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  • FIRST POST
    • familyguy321
    • By familyguy321 5th Feb 18, 11:12 PM
    • 53Posts
    • 13Thanks
    familyguy321
    0 WOW
    North and South Island in 2 weeks - help required
    • #1
    • 5th Feb 18, 11:12 PM
    0 WOW
    North and South Island in 2 weeks - help required 5th Feb 18 at 11:12 PM
    Hi All,

    My wife and I will be visiting NZ for 2 weeks in April and completely lost on how to best structure our time to see as much as possible on both Islands. We've put together an initial itinerary below and any advice would be much appreciated:

    Day 1 (Sunday): Flight lands in Auckland early afternoon. Plan is to check into hotel and then go out for boat cruise along the Harbour followed by dinner at the Sky Tower.

    Day 2 (Monday): Day trip to Hobbit movie set and Glow worm caves (can this be done in a day?)

    Day 3 (Tuesday): Day trip to Bay of Islands

    Day 4 (Wednesday): Hire campervan and leave Auckland in the morning. Aim to arrive in Rotorua by the afternoon to check out Maori village. Overnight stay in Rotorua.

    Day 5 (Thursday): Drive south towards Wellington. (any suggestions on route?)

    Day 6 (Friday): Arrive in Wellington and check into hotel. Drop off campervan. Free day to check out Wellington.

    Day 7 (Saturday): Early morning flight from Wellington to Queenstown. (Flight not booked as yet but this is the cheapest day by some margin). Free afternoon to explore Queenstown.

    Day 8 (Sunday): Nevis swing

    Day 9 (Monday): Milford Sound Cruise & Kayak

    Day 10 (Tuesday): Morning in Queenstown. Leave in afternoon with campervan and drive North. (Where is the best place to stop in the evening for stargazing?)

    Day 11 (Wednesday): Continue driving towards Christchurch

    Day 12 (Thursday): Arrive in Christchurch and explore.

    Day 13 (Friday): Morning flight out.

    Thanks in advance!

    FG
Page 2
    • zagfles
    • By zagfles 8th Feb 18, 9:43 AM
    • 12,724 Posts
    • 10,780 Thanks
    zagfles
    Hi everyone,

    Thanks to the excellent feedback and suggestions, we have amended the itinerary to focus on priorities and to allow some time to relax! The biggest change has been choosing to fly from Auckland to Queenstown, instead of from Wellington, which gives us more days in South Island. This means we have a base, Auckland / Queenstown when in the North / South islands respectively. However, it also means we don't get to experience the Aukland - Wellington Northern Explorer train.

    Please review the itinerary below and feel free to offer suggestions or answers to our questions.

    Day 1 (Sunday): Flight lands in Auckland early afternoon. Check into hotel and then go out for Auckland Harbour Boat cruise and, if not too tired, followed by dinner at the Sky Tower.
    Originally posted by familyguy321
    You can do a walk round the top if you're feeling brave (3 foot wide metal grid with no handrails, you're attached with a harness of course)! Or even do a "base jump" off it! Might help with the jet-lag, or not!
    Day 2 (Monday): Day trip to Waiheke Island via Ferry (will self-explore instead of using a tour company). Free evening back in Auckland to relax and get early sleep.

    Day 3 (Tuesday): Check out of hotel and leave early morning for Hobbiton [2.5hrs]. Afternoon movie set tour [4hrs] and then drive to Rotorua [1hr] for overnight stay in Maori village.

