We will spend our family vacation in New Zealand during Aug 2017, which is during deep Winter of this lovely country.
Planning a trip, want to see if it is reasonable or not...we have 4 adults + 1 10-yr-old kid.
Jul 29 : Arriving Auckland from Singapore nearly midnight, stay one night in hotel near airport
Jul 30 : 8:00am get rental car, drive to Matamata ( 2hrs drive) and spend some time there. Leave around 3pm for Rotorua(1hr drive). Check in hotel there and then spend that evening with Tamaki Maori Village.
Jul 31: 8:30am drive to Hellgate Geothermal Park(25min), spend 2 hrs there, then drive back to hotel and spend the PM fishing in Lake Rotorua. Evening enjoying our catch in hotel (or eat supermarket food if not able to catch one....)
Aug 1 : check out hotel and at 8:30am, then drive to Wai-O-Tapu Hot Sprints(30min), spend about 2 hrs there, leaving at noon time and then drive to Taupo (1 hr drive + 1 hr lunch). After checking in hotel, spend the afternoon time biking at Lions Walk and/or driving around.
Aug 2: morning time: Kayaking at Lake Taupo, PM, driving/walking around Taupo
Aug 3: Check out hotel and at 9:00am drive to Aratiatia Rapids/Huka Falls+walks, leaving at 11:30am for Waitomo Cave (arriving around 2:30pm, including lunch). Spend 2 hrs in Waitomo Cave and leaving at 4:30pm, then drive back to Auckland (2.5 hrs, night drive)
Aug 4: morning time, rest and relax in Auckland, PM, fly from Auckland to Queenstown. Relax in Queenstown and hotel
Aug 5: bus tour to Milford sound (full day)
Aug 6: AM cruise tour, PM Helicopter flight (Queenstown Milford Sound and back)
Aug 7: 8:00am Get rental car, then drive to Arrowtown(30mn drive), leave there at noon time and relax back to hotel (Queenstown walks or driving around nearby)
Aug 8: Skiing...whole day
Aug 9: Not planned yet (we are still debating....)
Aug 10: AM: Queenstown Luge, may also Try the ZipLine there, PM (not planned yet)
Aug 11: AM : not planned yet, PM Fly back to Auckland
Aug 12-14: Spend time around Auckland (SkyTower, Mission Bay...not really planned yet)
Aug 14 late night: Fly back to Singapore.
Sorry for long and messy description above and the many questions below. I really want to make this family vacation trip a superb experience :=)
1. Is the above plan OK and reasonable?
2. Is it safe to do night driving between Waitomo Cave to Auckland during deep Winter time? I supposed there will be no lights during that 2.5 hours drive mostly. Am I correct? Will there be snow in that Highway 39 during the deep winter night usually?
3. Quite a number of driving planned starting early. I read some posts saying that I should avoid driving before 10am due to chance of black-ice, is it true? and must I re-plan the whole trip due to this reason?
4. I indeed want to drive to Milford Sound if road is open, but my wife is very concerned of the road safety so I plan for a bus tour instead. If a road is marked Open by the NZ road authority, will it then mean my rented 7-seater MUV will be able to drive through the roads? Understand that I will need to carry snow-chain in the car, what is the chance of using it?(never use it before....)
5. Excluding road from Queenstown to Milford sound, will I need to use snow-chain for other roads nearby Queenstown? or Taupo? or Rotorua? (no snow at Auckland I supposed)
6. Any suggestions for the empty slots that I can spend time in Queenstown and Auckland?
Many many thanks in advance for your advice and comments!
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