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Modify this Honeymoon Itinerary for entire NZ (3 weeks)

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Modify this Honeymoon Itinerary for entire NZ (3 weeks)


We are 3 couples visiting New Zealand for our Honeymoon in Feb, 2008 for around 3 weeks. We are really excited about this trip and really want to make the most out of it, and at the same time avoid making it too hectic (since its our Honeymoon).

I had come up with an itinerary for our trip, but now the thing is, we want to cover a few more places/attractions, could you please help me out regarding the same by modifying the itinerary! Any help would be appreciated.

* Places covered in the itinerary :

>> South Island : Christchurch, Kaikouru, Fox & Franz Joseph Glacier, Queenstown, Doubtful Sound

>> North Island : Auckland, Bay of Islands (Paihia)

* Additional Places we wish to cover :

>> South Island : Hanmer Springs, Aoraki/Mt Cook and Fiordland National Park & Te Anau Glowworm Caves

>> North Island : Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Tutukaka / The Poor Knights, White Islands, Rotorua

---------- Itinerary (please quote and feel free to edit/add) -----------

>> South Island

* Day 1: Arrive Christchurch

- Activities : Unwind

- Overnight : Christchurch (probabaly Copthorne Hotel)

* Day 2: Christchurch > Kaikoura > Christchurch

- Activities : Discover The Whales Tour

- Overnight : Christchurch (probabaly Copthorne Hotel)

* Day 3: Christchurch

- Activities : Christchurch Tour (The International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch Gondola, Botanic Gardens)

- Overnight : Christchurch (probabaly Copthorne Hotel)

* Day 4: Christchurch > Greymouth > Franz Joseph

- Activities : Dragons Cave Rafting or Hot Rock Rafting?? Not sure

- Overnight : Franz Joseph (probabaly Scenic Circle Glacier Hotel)

- Notes : Take TransAlpine train to Greymouth, collect rental car, and then self-drive.

* Day 5: Franz Joseph

- Activities : HeliHike, Glacier Walk, etc

- Overnight : Franz Joseph

* Day 6: Franz Joseph > Wanaka > Queenstown

- Activities : ??

- Overnight : Queenstown (Hotel ??)

* Day 7: Queenstown

- Activities : Queenstown Tour & Skyline Gondola

- Overnight : Queenstown (Hotel ??)

* Day 8: Queenstown

- Activities : Queenstown Combos (Tandem Skydiving, Shotover Jet, AJ Hackett Bungy, Challenge Rafting, Canyon Swing) Should I do all adventure sports on same day?

- Overnight : Queenstown (Hotel ??)

* Day 9: Doubtful Sound

- Activities : Does this include kayaking??

- Overnight : Doubtful Sound

* Day 10: Queenstown

- Activities : ??

- Overnight : Queenstown (Hotel ??)

* Day 11: Queenstown

- Activities : ??

- Overnight : Queenstown (Hotel ??)

>> North Island

* Day 12: Queenstown > Auckland (by Air)

- Overnight : Auckland

* Day 13: Auckland

- Activities : Kelly Tarlton, Sky City, Auckland Zoo (Won't be able to do Rainbow's End, I guess)

- Overnight : Auckland

* Day 14: Auckland > Bay of Islands (Paihia)

- Activities: ??

- Overnight : Paihia (Probably Scenic Circle Hotel)

* Day 15: Bay of Islands

- Activities : Cape Reinga Coach Tour

- Overnight : Paihia (Probably Scenic Circle Hotel)

* Day 16: Bay of Islands > Auckland

- Activities : Hole in the Rock Cruise (on the way), Haruru Falls, Ninety Mile Beach???

- Overnight : Auckland

* Day 17: Departure from Auckland

** Regarding Places that we are interested in adding to the above itinerary (make duration around 3 weeks),

>> South Island

* Hanmer Springs

If we include, should we keep overnight stay in Christchurch or Hanmer? (since we are going up and down Christchurch twice to cover Kaikoura as well as Hanmer. But then, for the next destination, is the drive from Hanmer to Greymouth less scenic as compared to the famous drive from Christchurch to Greymouth)

* Aoraki/Mt Cook

If we include this, should we keep overnight stay in Franz Joseph or Mt. Cook (@ The Hermitage)?

* Fiordland National Park & Te Anau Glowworm Caves

>> North Island

* Waitomo Glowworm Caves

(Not sure, should we skip, since we can include Te Anau Glowworm Caves)

* Tutukaka / The Poor Knights

- Is this enjoyable for first time divers?

* White Islands or Tongariro National Park (Mt. Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe)

- White Islands seems more attractive for a volcanic experience, but which to select?

* Rotorua - should we include? If yes, how many days - we are kind of short in duration, we are looking to make this trip in around 3 weeks?

** More Questions

1) Should we avoid staying overnight in expensive cities, and rather stay in nearby places? (e.g. Wanaka instead of Queenstown)

2) What about wildlife, where does that get covered?

3) Is our path right? What if in the North Island, we take the path "Rotorua > Bay of Islands > Auckland", is that feasible?

