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requesting feedback on nearly 6 wk itinerary

colorado
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requesting feedback on nearly 6 wk itinerary

We are a senior couple from the US looking forward to our visit in Nov/Dec. We have prepared an itinerary and would appreciate feedback. The first week we are staying in a timeshare exchange in Wanaka. The remaining time we will use a campervan to tour both islands.

Sat Arrive Christchurch at 9AM, get car, drive to Wanaka (should we look for cheap lodging on the way and forgo an already paid for night at the condo?)

Sun Explore Wanaka

Mon Explore Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki, Mt Cook,

Tues Wanaka to Manapouri;Doubtful Sound overnight

Wed Manapouri to TeAnau? Back to Wanaka

Thurs Explore Queenstown/Glenorchy/Lake Wakatipu Arrowtown

Fri Wanaka area

Sat Wanaka to Christchurch Pick up campervan

Sun Christchurch to Oamaru (penquins, seals)

Mon Oamaru to Dunedin (go via scenic shore roads)

Tues Dunedin

Wed Otago Pennisula , cruise from Wellers Rock

Thurs Portobello or Dunedin to Catlins(past Owaka) Cathedral Cave, Falls

Fri Invercargill (World's Fastest Indian)

Sat drive to Bluff then Ferry to Steward Island

Sun Invercargill to Wanaka

Mon Wanaka - Fox Glacier - Franz Josef

Tues Fox Glacier to Greymouth or Punakaiki or Murchison

Wed Greymouth to Motueka,or Punakaiki to Motueka, or Murchison to Motueka

Thur Motueka to Collingwood, then Farewell Spit to Pohara Beach

Fri Pohara to Kaiteriteri (water taxi, hike)

Sat Kaiteriteri (or drive on to Pelorus bridge & stay at DOC campground)

Sun Kaiteriteri to Nelson to Picton (or drive only to Pelorus Bridge 2 hr & stay at DOC campground)

Mon Ferry to Wellington, then to Otaki Beach

Tues Otaki Beach to Napier

Wed Napier–Wairo-Lake Waikaremoana(gravelRd)

Thur Lake Waikaremoana

Fri Lake Waikaremoana to Rotorua

Sat Rotorua

Sun Rotorua to WaihiBeach (or Mt Manganui/ OceanBeach?)

Mon WaihiBeach to Hahei

Tues Hahei (Hot Water beach)

Wed Hahei to Whangarei (leave early in order to allow time for the hike to Whangarei Falls when we arrive)

Thur Whangarei (snorkel trip)

Fri Whangarei to Russell via ferry

Sat Russell (cruise to Hole in the Rock)

Sun Russell to ? Visit Goat Island Marine Reserve?

M/T to Auckland

Wed Auckland Return camper, depart.

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1. Re: requesting feedback on nearly 6 wk itinerary

Hello CS, welcome to the forum :)

While usually I applaud anyone planning a one week stay in Wanaka, here it will serve you no purpose in this itinerary. You are driving from Chch to Wanaka (6 hours) to then turn around and drive halfway back the way you've come to Tekapo, then back to Wanaka then later driving all the way back to Chch, which again means passing through Tekapo. Sorry but I just find it rather mind boggling.

In addition, I would plan to spend more than just a few hours on Stewart Island. The trip over to Ulva Island is a highlight.

Please do not fly into Chch from the States and consider driving on your first day. Especially do not plan to drive 6 hours to Wanaka. Jet lag is a killer. Take your first day in Chch to explore. Walk around the central city, punt on the River Avon, visit some art galleries, have an early dinner and an early night. The following morning you will be well rested and ready to begin your adventures.

Are you able to alter your time-share in Wanaka? Because this is how I would arrange your visit;

1 arrive Chch, explore

2 collect rental, drive to Tekapo

3 explore Aoraki/Mt Cook, drive to Queenstown

4 explore Glenorchy/Paradise

5 drive to Dunedin

6 explore Otago Peninsula

7 drive the Catlins to Bluff

8 ferry to Stewart Island, explore

9 explore Ulva Island, ferry to Bluff, drive to Invercargill (Fastest Indian)

10 drive to Manapouri (route 99) Doubtful Sound overnight

11 return from overnight, drive to Wanaka

12 explore

13 explore Mt Aspiring National Park

14 explore Bannockburn/Gibbston Valley vineyards

15 bike or hike around Wanaka, Puzzling World

16 Mou Waho Island

17 helicopter over Mt Aspiring

18 drive to Franz

19 explore glaciers

20 drive to Punakaiki

21 drive to Motueka...

I hope this helps :)

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2. Re: requesting feedback on nearly 6 wk itinerary

Are you permitted to take the campervan through Waikaremoana??? Gravel road sometimes not permitted by hire companies.

Hahei to Whangarei is 4 hours 30 minutes in a car with no stops or sightseeing. This road can be very busy at times, you have a one way bridge and Auckland's traffic to contend with, so do not book anything for the afternoon in Whangarei.

Agree with Wanaka Lakes, you cannot get off a plane from the USA and then drive 6 Hours, it is just not safe to contemplate.

Kay

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3. Re: requesting feedback on nearly 6 wk itinerary

Thinking more on your trip, there may be a connecting flight from Chch into Wanaka. This would mean a much smoother arrival here and save the 6 hour long drive.

