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Stay in Aukland or Not?

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Stay in Aukland or Not?

Hello. I am in the process of planning a 4-5 week excursion to New Zealand and Australia in April 2018. The folks in the Australia forum have already convinced me to travel independently instead of an organized tour. However, I am somewhat following the pattern of the tour I was interested in. Here is link to tour. https://www.gate1travel.com/asia-pacific/aus…

As there are numerous local flights during this trip, I'm wondering where I can cut out a destination. I have 4 stops in Australia that I'm really dedicated to (Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns, Ayers Rock). Aukland, NZ will be my first stop following the international flight from the US. My real interests here are Queenstown and Dunedin. No doubt I will be exhausted and attempting to adjust to the 12 hour time zone difference.

I'm considering just flying straight to Queenstown from Aukland airport, and staying here for 4 or 5 days instead of getting accommodations in Aukland. Will I miss much by not staying in Aukland?

Thanks for your comments.

Edited: 05 May 2017, 17:48
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1. Re: Stay in Aukland or Not?

Depends on what you're looking for. I enjoyed exploring Auckland for a couple days. Museums, SkyTower, absolutely incredible food, fun shopping districts, trip on the ferry up to Devenport where you can climb the small hills for a view of the harbor and Auckland skyline, etc. It's a proper city with all that comes with urban city life. And did I mention the food? Sooo good.

Queenstown is less a city, and more a jumping point for adventure. Hikes, boat trips, luge, gondola, frisbee golf, etc. Nearby Arrowtown and Glenorchy are common areas for tourists to visit, assuming you'll have a car.

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2. Re: Stay in Aukland or Not?

Queenstown is a lot easier to get around without a car, as it's really a town and not a city. You can walk from end to end of the town center in 10 minutes. Most every tour operator will pick you up either in the center of town or at your accommodation.

I don't think you'll miss anything by skipping Auckland. But this is from the viewpoint of someone who does not care for big cities (although I did like Sydney).

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3. Re: Stay in Aukland or Not?

How many weeks are you in NZ for? If only 2 weeks you are probably wise to move on to Christchurch or Queenstown ASAP and spend a couple of days exploring before picking up a rental car.

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4. Re: Stay in Aukland or Not?

If you are spending time in Sydney you can skip Auckland. As nice as it is, it's just another big Australasian city, and they are all much the same.

I think you will find the contrast between Uluaru and the Queenstown region to be quite dramatic.

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5. Re: Stay in Aukland or Not?

Thank you all for the feedback. Much appreciated. I had intended to spend 4-5 days in Queenstown, then another 3 days in Dunedin before moving on to Sydney. However I'm not reading many positive reviews about Dunedin. Now I'm unsure where else to stay in NZ?

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6. Re: Stay in Aukland or Not?

New Zealand is not about the cities, but the landscapes. Between Queenstown and Dunedin via the Southern Scenic Route is the Catlins. Have you considered that? . Perhaps fly into Christchurch and out of Queenstown and do a roadtrip to explore Wanaka/Aspiring National Park, or to Mt Cook and explore Aoraki Mount Cook NP.

So do you have 7-8 days total for New Zealand? What are your interests - it's a bit difficult for any of us to advise. You state in your original post, "My real interests here are Queenstown and Dunedin" - but then you follow up by saying you aren't reading positive things about Dunedin. So that's a bit confusing. Hiking? Photography? Wildlife? Nightlife? Scenic landscapes? Wineries? Adventure sports?

I'm also confused to why you will have a 12-hour time zone difference. Florida is 3 hours ahead of me, and New Zealand is 3 hours (plus one day) behind me. So that's 6 hours.

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7. Re: Stay in Aukland or Not?

I guess I'm not familiar with my geography. I'm confusing NZ with Asia -lol. Still a long flight however.

As indicated in my OP, I was attempting to follow the itinerary of the tour group I was interested in. However they will be on a tour bus. I am not renting a vehicle. It appears that many of the activities I'm interested in, I can do from Queenstown. Dunedin appears to be an extension of these activities. I thought I would be interested in the Taieri Gorge Railway, however the reviews remind me of the White Pass Railway in Skagway, AK...which I found boring after 2 hours. Other than visiting penguins, I'm not sure what I can't do from Queenstown.

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8. Re: Stay in Aukland or Not?

Are you interested in indigenous culture at all? Rotorua in the central North Island is based upon a lot of Maori culture as well as its thermal attractions. Should you decide to stop in Auckland overnight, you could then take a Great Sights or Grayline tour coach that stops at the Waitomo Caves before reaching Rotorua. Spend 2 nights in the thermal city, before flying south from Rotorua airport to Christchurch and on to Queenstown.

If you decide to fly directly south to Queenstown as soon as you arrive into Auckland, you could spend 2 nights staying in Te Anau to visit Milford or Dusky Sound, as well as do the short lake cruise to view the glow-worms in Te Anau.

Which airport are you flying from in NZ to Australia? If its Christchurch, you could instead make your way north from Queenstown to Mt Cook for a couple of nights before reaching Christchurch.

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9. Re: Stay in Aukland or Not?

Thank you Frangipani. I appreciate your suggestions. I would like to visit the north island, so Rotorua did spike my interest. Te Anau also sounds interesting. I guess I need to work out the transport details since I won't be renting a car. NZ appears to be a beautiful country so I would hate to rush through.

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10. Re: Stay in Aukland or Not?

I have been on both the White Pass and Taieri Gorge railways. They are as different as night and day but i found White Pass far more interesting, The train rolling stock is much the same. (Pleased I got the bus one way out of Skagway and train back. The bus ride was the best bit)