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16 days in New Zealand

Royal Tunbridge...
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16 days in New Zealand

I would be grateful for any comments / suggestions regarding our forthcoming trip...........

My daughter (living in Australia) brought me a full day wine tour in Blenheim for my 60th birthday recently - BUT I live in UK!!! "Forced" to redeem the voucher has incurred the cost of air tickets for me and my wife so we are into the planning stages of our visit - 16 days from mid May.

We would be really grateful of any comments relating to our outline itinerary so far and things to do/see along the way, especially on the West Coast. We fly into and out of Auckland and will hire a car.

Day 1 Auckland to Rotorua - visit geyser springs, Kerosene Creek? Dip into Maori culture.

Day 2 Rotorua to Havelock North stay at Craggy Range, dinner at Terroir

Day 3 Havelock N. to Wellington.

Day 4 Wellington to Blenheim.

Day 5 THE wine tour!!

Day 6 Blenheim to Nelson - Historical family connections.

Day 7 Nelson to Kaikoura

Day 8 Whale watching, seal colony Kaikoura to Kaipoi.

Day 9 Kaipoi to Palmerston

Day 10 Palmerston to Cromwell or Queenstown visit Skyline, helicopter tour Doubtful Sound.

Day 11 Jet Boat then Queenstown to Wanaka.

Day 12 Wanaka to Haast

Day 13 Haast to Okarhito

Day 14 Okarhito to Greymouth, drop off car, Tranz Alpine Express to Christchurch.

Day 15 late PM Fly Christchurch to Auckland

Day 16 Auckland fly to UK late PM

We are flexible on our budget and plan to book accommodation as we travel.

We are grateful for any comments - Many thanks!

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New Zealand
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1. Re: 16 days in New Zealand

What a problem, forced to take a holiday in New Zealand! I've got a couple of questions.

Are you particularly interested in wine? Because if you are, then visiting Martinborough on your way from Havelock North to Wellington would be of interest, either staying there, or a visit of a few hours before continuing to Wellington.ng in Palmerston

Is there any particular reason for staying in Kaiapoi or Palmerston? These are not particularly scenic or notable places. Okarito is also an unusual place to stay too.

Royal Tunbridge...
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2. Re: 16 days in New Zealand

Hi Selsy. Thank you for your response. Will definitely take some time in Martinborough.

Kaiapoi, Palmerston and Okarhito were not chosen for any reason, just seemed convenient places to break up the trip but if you have any other suggestions I would really appreciate them. Many thanks again.

New Zealand
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3. Re: 16 days in New Zealand

There are better people than me to sort out the South Island itinerary, but going from Haast to Greymouth would be fine. In fact most people would stay at Fox or Franz Josef rather than Haast. Staying in Christchurch rather than Kaiapoi seems more logical too. Or maybe Akaroa, which is pretty.

Also I'm wondering, are you particularly keen on doing the Tranz Alpine? If you're not, maybe going from Nelson down to Greymouth would be better. It would save some backtracking.

Hopefully the South Islanders will leap in and help out too.

Christchurch, New...
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4. Re: 16 days in New Zealand

Day 6 is a long detour without spending any time there!

Is there any reason why you are skipping Chch? Kaiapoi is a very odd choice. I'm surprised there is even a motel there!

Are the whales important to you, because a more logical route would be Nelson to Punakaiki to Okarito; glaciers to Wanaka etc?

If you are set on Kaikoura, why not then Chch-Mt Cook- Queenstown?

New Zealand
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5. Re: 16 days in New Zealand

Continuing on from previous comments - you are doing a lot of zigzagging yet allowing no time to explore once in each place. Marvellous as Nelson is, there is little point in driving all the way here to then zip off again the next day.

Plus some of your locations are less than scenic.

day 1 - is this the day you arrive in NZ? best not get off a long-haul flight and directly behind the wheel of a car to drive off, sleep deprived and jet lagged. Spend the first night in Auckland and start the driving day 2, bright-eyed and busy-tailed as we say down here in the south.

My suggestion;

1 arrive Auckland, explore

2 collect rental, drive to Rotorua, explore

3 drive to Havelock North

4 drive to Wellington

5 ferry to Picton, drive to Blenheim

6 wine tour :)

7 drive to Nelson

8 explore Abel Tasman National Park

9 drive to Punakaiki

10 drive to Okarito

11 drive Haast Pass to Wanaka

12 drive to Queenstown

13 explore

14 more

15 drive Lindis Pass to Aoraki/Mt Cook

16 drive to Chch, fly to Auckland to UK

Royal Tunbridge...
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6. Re: 16 days in New Zealand

Thank you for your suggestions, we will definitely alter our itinerary to stay in Akaroa instead of Kaikora. We have also noted your suggestion re Fox / Franz Joseph rather than Haast which does make a lot of sense too. Yes we are backtracking from Nelson to Kaikoura but it is a relatively short distance. We are still pretty fixed on the Tranz Alpine Express. Many thanks for your input, it is much appreciated.

Royal Tunbridge...
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7. Re: 16 days in New Zealand

Thank you for your reply to my post. Day 6 we will be leaving Blenheim early morning to get a full day in in Nelson, leaving Nelson on Day 7 mid / late afternoon before heading to Kaikoura.

Kaiapoi - you are right, an odd choice but it was just picked from the map as somewhere to head for. We will use our GPS / cell phones to book and locate accommodation, but you are probably correct there are no motels there!

As we will be spending the night of Day 14 and most of the next day in Christchurch is the reason for not staying there.

The coast drive south from Christchurch to Palmerston looked like a beautiful drive rather than the detour via Mt Cook.

Thank you for your comments though, is is always helpful to rethink decisions based on local knowledge rather than mine based on a few maps and a couple of guide books and of course the internet!

Royal Tunbridge...
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8. Re: 16 days in New Zealand

Thank you so much for your reply and your comments about being bright eyed and busy tailed! I omited for clarity that we are flying in the day before.

Yes we are doing one zigzag but the detour is a relatively small one. We wanted to see the whales in Kaikoura and also do the Tranz Alpine from Greymouth. We will certainly note your suggestion (and others) re Mt Cook rather heading down to Palmerston which seemed like a nice coastal drive from the map, we will head for Mt Cook from Timaru and then down to Queenstown from there. Thank you for your input, it is very much appreciated!

New Zealand
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9. Re: 16 days in New Zealand

The drive Chch to Palmerston has about 5 minutes of coastline - the road crosses flat farmland for mile after mile after mile and is considered the least scenic in the South Island.

And no need to go to Timaru, you turn off to Aoraki before there at Geraldine.

10. Re: 16 days in New Zealand

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