Suggested itinerary for 17-day visit

Old Jan 7th, 2004, 05:52 PM
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Suggested itinerary for 17-day visit

Our family is planning a trip to New Zealand in December, 2004- January, 2005. We have approximately 17 days in NZ and will be flying into Aukland. My thought was to spend to 4-5 days on the North Island in Aukland and Rotonua and the rest of the time on South Island, flying from Rotonua to Christchurch. I would appreciate any thoughts, especially regarding traveling around the South Island.
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Old Jan 7th, 2004, 06:07 PM
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Your plan sounds like a good one to me. If you fly to Christchurch, hire a vehicle, then do a loop (Arthurs Pass - Greymouth - Glaciers - Te Anau - Milford - Queenstown - Wanaka - Mt. Cook), you can see a lot. I would either hire a car and stay in a combination of B & Bs or Holiday Park tourist flats; or hire a small campervan and stay in holiday parks and the occasional B & B.
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Old Jan 8th, 2004, 01:02 PM
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Our family just returned from 14 days in NZ and your trip sounds really good. I wish we had flown from Rotorua to Christchurch, but we drove. The scenery was beautiful on the ferry crossing, but other than Kaikoura (which can be done on a day trip from Christchurch) all we saw were sheep, wineries and mountains. All beautiful, but no time to stop. ALF's plan for the South Island sounds great.(we missed Greymouth and Mt Cook due to time restraints) Wanaka is beautiful but overpriced in everything; gas, food & accomodation.
Be happy to answer any questions. None of us wanted to leave. (Husband, me, 3 teenaged sons)
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Old Jan 11th, 2004, 11:36 PM
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Thanks for the comments. Do you think it would be too rushed to also go to Doubtful Sound. From what I have read, it is gorgeous and provides good kayaking. Also, any recommendations on lodgings in Christchurch, Queenstown, Rotonua, Franz Joseph, and Greymouth.
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Old Jan 13th, 2004, 02:26 PM
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In Christchurch we stayed at The Heritage in Cathedral Square. We were in the suites in the OGB and we really enjoyed it. One of our rooms overlooked the street and one overlooked a parking lot. Ask for the street! We booked our rooms through expedia and got excellent rates.
In Franz Joseph we stayed at the Franz Joseph Glacier Hotel. While it was clean and lovely, it seemed quite overpriced. I would look for something less expensive - maybe try a recommendation from a guidebook.
In Queenstown we stayed at Rydges. It's a large hotel, nothing fancy, but almost all the rooms have lake views and the view really is nice. It's far enough away from the main street to be quiet, and close enough to walk to everything. I would stay there again.
In Rotorua we stayed at Centra. It was quite nice, a little ways away from the downtown core, but we had a car, and it was easy to find parking everywhere.
If you plan to stay in Wanaka, let me know. I'll tell you where not to stay!
Hope this helps
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Old Jan 17th, 2004, 05:59 PM
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Hi there,
Consider adding a quick trip to the Bay of Islands to the mix as well.
4-5 days seems quite a long time spent in Auckland & Rotorua and you could drive up to Paihia from Auckland in 2 -3 hours.

Day 1. Arrive Auckland, sightsee

Day 2. Drive Paihia,( about 2 hours from Auckland) explore

Day 3. Paihia (dolphin/sightseeing cruise, tour Russell, Waitangi Treaty Grounds ) possibly drive back to Auckland same day.
... we left Paihia around 5pm and got into the North Shore of Auckland around 8pm after having dinner in Orewa ( another gorgeous spot just out of Auckland)

Day 4 . Drive to Rotorua (about 3 - 4 hours from Auckland.)

Day 5. Rotorua.

I have just returned from a quick trip to the Bay of Islands and loved it so much. It is well worth getting to if possible.

Christa
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Old Jan 18th, 2004, 12:01 PM
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I think we will spend about 13 days touring South Island. Given the time constraints, what are your thoughts on whether we have time to include Doubtful Sound and Otago Penninsula and fly out of Dunedin rather than return to Christchurch. Also, any suggested lodging in Duneden and the Doubtful Sound area? Is is better to take a overnight cruise of Doubtful Sound? Is kayaking an alternative? Or is kayaking better in the Otago Penninsula area? Thanks.
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Old Jan 18th, 2004, 07:24 PM
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We did the over night cruise on Doubtful Sound. It was a highlight of the trip. When we woke up in the morning the dolpins were jumping along side of the boat. The crew on the boat was great. They did everything they could to make sure we had a great time.
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Old May 2nd, 2004, 11:41 PM
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I'm again asking for experiences with kayaking on South Island, especially Milford Sound and Otago Peninsula? Any expecially good companies/outfitters that do tours? Thanks.
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 01:29 PM
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We stayed at the Lake Plaza in Rotorua; it's next to Lake Rotorua, the Polynesian Spa, and the Government Gardens, and a very short walk to downtown. Had a great breakfast at The Fat Dog, and enjoyed a hangi at Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Village in the evening. We also drove to Ohinemutu and visited St. Faith's Anglican Church, which has a lovely glass window etching of Christ wearing a Maori feather cloak; He appears to be walking on the lake.

We only had a day and a half in Auckland, and took the ferry to Devonport one afternoon, then spent a too-short time at the Auckland Museum. We stayed at the New President downtown. They upgraded us to a two-bedroom apartment, which was great, but the driving directions they gave us were abysmal.

Lee Ann
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