    Questions:
    Is 4hrs enough at Hobbiton?
    It's only really the tour there, you can't see it independantly, then you get a "free" drink, Think the tour is about 2 hours. AIRI it was very expensive!
    Is Rotorua the best place to get the proper Maori experience?
    Probably.
    Day 4 (Wednesday): Leave morning for Orakei Korako Geothermal Park [1hr] or Lake Taupo [1.5hrs]. Return to Auckland by evening [3hrs]

    Question: Which is better to visit; Orakei Korako or Lake Taupo?
    We went to Wai-o-Tapu geothemal park which AIRI was the best one we went to. South of Rotorua.
    • Marmaduke123
    • By Marmaduke123 8th Feb 18, 12:34 PM
    • 408 Posts
    • 385 Thanks
    Marmaduke123
    Yes, Wai-O-Tapu is amazing. You need to see the colours!
    • DUKE
    • By DUKE 8th Feb 18, 2:18 PM
    • 7,010 Posts
    • 296,258 Thanks
    DUKE
    You can get a bus around Waiheke Island for $10 & it's well worth the price, there's 4 different routes & they're colour coded so you know where you're going. Visit the Sandshack for the wonderful views overlooking Onetangi Beach, & food & drink. There's always the HOHO bus too if you changed plans & wanted something different to do.

    We didn't have dinner at the Sky Tower but we had ice cream Have a look around the shop too as the prices were quite good I thought, unlike shops by the harbour which are quite expensive in comparison.

    If you like a steak there do a decent one at Le Garde-Manger on Queen Street. We stayed at the Kiwi International, so it was just across the road & down a bit. Or if you just want to watch the world go by after a busy day, Starke's Cafe! & Bar's (next to the theatre) the place to be. Happy hour 4-6 ;-)

    Oh I feel I should book a trip now.
    Last edited by DUKE; 08-02-2018 at 2:23 PM.
    Thanks everyone!
    • familyguy321
    • By familyguy321 9th Feb 18, 9:03 AM
    • 53 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    familyguy321
    You guys are amazing! I can't thank you enough for the answers to my questions and the tips. I have read through all the replies (some more than once) and I believe I now have an itinerary that will give us a good taste of both islands. I have added in some flex as I anticipate things will change and we may not do some !!!8216;nice to do!!!8217; things such as Akaroa as we may be too tired or decide to spend a bit longer somewhere else.

    I should point out that we are from the UK and will have been in Australia for a 1 week (Commonwealth Games) prior to arriving in Aukland, so hopefully the jet lag should not be an issue.

    Next steps are to book accommodation, activities/tours and domestic flight!!
    • dondo
    • By dondo 9th Feb 18, 10:23 AM
    • 462 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    dondo
    Hi bit late to the discussions but we went to NZ in 2015 and loved it.

    We did a pretty whistlestop tour of the South Island in just over a week so we could spend more time on the North Island as that's where our relatives live.

    Few things to add if any use:
    - As someone else said maybe hire a car as opposed to a camper van. We booked through Apex who were excellent. Especially as motels/hotels we found of a really good standard and good value for money.
    -Re Milford Sound, there is a small airport there where you can fly in from Queenstown which may buy you some time.
    -What to do in Queenstown- we did one of the jet boat trips which was excellent.
    -Whilst expensive a helicopter ride to one of the glaciers is fantastic- best to get one that doesn't just do Fox as our guide was saying that it isn't as good as the others these days.
    -In Christchurch the Antarctic centre is great.
    • dawyldthing
    • By dawyldthing 9th Feb 18, 1:38 PM
    • 2,799 Posts
    • 2,724 Thanks
    dawyldthing
    Hi everyone,

    Thanks to the excellent feedback and suggestions, we have amended the itinerary to focus on priorities and to allow some time to relax! The biggest change has been choosing to fly from Auckland to Queenstown, instead of from Wellington, which gives us more days in South Island. This means we have a base, Auckland / Queenstown when in the North / South islands respectively. However, it also means we don't get to experience the Aukland - Wellington Northern Explorer train.

    Please review the itinerary below and feel free to offer suggestions or answers to our questions.

    Day 1 (Sunday): Flight lands in Auckland early afternoon. Check into hotel and then go out for Auckland Harbour Boat cruise and, if not too tired, followed by dinner at the Sky Tower.

    Day 2 (Monday): Day trip to Waiheke Island via Ferry (will self-explore instead of using a tour company). Free evening back in Auckland to relax and get early sleep.

