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Best way to see NZ from US in Feb. 2013

Oregon
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Best way to see NZ from US in Feb. 2013

My husband and I are planning our first trip to NZ. We are looking at about three weeks, and in Feb 2013. We have friends that live 1 1/2 hours out of Auckland. We were planning on having them show us around the North Island for a few days, and then possibly we do the South Island on our own. Then we have friends in the Sydney we wanted to fly up to and see. All the air flight are expensive though, and i would like to ask the following.

1. Should we just focus on the North Island, and skip the South Island? Or is there so much to see in the South Island?

2. Would it be better to try and do a cruise out of Sydney around New Zealand? Would we see more, or less?

Any recommendations would be appreciated. We have always heard how beautiful new Zealand is. Thank you

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: Best way to see NZ from US in Feb. 2013

Two things to think about with a cruise is that although it seems a good idea to travel by night and tour ports each day, a lot of the scenery in NZ is in the mountains & farm land in between the coastal cities. Also when a huge cruise ship is in town you do not get the same feeling of tranquility that you would get as an independent traveller.

The South island is generally recognised - even by NIers (!) as the most beautiful part of NZ so it seems a pity to miss it when you do have the time. Flying to Chch and driving a 10-14 day circle would be the best use of your time.

australia
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for New South Wales, Noosa
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2. Re: Best way to see NZ from US in Feb. 2013

3 weeks less your Sydney days = 2 weeks, and a day or two. Not enough time for both Islands, unless you do the bulk of your time touring the North with your friends, and then flew to either Christchurch, or Queenstown for say 3 or 4 days and explored in and around one or the other. Don't try to include both, unless as a quick A-B drive in leiu of sightseeing time.. you could then fly to Sydney from either city. There are numerous options for flights ex various NZ cities. Hopefully you can get an international fare to Sydney with NZ stopover, (and permit arrive Auckland, depart to Syd ex another city). If not NZ-Aust flights are not expensive. I would plan a South Island visit another time.

The cruise around NZ, Sydney is a popular option, but you are either 'cruise people'

or not. You get a glimpse of several locations. But cruise organised land options don't come cheap, and doing it yourself restricts time, as the cruise ones get you back right on time, your own arrangements need to factor in the unknowns and delays. Either way you don't have the luxury to stay somewhere you really like longer.

Edited: 11 September 2012, 00:43
Oregon
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3. Re: Best way to see NZ from US in Feb. 2013

How difficult is the driving conditions for someone used to driving on the right side of the road? If it is not too hard to adjust to, perhaps renting a car in the south Island and touring that way might be a better approach. I sure appreciate all of your help!

australia
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for New South Wales, Noosa
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4. Re: Best way to see NZ from US in Feb. 2013

Not too difficult......I did it in the US many years ago.....was given 2 bits of advice, drive skowly around the car park gey the feel of the controls/pedals etc, and once out the road if you are first car aoving off at an intersection thing twice if doing a turn. Remember you are still sitting in the middle if the road when driving on most roads, not one way streets, obviously.

Edited: 11 September 2012, 04:08
New Zealand
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5. Re: Best way to see NZ from US in Feb. 2013

I do hope you include at least part of the South island - fly into Queenstown for some stunning scenery as well as wonderful vineyard tours, great dining and lots of activities.

If looking at internal flights look at discounted Air NZ flights on www.grabaseat.co.nz

I lived in the US for 20 plus years and found it easy to switch between driving left and driving right. Just keep calm and follow the car in front of you!

happy planning :)

6. Re: Best way to see NZ from US in Feb. 2013

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7. Re: Best way to see NZ from US in Feb. 2013

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