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    by ibobi Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 20, 17 at 01:24 PM
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2- and 3-day visits in NZ in January - really, that's all

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I (50-yr-old female traveling solo) will make my third trip to New Zealand in January and could use some help in choosing wisely. Previous trips I was able to take 7-10 days vacation, but this trip I will have only 2 full days of tourist time before my meeting and 2-3 full days after my meeting (not counting travel days). The cost of someone else paying the airfare. So I will just be choosing two spots to visit for 2-3 days each.

My preferences are nature, native culture, architecture, and anything unique to a place. I prefer mountains and trees over beaches unless they have huge sand dunes or large, crashing surf. I do not care to go on a glacier or visit vineyards this trip.

Previous visits, I REALLY enjoyed:
Kapiti Island kiwi
Rotorua Maori shows, thermal features
Otago Peninsula penguins and albatross
Mt Cook Park view and hike
Te Anau caves glowworms and night/star boat trip

I enjoyed less:
Milford Sound cruise
Akaroa, dolphin cruise, Pohatu penquins
Towns: Auckland/Devonport, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin

I had some items highlighted in my travel book that I didn't get to on previous visits, but I also realized some pages are missing about both islands, so I could use some help on determining if some of the destinations listed below are my best options to choose from or if I am missing something.

kauri trees - Waipoua Forest Park or somewhere else?
sand dunes - Te Paki Reserve? Farewell Spit? impressive?
art deco architecture - Napier
glow worms - Waitomo caves? Dell north of Hokitika? As good as Te Anau?
mountain views/day hike - Arthur's Pass? somewhere around Queenstown? or somewhere on the west coast (besides walk/fly on glacier)?
penguins - Oamaru Blue Penguin colony? Compared to Penguin Place experience?
various wildlife - Steward Island? Not enough days?
I have to do some more research to find the west coast of SI info--I seem to remember rain forest?

I find this choosing two short stops more difficult than planning a long trip with flexibility with number of days and places to visit. Thanks for your thoughts.

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