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New Zealans itinerary help appreciated :)

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May 26th, 2013, 02:53 AM
  #1
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New Zealans itinerary help appreciated :)

Hi everyone
We are travelling to NZ in late Sept and this will be our first visit... and our honeymoon! We have our flights booked and now we building our itinerary.
We love historical interest, photography, walks, good food and interesting tours.

Any help appreciated.... this is what we have so far....

Fly into Wellington on Saturday night. From there we will have a car and plan to drive up the North Island to Auckland (I have to be in Auckland for work for 2 days). We have 5 full days for this part of the trip... we need to be in Auckland by the Thursday night.

From there, on the Sunday we are flying to Queenstown and then have 10 days on the South Island. We will have a car. We are interested in Milford Sound, the glaciers and the Trans Alpine train, as well as spending some time in Queenstown. At this stage we are looking at working our way up the coast to Greymouth and getting the trans alpine from there the day before we fly home (from Christchurch).

Any help appreciated!
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May 26th, 2013, 06:35 PM
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Sounds like a good plan - you can certainly see all that you've outlined on the SI in your 10 days by doing a one way drive from QT-Greymouth at a relatively leisurely pace.

You've already tackled the major stumbling block that most first time visitors encounter...choosing between the West Coast (glaciers) and the inland route (Mt Cook).

Do be aware that the road to Milford Sound can be troublesome due to weather. It's sometimes closed to blast for avalanches and to clear snow. This usually means a reduction in opening hours, not necessarily full on closures. It pays to be flexible, and you may want to have an extra day or two to work with just in case weather is an issue.

Many people take the bus from Queenstown or Te Anau to Milford, but I much prefer driving. Milford is a four hour drive from QT, two hours from Te Anau, so it can be a very long day (bus is about 13 hours total). I prefer Te Anau to QT as a base from which to see Milford, as it shortens the drive and there are some wonderful tracks in Te Anau that can be combined with a Milford Cruise if you plan well.

I'd suggest something like this:

Queenstown - three nights

Te Anau - two nights, one full day Milford Sound

Wanaka - two nights

West Coast/Franz Josef/Fox Glacier - two nights

Drive West Coast-Greymouth, catch Tranz Alpine to Christchurch

Opps, already at nine nights...if you need to spend a night in Christchurch prior to your flight (depending on time), you'd have cut back a night somewhere.

And so begins the arduous task of time allotment in NZ. There's just never enough time!
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May 27th, 2013, 01:11 AM
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Wow, thank you so much. Would you rece=ommend an overnight cruise on Milford?
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May 27th, 2013, 03:29 AM
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I've only done the Milford and Doubtful day cruises, so I have no first hand knowledge with the overnight.

If you're worried about weather (which I've no doubt caused, sorry), two nights in Te Anau would give you potentially two chances for a cruise 1) On the afternoon you arrive from QT, if you leave QT early and don't mind a long drive (about six hours from QT-Milford-Te Anau, plus cruise time, usually 90 minutes), 2) on the full day you spend in Te Anau.
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May 27th, 2013, 11:39 PM
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No, dont worry, you didnt cause me stress about weather at all! I have read tours that do overnight stops on Milford and thought that sounded like fun. Really appreciate your ideas.
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Jun 1st, 2013, 05:27 AM
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I'm appreciating this too, Melnq8.

what if we were doing it the other way round? after say 5 nights on the NI, we'd have 12 nights to spend on the SI needing to end up in Christchurch.
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Jun 1st, 2013, 05:37 AM
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ooops - lsc - sorry to hijack your thread but it seems that we are doing fairly similar things, albeit at different times. [we'll be there in late Nov/early Dec]
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Jun 9th, 2013, 02:01 PM
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Hi Annhig.... it does seem we have a similar itinerary. what are your plans?
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Jun 10th, 2013, 02:20 AM
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chick - I'm finding this part of our trip planning quite taxing to be honest.

The main problem is how to divide our time between the North and South Islands - I suspect that once we've got that sorted, the rest will fall into place.

At the moment, I'm thinking of the following:

2 night Bay of Islands [Paiha]

one night Aukland

2 nights Rotorua

2 nights Wellington,

ferry to Picton,

2 nights near either Abel Tasman or Queen charlotte's track

1 night?

2 nights Fox glacier or Franz Joseph

3 nights Queenstown

2 nights Dunedin/Timaru [not sure what to do here - if we do Dunedin it leaves us with a massive drive back to Christchurch on our last day, though as our flight isn't until 2pm, we could stay overnight in Timaru rather than Christchurch and break up the journey that way.

1 night Christchurch

_________________________

The north island itinerary seems a lot easier to work out than the south island one.

In my ignorance, i thought that 17 nights would be more than enough to see NZ. Silly me. we'll just have to come back!
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Jun 10th, 2013, 03:03 AM
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We have got our timeline fairly rigidly planned due to work commitments (I am presenting at a conference in the middle of a holiday...) and we have to be back in Australia for another work thing, so our North/ South island split has been decided for us.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 03:53 AM
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No, no, no...not Timaru! It's just a dull industrial town, along that dreaded east coast. Trust me on this annhig.

With so little time, I'd scrap Dunedin. You're trying to visit the far north and the far south in too little time. If you scrap Dunedin, you'll have time for Mt Cook. Say return to Christchurch via Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo. Easy to do in a long day if you plan well.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 07:33 AM
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hi Melnq - as ever you come thourgh with just the info i need. thank you so much.

even as I was writing I was thinking that we were spreading ourselves too thin. you suggested [i think] on another thread to go from Franz joseph to Te Anau [for Milford/Doubtful sound] and then back to Queenstown but so far as I can see from the map, you have to go through Queenstown to get to Te Anu anyway. so as we'd only be going to Te Anau to see whichever sound we chose, would it be better to stop in Queenstown [probably 4 nights] which would mean doing a long trip to the sound one night [or even an overnight] rather than moving our base for one night only?

that would give us an extra night towards the north of SI, which I really like the look of.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 02:44 PM
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I probably suggested Franz Josef to Wanaka to Te Anau to QT, with overnights in Wanaka and Te Anau.

Franz Josef to Te Anau is just too far.

Visitors make the trip to Milford from QT all the time - it's a very long day, about 13 hours; it's certainly doable. I did it once, and once was plenty. My subsequent Milford visits have been self-drive, using Te Anau as a base. Much more civilized.

You'll be there in summer right? Long days in summer.

I've gotten a bit confused with your plans annhig. Perhaps you could start your own thread?
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Jun 10th, 2013, 03:16 PM
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I've gotten a bit confused with your plans annhig. Perhaps you could start your own thread?>>

me too, mlenq. I've been holding off doing my own thread until I had some sensible questions to ask but if I wait that long, I may never get to do my own thread!

you're right about us being there in summer - it'll be early-mid December by the time we get to SI - so from what I've seen, daylight should last til about 9pm.
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