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Another itinerary! 24 days in November

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Another itinerary! 24 days in November

Hi All,

I posted a while back when our trip to New Zealand was still a dream. Well now we've booked our flights! So I'm back to see if I can get some help with planning our itinerary. We are a quiet couple in our mid-late 20s, we love nature and outdoor pursuits but not into bungee jumping or anything like that. Things we might like to do while we're in NZ include sailing, kayaking, hiking and horse riding, any suggestions on where the best places to do these things would be much appreciated. I'd like to say a big thank you as I've been reading all the questions and advice on this forum for a while and you've helped loads already!

We're flying into Auckland on the 4th November, arriving about noon and leaving Christchurch on the 29th November, now we just need to fill in the time in between. There seems to be soooo much to see and do it's difficult to decide where to go and what to leave out! We'll be hiring a car and staying in motels/hostels/B&Bs.

So here is the vague plan so far:

1: Arrive Auckland

2: Auckland

3: Drive to Rotorua (via beaches at bay of Plenty?)

4: Rotorua

5: Turangi /Taupo (or straight to Wellington, anywhere else to stop en route?)

6: Wellington

7: Ferry – Picton/Nelson

8: Abel Tasman or Kaikoura

9: Abel Tasman or Kaikoura

10: Punakaiki/Hokitika

11: Drive to Glaciers

12: Glaciers

13: Drive to Wanaka

14: Wanaka

15: Drive to Te Anau

16: Milford Sound – Te Anau

17: Drive to Dunedin

18 Dunedin

19: Drive Queenstown

20: Queenstown

21: Drive Mount Cook

22: Mount Cook

23: Akaroa?

25: Christchurch

26: Home

Does this seem feasable? Would this route make for any excessively long drives? We've an extra day to slot in somewhere, perhaps for a full day hike? We're undecided about Abel Tasman, Kaikoura and Dunedin as it doesn't seem we can visit all of them comfortably, perhaps we need to pick one.

Many Thanks

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1. Re: Another itinerary! 24 days in November

Congratulations on a well-planned itinerary. I agree that the only "out-lier" is Kaikoura. Going South to Kaikoura takes you away from Nelson so you need to decide whether whales are important. (you could do Kaikoura instead of Akaroa, as a day trip from Chch on your last day.)

Pity you have so little time in Wlg. Do aim for an afternoon ferry so you get the AM to walk around.

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2. Re: Another itinerary! 24 days in November

What a fabulous trip you have planned :)

With an extra day you could add horse riding at Glenorchy - stunning LOTR scenery -

4 Rotorua

5 drive to Wellington

6 explore

7 ferry to Picton, drive to Nelson

8 Abel Tasman

9 more

10 drive to Punakaiki

11 drive to Franz

12 explore

13 drive to Wanaka

14 explore

15 drive to Te Anau

16 explore Milford Sound

17 drive to Dunedin via Gore... or spend all day exploring coastline via Southern Scenic Route - fab drive

18 explore

19 drive to Queenstown

20 explore

21 drive to Glenorchy - Dart Stables, stay Q'town

22 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

23 explore

24 drive to Akaroa

25 drive to Christchurch

happy travels :)

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3. Re: Another itinerary! 24 days in November

Thank you for you replies. To hear from the experts that we have a well-planned itinerary is high praise indeed! I did use this forum a lot to help and W/L I copied and pasted a few of the itineraries you'd made for others into my master document! The aim is to see lots but not spend our entire time rushing from one place to another, hopefully we've managed to strike a balance.

More time in Wellington would be great but something has to give somewhere and we're less interested in cities. I would love to see whales but Kaikoura doesn't seem to fit in too well with the rest of the plan, I guess we may be able to squeeze it in at the end or else we'll just have to save it for our next trip! Funny you should mention LOTR, I wasn't much of a fan of the films, but remember thinking that the best thing about them was the scenery!

I have a few more questions. We'll be pre-booking accomodation and car hire but is there anything else we should pre-book or can we wait until we get there? I'm thinking things like the glacier walk which we're undecided about. Also, Would it be better to take a coach to Milford Sound or drive ourselves? I guess this might depend on how we feel when we get there.

I'm sure I'll come up with more questions as our trip looms closer and hope to return the favour with a trip report when we get back! Really appreciate the help.

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4. Re: Another itinerary! 24 days in November

I'm not into cities either but Wellington's Zealandia and Te Papa do warrant exploration so fit them in if you can.