4) Should we try to fit in Abel Tasman National Park too, or would that get way too ambitious?

** Note:

- Please recommend must-do activities/attractions in all places, we are flexible to eliminate or add places/attractions as per suggestions.

- We want to avoid packing & unpacking all the time, so please suggest overnight stays accordingly

- Please mention driving time if you are aware of.


Christchurch, New...
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1. Re: Modify this Honeymoon Itinerary for entire NZ (3 weeks)

Wow, this is getting to be too ambitious.

Suggestion1: Instead of taking the one day tour to Kaikoura (since the weather is better first thing in the morning) why don't you do to Hanmer on Day 2 & continue on to Kaikoura in the afternoon; see the whales in the morning of Day 3 & return to Chch in the afternoon (about 2.5 hr). There might be a tour that does this to save driving.

This makes the rest of your itinerary one day later. "Day 6" is a very long day & you might be better off stopping in Wanaka for 1 night. The rest sounds good up to & including Day 10 (which is now Day 11.) 5 nights might be too much in Queenstown unless you are really into spending money. Possibly on Day 11 or 12 you could drive to Mt Cook (Aoraki) with a night in Twizel or Tekapo. Then fly out of CHC the next day (12 or 13). You could fly directly to Rotorua for 2 nights (13 &14) then on to Auckland (15) & your BOI itinerary (16 &17) and back to AKL for as long as you have left. This would also allow you to fit in Waitomo Caves on day 15 since you haven't allowed time in Te Anau.

Enjoy your honeymoon and don't over commit.

Grimsby, United...
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2. Re: Modify this Honeymoon Itinerary for entire NZ (3 weeks)

Oooooo suggest you visit the New Zealand official tourism website and look at the interactive map...............

You could of course contact Ron Loughlin who is a member here for his input. He has some good suggestions and will probably be pleased to assist you with such a big itinerary


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3. Re: Modify this Honeymoon Itinerary for entire NZ (3 weeks)

I would stay in Wanaka rather than Queenstown as it is more romantic that Qtown. You can do Qtown easily as a day trip from Wanaka as it is only 1 hours drive on the Crown Range road, and there are awesome views along this route. Wanaka is also half way between Franz and Doubtful Sound so breaks the journey up well.

Stay at Alpine View Lodge in Wanaka - it has a beautiful setting and they hold intimate weddings there and have a wonderful 3 bedroom apartment that would house you all. If you email them, they will email you back with a list of tours and activites you can do in the area, help you plan your itinerary and activities from Franz to Wanaka Queenstown and Doubtful / Milford Sounds and book most of them for you too. (They also offer advice on North and South Island tours)

When you are up the Gondola, you can do the Tandem paragliding and a bungy jump at the same time (although the paragliding is cheaper at Wanaka.) The shotover jet is OK, but they pack you in like sardines, especially in Feb when it will be really busy. Try the Clutha River Jet or Wanaka River Journeys for jet boating in Wanaka.

Mount Cook can also be done as a day trip from Wanaka - you can't visit it from the West coast, you have to drive either from Chch of from Wanaka to see it. As the weather there is variable, it would be better to do it as a day trip rather than staying there then you can plan it around the weather.

Northland, New...
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4. Re: Modify this Honeymoon Itinerary for entire NZ (3 weeks)

As you emailled to ask for my comments, here are a few.

Poor Knights diving

Yes this is good for 1st time divers. Dive Tutukaka offer a trip for 1st time divers which gives you a great introduction.

Have a look at their website www.diving.co.nz

If you need any further info on this, then let me know.

Bay of Islands

Your itinerary seemed a bit confused for this part of your trip

Cape Reinga Tour includes going down 90 mile beach. However, this trip is a really long day from Paihia (8 hours in total in a bus), so if there is any way you could stay in Doubtless Bay or near Kaitaia on the night before you did this trip, it would be much better, as the tours starting from those places don't have so long on the bus (and therefore more time seeing stuff!)

Hole in the Rock cruise from Paihia is well worth doing (this is a half day trip), so would leave you some time to maybe see Waitangi and Haruru Falls.

I can give you lots of further info about the Northland area if you would like.

Te Anau
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5. Re: Modify this Honeymoon Itinerary for entire NZ (3 weeks)

You've certainly planned a comprehensive itenerary; I'm having trouble getting my head around it.

Firstly, a few general general observations about the South Island. I'll leave the North Island for someone more knowlegable.

THere are three routes available, and most visitors will travel just two of them.

The West Coast route runs from above Westport, through Greymouth, Hokitika, Franz Joseph, Fox, to Haast. From Haast you cross over Haast Pass to Wanaka./Queenstown

THe East coast route runs from Picton to Kaikoura, Christchurch, Timaru, Oamaru, Dunedin Gore, to Invercargill.

The Centre route goes from Christchurch, through Geraldine, Tekapo, Twizel, Omarama, Cromwell to Wanaka/Queenstown.

