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1st time to new zealand help.

North Yorkshire...
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1st time to new zealand help.

hi, oh has decided wants to travel to nz we live in uk. escorted tours cost 2K-5K gbp each +flights! so looking at travelling independent but finding it a bit daunting nz is a place i never dreamed i would be able to visit so i know very little.any help please would be gratefully recieved.

thinking maybe mid november for 19 nights if not will be early january.

thought maybe 4 nights in aukland on landing to recover,maybe do a boat trip and explore city,is this too long?

take the overlander train to wellington if it is running(cant find schedule for it online) maybe 2 nights in wellington (not too interested in art/museums) would 1 night be better?

pick up hire car in wellington, dont want different hotels/motels everynight so looking for areas where we can be based for maybe 3 nights at a time to walk to attractions or drive for maybe up to 3 hrs a day round trip to different locations and back to hotel.

masterton might be interesting oh is interested in farming but is there enough there to keep us occupied.

want to include lake taupo and rotura

looking to stay in hamilton for at least 3 nights as a base, longer if plenty of attractions/locations to reach from there.

then maybe pahia for a couple of nights.

looking to stay overnight in areas not to isolated with restaurants/ bars within walking distance.

final night in aukland.

is accommodation plenty? in that we can just turn up and book on the day or is it advisable to prebook.

i have trawled through over 50 pages of the forum,its been a great help but i am still unsure and a bit lost on what to do.

Edited: 01 February 2012, 13:49
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Rarotonga, Cook...
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1. Re: 1st time to new zealand help.

Hi jeh,

Wonderful to hear that you are keen to visit NZ. While our weather during November may not be as warm or as settled (likely) as January's weather, the earlier timeframe means that there will be fewer people on the roads and also taking annual leave as Kiwis tend to do over January.

It might help to assist you with a suggested itinerary so you can plan your travels. Hiring a car and touring independently will enable you to visit places in the North Island including Auckland region; Hamilton - Waitomo Caves; Rotorua; Taupo; Napier; Masterton - Martinborough; Wellington city before catching the car-ferry to cross Cook Strait for your South Island adventures.

You could take the Coastal Pacific train from Picton to Christchurch and hire a rental car from this city to tour around, and there is the Tranz Alpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth.

You can reduce your Auckland stay to 1/2 nights which will enable you to drive or fly to the Bay of Islands basing yourselves in Paihia for a Bay cruise, and to sightsee the some of historical settlement sites in this area. There are organised coach tours to the BOI from Auckland city, as well the Intercity passenger coach service operates between Auckland city and Paihia daily. However, a rental car will work out to be economical if taken over the longer duration while you visit places on the North Island.

19 days is not much time overall to see all of the North and South Island. I suggest that you review the scenery you especially want to see to help formulate an itinerary. If travelling during January, you will need to book all/most of your accommodation ahead of arrival. Securing accommodation during November will be easier if you plan to go as you please on your way south. Return to Auckland by flying domestic from a South Is location e.g. Christchurch, Queenstown, Nelson, Dunedin etc.

Auckland - arrival 1 N

Paihia (BOI) - 2 N

Hamilton 1 N (Waitomo caves tour following morning)

Rotorua 2N

Napier 1 N

Masterton - Wellington - 2 N

cross Cook Strait to Picton - train to Christchurch - 2 N


Unfortunately having the terrain we have in NZ, and the need to continue south over a limited timeframe means that a 1 night stay will be unavoidable. But accommodtion around NZ is well set up for this common practice. If you are interested in taking the Overlander train it is somewhat difficult to stop en route (and expensive also) to go sightseeing e.g. thermal region.

Happy planning!

Edited: 01 February 2012, 19:44
North Yorkshire...
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2. Re: 1st time to new zealand help.

thanks very much frangipan, as much as i would like to visit south island i thought it would be a more relaxing time and not so rushed to concentrate just on touring north island.

talked about the caves but oh not wanting to go inside them.

we have friends that emigrated many years ago to nz so hoping to locate them hence the stay in hamilton.

i was thinking by taking the overlander it would give us the chance to relax and view the scenery the full lenghth from aukland to wellington without having to drive. do you think this is not such a good idea?

looking to stay at hotels/motels en route for at least a few days at each, to use as a base.

do you think this is viable?

do you still suggest the below







very grateful for your advice thanks again

Edited: 01 February 2012, 20:20
Rarotonga, Cook...
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3. Re: 1st time to new zealand help.

If you wish to focus on the North island this trip, the Overlander train down to Wellington, followed by a leisurely tour northwards from the capital before flying out makes a lot of sense. This will also give you sufficient time to vist your friends in Hamilton as well as do day-trips from there e.g. Raglan, Te Aroha, Matamata, Maungatautari etc. You may even have a hankering to view the caves once you are in the company of people you know well.

A feature of the Overlander tour is that you get to view scenery that is not possible from the road e.g. Raurimu Spiral! I think your proposed itinerary above looks good. You might want to add Auckland into the mix, but more likely at the start of your NZ stay, before you catch the Overlander train south to Wellington - http://www.tranzscenic.co.nz/overlander/.

From Masterton, you can visit Mt Bruce bird sanctuary, Castlepoint lighthouse, Martinborough wineries, and some of the regions gardens open to the public.

Paihia is a good base to explore the wider area including Cape Reinga (suggest a speciality tour which is permitted to drive 90 Mile Beach) - allow 3 nights here.


North Yorkshire...
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4. Re: 1st time to new zealand help.

thats a great help thank you frangipani. lots of interesting information to go on.

i would love to visit the caves but unfortunatley i doubt it will appeal to my o.h but you never know.

kuala lumpur
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5. Re: 1st time to new zealand help.

if my flight lands at Auckland what is the most efficient way to wellington convention centre?flight/train/bus?

Thank you

New Zealand
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6. Re: 1st time to new zealand help.

@VeeKL, if by efficient you mean least time and fewest connections, then a flight to Wellington would be best. The flight time between Auckland and Wellington is about an hour.

Buses and trains to Wellington do not go via Auckland airport, so you'd need to first of all connect to them, and then the journey would take several hours.

If you have any further questions about your visit to New Zealand, it is best to start a new thread by clicking "Ask a question" with a heading that describes what you are wanting to know. That is likely to get you the best answers.

7. Re: 1st time to new zealand help.

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