staying in Te Anau the night before Milford to save drive time. It's hard to visit a country and not want to see it all but understand what you're saying.

Thanks so much for responding!
mlynne is offline  
Sep 10th, 2016, 08:24 PM
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 631
It is hard not to see everything and I relate to that but too much driving will be exhausting. It's the distance and the road conditions here and the need to concentrate on the road ahead ALWAYS.
You can fly into Queenstown from Sydney or Melbourne. Skip the West Coast/glaciers and do a road trip to Christchurch via Mt Cook.
Fly Chch to Rotorua where Hobbiton can be done as a day trip. No need to go all the way back to Auckland.
tasmangirl is offline  
Sep 11th, 2016, 08:35 AM
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Posts: 7
Thanks! I have heard the roads are a bit tough and the left side thing will be a change for us. We are from California so driving distances are an everyday thing for us.

What are the pros going the Mount Cook route over the Arthurs pass/glacier route?

I actually looked into flying into Hamilton since it is closer to both hobbiton and waitomo caves and only 1-2 hours from auckland. What are the pros to going to rotorua instead?
mlynne is offline  
Sep 11th, 2016, 02:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,772
The Inland Route (Mt Cook) and the West Coast Route (glaciers) both have their good points.

The drive from Christchurch to Mount Cook takes about four hours.

The drive from Christchurch to Franz Josef takes just over five hours. If you add the detour to Punakaiki, you'll need to add a couple of hours. If you continue on to Fox, you need to add another 45 minutes or so.

Going from Christchurch via Arthur's Pass and then down the west coast to the glaciers will give you a good mix of mountains, rainforest and wild and rugged coastline. It's beautiful, but the roads are very narrow and winding, and it's a time consuming drive, particularly if you hope to stop en route (and I hope you do - be sure to look for Keas, NZ's cheeky alpine parrot).

I'm always startled by the contrast between the dry landscape of Arthur's Pass and the vibrant green of the west coast. You can see it changing as you make the drive west.

The route to Mount Cook is pretty as well; the majority of landscape is rolling countryside, yellow fields and wide open meadows with distant mountains. It's undulating, but nothing like the ups and downs and tight curvy bits you'll encounter going over Arthur's Pass and down the west coast.

On the inland route you'll see beautiful glacial blue lakes and lots of rolling hills the color of wheat. As you get closer to Mount Cook, you'll begin to see rainforest and if you're lucky, snow capped Mt Cook, NZ's highest mountain.

I personally prefer the West Coast route. I think it's because the landscape of the west coast is so different from what I see on a daily basis here in Colorado. And it's just so darn green.
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2016, 03:05 PM
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 631
There is not a direct flight to Hamilton from Queenstown. My suggestion was to save you drive time by going to Rotorua which is about 1 hour from Hobbiton or 2 hours from Waitomo.
Lots of tourists like the thermal areas of Rotorua.
tasmangirl is offline  
Sep 11th, 2016, 04:49 PM
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Thank you all for your input! Appreciate it!
mlynne is offline  
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