And yes, you could instead go

drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

explore

drive to Akaroa

drive to Kaikoura

drive to Christchurch

I would drive to Milford - the true highlight for me is the drive getting there from Te Anau - it's magical and its lovely being able to stop when you want. If time allows on the drive out stop and do the Key Summit track - lovely views - allow 3 hours for the walk.

Don't worry if it is pouring with rain when you go to Milford (in which case you might want to bus as driving in the rain isn't so much fun) but the scenery is spectacular with hundreds if not thousands of waterfalls. I actually prefer Milford when it isn't bright sunshine.

Best to book any heli-hike or glacier walk in advance - see how you feel a week ahead and book then.

Also book your ferry in advance - some car rentals alow the car on the ferry, some will take your car one side and deliver a fresh car the other side. The ferry is expensive so take that into account when booking a car. Check Apex and Ace, both offer reasonable rates and great customer service.

Cheers :)

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5. Re: Another itinerary! 24 days in November

Thanks!

I'd forgotten about the ferry, but yes we will book that in advance.

We'll keep an eye on the weather forecast for Milford for the decision to drive or bus, rain certainly won't put us off going, we're quite used to it! Although you're right in saying driving in it is no fun.

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6. Re: Another itinerary! 24 days in November

I've been looking into this a bit more and have a couple more itinerary queries:

Should we drive straight from Rotorua to Wellington so we get a full day in Wellington or should be break the journey and spend a night en route so we can explore more on the way?

For Te Anau to Dunedin, I hadn't considered the Southern Scenic Route. Having done a bit of internet research it looks amazing but it seems long, is it doable in a day, or would we be better off taking the shorter route? Or could we do part of it? We're not adverse to making early starts to make the most of a day. I suppose we could take a night from somewhere else to spend en route but we're less keen on one night stops and trying to keep them to a minimum.

Thanks

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7. Re: Another itinerary! 24 days in November

A full day in Wellington? - it is entirely up to you. If you see somewhere appealing to stop off enroute then do so. I don't think you will be disappointed either way.

The SSR - you can easily drive all the way to te Anau in one day, just keep an eye on the time and limit your stops of needed. My three favourites and yes, you have time for all three -

Nugget Point Lighthouse www.catlins.org.nz/index.php…

Cannibal Bay - walk along the beach and through the sand dunes to Surat Bay tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1746108-d…

Purakaunui Falls …govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/…

Once you get to Invercargill either take the shorter and easier main route north and across to Te Anau or if time and interest allows continue along the SSR to Riverton and up route 99 to Manapouri and on to Te Anau

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8. Re: Another itinerary! 24 days in November

Thanks for all your help WanakaLakes. I'm getting very excited about our trip :)

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9. Re: Another itinerary! 24 days in November

It's a great route... hope you return afterwards and let us know how it all goes :)

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10. Re: Another itinerary! 24 days in November

I've been doing some further investigating into our itinerary finding out drive times and the like, and although what we have above would be possible I think it may be a little heavy going for us. We want some time to stop, take a breather and soak up the surroundings. Our South Island part would have us doing almost day-long drives pretty much every other day! Sooo... I've decided we should probably drop Dunedin :-( and add an extra day in Wanaka and Akaroa. Also, my husband would like to try blo-karting, is the only place to do this in Tauranga? Is there anywhere else? Can we go here on the way to Rotorua on day 3 or should we spend a night here or nearby?

Our itinerary would now look like this:

1 Arrive Auckland

2 Auckland (recover from travelling, explore)

3 Drive to Rotorua (Tauranga?)

4 Rotorua (thermal sights, Maori culture)

5 Drive to Wellington

6 explore

7 ferry to Picton, drive to Nelson

8 Drive to Abel Tasman

9 Abel Tasman (kayaking, hiking)

10 drive to Punakaiki/ Hokitika

11 drive to Franz

12 explore

13 drive to Wanaka

14 explore

15 more (short hikes, bike rides, water activities, relaxing)

16 drive to Te Anau

17 explore Milford Sound, stay Te Anau

18 drive to Queenstown

19 explore

20 Glenorchy (horse ride), stay Queenstown

21 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

22 explore

23 drive to Akaroa

24 Akaroa (boat trip)

25 drive to Christchurch

26 Home

How does this look? Comments and suggestions welcome.

Thank you