Options for three or four weeks in New Zealand

Old May 19th, 2010, 05:07 AM
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Options for three or four weeks in New Zealand

My wife and I are looking at spending 3 or 4 weeks visiting NZ in the Feb/March 2011 time frame and have started looking at a few possible Itineraries. Not sure if we can be away from work for a full four weeks so we wanted to plan out either a three week trip
concentrating on the SI or four week trip which would also include the NI.

Mainly looking at doing outdoor activities, day hikes, rafting, etc. but also but also trying to take in some of the towns such as Auckland, Queenstown, Christchurch, etc.
Pretty flexible on where we stay, would probably target mid-price motels and B&B’s. Maybe a few nights here and there at a bit more expensive places.
Try and book the first nights in advance and then book places to stay as we go so we have some flexibility.

We are planning on renting a car and driving is not a problem for us. If we do find a nice spot would like to spend a few days before moving on.

Trying to kick around sort of the general travel direction and flow for both and narrow down the itinerary from there.
We are planning on renting a car and driving is not a problem for us.


Three weeks SI:
- US to Auckland
- Fly Auckland -> Nelson
- A few days in the Nelson/Abal Tasman area.
- From the Nelson area, work our way down the west coast to Fox Glacier
- From Fox Glacier Head toward Queenstown
- Queenstown over to Milford Sound
- Milford sound area head toward Invercargill. Over to Stewart Island perhaps.
- From Invercargill work up the east coast to Dunedin.
- Dunedin up to Christchurch
- Fly Christchurch to Auckland
- Auckland to US

Just wondering if this direction makes sense (counterclockwise from Nelson), or does it make more sense to start in Christchurch and end up in Nelson.

OR:
Three weeks SI plus 1 week NI:

- Start on SI , three week trip above.
- US to Auckland
- Fly Auckland -> Nelson
--- Same general route as above , but instead of flying from Christchurch back to Auckland from Queenstown
--- continue up the east coast to Picton
- Picton – take ferry over to Wellington.
- From Wellington to work through the NI back to Auckland.
- Wellington to Lake Taupo
- Lake Taupo to Rotora
- Rotora to Auckland
- Auckland to US

Does this make sense to continue heading up the east coast from Queenstown ?
From other posts heard that Kaikoura is nice. Or does it make more send to fly from Queenstown to Wellington and skip the ferry ?

Any other suggestions would be appreciated. I have been going through the forums and trip reports and they have been very helpful.
kensulli is offline  
Old May 19th, 2010, 08:35 AM
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IMHO, CW or CCW around the SI would depend on your itinerary. If you include Kaikoura, it probably doesn't make much difference one way or the other. If you don't visit Kaikoura, I would vote for CW - starting in CHC and ending in Nelson. Nelson is closer to Picton if you decide to visit the NI and you will be moving north earlier in your trip.

With regards to the SI/NI ferry, that is something I wish we had chosen instead of flying. And to help you decide on Stewart Island you might want to look at the comments I received on one of my pre trip posts - http://www.fodors.com/community/aust...est-coast-.cfm .

Enjoy your planning / trip.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 05:14 PM
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Just a few random thoughts...

I've been to NZ many times, but I've yet to take the ferry to Wellington, so I can't help there. I will say that the drive from Christchurch to Picton via Kaikoura is a lovely one, and the Marlborough Sounds area (which you'll pass through on the ferry) is one of my personal favorites on the SI.

The drive from Duendin to Christchurch via the east coast however, is not a pretty drive and I try to avoid it at all costs. If you have the time and the inclination, you might consider driving from Dunedin to Christchurch via the inland road, which will take you through Lake Tekapo and enable you to make a detour to Mt Cook. I have to admit I'm not that fond of the inland road either, but it beats the socks of the drive up the east coast from Dunedin, which is downright dull, a bit industrial and rather busy with local traffic.

Another option is to drop off your rental car in Dunedin and fly to Christchurch, then drive to Picton or take the train from Christchurch to Picton to catch the ferry to Wellington.

http://www.railnewzealand.com/Tranzcoastal.html

As far as which direction to travel, I normally plan my NZ trips around anticipated temperatures....if I'm traveling in late fall, I'll go south first, knowing it will only get colder as winter approaches, whereas it will be warmer later up north. In Feb-Mar though, you shouldn't have such issues, so it's really more about what works best for you.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 11:46 AM
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Thanks for the replies esp. on the drive between Duendin and Christchurch, Stewart Island. Will look into Mt. Cook abit more and do some more research on Stewart Island, where to stay, etc. and doing the inland route.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 05:12 PM
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For what it's worth, we liked this place on Stewart Island. We stayed in their 'honeymoon suite'.

http://www.baymotel.co.nz/
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Old May 24th, 2010, 06:09 PM
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We did 6 weeks in NZ and you're welcome to read my trip report to get some idea of places you might want to visit(it's pretty lengthy and covers only the 4 weeks in SI). Just click on screen name to find it. I agree with Melnq8; liked the Bay Motel and loved Stewart Island, esp. hiking around Ulva Island.

Took the ferry btw NI and SI and enjoyed that as well. Apex gives you a free ferry pass for the car (not for you, but there's a slight discount for the passengers as well), so you can leave your luggage in the car and just drive off the ferry and keep going.

If I only had 3-4 weeks I would pick the SI to cover for most of the days, though there are great things to see on both. We can't wait to go back. Hope you'll love it too.
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