New Zealand Oct 10 - Nov 5

Sep 22nd, 2019, 09:08 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 3
New Zealand Oct 10 - Nov 5

My husband and I will be arriving in Aukland on approximately Oct 10 from Brisbane and heading back to Brisbane approximately November 8.
We will be with our adult son who lives in Brisbane. He will travel with us while exploring the North Island. None of us have been.
We will rent a car in Aukland and plan to keep it all the way to Queenstown or Christchurch wherever it is suggested we end our trip.
We were thinking we should split it up 1/3 North Island and 2/3 South Island? We will drop our son in Wellington and take the ferry to Picton.
Is it too much to head north to Cape Reinga, and then make our way down to Wellington in that time span?
I've heard someone mention the fish hook route? We love scenery, wildlife, some hiking. Probably won't do any extreme sports.
I would really appreciate any feedback from you experts.
Thankyou so much in advance.
kosmo561 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2019, 05:16 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,916
You've not been to the North Island or not been to New Zealand?

Can you please clarify the dates of your trip? The title of your post says Oct. 10 - Nov. 5, but your post says you will return to Brisbane on Nov. 8. Three days will make a difference.

If your NZ vacation will be from Oct. 10-Nov. 5., you'll have 26 days (including Nov. 5) to see both islands.Keep in mind some of your days will involve time on the interisland ferry and long drives (such as between West Coast glaciers and Wanaka or between Aoraki Mt. Cook and Christchurch, which are possible routes you may incorporate into your trip). You'll be here in spring, when the weather can be highly unsettled, so you could encounter some delays.

I've not been to Cape Reinga, but I would say if you are worried about running out of time, consider taking a day tour from Bay of Islands to Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach.
I've been to Bay of Islands a couple of times and I'd say you'd want at least three days/nights there, based in Paihia, Kerikeri or Russell. You'll want to visit Waitangi, where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. You might want to visit Waipoua Forest (and Hokianga Harbour along the way). If not staying in Russell, you'll want to catch the ferry over to Russell.

Where else did you want to visit on the North Island besides Cape Reinga and Wellington? Rotorua? Lake Taupo? Napier?

"Scenery, wildlife and some hiking" will be available throughout New Zealand.

Can you be more specific about what wildlife you'd like to see?

Would you like to see whales, gannets, albatrosses. penguins, NZ native birds in general, sea lions, fur seals? Maybe you'd like to swim with dolphins? Because if you'd like to see whales and swim with dolphins, I'd suggest visiting Kaikoura. You can also do an albatross encounter in Kaikoura. Keep in mind these are boat-based activities and ocean conditions can cause seasickness.

You can also swim with dolphins out of Akaroa (near Christchurch).

If you'd like to see penguins, and/or the Southern Hemisphere's only mainland albatross colony, and the rarest sea lions in the world, I'd recommend Dunedin and its Otago Peninsula. Fur seals can be see in either Kaikoura or on the Otago Peninsula (and many other places). The Elm Wildlife Peninsula Encounters Tour is a top choice.

You can visit gannet colonies in Muriwai (West Auckland) or at Cape Kidnappers (Napier).

NZ has taken great steps to protect its threatened native birds and reptiles by moving them into predator-free sanctuaries where their numbers can recover. Some of these, like Zealandia in Wellington or Orokonui in Dunedin, are mainland sanctuaries with predator exclusion fences. Others are offshore island sanctuaries like Tiritiri Matangi (in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf), Kapiti Island (off the Kapiti Coast near Wellington) or Ulva Island (which is part of Stewart Island/Rakiura National Park). These are among the best known ecosanctuaries you can visit, but there are others. Birds born in these sanctuaries are often later relocated to national parks.

If you'll only have 26 days for your entire trip, you'll have to prioritize the places you'll want to visit. The Bay of Islands is out of the way; it'll take you more than 3 hours to drive there from Auckland and the route is partly winding. Then, when done there, you'll have to turn around to resume your southward trip.

Depending on what route your choose for the South Island, Kaikoura or Dunedin can be out of the way.

My guess is after arriving in Picton, you'll want to spend a couple of nights in Picton (Marlborough wine country, Queen Charlotte Track), then at least a couple of nights in the Nelson-Tasman District, a night in Punakaiki (Pancake Rocks/Paparoa National Park, a couple of nights at either Franz Josef or Fox (glacier villages), at least a couple of nights in Wanaka, at least a couple of nights in Queenstown, a couple of nights in Te Anau (for a day trip and cruise to, or overnight cruise on, Milford Sound), then a couple of nights in Aoraki Mt. Cook, before finishing up in Christchurch. So this basic itinerary would take a minimum of 16 days/nights. The drive from Te Anau to Aoraki Mt. Cook would be a long one (more than 5 hours), so you might want to go from Wanaka to Te Anau (3 hours), then from Te Anau to Queenstown (a little more than 2 hours), then Queenstown to Aoraki Mt. Cook (about 3.5 hours). These are driving times without stops (and you will stop, probably frequently).

If you have a couple of nights to spare, you could visit Dunedin/the Otago Peninsula (wildlife, heritage buildings, gardens) between Te Anau and Aoraki Mt. Cook. The drive from Te Anau to Dunedin takes 3.5 hours. The drive from Dunedin to Aoraki Mt. Cook takes almost 4 hours. Or you can spend a night or two in Kaikoura.(wildlife), which is a little more than a two-hour drive from Picton or about a 2.5-hour drive from Christchurch. Or you can add days to Wanaka or Queenstown. Or maybe a night at in the Catlins (between Te Anau and Dunedin). Or you can spend a couple of nights on Stewart Island. While Lake Tekapo is a priority for many stargazers. The possibilities are endless, if you have time.
Diamantina is offline  
Sep 28th, 2019, 10:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 3
October 12 - Nov 8

Sorry about the dates.
We are not positive as we haven't booked our flights yet.
Thankyou so much for all the information.
My husband and I have never been to New Zealand.
Our son has been to the South Island but not the North Island.
kosmo561 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2019, 01:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,916
I see. Well, the more time, the better.
Diamantina is offline  
Oct 4th, 2019, 01:26 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,664
Diamantina has provided some excellent advice highlighted the main problem facing visitors to New Zealand - there are just so many wonderful options to choose from that deciding where to go can be bewildering! In three, two month trips to the country we have yet to make it up to Cape Reinga.

Our preferred method of travel has always been by campervan as it offers a lot more flexibility in when and where to go. But we are a couple rather than a family.

As for route options, I have yet to find the perfect route, fish hook or any other sort. I fin good starting point is you can personalise a wish list by saving itineraries, sights, attractions etc. Online and build your own online plan. If you scroll down to the contact us section at the bottom you can request a high quality map which is sent anywhere in the world, free of charge which sets out a number of the more popular routes.

Whatever amount of time you have, it won’t be enough! Personally, I prefer the South Island to the north and love road trips, so a lot of moving around which is not for everyone. Favourite places and experiences include Abel Tasman, Lake Tekapo, The Catlin’s , The Forgotten World Highway, Coromandel and all around the Lake Taupo area especially the Tongariro area.

A few of the places we have visited are covered in our blog @ on looking through those entries, I realise how much I have yet to post! Must get on to it before our next trip!
crellston is offline  
Oct 25th, 2019, 07:31 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 3

Thankyou so much for the information!
it is October 26 and we have just got back to Te Anou from our Milford Sound Cruise , it was amazing. So far we have had a bit of rain but mostly cloudy and cool, which we donít mind. We will head to Queenstown then Dunedin and back up the east Coast so far a great trip ! Thankyou again!
Susan (Canada)
kosmo561 is offline  

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