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Newbie to NZ.... so, please be patient:

Deerfield Beach
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Newbie to NZ.... so, please be patient:

2 of us will visit NZ for the first time, for 3 weeks, between Jan-March 2013. We are 60+, healthy and active (but with normal limitations of a 60+). Our inerests - nature, not museums; talk to local people, not local tour guides; hikes and adventure, but soft, please. Our budget is moderate (a luxury of the 60+).

O.K., I'll get to the point!

1 - What would be a recommended itinerary based on the above?

2 - What mode of transportation is recommeded? I don't mind renting & driving... is the hop-on-hop-off bus more convenient?

many thanks (and amny more questions to come).

New Zealand
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for South Island
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1. Re: Newbie to NZ.... so, please be patient:

Welcome to the Kiwi forum B :)

Assuming you are looking to explore both islands, here's one possibility.

1 arrive Auckland, fly to Christchurch

2 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

3 explore

4 drive to Queenstown

5 explore

6 bus/cruise Milford Sound, bus or scenic flight back to Queenstown

7 drive to Wanaka

8 explore

9 drive to Franz Josef

10 explore glaciers

11 drive to Punakaiki

12 drive to Nelson

13 explore Abel Tasman National Park

14 drive to Blenheim, wine tour

15 drive to Picton, ferry to Wellington

16 explore

17 drive to Taupo

18 drive to Rotorua

19 explore

20 drive to Auckland

21 fly home

hope this helps :)

Deerfield Beach
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2. Re: Newbie to NZ.... so, please be patient:

Thanks for taking the trouble, Wanaka. Your response gives us a great starting point.

I'll research the places you recommend, but at first glance it seems a bit hectic - a lot of days driving. if we wanted to make it a bit more leisurely, what would leave out, and where would you add the extra days?

thank you.

New Zealand
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3. Re: Newbie to NZ.... so, please be patient:

Points to consider -

- if you confine yourself to just the main cities you miss the true essense of NZ. Our fabulous scenery is usually between points a and b, not AT a and b. So to enjoy the best scenery you need to drive or be driven.

- the longest two drives on this itinerary are between 4 to 5 hours, allowing plenty of time to explore as you travel. While NZ looks small on the world map it takes an often surprising amount of time to get from a to b, thorough often stunning scenery.

- you might prefer to tour just one area of one island rather than cover the main highlights of both islands?

Happy planning :)

Deerfield Beach
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4. Re: Newbie to NZ.... so, please be patient:

Wanaka - we are TOTALLY on the same page.... looking forward to the drives and the scenery.

Troy, Michigan
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5. Re: Newbie to NZ.... so, please be patient:

We did our 4 week trip to NZ last year. WE spent 21/2 weeks on the south island and 11/2 weeks on the north. My wife and I are just about as old and have similar tastes. Although the north island was nice I would have rather spent it all on the south island. Although we both loved Wellington. We started in Christ Church just before the earthquake hit and drove all the way around the island on the coast clock wise. Not sure if Christchurch is up for tourists but we loved the trip. We did:

1. Christcurch (3 nites)

2. Dunedin (2 nites)

3. Invercargil (1 nite)

4. Te Anau (3 nites) glow worms, Milford Sound & Doubtful Sound (overniter)

5. Queenstown (3 nites)

6. The Glaciers (2 nites)

7. Punakaiki

8. Nelson/Able Tasman (2 nites)

9. Wellington (2 nites) before we drove up to Lake Taupo, Rotorua, Aukland

You can fly into Christchurch and out thru Wellington.

Canada
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6. Re: Newbie to NZ.... so, please be patient:

Tina - What were the highlights of your trip? what would you change if you had to do it over?

Thx

Troy, Michigan
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7. Re: Newbie to NZ.... so, please be patient:

Started our trip on 3 Feb in Christchurch (3 nites). We were fortunate to visit before the earthquake hit. Stayed in city central. The city was lovely. Visited the botanical gardens, went punting on the Avon, visited the Canterbury museum, drove all around the Banks peninsula, took a cruise from Akaroa harbor and did a bunch of other stuff. Great time and such a shame.

Drove down to Dunedin for two nites. Stopped in Oamaru and visited an old industrial building that now hosts a number of craftsman and artists. Got some nice gifts and lunch at the harbor. Stayed at Bluestone on the George. Great little hotel. Another beautiful city. Spent a day driving all around the Otago peninsula and I mean all around. Visited the Albatross reserve and Lamach castle. Just walked the grounds and had tea in the café. Wonderful day exploring.

Off to Invercargil (for 1 nite) on the scenic highway. Stopped at a number of spots in the Catlins. Great drive. Spent the nite at the Victoria Railway Hotel. Great little hotel. Thank God the manager hauled our luggage up to the third floor room – no elevators and lots of luggage. Got up early and drove to Bluff. On the way back we stopped in the Invercargil garden which was just beautiful. Had to get a coffee from the southern most Starbucks.

Continued on the scenic highway to Te Anau (3 nites). Did the Glow Worms, Milford Sound day cruise and Doubtful Sound Overnite trip (Real Journeys). All were great but the highlight was the overnite trip on Doubtful Sound (a bit expensive though).

Off to Queenstown for 3 nites. Did the Dart river funyak trip. Had a ball. Just me, my wife and another tourist. Included jet boating, kayaking and some short walks. Great lunch. Also walked around the Queens Park and went up the gondola. Too chicken to bungee jump. Did a bunch of laundry and rested. Stayed at the Heritage hotel which is just out of town. Had a beautiful view of the lake.

Off to Lake Moreaki Wilderness Lodge (2 nites). Drove the crazy shortcut to Wanaka. Some pretty hairy roads at the start then quite scenic. The Wilderness Lodge (a bit pricey to say the least) was wonderful. Read the reviews for details. Enjoyed every minute!!

Then off to the glaciers. Walked up to the base of the Fox glacier and then decided to take a helicopter to see both glaciers and Mt Cook from the air. Great decision. Continued to Greymouth (1 nite) with a stop in Hokitika for some crafts.

We drove up to Nelson (1 nite) with a stop at Pancake Rocks. Interesting formations. Nelson was very nice. Neat little town with great shops and restaurants. Wish we could have spent more time here to visit Abel Tazman park.

Then to Picton and the ferry to Wellington. Had a great time in Wellington. Took the tram up to the top of the Botanical gardens then walked down to town. Even saw a cricket match. Shopped and snacked on Cuba Street and along the harbor. Great fun.

North island trip include Lake Taupo, Rotorua (2 nites), Coramandel (wonderfull Buffalo Lodge B&B) and Auckland (3 nites). Had a great time but did not compare to the South Island.

Deerfield Beach
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8. Re: Newbie to NZ.... so, please be patient:

Tina, thanks SO much.... what great information!

melbourne victoria
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9. Re: Newbie to NZ.... so, please be patient:

Hi newbie ,

i would go with a tour company like aat kings which i did earlier this year i'm not too much younger then you are .as you can do as little of the added extras or all if it takes you .the tour company will look after you very well weather you do just the tour and no extras its up to you.so go and enjoy if you book in advance too you'll save more money that way .

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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10. Re: Newbie to NZ.... so, please be patient:

For two people a tour is going to work out more expensive than DIY, so it depends a lot on how much you enjoy planning. I have taken a couple of small group tours in Asia and not regretted it but NZ is so much easier to plan & self drive with all the flexibility that brings. You can stay in excellent motels & self- cater with wine from local vineyards or splurge on top quality restaurans & B&Bs as you chose.