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pavelr Oct 31st, 2015 04:27 AM

New Zealand itinerary with date constraints

I'm planning to visit NZ soon, for something like 2 months - from mid-November to mid-end of January. I'll rent a car for the period.
I have just now found a place on the Milford track, at 17.12. Which seems to give a month to get there.
Now, I want to get there without backtracking too much after the track, and without missing out on the must-see sights on the way.
Which itinerary is best for this plan? I thought about giving about two weeks to the north island (or maybe less, as I'm anyway bound to return to it to catch a flight back) and then going through the east coast of the south island, as it seems less time consuming than the west coast. What's the time constants here, if I don't want to be in a hurry? And about the north island, what's the best way to cover it in two visits?


Melnq8 Oct 31st, 2015 04:42 AM

Hi Pavel -

Two months in NZ - I'm jealous! You can see and do loads in that time frame.

The east coast of the SI is the least scenic part of the island IMO - I'd definitely not recommend it over the West Coast, but with so much time to work with, you can easily visit both!

If it were me, I'd probably visit the NI first, and just fly out from there on departure w/o stopping over again. You'll most likely have warm weather on the NI earlier in the season than you will on the South, so it makes sense in that regard as well.

How about three weeks NI, five weeks SI? After the NI, you can fly from Auckland to Queenstown, spend a few days before your Milford trek, and then spend the remaining five weeks making a loop of the SI, either returning to Queenstown for a departing flight back to Auckland or ending up in Christchurch and departing from there.

With so much time, your options are endless.

Do keep in mind that January is high season - kids will be out of school and local families will be on holiday. So, you'd do best to book in popular areas.

pavelr Oct 31st, 2015 05:08 AM

Didn't think of a an inner flight - awesome idea!
Just to be sure, though, do you recommend a circular path at the NI? I'll be arriving to Auckland, so going through Wellington (a must?) that way seems a bit wasteful.
Maybe catch a flight to Queenstown from there? How about the east coast of NI? Worth seeing?

Thanks again!

Melnq8 Oct 31st, 2015 01:34 PM

I've only been to the NI twice, so I'm not as familiar with it as the SI. Perhaps others with more NI experience will chime in to answer your specific questions.

One possibility is to arrive in Auckland, visit the areas you most want to see on the NI and end up in Wellington. You could then fly or take the ferry to the SI.

The problem with this routing is that it's more difficult to do a full loop of the SI from Picton without some backtracking, but with five weeks a wee bit of backtracking isn't really a drama.

tasmangirl Oct 31st, 2015 08:23 PM

There is not really a circular route in the North Island so I'd suggest going Auckland - Rotorua -Taupo -Tongariro National Park area - Wellington. Add in Hobbiton on this trip if you are a LOTR fan.
On the way back drive from Wellington up State Highway 2 to Hastings and Napier for a change of scene. Quickest way will go back through Taupo but you can't avoid this. However you could go on to Waitomo Caves from Taupo and then back to Auckland via Hamilton.
There are lots of options so have a look for some places you would like to visit.
The only option for the ferry is to go through Wellington.
As mentioned before this is peak holiday time so plan and book quickly.

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