    Day 3 (Tuesday): Check out of hotel and leave early morning for Hobbiton [2.5hrs]. Afternoon movie set tour [4hrs] and then drive to Rotorua [1hr] for overnight stay in Maori village.

    Questions:
    Is 4hrs enough at Hobbiton?
    Is Rotorua the best place to get the proper Maori experience?

    Day 4 (Wednesday): Leave morning for Orakei Korako Geothermal Park [1hr] or Lake Taupo [1.5hrs]. Return to Auckland by evening [3hrs]

    Question: Which is better to visit; Orakei Korako or Lake Taupo?

    Day 5 (Thursday): Afternoon flight from Auckland to Queenstown. Check into hotel. Explore in the evening.

    Day 6 (Friday): Nevis swing. Relaxing evening.

    Day 7 (Saturday): Free day in Queenstown

    Question: Is there something we could do on this day?

    Day 8 (Sunday): Full day tour - Milford Sound Cruise & Kayak

    Question: Should we stay near Milford Sound overnight instead of returning to QT?

    Day 9 (Monday): Free day in Queenstown

    Day 10 (Tuesday): Leave Queenstown in the morning, drive to Mt Cook through Lindis Pass [5hrs]. Evening stargazing tour.

    Question: Is it better to go via Wanaka-Haast Pass-West Coast (glaciers)-Arthurs Pass route?

    Day 11 (Wednesday): Drive to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo. Overnight in CC.

    Day 12 (Thursday): Day trip to Akaroa/explore Christchurch.

    Day 13 (Friday): Morning flight out.
    Originally posted by familyguy321

    I went paragliding in queenstown - was out of this world. Also luging is really good. Fergbuger is nice. Depends what you like

    For Milford sounds there are day trips. I went through kiwi ex as part of my pass but you can book it as a day trip anyway
    My targets to end 2018:
    1) To get down to 11 stone then treat to a safari. At start 17 stone 7 lbs *60lbs lost* *31lbs to go*
    Started SW16st13lbs tues11/7/17 - 32 weeks in -52lbs
    -> target 11 st 13lbs by mid June -> 15 weeks & 18lbs to go
    2) to find new challenges
    • dawyldthing
    • By dawyldthing 9th Feb 18, 1:41 PM
    • 2,799 Posts
    • 2,724 Thanks
    dawyldthing
    There's big bike tracks too on the monorail type thing in queenstown. I wouldn't have the nerve to do it to be fair.
    My targets to end 2018:
    1) To get down to 11 stone then treat to a safari. At start 17 stone 7 lbs *60lbs lost* *31lbs to go*
    Started SW16st13lbs tues11/7/17 - 32 weeks in -52lbs
    -> target 11 st 13lbs by mid June -> 15 weeks & 18lbs to go
    2) to find new challenges
    • familyguy321
    • By familyguy321 10th Feb 18, 6:01 PM
    • 53 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    familyguy321
    We're currently in the middle of booking accommodation / activities around the Queenstown portion of our trip and could do with some of your awesome help!

    This is our plan with our questions after:

    Day 5 (Thursday): Afternoon flight from Auckland arrives Queenstown 3pm (already booked, non-refundable). Check into accommodation. Explore in the evening.

    Day 6 (Friday): Pick up hire car and drive to Te Anau [2hrs] and stay for night.

    Day 7 (Saturday): Leave for Milford Sound late morning and do overnight cruise including Kayaking.

    Day 8 (Sunday): Head back towards Queenstown with stop for Key Summit Walk.

    Day 9 (Monday): Nevis swing. Relaxing evening.

    Day 10 (Tuesday): Leave Queenstown in the morning, drive to Mt Cook Village through Lindis Pass with stop at Wanaka on the way [5hrs].

    Q1: The Queenstown - Te Anau - Milford - Queenstown roundtrip will take the best part of 3 days from our trip. Would it be better to do it in 2 days i.e. drive straight to Milford from Queenstown?

    Q2: Instead of driving and tiring ourselves out, we have considered using the coach but it seems pretty expensive. e.g. the price on Real Journeys is $858.00 for 2 people. Is it worth it?

