New Zealand itinerary advice please


May 20th, 2016, 07:11 AM
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New Zealand itinerary advice please

My husband, 2.5 year old and I are travelling to New Zealand Jan 17 from Northern Ireland. We are flying into Auckland (21st jan) and out of Christchurch (20th feb) and are attending a wedding in Cardrona on 4th February. I have a motorhome booked 1st -17th February.
I've drafted out an itinerary so I can think about getting car, accommodation, campsites etc booked. It can be changed and feel free to suggest places/things to do or if we've planned wrong.
We arrive on the 21st Jan. Going to stay 21st and 22nd in auckland then hire car (do u think we need longer?)
23rd - Akl to Waitomo caves, stay in Hamilton
24th - Hobbiton set to Rotorua
25th - Explore
26th - Rotorua - Taupo - Napier
27th - explore
28th - Napier - ?
29th - ? - Wellington
30th - Explore
31st - Wellington - fly to Christchurch
1st - collect camper then Aoraki/Mt Cook
2nd - Explore
3rd - ?
4th - Wedding in Cardrona
5th - Te Anau
6th - Explore poss milford sound
7th - Queenstown
8th - Explore
9th - Wanaka
10th - Explore
11th - Haast pass to Franz Joseph
12th - Explore
13th - Punakaiki
14th - Nelson
15th - Explore
16th - Lewis pass to Hanmer springs
17th - Christchurch (camper return)
18th - Explore
19th - Explore
20th - flight home 16:55
Have we too many nights in Christchurch? An extra night in Queenstown needed? I can add an extra day to the campervan.
I have spoken to our friends in N.Z. and they suggest an extra night in Auckland and travelling down the Coromandel Peninsula (Whangamata & Matamata) but I don't appear to be able to get it put together in a sensible itinerary. They recommended dropping Waitomo caves as it's out of the way and not much in Hamilton. I hope this isn't stupid I'm just trying to make the most of our once in a lifetime trip.
Apologies for the long essay
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May 21st, 2016, 10:50 AM
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I've possibly added too much info in my post to read but is there anyone that could give me some advice please.
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May 21st, 2016, 12:08 PM
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I'm not as well versed with the NI as the SI, so I'll stick to what I know.

I understand that your itinerary is based upon the wedding in Cardrona, but I have to wonder why you don't explore Wanaka while you're in the area for the wedding, and then head to Te Anau, and then Queenstown, and then work your way up the West Coast from Queenstown? More efficient IMO.

So, two nights Mt Cook - good

Two nights Te Anau - good

Two nights Queenstown - not enough IMO

Two nights Wanaka - good

One night Haast Pass??? - I don't get this

Two nights Franz Josef - good

One night Punakaiki - okay

Two nights Nelson - okay, but you'll spend most of one day driving there, so three nights would be much better

Lewis pass to Hanmer springs - one night? Okay

Three nights Christchurch - personally, I'd do 1-2 and use those nights elsewhere, but depends on what you plan to do there
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May 21st, 2016, 12:11 PM
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Hanmer Springs is only about 90 minutes from Christchurch, so, with your afternoon flight, you could easily drive directly from Hanmer to the airport, freeing up some nights to use elsewhere.

That's what I'd do.
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May 21st, 2016, 01:43 PM
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Melnq8 thank you for your reply.
Sorry I wrote Haast pass but don't plan to stay there. That night is being spent in FJG.
I thought I had to go through Wanaka on the way to the west cost so I thought it best to start our journey from there rather that Queenstown so we were travelling a shorter distance. Hope that makes sense. Feel free to advise otherwise. I need all the help I can get
I can add an extra day to the campervan hire and spend just one full day in christchurch.
Thanks again
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May 21st, 2016, 07:54 PM
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Driving up the West Coast from Wanaka is shorter than from Queenstown yes, but only by an hour or so. I don't see the point in splitting up your time in the Wanaka area - more unpacking, checking in and out of hotels = precious vacation time wasted IMO.

The drive up the West Coast is a full day regardless - get an early start and take your time, stopping as much as you want en route. You'll have loads of daylight.

Where are you staying, specifically? Right at Cardrona? It's only about a 20 minute drive from Wanaka.

On the 3rd you will need to drive from Mt Cook to Cardrona - about a three hour drive. Why not spend part of that day exploring the Wanaka area, attend the wedding the next day, and then spend a full day afterwards exploring more of Wanaka before heading to Te Anau?

Then head from Te Anau to Queenstown, Queenstown up the West Coast and so on.
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