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help needed for Jan trip

Coventry, United...
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help needed for Jan trip

Hi - I have just started researching a 6 week trip to new zealand in Jan/Feb 08 with my husband, think I've got the flights sorted which includes Lon-Hong Kong (4 day stopover) then flying into Auckland we have approx 35 days in New Zealand but want to spend at least 5 days with relatives in Invercargill, leaving NZ from Christchurch on 12 Feb and spending 4 days in San Francisco before flying home.

I need help with deciding how long to spend in the North/South and the best routes to take and whether a motorhome or car/motel is the best option, initially I was considering doing the whole trip by motorhome for the freedom it provides but am now considering car/motel in the north and motorhome in the South,. as we are planning the trip during summer would we have to pre book the motorhome sites as if so my concern is that this takes away some of the freedom associated with the motorhome option, at the moment I'm changing my mind by the hour so would appreciated any help

Canberra, Australia
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1. Re: help needed for Jan trip

OK so about 30 days in NZ to call your own, fling into North Island & out of South. I'd suggest splitting your time 50/50.

Something to bear in mind is school holidays. School doesn't resume until early Feb, so accomodation particularly in major tourist areas will be tight. (We had a lot of trouble getting into Queenstown, Bay of Islands & far Northin holiday season for instance).

Depending on whether you see yourself cooking much might determine best accommodation option. We found hotels and B&Bs worked well for us - generally reasonably priced (certainly compared to UK). But there are are always lots of motorhomes on the roads so it is obviously a popular option.

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2. Re: help needed for Jan trip

You will be able to see a lot of NZ in 35 days.

I suggest that you spend a larger proportion of your time in the South Island. The distances between the attractions are greater and travelling time can be slower on some of the roads.

Car and motels/B&B is a good way to go. You might like compare the costs of this to a motorhome to help in your decision.

Ideas for route:

Arrive in Auckland and have a whole day to explore the city/get over jetlag

Go north of Auckland and have 2-3 days in the Bay of Islands.

Back to Auckland and travel Sth to

Rotorua - 1-2 days

Head towards Wellington via Lake Taupo.

Wellington - 2 days

Allowing for travelling time, this should take care of about 11-12 days

Ferry to Sth Island

Marlborough area - 2-3 days

Drive down east coast to Chrishchurch - 1 day - or 2days and do the Tranzalpine day trip over Arthur's Pass to Greymouth the West Coast

and back.

Continue south and have a night in the Lake Tekapo/Mt Cook area

Queenstown - 3-4 days inlcuding a day trip to Milford Sound.

Continue to Invercargill - 5 days

Back to Christchurch to depart.

This doesn't add up to the full time you will have in NZ. There will probably be other places in both islands that you would like to see, or to spend longer in but this is a broad guide. You can get lots more ideas from other postings on this forum - and your friends would be able to give you some suggestions too.

Enjoy your trip.

Queenstown, New...
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3. Re: help needed for Jan trip

As January is our peak holiday season, a lot of places will be booked up, especially in the popular holiday spots. School doesn't go back until the beginning of February.

A motorhome would be the way to go, as long as you are you prepared to spend the odd night in some places 'freedom camping', if the holiday parks/camping grounds are fully booked.

some websites for holiday parks...





New Zealand
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4. Re: help needed for Jan trip

You have come to the perfect spot to get help. The people here on this forum go out of their way to make sure visitors to New Zealand get the best opportunity to enjoy this magic place.

Have a look at th New Zealand Travel Guide for a start and then get back in touch to work your trip out.


Coventry, United...
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5. Re: help needed for Jan trip

thanks everyone for your help so far, I've pretty much decided 14 days in NI and the remainder in SI, will sort an an itinerary and post it on the forum for your thoughts.

Victoria B.C.
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for Victoria
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6. Re: help needed for Jan trip

I would HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend spending a few days in the Coromandal.

I arrived in Auckland at the very beginning of January, and went straight to the Coromandal area for a few days of camping. The beaches there are AMAZZZZZZZZZING...I would highly recommend you check out hot water beach, and cathedral cove.

I then went to Rotorua, Lake Taupo, ect until I arrived in Wellington. The TePapa Museum is neat, and free!! I would also recommend taking the trolley car from Lampson Quay to the top of the Botanic Gardens in Wellington.

Hotels were reasonably priced and we didn't reserve hotels along the way, but did find it a bit difficult to find a hotel in a few places, such as Rotorua.

Coventry, United...
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7. Re: help needed for Jan trip


me and my husband visited a local motorhome centre and have pretty much decided that we would prefer a 6 berth campervan as opposed to a 2-4 berth, if we opt for the 6 berth we're happy to travel around the whole of New Zealand as there will be ample living accommodation, however, will there be any restrictions on the roads due to the size of the vehicle?

Te Anau
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for South Island, Te Anau
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8. Re: help needed for Jan trip

Nope, Campers are road legal vehicals, and can go anywhere. The company may have limitations on what you can do and where you can go with their camper, but mostly you will be able to go anywhere you like.

It would pay to pre book for popular areas like Queenstown, but with a camper you have the option of 'freedom camping'. Just don't do it in built up areas, Really gets up our nose, and you are likely to find the 'friendly kiwi' has another, darker, side.

New Zealand
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9. Re: help needed for Jan trip

Excellent idea to visit a local van dealer so you can get an idea! You are going to thoroughly enjoy touring NZ in a camper at that time of the year and if you can't get in at a popular camping ground you'll have no problems being self-sufficent for a day or two- as vbc says just double check you're not parked on someone's front lawn!

You also need to be reasonably fit- big vans get to park way off at the end of the carparks when visiting supermarkets, shopping centres and tourist attractions(but watch other tourists glaring jealously at you having an afternoon cuppa while they're boarding their tour coach for 4 hours of return travel!)

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10. Re: help needed for Jan trip

I agree with spending more time in the south Island. The drive from the Franz Glacier to Hokatika is the best drive in the country. Even if it does rain all the time. I hired a campervan from Kiwi Campers - www.kiwicampers.co.nz - and did a tour of the South Island motorhome style. It was fantastic and I can't wait to hire one again and take on the North Island next year. Enjoy your holidays in NZ. There is so much to see and you will live it!