    Q3: Is the Key Summit Walk a 'must do' or will be get similar walking experience in Wanaka?
    • dawyldthing
    • By dawyldthing 11th Feb 18, 7:27 PM
    • 2,799 Posts
    • 2,724 Thanks
    dawyldthing
    https://www.kiwiexperience.com/book-your-nz-trip/nz-bus-pass/milford-explorer

    I don't know what's at te anau but it seems a heck of a lot that does. That's the day trip I did. Not sure about the summit walk to be fair either. Lots do the taronga crossing I think it is, but it's not a guaranteed walk and if I remember right wasn't that far from hobbiton
    My targets to end 2018:
    1) To get down to 11 stone then treat to a safari. At start 17 stone 7 lbs *60lbs lost* *31lbs to go*
    Started SW16st13lbs tues11/7/17 - 32 weeks in -52lbs
    -> target 11 st 13lbs by mid June -> 15 weeks & 18lbs to go
    2) to find new challenges
    • dondo
    • By dondo 12th Feb 18, 9:52 AM
    • 462 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    dondo
    We did our Milford Sound Trip on an organised tour from Te Anau but we were just doing the cruise so no overnight kayaking

    We booked through Jucy www.jucycruize.co.nz and they picked us up from our hotel in Te Anau (we stayed at the Aden Motel which was great) and it was good to not have to drive and appreciate the views etc. and get some excellent commentary from the bus driver.

    I also note that this company www.fiordlanddiscovery.co.nz do overnight cruises with kayaking and offer connections from Te Anau or Queenstown- no idea what the compsny are like just came up from a google search.

    Also look at www.bookme.co.nz - it was recommended to us by one of the motel owners when we were there.
    • frankie
    • By frankie 12th Feb 18, 4:01 PM
    • 645 Posts
    • 263 Thanks
    frankie
    https://www.kiwiexperience.com/book-your-nz-trip/nz-bus-pass/milford-explorer

    I don't know what's at te anau but it seems a heck of a lot that does. That's the day trip I did. Not sure about the summit walk to be fair either. Lots do the taronga crossing I think it is, but it's not a guaranteed walk and if I remember right wasn't that far from hobbiton
    Originally posted by dawyldthing

    I think you mean Tongariro crossing? Fantastic walk, we did it whilst staying at Discovery Lodge, south of Lake Tapua.

    Not a lot at Te Anau but very pretty. I think we did the Doubtful Sound trip from there.
    • dawyldthing
    • By dawyldthing 12th Feb 18, 8:03 PM
    • 2,799 Posts
    • 2,724 Thanks
    dawyldthing
    I think you mean Tongariro crossing? Fantastic walk, we did it whilst staying at Discovery Lodge, south of Lake Tapua.

    Not a lot at Te Anau but very pretty. I think we did the Doubtful Sound trip from there.
    Originally posted by frankie
    That's the one. It's hit and miss if it happens due to the weather but I've seen folks photos and it does look good
    My targets to end 2018:
    1) To get down to 11 stone then treat to a safari. At start 17 stone 7 lbs *60lbs lost* *31lbs to go*
    Started SW16st13lbs tues11/7/17 - 32 weeks in -52lbs
    -> target 11 st 13lbs by mid June -> 15 weeks & 18lbs to go
    2) to find new challenges
    • DesertWind
    • By DesertWind 14th Feb 18, 4:29 PM
    • 123 Posts
    • 284 Thanks
    DesertWind
    I agree that covering both islands in two weeks would be a lot, you could always just do the South Island, fly into Christchurch and do a loop, over Arthurs pass to the west coast, see tge two glaciers Franz Josef and Fox, Lake McKenzie, through the Haast pass to Queenstown, Milford Sound, Wanaka, back up the East coast to Christchurch. whatever you do enjoy it! it an amazing Country, there is also the choice of a day or two in Sydney as a stop over on the way back depending on who you fly with.
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