Or fly into Queenstown, spend the night and the next day you could drive over to Wanaka in a rental car. The following week return the car to Queenstown and collect a campervan to begin your journey.

hope this helps :)

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4. Re: requesting feedback on nearly 6 wk itinerary

Can I ask why are you using a camper van?

We used one once to go around Tasmania, there were few places to stay.

But in you case, this year, accommodation is going to be easy to find and cheap. The mobile homes are a pain to park and slow to drive. I would think it would be a expensive option for this coming summer?

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5. Re: requesting feedback on nearly 6 wk itinerary

I too do have to agree with Trelawn re the camper van.

A rental car and staying in motels or B n B's would be a better option in my opinion.

We do not have the camping grounds like you have in the USA so you may be very disappointed. And driving a van on the wrong side of the road may also make your holiday very stressful.

Kay

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6. Re: requesting feedback on nearly 6 wk itinerary

It doesn't help that the previous 3 posters are accommodation providers. Although, your itinerary is very full on if your wish to travel by campervan, you may have to omit a few places as you just won't have the time to cover the distances in a van, it would even be difficult to do it by car. You'll be on the road most of the time and not see much at all. You won't have any troubles finding holiday parks to stay at, there are hundreds right throughout NZ. And you will also be able to freedom camp in a lot of places as long as your van is compliant.

Is there a reason to visit Lake Waikaremoana? Are you doing the Great Walk? It's a beautiful place but very isolated and a long way to travel on the day after.

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7. Re: requesting feedback on nearly 6 wk itinerary

with respct Zappers, I made no negative comments on campervans in this thread. In fact, I suggested an easier way to for them to collect their camper :)

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8. Re: requesting feedback on nearly 6 wk itinerary

Hi

You certainly have a full trip planned which will take you to some wonderful parts of the country.

A few comments/suggestions with regard to the north island part of your trip.

Unless you have special reason for going to Otaki you may wish to consider going to Napier on SH2 all the way ie up through Masterton. This in my view would be the much more scenic and interesting route However it is a bit longer and the climb up over the Rimutaka Ranges will be a bit slow in a camper van. It is the route I have taken in the past and would always take again.

Napier to Rotorua via Waikaremoana – I think the first thing you should do is check that your campervan rental company will allow you to go along the length of SH38. It sealed up to Lake Waikaremoana but thereafter there are still many unsealed sections. I am a great fan of SH but it is not for the faint hearted. By the time you get to Napier you will have been on the road for some time and if you feel that SH38 may be a bit much then you can always go over SH5 from Napier to Taupo and then on to Rotorua. I not that you have not included Taupo in your itinerary – I would suggest that you revisit this as Taupo and the Tongariro National Part to the south of the Lake are beautiful areas.

If you do decided to take SH 5 then take 5 minutes to stop at the Waipunga Lookout – would be approximately two thirds of the way to Taupo but is clearly signposted.

From Rotorua I personally would aim to get to Waihi – it is easily reached in a day and gets you towards the Coromandel and Hahei. I suggest that you take the Tauranga Direct Road from the north side of Lake Rotorua and bypass Tauranga via Bethlehem.

Hahei to Whangarei as you have recognized is long drive and I would say that it is verging on too long particularly in a campervan. No need to worry about a hike to the Whangarei Falls – you can park virtually right next to them. They are at their best after a good downpour which of course hopefully you won’t have too many of!

With regard to the leg of you trip from Hahei you may wish to consider the following as an alternative:

Wed Hahei to somewhere north of Auckland – Orewa, Waiwera or Puhoi perhaps

Thurs Whereever north of Auckland to the Hokianga via the Kauri Museum at Matakohe and the Waipoua Forest

Fri Russell only a couple of hours from th Hokianga

Sat Russell

Sun Either Whangarei or on to Goat Island which I would recommend for snorkeling.

Mon Auckland

Tues Auckland

Wed Auckland

With regard to Auckland the best is to be found in the surrounding area and in particular the Waitakere Rangesand area of exceptional natural beauty under an hour from the city and airport. There is motor camp at Piha.

The beauty of a campervan, provided that it is fully equipped with toilet facilities etc, is that it gives you a good degree of flexibility although gone are the days when you can just stop anywhere. In my view the key to a great holiday in New Zealand is not to rush and if you see somewhere you like why not stay there an extra day?

Have a great trip.

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9. Re: requesting feedback on nearly 6 wk itinerary

Zappers, I was just passing on my opinion which is what this forum is all about.

Do check out www.newzealand.com.

There you will find all the info that you need and lots about Holiday Parks and the DOC parks.

Read the notice from Tourism New Zealand re freedom camping also. After our last couple of summers this is very important.

Kay

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10. Re: requesting feedback on nearly 6 wk itinerary

Yes indeed, apologies WanakaLakes for including you there, I see what you said.

CalicoLodge, yes it may be your opinion and all opinions are welcome as you say but personally I find it quite annoying when posters who are keen on camper-vanning are dissuaded from doing so especially when they have obviously put alot of effort into planning and have thought about how they are going to go about it. they are not just asking "should I campervan or not" Call me cynical but it doesn't help when I see who is dissuading them. After all it must appeal to one heck of lot of people, both visitors and locals alike, going by the amount of vans on the road and businesses supplying them.