New Zealand Itinerary Help

Old Oct 25th, 2014, 04:07 PM
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New Zealand Itinerary Help

I will be traveling to New Zealand with my adult son Feb. 2015 and need some guidance with my itinerary. We have 21 days to see this incredible part of the world.

1.Arrive Auckland early AM and fly to Lake Taupo-car rental
2-3 Lake Taupo and Tongariro Nat'l Park
4. Fly Lake Taupo or Rotorua to Nelson-car rental
4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Nelson, Kaiteriteri, Abel Tasman National Park, maybe Takaka. Plan to say one place and prefer beach hotel. any recommendations?

9 Fly Nelson to Greymouth or Nelson to CC for oneway Transzalpine train trip--?? Is this worth the effort and which direct is best?
10 ,11, return to CC and on to Rangiora for farm stay-car rental
12, 13, 14 Fly CC to Queenstown and on to Te Anau. Car rental. We plan to stay in Te Anau-recommendations? Milford sound cruise? flight see? Steam ship cruise TSS Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu
15, 16, Queenstown-get ready/planning
17, 18 Routeburn Track tramping-Scheduled
19 Return to Queenstown
20 Fly to Auckland
21 Depart Auckland

I have reviewed many of the itineraries about New Zealand travel and each is a little different. I realize time is short and I hope to fine tune our plans soon.Any suggestions would be welcome.

Thank you
Sonya is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2014, 05:16 PM
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Hi Sonya -

I've found that basing myself between Nelson and Motueka works well for covering the entire Abel Tasman region.

Nelson is about an hour's drive from Abel Tasman Nat'l Park, so not the best base IMO. Takaka is about an hour's drive from Mouteka, on the opposite side of incredibly windy, whiplash inducing Marble Mountain, but can be done as a day trip from the Motueka side if you get an early start and plan well.

As you're looking for a beach location, I suggest you take a look at Kaiteriteri and Little Kaiteriteri, both of which are located on beautiful beaches and have easy access to Abel Tasman Nat'l Park. Both locations offer an assortment of motels, holiday homes and B&Bs and both are close enough to Motueka that you can come/go for dinner, petrol or groceries as needed.

>

Not for me. I much prefer the drive across Arthur's Pass. You can collect a car in Greymouth and continue driving down the West Coast. If you do take the train, heading west from Christchurch is the prettier option as the mountains are in front of you.

How would you do this as a one way if you're returning to Christchurch for a farmstay?

Staying in Te Anau is a good option for exploring Milford, but not for exploring QT. QT to Te Anau is a two hour drive each way.

I'm confused about your Routeburn Track plans - which end are you walking from? You'll have already been to the Te Anau side, so it's repetitive to return to QT and then back for the track - why not combine the track with visiting Te Anau?
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Old Oct 26th, 2014, 08:49 AM
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Thanks so much Melnq8. I still have some work to do. I would like to go over Arthur's Pass but only one way. I 'll take another look and see what might work without backtracking or long looping drives. 4-5 hours of driving on occasion is tolerable. We could fly Nelson to CC drive west over Arthur's Pass stay one night Greymouth. Then? Is there an option equal to Arthur's Pass that would give us the Mountain experience? Any ideas would be great.
We have transportation to and from QT for our Routeburn hike. I don't think we have enough time to do Te Anau after our hike. I thought a day of re grouping would be good which leaves only 2 days before heading back to Auckland the day before our flight.
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Old Oct 26th, 2014, 04:41 PM
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Hi Sonya -

If you fly Nelson to Christchurch, you could take the train over Arthur's Pass (or drive) to Greymouth and then continue down the West Coast to the glaciers. It's also quite doable to work in the 45 minute detour up to Punakaiki (Pancake Rocks) if that appeals. The drive from Greymouth north to Punakaiki is along the coast and quite pretty on a clear day. The blowholes at Punakaiki are best viewed at high tide, but even that's no guarantee that they'll be blowing, as it all comes down to sea conditions on the day.

No need to spend a night in Greymouth unless you just want to - you could potentially drive Christchurch-Arthur's Pass-Greymouth-Punakaiki-Greymouth in a day, but I'd suggest you continue on as far as Hokitika, quite feasible if you get an early start from Christchurch. If you like beer, you might enjoy the Monteith's brewery tour in Greymouth. The Kiwi center in Hokitika is worth a few hours too, one of the few opportunities to see a kiwi.

The drive down the West Coast is a mix of coastline, mountains, rainforest, rivers and lakes. I adore the West Coast, but do be aware that it can be wet and the sandflies can be pretty fierce.

You'll also get the mountain experience in Queenstown, Wanaka, Glenorchy - Mt Aspiring National Park is glorious.

You'll also see mountains en route to Te Anau. Then of course, there's Mount Cook and many mountains in the Franz Josef/Fox Glacier area.

Is it possible to change your collection point for the Routeburn from Te Anau to prevent the splitting up of your stay in QT and avoid backtracking?

How about Nelson region, flight to Christchurch, rent car and drive across Arthur's Pass, detour to Punakaiki (or not), then continue down West Coast, overnight in Hoki, then a night or two at glaciers, then drive to Wanaka for a night or two, the on to Te Anau for Milford exploration, then pick up for Routeburn with return to Te Anau, then drive to QT for balance of trip, then fly to Auckland?

I haven't sorted out if you've enough days to do this, but it's a logical, time efficient route.
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Old Oct 26th, 2014, 04:44 PM
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Correction: I meant change your collection point for the Routeburn from QT to Te Anau.
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Old Oct 26th, 2014, 04:48 PM
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Concerning the transport to and from QT for the Routeburn...which side are you starting from? Are you starting in Glenorchy and ending at the Divide near Te Anau or reverse?

This will affect the advice I've given above.
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Old Oct 26th, 2014, 08:10 PM
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Hi Melnq8,
You bring up some good options. I'm not sure about the big drive across Arthur's Pass, and time required to do the west coast. I'll look at our time allotment so far. Your suggestion would eliminate back tracking. For the Routeburn we leave from the Divide so Te Anau works both ways. Milford will work from there as well. QT can be the last spot before returning to Auckland. I don't want to short change QT. In general we prefer to stay in one area several days so we do it justice. Still working on some lodging issues.

Thanks again for weighing in.
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Old Oct 26th, 2014, 08:51 PM
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Since you'll be starting at The Divide, it makes most sense to do Te Anau before your walk, then do QT afterwards, as you'll end in Glenorchy which is only a 40 minute drive from QT.

I assume there's some flexibility with your transport, meaning you can arrange a pick up in Te Anau and a drop off in QT, although that would present issues regarding your car rental.
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