Questions about NZ trip

Jul 18th, 2003, 06:43 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,546
Questions about NZ trip

I've read many of the NZ posts, but still have questions about the basics, and would appreciate advice. We are thinking about going next March.

We are 2 couples in our 60's, moderately active, frpm Philly. We want to tour NZ, and are thinking of a 14-16 days, driving, covering both islands.

We have basic questions:

1- Is it best to see both islands, or just the south?
2- Doing both islands sounds like a lot of driving, not that we mind driving. But is it too much time spent in the car?
3- Would driving by ourselves be OK, or is a guide advisable?
4- Is a package such as from Quantas or Air NZ a good deal, or not? Other packaged deals?
5- How are the hotels? What is the difference between 4 and 5*? How good are the BandB's?

If you can give your opinion on these, or other tips for first-time visitors, it would be appreciated.
Jed is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 11:36 AM
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We toured NZ in the same time frame as you're planning on. The weather was very comfortable and on occasion we needed a light jacket.

We did the south island of New Zealand and did not have time for the north island as we also spend four weeks in Australia. But with that said we flew into Christchurch from Sydney on Qantas using their boomerang tickets. Our tickets from the states were also specials at just under $1000 each. We're pretty active too and have driven in many other countries but decided with the long, windy roads on south island that we would take tour buses. We did this from place to place and needed to pay only for that part of the tour we were taking. I believe we used Scenictours and they were quite nice, with rest rooms on each bus.

question 1 - that would be your choice the south island offers more but if you want both islands then go to both.

question 2 - you will spend a lot of time in your car - if you look at a map of south island and check out the distance between queenstown and the Franz Josef glacier you'll think it's a small distance and yet with windy, windy roads it took seven hours (7)

question 3 you'd have no difficulty driving yourselves. I don't think a good is necessary.

Question 4 - we thought that Qantas offered good flight deals but their packages appeared fairly high to us.

Question 5 - The hotels there are extremely clean - you'll find 4 and 5 stars only in cities - smaller motels/ b&b's out on the roads. As I said each place we stayed at was very clean, comfortable, and they fed us pretty well.

If I can offer an opinion - go for it!! We loved our trip and we are headed back (hopefully next year when we've saved some more).
LN is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 03:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You can do both islands, but you will do a lot of driving, and may feel a bit rushed at times. If you must do both islands, I would suggest flying between the two (Christchurch and Auckland) and hiring two different vehicles. This could save a lot of driving time. The South Island should be a higher priority - I would spend most, or all, my time there.

If you like B&Bs, you will love NZ! There are so many homestays, farmstays, or classic B&Bs. They all know each other too, so you can solicit a recommendation (and a booking) for the next place you intend to visit. You should definitely get a copy of the New Zealand Bed and Breakfast Book (, and check out online B&B sites, such as or

As for package deals, you should look into sone of the airlines' fly-drive packages to see if they will save you any money between separate airfare, car hire, and accommodations.
ALF is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 08:13 PM
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Jed -

I agree with the previous posters. I also prefer the South Island, and I'd suggest spending all your time there to avoid being rushed. There's just too much to see to cover both islands in 14-16 days (without living in your car).

I would suggest planning your own itinerary and being your own guide, unless you just prefer guided tours.

With a little research you can easily plan your own trip and I'm sure the folks on this board will be happy to help.

Can't help you with packages - I've never used one.

NZ is a great place for homestays, farmstays, B&Bs, and cottages. We've found some great places to stay.

You might want to check out the following sites for some unique lodging ideas:

The following site will help you calculate driving distances:

If I can be of further help, feel free to contact me:

[email protected].

Have a great trip!
Melnq8 is online now  
Jul 19th, 2003, 06:55 AM
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Thanks everyone - it looks like we have a lot of decisions to make.

Jed is offline  

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