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.

Help to start planning for mid-late March 2010

canada
Level Contributor
45 posts
2 reviews
Save Topic
Help to start planning for mid-late March 2010

i love TA people/experts who are so helpful! Any suggestions of how to begin planning our first trip to NZ (to see both N & S.Is.) for mid/late March 2010, Duration: +/-1 month

We're fairly flexible, in fact we're not certain on dates yet, so Question 1) is: Is it hard to book avg. priced accom. during this time, when do they book up? This is the longest trip we've planned/will do.

Who/What:

-married couple in late 20's, flying out Toronto, Canada

-enjoy traveling just us 2, we've bkpacked Europe, 3wk Luxury honeymn Greece/Egypt, and last year S.Africa with self-drive for 1wk and tour for safari the other Q2) Would a month of driving be too tiring? Should we opt to join tour/bus for S.Island? However we do like freedom, flexibility, privacy....

-Likes: scenic, photography, exploration/adventure, Food, people/culture

-Loves: Penguins

-Price conscious, avrg accom., but willing to spend as needed, and splurge on special "must do/unique exper/ accomodation views." as we prob. won't be back.

So how should we start? We were thinking fly into N.Island and then ferry over, and fly out of S. Island.

Any advice appreciated!!! Thank you everyone!

Philadelphia...
Level Contributor
730 posts
312 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Help to start planning for mid-late March 2010

We were in NZ for 3 weeks late March- early April.

My thoughts:

Start in SI, since the weather is changing, and it gets colder in SI first. Also, we started in SI, since our plane from US landed in AKL at 5 AM, which was an awkward time to get into AKL and the hotel. So we took a flight immediately to CHC, and started there.

There will always be accommodations, except at the glaciers, although you may not get the best. Check out wotif.com for help on remaining places.

So you should make reservations as soon as you are reasonably sure where and when you will be. Check out the cancellation policies. If you want to get places as you go, again check out wotif to see how many places remain as you approach the areas.

Drive yourself, except for CHC and AKL.

Great penguin view at the Catlins in SI.

The best place we stayed at was wildernesslodge.co.nz/wildernesslodge/… needs 2 nights.

Be sure to pick a farmstay and/or B&B.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,297 posts
81 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Help to start planning for mid-late March 2010

Hi P :)

Jed has already offered excellent advice.

Rent a car, it offers the greatest flexibility. I also would begin in the south and head north. Most visitors plan to spend 2/3 of their time in the South island, 1/3 in the North but it depends on your interests.

Happy planning :)

canada
Level Contributor
45 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Help to start planning for mid-late March 2010

did you use any guide books? I read somewhere about NZ frenzy book for the N Isl. , wondering if it's worth it?

Wanaka, New Zealand
Level Contributor
1,492 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Help to start planning for mid-late March 2010

Hi there,

You shouldn't have too many problems getting reasonably priced accommodation at that time. However, it's worth noting that the first few weeks of April are the Easter school holidays, so it would definitely be worth booking places to stay in advance.

Also, depending on you budget, NZ has a lot of cheap motels with self-catering facilities that can save you a lot of money on meals. I would consider buying a cheap chilly bin (cooler box) near the start of my trip to cart around perishables such as milk, butter, vegetables etc.

Do you like beaches? If so, I would offer advice different from those above and suggest you hit the North Island first. The second half of March should still be warm enough to swim in the ocean, but leave it any later and it will start to get too cool. Also, places like the Bay of islands, the Coromandel and Rotorua get VERY busy in the school holidays as they are the places Aucklanders all 'migrate' to. I would suggest visiting them before Easter school holidays.

As for Penguins, Dunedin is quite a good place to see the Yellow-Eyed variety.

canada
Level Contributor
45 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Help to start planning for mid-late March 2010

thanks for the reply, yeah we love beaches, esp. quiet private ones!

canada
Level Contributor
45 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Help to start planning for mid-late March 2010

I'm still waiting for my books, and haven't had any time to plan out our iten.

Should I just go ahead and book a round trip YYZ<> Auckland, as we've decided to start in North and end up in the South.

In the south we def. want to see the fiords, dunedin, omauru and I figured we end up in ChristCh. Then we can take a flight up to Auck. from wherever we end up?

A friend mentioned the area through the mountains is a nice drive or we could train it from CC?

Is there another way to efficiently see all of the South, with least amount of driving? Would it make sence to fly from Queenstown?

We'll split it about 10 days North have about 20 days in S, should we add more days, we're flexible?

Auckland, New...
Level Contributor
1,531 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Help to start planning for mid-late March 2010

Hi

With regard to your concern about driving being too tiring:

Don't underestimate how long it takes to get from A to B in New Zealand. We do not have an extensive motorway system and a drive of 200 to 250 miles is a good days drive here allowing for stops etc. I alwys use and recommend Google Maps for route planning. The distances are basic driving times and can be as much as doubled to allow for stops and sight seeing.

I would also suggest that you arange things so that as much as possible you stay more than one night in places - this makes for a much more relaxing drive.

If you wanted to cut down on driving then you could consider doing parts of the trip by bus. Have a look at:

www.intercity.co.nz.

You should not have too much trouble with Accommodation. I would suggest booking first couple of nights and possibly last nights. Do some research to identify possible places to stay so that you can call or email ahead.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,297 posts
81 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Help to start planning for mid-late March 2010

There are many itineraries already posted on the forum which may help.

Also check out www.newzealand.com

happy planning :)

Victoria, Texas
Level Contributor
429 posts
201 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Help to start planning for mid-late March 2010

There is so much to see and do in NZ!

canada
Level Contributor
45 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Help to start planning for mid-late March 2010

thanks for the replies. Especially want to thank Ron Laughlin, he is superb in helping plan itens and a lot of information on his site www.ronlaughlin.net

Ended up deciding to do North island first with campervan and then south island with rental car, we'll be there for over a month, and have a tentative Iten., and will probably book as we go along

It's going to be an adventure....

something I'm pondering if I should do both Doubtful and Milford? We have the time.