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Drive or Fly

Indianapolis...
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Drive or Fly

I don't usually have this much trouble planning a trip, but I keep second guessing and wondering. I have a feeling I'm trying to do to much, but I'm afraid that this will be my only trip to NZ and I'm on a rather tight budget. Our travel window is 27 of May to 12 of June, so....

Is it reasonable to fly to Queenstown and then drive back to Auckland in a week? 10 days?

Or should I bite the bullet and hopscotch by plane back to Auckland to hit some key stops?

What will we miss by flying that perhaps another mode of transport would provide.

Greymouth, New...
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1. Re: Drive or Fly

June is not a great month for driving on our roads particularily if you are on a tight schedule and driving alpine passes. Delays can be expected particularily during June / July due to snow .

On such a tight schedule, I would tend to fly into Quenstown, If you are arriving from Australia, you may be able to get a flight directly from Australia to Queenstown. Spend time in and around queenstown take a day trip or even an over night trip to Doubtful sound or to Milford Sound (or both) Fly up t Christchurch, and see the sights, a city that was once a proud city, now in the midst of a majour re development and rebuild. If you have time , a day in Wellington , see Tepapa museum and shopping etc, then on to Auckland.

Mix and match as you want but enjoy new zealand

New Zealand
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2. Re: Drive or Fly

With your limited time and to have as few internal flights as possible, I would start at Queenstown as described above, drive from there to Mt Cook and then to Christchurch, fly to Rotorua which is worth visiting for its geysers and Maori culture, then drive (or bus) to Auckland, possibly via Waitomo or Hobbiton.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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3. Re: Drive or Fly

yep, a whirlwind visit with much stuffing :)

27 arrive Queenstown

28 explore

29 more

30 drive to Te Anau - glow worm caves? Ata Whenua?

31 bus to Milford Sound, cruise, stay Te Anau

1 drive to Wanaka

2 explore

3 drive Lindis Pass to Aoraki/Mt Cook - stunning drive

4 explore, hike - yep, hike in June, some trails will be fine

5 drive to Chch

6 fly to Wellington

7 explore

8 drive to Taupo

9 drive to Rotorua

10 explore

11 drive to Auckland

12 fly home

Oz
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4. Re: Drive or Fly

Hi,

I would suggest you take a different approach and just visit the South Island.

Unless you enjoy rushing, air port transit lounges and wish to "tick off" as many NZ icons as possible just stay on the SI.

IMHO a trip from Christchurch to Queenstown could easily see you visiting the "best" of the South Island without rushing. Have a look at the itineraries on the SI page and think over your options.

Cheers,

Indianapolis...
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5. Re: Drive or Fly

Thanks everyone for your help....I'm having to refigure some things because I really wanted to do an Overnight Doubtful Sound cruise, but it looks like I may have waited too late and they are all booked until June 5 ;-(

We don't want to rush about, and usually we like having the car and going as the roads call us. Striking the balance between our interests in landscapes and wildlife with wines and our new found love of snorkeling has me more scattered than usual.

I appreciate all the great suggestions, and get back to work on the itinerary -- hopefully before the airfare sales end.

California
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6. Re: Drive or Fly

There are two companies that do the Doubtful overnight cruise: Fiordland Expeditions and Real Journeys. Did you check them both?

fiordlandexpeditions.co.nz/overnight-cruise/…

https:/…

New Zealand
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7. Re: Drive or Fly

If this is going to be your only trip to New Zealand, I really feel that you should visit both islands, even though you have a limited amount of time available. I suggested Rotorua specifically because it has several options for experiencing Maori culture, which is something unique to New Zealand. It would be a pity to miss this.

Auckland, New...
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8. Re: Drive or Fly

I would not leave out the North island either and think the itinerary from Wanaka Lakes is a good one.

Indianapolis...
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9. Re: Drive or Fly

So it looks like we've decided for sure to do the Doubtful sound overnight cruise and that is determining much of the itinerary because there aren't many dates available (yes, Dec2259, we looked at both companies but only Fjordand expeditions seems to still be sailing when we will be there in early June).

Wanakalakes, you asked why Dunedin. We love Victorian architecture, so that was part of the draw....that and the penguins.

So, we're contemplating flying from either Queenstown or Dunedin to Wellington and then either flying or driving from Wellington to Hawkes Bay.

My husband definitely wants to spend some time in Auckland, so we're going to spend a little time on the North Island (instead of trying to squeeze in a Great Barrier Reef excursion -- that was feeling just too crazy).

I

New Zealand
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10. Re: Drive or Fly

I never question why anyone wants to go to Dunedin - it is a fabulous city with the even more fabulous Otago Peninsula - what I always question is why anyone would drive all the way there to then leave again the following morning.

Many don't seem to realise it can take 4 to 5 hours to drive there ( from Te Anau, Queenstown, Wanaka or Aoraki - longer still from Chch) and once in Dunedin it is another hours drive to the end of the peninsula if wanting to visit the penguins by which time the tours have closed.

So yes, visit Dunedin and yes, spend at least two nights there - anything less won't allow any time to see anything.