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Great Ocean Road??? -- Songdoc's Latest NZ/OZ Dilemma

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I'll have 5 days (May 31 - June 4) in between work obligations in Wellington, NZ and Sydney. FYI, we get to return every year--so we've seen a great deal of NZ -- and loved it. We're primarily drawn to nature and long, easy walks. I'd REALLY wanted to visit Marlborough Sounds this time ... but the logistics are just too daunting.

FYI, the Bay of Many Coves resorts (in Marlborough Sounds) offerered me a great price (4 nights for the price of three -- thanks for suggesting that Melnq!) but with it being winter there are no float planes and fewer ferries/water taxis than in peak season. So there'd be no way to do this without overnighting on the way back in Wellington--and then having to be up by 4:30 AM to get to the airport. I'd have to trade an entire day of vacation for travel. So I think we'll probably leave this for another trip.

I'd love to return to N. Queensland. Loved it last year -- and there are plenty of places we didn't get to, such as the Atherton Tablelands. But ... we don't want to travel that far -- and spend quite that much for flights for such a short visit.

Option #2 was returning to Abel Tasman. The logistics are easy and we absolutely loved our stay there (at the Ocean View Chalets) last year. We'd take the water taxi to parts of the park that we didn't explore last time -- and do some different walks ...

So ... what's wrong with option #2???
I know it would be beautiful and relaxing ... but ... it doesn't give this travel-o-holic that rush of excitement; that thrill of going to a place I've never seen before.

So ... I just thought of option #3:
fly from Wellington to Melbourne; spend a day or two in the city -- then take two or three days driving the Great Ocean Road. It's an easy flight from Wellington to Melbourne -- and even easier from Melbourne to Sydney.

So, here are my questions: how much driving would be entailed? (I'm not a fan of long drives). How many days would be needed to do this without more than 2 hours of driving per day? Would I do this as a circle -- and return to Melbourne -- or should I return the rental car and fly to Sydney from somewhere else instead of backtracking to Melbourne.

I've just thought of this option -- so I probably will have more questions, but thought I'd see what you all think.

Thanks, as always!

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