Oz and NZ itinerary comments please

Feb 6th, 2010, 01:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 71
Oz and NZ itinerary comments please

We're scheduled to travel to Oz and NZ in March. Any thoughts or suggestions on our itinerary would be much appreciated. We're particularly interested in beautiful scenery, day hikes and the like.

Fly to Cairns.

Day 1) Hotel Heritage

2) Snorkel Great Barrier Reef (trying to decide between Silverswift and Seastar)

3) Fly to AKL. Overnight Ventura Inn

4-6) Fly to Nelson. Hertz car. Drive to Abel Tasman, Ocean View Chalets

7-9) Very long drive to glaciers. Alpine Glacier Motel. Any suggestions for glacier tours and activities?

10-12) Wanaka. Mountain Range Boutique Lodge

13-16) Te Anau. Campbell's by the Lake. Any suggestions for Milford and Fiordland cruises, tours, etc.? Cruise Doubtful sound, maybe helicopter tour.

17) Fly to AKL. Drive Rotorua, Novotel Lakeside

18-19) Adventure Lodge Tongariro to hike Tongariro crossing.

20) Drive to Maungatautari, then Hamilton garden, overnight Park View Motor Lodge, Hamilton

21) drive to AKL for early afternoon flight
fusion is offline  
Feb 6th, 2010, 01:43 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 11,763
If your Australian sector is limited to one full day, plus remainder of arrival day in Cairns, I think your time would be better spent entirely in New Zealand. My apologies if this sounds rather blunt, but with that time frame you have no flexibility for inclement weather preventing a snorkling trip, and precious little time to see anything else if you do snorkel for that day.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Feb 6th, 2010, 06:47 PM
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I totally agree with Bokhara. You have no room for contingencies here.
Susan7 is offline  
Feb 6th, 2010, 06:59 PM
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You'd fly all the way to Australia for just one day's snorkling? As has been said this allows for absolutley no errors, and candidly seems completely wacky!
Libretto is offline  
Feb 6th, 2010, 08:23 PM
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I'm with Libretto. Don't understand.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Feb 6th, 2010, 09:17 PM
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Your New Zealand plan looks good...you will have time to explore in some of the really scenic areas. When I was looking at flights between New Zealand and Australia last year, there were flights between Cairns and the South Island cities Christchurch and Queenstown. Then you could connect to Nelson. If you don't already have your flights, you might check that out.

If it were me (I'm queen of do as much as possible), I would do the flight from Cairns to Nelson in one day. If you have to go through AKL, you should be able to do both flights in the same day. That would give you two full days in Cairns and a little more wiggle room.
cwn is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 03:53 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 71
The flights are set. Given that, any comments on the actual itinerary? Activities suggestions? Hotel, etc. comments?

To fly from the US, we had to route through SYD. While in the neighborhood, snorkeling the GBR seemed a good idea. What are the odds of terrible weather in mid-March?

There were no available flights Cairns to Nelson in one day. The best we could do was CNS-SYD-AKL-NSN.
fusion is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 04:04 AM
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fusion, that's a very large stretch of neighbourhood! You could have good weather, but with one day you've have no wiggle room for a reef trip. March is still within cyclone season, you'd have to be unlucky, but .....
pat_woolford is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 09:54 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Wow, that is too bad...we flew NZA Christchurch direct to Sydney in 2 1/2 hours and had Cairns as a option.

OK, so you have your tickets. We were in Cairns in late Feb and did a boat trip with Reef Magic. It was overcast and the water was choppy but OK.

My advice is to have a "Plan A and a Plan B"... of course your "A" is the boat trip. They will cancel if it is to rough. We had only one day too. Some where I read the number of days canceled the year before, and as I remember, the odds are in your favor.

The good thing is the boats leave early enough, so if that is a bust, you will have time for "Plan B". There are some good options that you can arrange yourself sort of last minute. Check out information for a trip to Green Island, seems like I remember that they had 1/2 day trips. It could still be an option even if the outer reef is not. As I recall all the operators are in the same area.

If the reef is out, then there some areas you could visit with a rental car or group tour. Our back up was Kuranda, Daintree or Yungaburra in the Alherton Tablelands. We were going to rent a car if our reef trip was canceled, but as I recall there are some companies that also do tours to one or more places.

In Abel Tasman, do one of the water taxis that stop at places along the coast. There are some nice sounding hikes (we aren't hikers anymore so can't really help with that). Also plan on the Eco Tour out of Collingswood to Fareweel Spit in the late afternoon.

The drive from Nelson to the glaciers is very nice through some beautiful country. It isn't really a long day either. Same for the drive from the glaciers to Wanaka. That is also a great senic drive. We drove on to Queenstown that day. We ate at the HMS Britannia Bar and Grill in Queenstown one night, great food! We did a round trip to Milford and then headed to the Catlins from Queenstown. That whole area has beautiful scenery and many good hikes. You will have a great time.

We are past our hiking days as I said, but if you would like to read our trip report about our days in the Nelson to Milford area and see pictures of our trip go to:


click on Jan on the righthand side and scroll down to Jan 14 and read up to Jan 19. Our day in Cairns is Feb 24.
cwn is offline  

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