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Need help deciding - Iceland or New Zealand for 10-11 days

Need help deciding - Iceland or New Zealand for 10-11 days

Old Jan 25th, 2014, 09:26 AM
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Need help deciding - Iceland or New Zealand for 10-11 days

Two totally different locations, but we can't decide. We aren't the beachy, sit around and do nothing travel people. We prefer being able to drive around and hike and find things that are off the beaten path. Our budget isn't super strict, but we do plan on staying in hostels and not choosing the most expensive dining options so we can spend some more on a few excursions maybe. Alcohol won't be a factor as neither of us really drink. We'd be renting a car in either place. If we did NZ, the cheapest flight option is to fly into Auckland. Not sure how much traveiling we could do of both sides of the country and still be able to enjoy it. We don't need to do many 'big city' things - I'd rather be outside in nature.

I've heard a lot of NZ is like the PNW - and we do live in Seattle so we get out to the mountains quite a bit to hike, But I also know that it's still a completly different terrain.

Any insight would be great so we could try and decide.

OH! And the trip will be in the beginning of September so not sure how much weather will play into it.
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Old Jan 25th, 2014, 09:52 AM
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Our PBS cooking/travel channel just had a couple of shows on the north and south islands of NZ. It looked fabulous. They made me want to go there. Have been to Iceland twice because of using IcelandAir. Not so interesting. Daughter and SIL were there in '99 and paid $15 for a bowl of soup. Not my sort of place.
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Old Jan 25th, 2014, 11:56 AM
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I have been to both places and found them both to be great but quite different from each other. In NZ all of my time was spent on the south island because I was on a ski club trip in our summer/their winter. The fiords there are beautiful and serene. I went to both Doubtful Sound and another more remote (name escapes me at the moment but starts with M). The birds, dolphins, penguins, etc. were an attraction for me. There are excellent hiking trails as trips to tops of glaciers, if you like that. We did a trip to a farm on the old steamer out of Queenstown and saw demos of sheep round-up and shearing. We also went to Christchurch which looked very much like an English town with punting on the river. I have read that they have done quite a lot of rebuilding since the earthquake including a cathedral to replace the one destroyed by it. The architecture is reputed to be stunning and quite different from the previous one. I would like to return and see the north island and more of the Maori culture. NZ is a very clean country and their people are friendly and polite.

In Iceland we took a daytrip out into the country to see the glaciers, volcano, beaches, distinctive Icelandic ponies, a folkloric village, waterfalls, and just general natural scenes. There are also hiking trails there, too. At night we had dinner at the top of their water tower in Reykjavik (more elegant than it sounds). There are lovely parks in the city and just interesting architecture that makes use of the natural materials available. Their cathedral in the city is unusual and lovely. No trip to Iceland would be complete without visiting the Blue Lagoon. It was quite relaxing and wonderful for the skin. My regret is that we did not rent a car and go out of the city at night to see the northern lights. They are supposed to be especially spectacular this year. We did not find this trip to be expensive at all. It was a package deal booked through Icelandair that included our air, hotel, transfers, and daily breakfast.

I don't think you can go wrong with whichever one you decide to visit. See if there are any good package deals for either country.
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Old Jan 25th, 2014, 01:50 PM
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I too have been to both, and would tend towards Iceland for a 10-11 day trip.

I'm not sure where you're going to be travelling from, but assuming it's the US, Iceland is closer and cheaper, and you can see most of not all of the major sights in the time you've got.

NZ OTOH is a lot further away, more expensive to get to [though may be cheaper when you get there] and you're not going to be able to see much more than one island within your time from. We went to OZ and NZ last year for about 5 weeks, and if I'd had to come home after 10-11 days, I'd have felt very short-changed. Apart from anything else the journey takes it out of you and you'd probably only just about got into the rhythm of the trip and it would be time to go home.

I haven't got to NZ in my TR yet, but if you click on my screen name, you can find my report of our trip to Iceland. In 10-11 days you could probably do a circuit of Iceland , and were we to go again, that's just what I'd do!
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Old Jan 27th, 2014, 02:57 PM
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I've been to NZ a couple of times and it's one of my top three places I've ever been. I'm going to Iceland for the first time this June. Since I can't speak for Iceland, I will say that I personally think if you're going to travel all the way to NZ, you'd want more time. The first time I went I was there three weeks. Really wanted more time. The second time was a work trip and I was there two weeks.

Does your 10-11 days include travel time? That definitely makes a difference. New Zealand is incredible with all the varied geography and it'd be hard to do it justice in such a short time.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 01:57 PM
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I'm going to Iceland in August but went to the South Island of NZ many years ago. NZ is indescribable! I spent 10 days and felt we'd barely touched it and definitely did not even try the North Island. The sound that lwjm is blanking on above is the Milton Sound,

While I do not know personally, I would think you could spend 10 days in Iceland and leave having gotten a good taste of the country. Leaving NZ after only 10 days, I fear you would be in tears.

Have fun wherever you go!
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