Crossing from West to East, across the Southern Alps, is possible in just four places. Haast pass, Arthurs pass, Lewis pass, and Buller Gorge. THere is more choice of routes between the Centre and the East Coast, but usually once you are on one or the other you would tend to stick with it, If you wanted to switch from east to Centre the most popular route is from Oamaru, via Kurow, to Omarama.

So the first thing you have to decide is which choice of routes you want to follow. If appears that you have opted for the West Coast./Centre route, and this is a good choice, as you will see a variety of country., most of which is very diferent from what you have at home.

I tend to agree with other posters that you have allowed too long in Christchurch. Although alowing time to recover after your flight is a good idea, most of the things you have planned for day three could be done on your first day, and wouldn't be too exhausting, particularly if you stay at the Copthorne, which is close to the City centre and Hagley Park (The Botanic Gardens are in Hagley Park). You could also visit the Arts Centre, which is on the tram route around the city centre. IMO the gondola isn't worth the effort. No doubt someone is going to shoot me down in flames, but I think it's a waste of time. You could leave the Antarctic centre until you return to Christchurch for your flight home. You would have a car by that time, and that would make getting there easier, although there is a very good bus service as well.

I'd be inclined to get your car in Chch, and drive to Kaikoura for the whale watching, then either continue up the coast to Picton and Nelson, then cross to the West Coast. or go from Kaikoura to Hanmer and across Lewis pass to Westport or Greymouth. This would rule out the Trans Alpine, but if you had time at the end you could do it as a day trip from ChCh. Depending on your interests, and what you want to do, you need 2 or 3 nights on the west coast. No thoughts on the rafting, but anything which involves getting into wet suits etc IMO needs a full day, to give yourself time to thaw out.,so 2 nights. It is not wise to plan anything major with the intention of getting in the car afterwards and driving for a few hours. It's obviously possible, but it makes for a rushed trip, and takes the pleasure out of it.

To best appreciate the glaciers you really need to got up onto them. THe experience from the bottom of the terminal face is totally underwhelming. You should look at a ski plane or helicopter filght, or a guided half day walk. Doesn't matter much which glacier, they are both very similar.

You need 3 nights in Queenstown or Wanaka. Queenstown is where it's all happening, but Wanaka is more relaxing. You can either visit Milford Sound as a long day trip from Queenstown, or from Te Anau, which is the main service centre for Fiordland National Park. If you intend visiting the Te Anau caves as well you should allow 2 nights there.

If you are returning up the centre you go from Te Anau back to Queenstown & Cromwell, and then over the Lindas pass to Omarama, Twizel, Tekapo. If you want to visit Mt Cook you do it from here, either driving from lake Pukaki, or flyingfrom Tekapo. Twizel is the closest accommodation to Mt Cook, other than Mt Cook village itself. THere are a number of excellent B&B,s & homestays in this area.

If you decide to return via the East coast you drive from Te Anau to Gore, and on to Dunedin, or from Queenstown to Cromwell then via Alexandra & Roxburgh to Dunedin.

In 10-12 days you will not have time to see or do everything, but what you have outlined is a good start, a nd you can fine tune the activities as you go along. You should not wait too long before booking your accommodation. February is absolute high season, and you will NOT get accommodation is you leave it too late. Don't take any notice of anyone who says accomodation is no problem. They are just plain wrong!! Either never been here at that time, or they were extreemly lucky.

Hope this helps clarify your thinking, or perhaps you are now totally confused. In any case. Have a great honeymoon, and don't stress too much.

Rangiora, New...
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6. Re: Modify this Honeymoon Itinerary for entire NZ (3 weeks)


Days 1-3 Good

Day 4 Drive time to Greymouth including stops for photos at least 5hrs . I suggest you go to Hokitika in stead as you have to go through Hokitika when you head south to Franz Joseph from Greymouth. I would lunch in Hokitika and visit The Glassblower, Jade and Gold jewellry factorys. then 3hrs drive to Franz Joseph.

Day5 ok

Day 6 You will have at least 5hrs on the road to Queenstown . Evening meal at the Skyline Gondola.

Day 7 Trip on TSS Earnslaw (just had 100th birthday) to Walter Peak Sheep Station. Do the whole bit Lunch and Farm experience. Tour Gibbston valley wineries and Arrowtown, A J Hackett Bungy

Day 8 do some adventure sports.

For Doubtful Sound I suggest you check out


With regards o accomodation I suggest that the choices you have made are good. I suggest that you check TripAdvisor website.

Unfortunately I cannot advise you about the North Island.

You might be best to use th Whale watch shuttle as accomodation is pretty light in Hanmer but if you are lucky enough to get something in Hanmer I would stay there instead of returning to Christchurch. You will travel through pretty mountainous country thruogh the Lewis Pass which is just as pretty as Arthurs Pass

To visit Mt Cook is not possible as the only road in is from the eastern side.

If you need to know anything further about the south island please ask


Kiwi 12

7. Re: Modify this Honeymoon Itinerary for entire NZ (3 weeks)

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