Please critique/help with/give feedback on NZ trip

May 1st, 2005, 03:05 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 267
Please critique/help with/give feedback on NZ trip

Hi, my husband (Rick) and I (Pat) are heading for a 11 day trip to NZ in December, leaving LA on Christmas Day. This is our itinerary and I would appreciate it if you can look at it and give us your feedback, especially on the lodgings that we have listed.

Day 1 – Christchurch, staying in Chateau on the Park. Arrive in Chirstchuch at 7:15am, take a Gondola ride, punting on Avon River, go to the top of the cathedral
Day 2 – Drive 3 hours to Kaikoura, do the 1:30pm ATV Adventure, Swim with Dolphins the second day, then drive 3 hours back to Christchurch
Day 3 – back to Christchurch for the night
Day 4, 5 – Drive 5 hours to Dunedin, staying in Otago Peninsula Motel. 3pm visit the Cadbury Chocolate Factory. See penguin, albatross, castle the second day.
Day 6 – Drive to Invercargill via Catlins Coast. Visit Nugget Point and Purakauri Falls, try to catch the low tide for the Cathedral Caves and Curio Bay. Maybe visit the Bluff the second day before driving to Te Anau.
Day 7 – Drive 3 hours to Te Anau, staying in Village Inn. Visit the glowworm caves.
Day 8 – Doubtful Sound overnight cruise, we booked a private cabin for NZ$512/person, EXPENSIVE!!
Day 9, 10, 11 – Drive 3 hours to Queenstown after the cruise, staying in Novotel Gardens. We plan to take the Skyline Gondola, do the jetboating with Shotover Jet on The Dart River, go to Glenorchy, go on a raft trip, and see bungy-jumping.
Day 12, 13, 14, 15 – Fly to Sydney around 4pm, staying in Harbour Marriott. Rick’s sister and nieces live in Sydney, so we will do the family thing there.
Pat_Rick is offline  
May 1st, 2005, 07:35 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 609
Hi Pat & Rick

Your Itinery is not too bad. However as a suggestion you may wish to take a day longer to get down the East Coast and cut a day out of your Queenstown stay. This would mean staying overnight somewhere like Oamaru (not the most exiting town in the world but it does have penguins on its shores).

Doing this means you do not have to drive like a bat out of hell to get to Dunedin, get installed in your motel and then get back to Cadbury's for the tour.

Day two is going to drain you a bit as well. But if you are up for the driving then all's well.

Btw where are you staying in Invercargill. I was there last week and stayed at the Kelvin Hotel. Not bad, nothing to write home about, but it is central, rates are reasonable, it has two bars and a restaurant with good breakfasts to get you started.

Not far from there is Kings Restaurant. Kings has some pretty good seafood, if they are on try the oysters. Also it is great value for money. IF you can move after eating there you will do better than me.

If you do not mind spending a little extra time on the road (as it appears you do not mind driving) you could take the scenic route to Te Anau via highway 99 and visit some south coast settlements like Riverton.

Just a couple of ideas.

The above link will help with travel times.


Kiwi_acct is offline  
May 2nd, 2005, 07:53 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 267
Steve, thanks for your suggestions and comments, I am researching Timaru and Oamaru as an additional stop on the coast. The Driving Distance website was great, I created a table to record all the distance and driving times. We haven't booked a hotel in Invercargill as I can't find any reviews. I just sent a request to Kelvin Hotel in Invercargill to check availability and rates, hope to hear back from them soon. We live 50 miles south of Los Angeles and I used to work in LA, driving 3 hours a day back and forth to work in the traffic was a norm.
Pat_Rick is offline  
May 2nd, 2005, 01:53 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 609
Hi once again Pat

When I stayed at the Kelvin I got their corporate rate which was NZD $104 (USD $75) per night. I have also paid their higher rate on previous visits of around $135. To a certain extent it depends upon who I was talking to at reception when I made the booking.

There are other accomodation choices around Invercargill, in the main along a motel style. In saying that motels in New Zealand are in the main of a good standard. Many do breakfasts, most have some form of kitchen facilities if that is good for you.

If you drive in LA traffic daily then you will find New Zealand conditions an absolute breeze. Fairly big Island, not a lot of people. Less than million live on the South Island so that makes for a lot of open space.

Enjoy Your Trip

Kiwi_acct is offline  
May 2nd, 2005, 05:46 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 267
We booked with Kelvin for $130/night, thanks.
We have also decided to drive directly to Kaikoura from Christchurch Airport and spend two nights in Kaikoura. With our early arrival time (7:15am) we might not be able to check into the Christchurch hotel right away, but with a long breakfast break we should be able to make the 3 hour drive to Kaikoura and be there around 1pm for the check in. Thanks again for all your help.

Pat_Rick is offline  

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