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Two weeks in NZ with kids

san francisco
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Two weeks in NZ with kids

Hi there,

My husband and I are planning a sort of last minute trip to NZ with our two sons, 10 & 12. They are well-traveled and trekked boys, but they do get car sick. We do want to plan some driving, possibly a portion of Christchurch to Wellington. Hoping someone can help with an itinerary. We have two weeks are are totally flexible on where we go. However, we don't want to spend 14 days driving because I'll have sick and winy kids. We want to take in scenery, be in nature, do some driving around and do some trekking around as well. We just did a 5 day trek in Nepal and they did great with 3-5 hours of hiking a day. We are planning on the South Island, however if there is something we MUST see/do in NI we're open to that too.

Thanks so much!

9 replies to this topic
California
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1. Re: Two weeks in NZ with kids

You say you are totally flexible, do you have flights booked at all? If so, where do you fly in and out of the country? What time of year is the trip (you say last-minute, hopefully not the holidays in 2 weeks)? And why the comment that, "We do want to plan some driving, possibly a portion of Christchurch to Wellington." Why Christchurch to Wellington - and why a "portion"?

Sorry to be asking so many questions of you and not providing answers.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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2. Re: Two weeks in NZ with kids

Wellington is in the North Island, and its the capital of NZ. I gather you are interested in Wellington to visit Te Papa and possible Weta Cave as well?

What happens after Wellington? Will you fly out to Australia or take a domestic flight to Auckland (departure maybe) or elsewhere in NZ?

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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3. Re: Two weeks in NZ with kids

As above, we are here to help but we need a starting point - Airport of arrival for most flights from the US is AKL, but some airlines force you to route via Australia which gives more options for arrival in the SI.

The next two months will be extremely busy with our summer holidays & chances of finding accommodation in popular holiday resort towns will be extremely low.

san francisco
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4. Re: Two weeks in NZ with kids

Sorry, I didn't mean Wellington! I meant that we're interested in doing some driving around the Christchurch-Queenstown route. However, when I said a portion, I had stated in my OP that my children get carsick very easily so as much as we want to see variety on the SI, we also want to have days that we can be on our feet.

We will be coming from Australia, not US and we don't have tix booked yet. This is why we were trying to get some itinerary advice to know where we should fly in/out of. Our understanding is that the drop-dead gorgeous scenery is in the SI so we would like to focus on there, but we are totally open to doing a week in the SI and a week in the NI as well. Unless we should spend two weeks in the South. Again~ flexible.

Last, we won't be there until the end of January, which I understand is a busy time, though not the holidays, it is what works for us. Thanks so much! I look forward to your advice.

Christchurch, New...
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5. Re: Two weeks in NZ with kids

January is peak summer holidays in NZ just as it is in OZ, with Feb being just as busy with the people without children and then the Chinese New Year travellers. You might already find it hard to book air tickets and accommodation at this late stage.

With 2 weeks and car sick children, I strongly recommend just staying in the South Island. Under normal circumstances you would have 3 choices:

1. A rather rushed loop of the entire SI - clear not what you have in mind!

2. A very relaxed loop of the bottom half of the SI with several multi-day stays.

3. A combination of the above with a domestic flight in between.

Just to give you a starting point, this is my most popular 10 day loop of the SW corner of the SI. If you add an extra day or 2 in Chch you can go to Akaroa & swim with the dolphins, or take a day trip to the hot pools at Hammer Springs before starting the loop. An additional day or 2 at Wanaka or Fox Glacier would help as well:

1. Arr Chch

2. Drive to Hokitika via Arthurs Pass

3. Drive to FJG Glacier

4. Drive to Wanaka

5 Drive to Te Anau (2N)

6. Drive or tour to Milford Sound

7. Drive to QTN (2N)

8. Explore

9. Drive to Mt Cook

10. Drive to Chch via Lake Tekapo.

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Two weeks in NZ with kids

With 14 days some food for thought.

Day 1 Fly into Queenstown and drive to Wanaka (2N)

Day 2 Wanaka activities

Day 3 Drive to Te Anau (2N)

Day 4 Milford Sound Cruise and return to Te Anau

Day 5 Drive to Curio Bay (Penguins at night)

Day 6 Drive to Dunedin (2N)

Day 7 Otago Peninsular or Taieri Gorge Railway.

Day 8 Drive to Oamaru

Day 9 Drive Oamaru to Twizel

Day10 Twizel to Mt Cook (short walks) then O/N at Lake Takepo

Day 11 Lake takepo to Akaroa (2N)

Day 12 Akaroa (Dolphin cruise etc)

Day 13 Drive Akaroa to Christchurch

Day 14 Fly home.

California
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7. Re: Two weeks in NZ with kids

I wouldn't attempt to drive to Akaroa with kids who tend to get carsick.

I'm questioning the itineraries given, as they are roadtrips and perhaps not suitable for the poster's situation. Perhaps a trip based around Queenstown/Wanaka/Te Anau(Milford Sound) would be better with short trips and activities from those bases. Although the road from Christchurch to Queenstown is generally straighter than most, there is the Lindis Pass that may be problematic.

Heading to the Catlins should be okay. The road is fairly straight from Queenstown to Invercargill and if you spent a couple of nights in the Catlins, you could take your time seeing the sights and walking.

ETA - and when I said to spend a couple of nights at the Catlins, I did not mean Invercargill. I would suggest Owaka or thereabouts, central to the sights.

Edited: 14 December 2017, 17:00
san francisco
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8. Re: Two weeks in NZ with kids

These suggestions are a great starting point. Thank you! Sounds like the general consensus is to stay on the SI and not worry about going up to the NI. I'm assuming that the places you've suggested to spend a couple of nights have great things to see, or as greytravelleSydney says, 'to do activities' in those locations. Would one of you let me know the general activiities and why you've highlighted those places. Would be so helpful.

I'm in using TA and other online sights to plan this, almost exclusively, as I'm currently in Bangkok and haven't been able to find a book on NZ here! Anyways, thanks to much for helping to get me started with this.

California
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9. Re: Two weeks in NZ with kids

Off the top of my head:

At Queenstown, they'd love the gondola and luge rides - there's even ziplining on the same hill. Jetboating is popular, or you could rent bikes in Arrowtown and bike some of the dedicated bike tracks there.

Wanaka has Puzzleworld, the train and transport museum, a rock-climbing facility - plus many beautiful tracks to walk on. Or take the boat to Mou Waho Island.

Te Anau is the base in which to visit Milford Sound.

Catlins has penguins at Curio Bay, several waterfall walks, Cathedral Cove (low tide only), and The Lost Gypsy Gallery.

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