Our First Trip to New Zealand

Jan 6th, 2015, 12:39 AM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 67
The weather is lovely at the moment, I hope that it stays around for your holiday! I've had a wee go at rejigging your itinerary. As always, I will add a disclaimer that this is based on my personal preferences and our priorities may not match!

Mar 2/15 Arrive Auckland 5:55 AM RON (Remain Over Night)

- Take it easy. Walk, don’t drive. Stay somewhere downtown AKL (Sebel is nice and close to eating, drinking, water, ferries)
- Maybe use the Link bus to see central AKL (Parnell, Akl Museum, Ponsonby).
- Go by ferry to Devonport to blow off the jetlag with a wander along the waterfront and/or up Mt Victoria
- Eat in one of the restaurants in the viaduct or Wynyard Qtr and then enjoy your sleep

Mar 3 Waitomo (Waitomo Caves) RON

- warning….this is quite a long (and tedious) drive from Auckland city. I'm not convinced that Waitomo is where I'd want to be heading (personal preference alert!) on my first full day.
- I would consider missing Waitomo altogether and going straight to Tauranga instead (stay in Mt Maunganui ('The Mount'), not Tauranga city) and make day trips from here with a nice beach to return to each evening (or a soak in the Mt Maunganui outdoor hot pools...lovely...)

Mar 4 Taupo (Haku Falls)/Rotorua RON

- make this a day trip from Tauranga instead (I'd skip Taupo to save on driving)

Mar 5 Tauranga (Wineries) RON

- another day trip from Tauranga (Hobbiton/LOTR if you’re into that?)

Mar 6 Coromandel Town RON

- this could also be a day trip from Tauranga (Coromandel peninsula beaches, going up Waihi side - Waihi, Whangamata, Whitianga, Hot water beach.

Mar 7 Leave Auckland 12:20 PM & fly to Christchurch
- give yourself plenty of time to drive back to AKL - lots of speed restrictions on this drive.

Mar 7/15 Arrive Christchurch 1:30 PM Drive to Kaikoura (seafood, dolphins, whales) RON

- You won’t get to Kaikoura till after 5pm (winding roads again..), don’t know what the schedules are like for whale watching/dolphins but this may be too late?
- As It won’t be dark till later, you could drive on to Blenheim or Picton (another 2 hours from Kaikoura if you don’t get too distracted watching seals ☺ ). Although on second thoughts this is madness as you've also driven Tauranga to Akl in the morning....Stay in Kaikoura...

Mar 8-10 Nelson RON (Abel Tasmun, Golden Bay, Marlborough Sound, Wineries)

- drive to Picton and take the long way to Havelock via Linkwater to see lots of bays and beaches (this is a very winding road) and then on to Nelson.
- Absolutely agree that it’s worth staying in Kaiteriteri rather than Nelson (and I’d chose Kaiteri over Motueka or Mapua), but would definitely visit Mapua Wharf on a nice afternoon
- Take a boat up to one of the bays/beaches to walk some of the Abel Tasman track and get picked up later in the day
- And/or take a kayaking trip
- Wineries could either be on the way to Picton (i.e. around Blenheim), or one of the Nelson ones. There are more options around Blenheim.

Mar 11-Greymouth/Punakaiki RON

- long drive from Nelson to here (via Tapawera if coming from Motuka - lots of lovely orchards/ hops etc on the roadside and alongside the river), Buller gorge is also nice.
- Greymouth will give more options for accommodation/eating etc than Punakiki, but isn't really a destination in itself (my opinion - sorry Greymouth).

Mar 12-Franz Joseph/Fox Glacier RON

- I don’t think it matters which town you stay in, FJ and Fox are close together. My personal preference is Fox.
- From Fox, Gillespies beach is nice detour to enjoy the sunset
- I've never done a guided walk or heli hike (weather dependent), but have enjoyed the walking tracks to view and get near to the glaciers (and Lake Matheson)

Mar 13-Queenstown RON
- yes!
Mar 14-Invercargill/Dunedin RON

- Don’t do this…! Stay in Qtown and surrounds! Put away the car keys! Enjoy!

Mar 15-19-Queenstown (Te Anau, Doubtful Sound, Milford Sound glow worm caves, etc.)

Mar 20- Depart Queenstown (fly) to Auckland and then fly from Auckland back home.


Can provide list of pie stops in various South Island locations if required
Thelittlestkiwi is offline  
Jan 7th, 2015, 01:23 PM
  #42  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 14
Tlkiwi- Thanks for the input.
Are you saying we should use Tauranga as our base for everything we do on the NI or am I misunderstanding you? IYO Haku Falls is not worth seeing?
Our reasoning for staying in Coromandel the last night is so we have a shorter drive to Auckland.
Definitely take you up on the SI pie offer!
MS
MinnesotaSteve is offline  
Jan 7th, 2015, 01:33 PM
  #43  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,717
i can recommend great place to stay on the edge of the Coromandel - nicely situated for your trip back to Auckland. our only complaint was that we didn't have long enough there:

http://www.cotswoldcottage.co.nz
annhig is offline  
Jan 7th, 2015, 09:58 PM
  #44  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 67
I guess it all goes back to the personal preference thing again! Personally....I'd start to lose the 'holiday' feeling and start to feel like I was on some sort of training regime if I had to move hotel/motel/camping ground every morning and then do another long drive.

I was trying to think of somewhere that I'd like to be if I was on holiday, and for me that could be Mt Maunganui/Tauranga because of the beachiness, plethora of accommodation of all sorts, and it being relatively central to a number of places.

It could just as easily to Rotorua, or somewhere in the Coromandel...but Rotorua isn't a favourite of mine (and it smells eggy) and the Coromandel is maybe a little out of the way for day trips (but perfect is you just want to stay local and relax). If driving really doesn't bother you, then somewhere on the Coromandel would be nice.

Of course, Waitomo and Huka falls are worth seeing, but it wouldn't be in my NZ top 10 (not that i have actually complied a NZ top 10..!.) but it could still be a (long) day trip from Tauranga. Don't miss out on something you really want to see just because I'm not bothered by it -it's easy to get blasé when you've seen it a fair few times!

Anyway in March, you could easily take each day as it comes and book and change accommodation as you go.
Thelittlestkiwi is offline  
Jan 28th, 2015, 01:14 PM
  #45  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 14
One more question...any recommendations on what cell phone service to acquire while in NZ (both islands)?
MinnesotaSteve is offline  
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