Rotorua or Queenstown

Oct 25th, 2002, 10:24 AM
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Rotorua or Queenstown

We are spending 8 days in NZ in mid May. Is Rotorua worth an overnite visit before going to Queenstown or does Queenstown offer enough for 3 days that time of year since we will not be skiing.
Oct 25th, 2002, 12:43 PM
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Rotorua is a very unique place and the town does have excellent cafes. I think it would be worth the stop. However another option would be to go directly to Queenstown and take a day trip to Milford Sound by plane - that way you wouldn't have to deal with booking an extra place to stay and unpack.
Oct 27th, 2002, 05:34 PM
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I wouldn't miss Rotorua and its geothermal attractions. Though Queenstown is beautiful and fun, I probably would've been pretty bored if I had stayed there 3 days.
Oct 28th, 2002, 04:12 PM
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I agree with Jay about spending more time in Queenstown & taking a day trip to Milford Sound. Rotorua was nice but I really loved the South Island much more.
There is tons to do in the Spring in Queenstown. Biking, hiking, Hang Gliding (my personal favorite), paragliding, shotover jets, steamboat rides. It all depends on what activities you like to do.

We were supposed to go to Milford for a day in August, but the snowy weather prevented us from going. We had no problem finding something other to do that day.

Have fun!
Oct 29th, 2002, 12:32 PM
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Thank you for your ideas. We already have 2 seperate days scheduled for the fijord area. Does this change any thoughts?
Oct 29th, 2002, 05:07 PM
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Like I said before, there is plenty to do in Queenstown, although if you are not an outdoorsy couple then...

I think you will enjoy Queenstown no matter what.
Oct 29th, 2002, 06:44 PM
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Hi, Jay!
While the south island is the better of the two, and worth most of your time (especially the fjords!), I wouldn't miss Rororua, if I were you. It's very different from what you're going to see down south, and I am sure you will be glad of the variety. By the way, Queenstown is nice, but don't miss Christchurch, will you?
Oct 29th, 2002, 11:39 PM
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Hi Jay
You have been getting sound, well-balanced advice. Just a couple of points:
1. In May it is Autumn and the fall colours of the South Island are great. The weather can be varible. This year up to about 15 May was mild Indian summer style, but the last week in May was cold and snowing.
2. Queenstown is a great alpine tourist town with loads of adventure activities plus wineries and cafes so 3 days will be enjoyable (personally I would not spend any longer there and if you are not into adventure things then maybe 2 days plus your sounds trip would be OK)
3. Your 2 days in the Sounds will be wonderful especially if you are doing the overnight on Doubtful Sounds - world class.
4. Rotorua - while you will get varying reports, it is as has been said a unique experience that combined the thermal areas with Maori culture. The fact that you can fly Rotorua to Queenstown is an added bonus. I would most certainly include it in my 8 days.
Come and enjoy our country.

Oct 30th, 2002, 01:25 AM
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I have to agree with Kerry above.
I loved Queenstown & would go back in a flash.
Rotorua is something else, a must see experience both sight & smell !!!
Maori culture is wonderful. If you can do the both.
Nov 1st, 2002, 08:17 PM
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Jay. I completely agree - QT for sure. Milford - Ideally, a drive and cruise is what I would recommend.
Nov 3rd, 2002, 03:34 AM
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There is plenty to see around Rotorua in the way of geothermal hot spots, lakes and forests. The geothermal area is spread out over quite a wide area and an arranged tour is required to see the best of it if time is very limited - otherwise hire a car (which is not expensive).

There are leisurely walks in the city domain and golf park areas (very close to the downtown area) which are recommended for a variety of geothermal activity and it is free to go to these places.

The Polynesian thermal pools are best visited in the evening when you can relax in the hot water under the stars.

It all adds up to a big yes for an overnight in Rotorua - otherwise you are going to be pushing it. As far as "Maori Culture" goes - its strictly for the tourists - I personally would give it a wide berth.

Yes - Queenstown and region is wonderful - but you have planned in extra days to see the fiords - so two nights should be enough for rest and relaxation there.

Christchurch is also pleasent city with a wonder arts centre and central park and I would also consider a night there if you can manage it as part of your experience.
Nov 3rd, 2002, 10:47 AM
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Hi Jay,

Definitely spend a few days in Rotorua. The aboriginal culture is one of the reasons we went to New Zealand and we saw a lot. We spent 5 weeks driving throughout both islands from the far north to the far south and unlike a lot of people, we preferred the North Island for its diversity. The thermal areas are great to see along with a glimpse of Maori culture. Queenstown was nice but quite touristy with lots of shops, restaurants etc. Not a place I would spend 3 days in as our main interest there was to take a ride to see the fijords. Christchurch is a lovely city and we enjoyed a stop there as well. Whatever you decide for your final itinereary do have a great trip.
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