We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

15 nights / 16 days in NZ -- Would love input!

Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
93 posts
44 reviews
Save Topic
15 nights / 16 days in NZ -- Would love input!

I have been pouring over the forum over the past few weeks. All the posts have been incredibly helpful with the creation of my proposed itinerary. I just love Tripadvisor and all the amazing people that help us travel round the world successfully.

Of course, now I'm ready to share my NZ trip ideas, and I'm also fully prepared to get comments / critiques!

I know it's a lot - but I can hustle, trust me... and I don't know when I'll get back to NZ. Trust me, I left out plenty of things I'd like to see & do (like Nelson, it sounds beautiful).

Anyway, my trip is planned for either mid-Oct '08 or early Nov '08 so I have plenty of time to tweak. Thank you in advance!

Day 1: Arrive Auckland from NYC by way of LAX around 6/7 am; spend day & night in Auckland.

Day 2: Early ferry to Waiheke Island; spend the day & night.

Day 3: Take ferry back to Auckland, pick up car and drive to either: Tauranga, Bay of Plenty OR the Coromandel. Spend the day exploring the beachside. Overnight.

Day 4: Drive to Rotura in the late afternoon, night in Rotura.

Day 5: Day & night in Rotura.

Day 6: Drive to visit friend in Whakapapa Village by way of Lake Taupo; spend the night at friend’s house.

Day 7: Drive to Wellington in the AM, arrive about 2pm. Sightsee in Wellington. Overnight in Wellington.

Day 8: Another day & night in Wellington.

Day 9: Ferry to Picton; Transcoastal train to Christchurch; overnight in Christchurch.

Day 10: Day & night in Christchurch.

Day 11: Leisurely drive to Wanaka, overnight in Wanaka.

Day 12: Drive to Queenstown; spend day & night in Queenstown

Day 13: Another day & night in Queenstown.

Day 14: Drive to Manapouri / Te Anau; Doubtful Sound / Glow worm caves. Overnight in Te Anau.

Day 15: Milford Sound visit; back to Te Anau or Queenstown.

Day 16: In the late morning, fly from Queenstown to Auckland; evening flight back to NYC.

Level Contributor
652 posts
51 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 15 nights / 16 days in NZ -- Would love input!

Hi TravelLoverNY

Your trip itinerary is not as hectic as some I've seen. You have given yourself some well spaced down time.

Only comments are - take the bus trip to Milford - you will see more and it is safer. You might want to drive to Te Anau on day 13 (late afternoon) as the trip to Doubtful sound leaves earlyish if I remember - and it is a full day trip. You can tuck a trip over to the glow worms in between trip to Milford and Doubtful Sound.

Yes you have missed stuff but you have rationalized it so what you do see you will enjoy and not be too exhausted to do so.



New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,315 posts
83 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 15 nights / 16 days in NZ -- Would love input!

Your trip looks lovely, you have certainly included all the best bits... including Wanaka :)

In Wellington you may find Karori Sanctuary worth a visit to see many of our native birds in their natural environment. http://www.sanctuary.org.nz/visit/index.html

You might find it worth while to switch the order of the Sounds. Some find Milford a bit busy after the relative serenity of Doubtful. However if you do Milford first, you will enjoy both thoroughly.

One option you could consider is to do an overnight cruise on Doubtful. Most people who have done it say it's the highlight of their entire trip to NZ.

When in Te Anau see 'Shadowlands', a short film at the cinema. It's stunning.

Two places worth a visit from Queenstown are Arrowtown and, in the opposite direction, a drive up to Glenorchy then on to Paradise if your rental car agreement allows that. Paradise is an off-road (but not 4WD unless raining) wilderness area so don't attempt it if there's been recent rain as the fords will be impassable).

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
16,564 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: 15 nights / 16 days in NZ -- Would love input!

One thing we've found very helpful when trying to plan a trip with far-flung "must-see's" is to buy a large (folded) map of the country, spread it out on a bulletin board and start putting pushpins into all of the places we want to go. We add the tiny post-its with mileage between points as well. When you've finished, and step back to survey your dream trip, you realize quickly that it isn't possible to see every point on the map, and it becomes easier to cull the must-see's from the would-love-to-see-but-maybe-next-time points of interest. The reason this works so well is because it is visual, rather than just dates and destinations on a piece of paper.

We do this many months in advance to allow us to tweak it over time, and it keeps us focused. It is so easy to be seduced by the beauty of a country, that we find we have to harden our hearts against trying to "do it all." We are no longer manic about "schedules" or "keeping with the itinerary" because we know from our map what is important for us to see, and we always allow for the unexpected.

Level Contributor
41 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 15 nights / 16 days in NZ -- Would love input!

HI travelover,

Your trip is certainly doable- my only concern would be on day 5,6,7 that is a hell of a lot of driving. can be done -i just question how much enjoyment you will get from the end when you are truly exhausted.

also, Souxxie's advice on buying a large fold out map is spot on.

my third comment is to be aware of how fast the weather can change and how much that can affect your trip.

Other than that have a perfect time and trust me, once you have been, you will find a way to get back there.

New Zealand
Level Contributor
9,324 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: 15 nights / 16 days in NZ -- Would love input!

I would definitly head to Mt Maunganui and not attempt to do the Coromandel.

Leave for Rotorua a couple of hours earlier than planned and visit Hells Gate on the way. This way you can will have done a geothermal park and you can use all the next day to explore the other attractions in Rotorua.

The other 3 big geothermal parks are south of Rotorua on your way to Taupo. You can now skip these and have more time seeing taupo or getting to your friends place.

Whakapapa to Wellington is not too bad as long as you take your time and enjoy the road trip. The last hour may tax you if the traffic is bad.

If you're travelling Monday October 27th be aware that this is Labour Day, a public holiday. Avoid travel in and out of our large cities around this long weekend, holiday areas will also be busy.

Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
93 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 15 nights / 16 days in NZ -- Would love input!

Thanks to everyone who has so far given feedback / comments; everything has been noted, and will be taken into consideration as we continue to solidify our trip.


7. Re: 15 nights / 16 days in NZ -- Would love input!

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 28 September 2009, 05:25