Three weeks in NZ

Old Mar 28th, 2004, 01:31 PM
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Three weeks in NZ

I am seriously considering a three-week trip to New Zealand, either later this year or early 2005. I have started to think about what I want to do whilst them I am there and how best to get there, but wondered if anyone could give me any pointers as to how to make the best of my time there? I am particularly interested in your opinions on whether it's advisable to visit both islands or concentrate on one, the best means of getting around once there, when to go, and also the best route to NZ from the UK - I have heard that going via LAX can be tedious and I'm not sure whether to just do a straightforward stop-off somewhere like Singapore or Hong Kong, or whether a round the world ticket would be a better option. Cheers!
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Old Mar 28th, 2004, 05:14 PM
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Flying from LHR to Singapore takes about 12:45 (non-stop). Singapore to AKL takes another 9-10 hours.

Flying from LHR to LAX takes about 11:15, and LAX to AKL another 12:45.

So, time wise, you save only an hour or so going through Singapore (unless of course there's a significant difference in layovers).

I guess it really comes down to price, and your choice of airline.

If it were me, I'd go through Singapore and I'd fly Singapore Air, but that's just my personal preference. If I have to spend time in an airport, I'd choose Singapore over LAX anytime.

We've found the best way for us to get to NZ from the Middle East is to purchase around-the-world tickets. This enables us to also visit the US and the cost is much less than buying separate tickets. We fly around-the-world in Business class though - I seriously doubt I'd want to tackle all that flying in coach.

With three weeks, you can probably visit both islands, seeing the highlights of both.

Personally, I much prefer the South Island, and I could easily spend a month or two there (in fact I have) but that's just me.

I'd recommend renting a car. IMO it's the best way to see NZ and lets you be flexible.

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Old Mar 28th, 2004, 06:39 PM
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Hello Bladesfan,

With 3 weeks you should absolutely visit both islands. Depending on your interests, you will be able to decide which you'd like to spend the most time in, but you'll be able to see a majority of both with the time you have to spend.

A car rental is the way to go on both islands for the maximum freedom, although you can take a bus from Auckland to the Bay Islands, Coromandel, etc. Then from the North Island, you could take the ferry to the South from Wellington, pick up a rental car there and be off exploring.


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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 10:44 AM
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Thanks for that guys. It seems like the best plan is to visit both islands, travel about by car, and then decide which island I like best and maybe spend a bit more time there.

Thanks Melnq8 for the advice re airports and round the world tickets. Wlzmatilida - thanks for the tip on the bus and ferry. No doubt I will be back here to pick your brains again at various points between now and the end of the year!
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Old Apr 25th, 2004, 05:45 PM
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I just returned from NZ and spent 6 days on the south island and 3 days in Auckland. From Auckland we visited Whangarei and the Bay of Islands on one day and the Coromandel Peninsula on another. There is so much more to see! On the south island we visited Christchurch, Lake Tekapo, and Wanaka/Hawea; then we went to Queeenstown, Milford Sound, and Rotorua. There is much, much more to see!! If I had your time, I'd spend a week to 10 days on the north and the rest on the south island. You still will miss a lot, but that way your your time will be best spent.
Good luck
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Old Apr 25th, 2004, 11:55 PM
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Hi Bladesfan

Although I'm slightly nervous about helping a Sheffield United supporter, particularly as my lot are playing your lot Friday evening, I'd love to point you in the right direction for NZ!

I came back from a round the world tour at the end of February and spent about five weeks in NZ. And fear not, it was amazing. Firstly can I point you to an online journal I wrote as I was going, it should be found at, if you search for "sonandjim" as the "Find your friend". There are 9 reports from various points on the journey around both islands.

I would definitely recommend going via Singapore, maybe even stopping over for a day or so. The night safari there is pretty amazing, and worth visiting, and it's the home of Tiger lager so the place can't be all bad! Not only is it marginally quicker, but the less time you have to spend at LAX in your life, the better. The place is a choked disaster, security is SO tight now (understandably) that everywhere you turn you're being searched, x-rayed, scanned etc. Changi airport in Singapore on the other hand is the most pleasant airport in the world, and besides a check for SARS, you'll breeze through with considerable efficiency.

As for time division, I would split it 2:1 south:north. The natural beauty of the south island is, in my opinion, unrivalled on the globe, for sheer scale and diversity. Hire a car, drive the wonderfully down-tempo "state highways" (usually single lane carriageways with roundabouts, one-lane bridges etc) and love every minute of it.

To cover longer routes, e.g. from Wellington up to the Bay of Islands, we flew on Air NZ. If you book the flights as a UK resident, however, you pay four times the price for the ticket. I had a Kiwi friend help me out and pay for it on his NZ credit card and got the flights for about 20 pounds each. Not bad.

I would suggest a RTW ticket as your best bet. A four stopper would allow you to visit Singapore, then NZ then if fancy it LA (and Hollywood) for a day and possibly NYC on the way home? If you could make the trip four weeks then all this is possible! Mind you, our trip started out as a three-weeker and turned into a three-and-a-half monther!

If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to get in touch,

Good luck Friday (!)

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