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2 week south / north island trip itinerary

Wichita, Kansas
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2 week south / north island trip itinerary

Please review my intinerary for a 2 week trip (1 week on the South Island and 1 week on the North Island) going the end of March / beginining of April 2011. Let me know if the itinerary is feasible or not. Thanks.

1. Arrive in Christchurch

Afternoon - tour CHC

Night - Christchurch or Darfield?

2. Drive to Fox Glacier

Night - Fox Glacier

3. Visit the glaciers - Helicopter, kayak, hike

Night - Fox Glacier

4. Drive to Wanaka

Night - Wanaka

5. Drive to Te Anau

Night - Te Anau

6. Drive to Milford Sound

Take our time getting there

Night - Milford Sound overnight cruise, debating between the Mariner and the Wanderer

7. Drive to Queenstown

Night - Queenstown

8. Morning - Fly from Queenstown to Auckland

Afternoon - Drive to Tauranga to visit friends

Night - Tauranga

9. Sightsee around Rotorua and possibly Lake Taupo

Night - Tauranga

10.Relaxing day near Tauranga

Night - Tauranga

11.Drive to Auckland

Sightsee Auckland

Night - Auckland

12.Drive to Paihia

Sightsee along the way

Night - Paihia or somewhere in the Northland

13.Trip to Cape Reinga

Night - Paihia / Northland

14.BOI trip

Night - Paihia / Northland

15.Drive to Auckland

Fly out late afternoon or evening

New Zealand
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1. Re: 2 week south / north island trip itinerary

Welcome to the forum PS :)

Your South Island tour makes excellent use of your limited time.

I'd choose the Mariner over the Wanderer, only because I prefer a private cabin. But which ever you choose, you will love it.

Have a great trip :)

Wichita, Kansas
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2. Re: 2 week south / north island trip itinerary

Thanks WanakaLakes so much for your "blessing" that our South Island is do-able. I agree that we have a very short time, but this is a trip of a lifetime, so we want to see as much as possible and still have time to sit back and enjoy it ;). I'm curious what your thoughts are on staying the first night on the west end of Christchurch, or trying to shave off a few minutes for the next day by staying in Darfield or even Springfield. Is that really pushing it with jetlag?

New Zealand
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3. Re: 2 week south / north island trip itinerary

Jet lag is a serious concern after a long flight. Best to stay your first night in Chch and spend the day exploring by foot, taxi and public transport.

The following morning it takes only minutes to leave the city centre and be on your way.

Safe travels :)

Wichita, Kansas
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4. Re: 2 week south / north island trip itinerary

Thanks. We will plan to spend our first night in Christchurch near the airport. Any hotel recommendations?

Also, I would like some replies for the North Island part of the itinerary. I had really wanted to see things at Coromandel, but don't know how to fit it in, because we really want to see things in the Northland, too. Since we have already seen themal activity at Yellowstone National Park, would it be advisable to skip the day at Rotorua and spend the day at Coromandel instead?

Rarotonga, Cook...
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5. Re: 2 week south / north island trip itinerary

You could save some driving time for the North Is experience by flying into Rotorua instead of Auckland. This would free up extra time to allow for a Coromandel visit ahead of drive to Northland; and saves backtracking. We have some wonderful scenery in the sub-tropical north including our native bush, nice climate and remote beaches and bays. The Bay of Islands is a must-do for marine attractions and NZ settlement history.

The Cape Reinga trip is marvellous. Try to get across to Hokianga harbour and visit the Waipoua kauri forest as a day trip. You should be able to see this area if you rejig your Bay of plenty stay by visiting Rotorua/Taupo first ahead of Tauranga and Coromandel. www.airnewzealand.co.nz provides flight details for Q'town to Rotorua.

Edited: 02 October 2010, 03:08
Wichita, Kansas
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6. Re: 2 week south / north island trip itinerary

Thanks Frangipani08. I think that this is an excellent idea to fly into Rotorua. I did some research, and it doesn't seem to add to the total cost of the flight(s) or car rental. This is my new North Island itinerary:

Day 1 - Fly from Queenstown to Rotorua - AM

Nt - Tauranga

Day 2 - Relax in Tauranga

Day 3 - Coromandel penisula

Would Thames be a good place to stay for night in order to get a good start the next day for the trip to Paihia?

Day 4 - Paihia - Cape Reinga trip

Day 5 - Paihia - BOI boat trip

Day 6 - Travel to Auckland by late afternoon

Day 7 - Meander around city center Auckland before flying out early evening

Does this itinerary seem at all reasonable? If not, what do you recommend?

Orewa, New Zealand
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7. Re: 2 week south / north island trip itinerary

I think with your limited time you would be better to head straight for Northland and not bother with the Coromandel Peninsula. Thames itself is a very ordinary place not really worth staying at when there are so many other nicer places. The Eastern side of the Peninsula is where all the lovely beaches are and with only one night you wouldn't have time to explore that part properly.

It would take about 6 1/2 hours to drive from Tauranga to the Bay of Islands. If you didn't want to do that much in one day then stop somewhere just north of Auckland, for instance Orewa or the Matakana area, which are both much nicer than Thames.

york
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8. Re: 2 week south / north island trip itinerary

try not to do too much when going to N.Z. two weeks is hardly enough time to see south island. it is much more relaxing and more of a holiday to see different places for a couple of days. you can do more walks and/or rides. you could spend three nights in queenstown alone and only scratch the surface.

I had some friends that did both islands in two weeks and needed a holiday when they got back home from all the driving they had done.

Wichita, Kansas
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9. Re: 2 week south / north island trip itinerary

Thanks, Giles, for your input. Our friend in Tauranga was saying the same thing, but this is the only time we will be able to afford a trip like this, so we want to make the best of it. I would like more information from you. Did your friends that did the 2 islands in 2 weeks fly or drive from one lsiand to the next? We have given up seeing Coromandel in order to spend "quality" time in the BOI area. Apparently, it is still too compact of an itinerary. Where would you recommend that we spend our time if we don't do the South Island? Thanks. We haven't purchased our plane tickets you, so we are still very flexible on our itinerary.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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10. Re: 2 week south / north island trip itinerary

Hi again,

You could free up more valuable time in the North Isle by driving from Tauranga to Auckland for the night and seeing the city sights then before heading northwards to BOI later the following day. The drive is reasonably short between Tauranga and Auckland, I suggest taking the scenic coastal route via Katikati to see more of Nth Island, as opposed to the long straight stretches if using SH27 (the direct route). Journey between downtown Auckland and Paihia takes approx 3.5 hours with a stop en route e.g. Wellsford.

Just looking at Rotorua, there is much to see, and do in the thermal region. Are you needing to get to Tauranga the same day as flying into Rotorua? If so, you probably have sufficient time to enjoy Hells Gate thermal park which is on the Rotorua airport side of the city, and visit several of the central Rotorua attractions before heading over to Taurang that evening.

Another way to free up time at the end of your stay is to deposit the rental car at Kerikeri airport and fly domestic to Auckland. Having already seen Auckland on the way north, this is a more relaxing & convenient option - http://www.airnewzealand.co.nz