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suggestions/advice on 33 day itinerary in March 2014

Nuremberg, Germany
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suggestions/advice on 33 day itinerary in March 2014

Hi all,

I’ve been checking the forum the last few days/weeks, and also studied some itineraries of organized self-drive tours …

Based on those – and on my first trip (2.5 weeks in 1996) - I started making my own.

I’ll be visiting with a friend in March 2014, arriving in Christchurch and departing from Auckland. We’re planning to rent a car and to stay in hostels and maybe once or twice in a B&B. We both enjoyed LOTR very much, but it’s not the main focus for the trip (maybe aside from Hobbington), that would probably be the stunning NZ scenery.

I started putting together my route both from the start and the end. However now I have three days (17/18/19) in the middle, that I’m not sure where it would be best to put them … e.g. add extra city days (Wellington, Dunedin, …) or extra days / additional stops somewhere along the route (i.e. Mt. Cook, Caitlins, or somewhere on the North Island) – Are there some stops we shouldn’t miss?

And, about the Coromandel and in the Bay of Islands parts – what is best – to stay in one location or to stay in multiple locations (suggestions would be welcome)

Many thanks in advance!

Nina

1 = 10:35 Arrive Christchurch Airport (pickup car, explore city)

2 = Christchurch - Methven - Lake Tekapo

maybe 10:45 Methven Edoras Tour (5,5 hrs.)

3 = Lake Tekapo - Twizel - Lindis Pass - Queenstown

4 = Queenstown

Maybe LOTR tour

5 = Queenstown

Glenorchy, Arrowtown, Kawarau Bridge

6 = Queenstown – Manapouri

12:00 Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise [o/n Boat]

7 = Manpouri – Te Anau / Milford Sound

return 11.45 Manapouri

Option 1: Drive to Milford Sound for Milford Wanderer Overnight Cruise (16:30)

Option 2: explore Te Anau

[o/n Boat or Te Anau]

8 = Te Anau / Milford Sound - Southern Scenic Route – Invercargill or a little further ?

Depending on previous day:

Option 1: returns 9:15, drive to Invercargill

Option 2: Te Anau – Milford Sound for ~11:00 Scenic Cruise - Invercargill

9 = Invercargill - Southern Scenic Route - Dunedin

10 = Dunedin - Wanaka

Moeraki Boulders (tides?)

11 = Wanaka

12 = Wanaka - Franz Josef/Fox Glacier

13 = Franz Josef/Fox – Punakaki

Pancake Rocks

14 = Punakaki - Motueka/Kaiteriteri

15 = Abel Tasman NP [o/n same as 14]

16 = Motueka/Kaiteriteri - Nelson - Picton – Wellington

Queen Charlotte Drive

17 = ???

18 = ???

19 = ???

20 = Wellington

Weta Cave

21 = Wellington - Napier

22 = Napier - Taupo - Roturua

23 = Roturua

24 = Roturua - Matamata - Waitomo – Hamilton

Hobbington, Waitomo Caves

25 = Hamilton - Coromandel [o/n ?]

26 = Coromandel [o/n ?]

27 = Coromandel [o/n ?]

28 = Coromandel – Auckland

29 = Auckland - Bay of Islands [o/n Paiha / Russel ?]

30 = Bay of Islands [o/n ?]

31 = Bay of Islands - Auckland

32 = Auckland

explore city, i.e. Waiheke Island

33 = Auckland

Explore city, do some last shopping, get to airport the evening

34 = 00:50 Depart Auckland Airport

Edited: 07 June 2013, 22:22
Christchurch, New...
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1. Re: suggestions/advice on 33 day itinerary in March 2014

Welcome to the NZ Forum, Nina. What a wonderful trip you have planned.

Are you flying in directly from Germany? Have you considered spending an extra day in Chch to get over jetlag at the start? Also you are skipping Aoraki/Mt Cook which is my favourite part of the SI. If you do the Edoras/Mt Sunday tour you could perhaps stay in Methven overnight and then continue on to Mt Cook the next day, via Lake Tekapo but not staying there.

Are you considering a glacier tour at Franz Josef or Fox Glacier? Why not spend 2 nights there to give you time to explore fully.

Hope this helps.

Nuremberg, Germany
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2. Re: suggestions/advice on 33 day itinerary in March 2014

Yes, we're flying directly from Germany. I guess I have been a bit optimistic with planning to leave right away. But you're right, it would certainly make sense to stay another day in Christchurch.

Mount Cook also sounds like a good option.

For the third day -- I've been looking at Stewart Island day trips from Invercargill - would that be worth it?

Christchurch, New...
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3. Re: suggestions/advice on 33 day itinerary in March 2014

If you strike good weather Stewart Island could be wonderful ( & the reverse I believe). I've only been once and conditions were perfect for our whole 4 days. I met people who had a day package with Stewart Island Flights - fly in about 9am; coach tour, then water taxi to Ulva Island and ferry back to Invercagill around 6pm.

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4. Re: suggestions/advice on 33 day itinerary in March 2014

I'd agree with Zhuhai about spending an extra day at Franz/Fox rather than just overnight so that you get the opportunity to really experience the amazing scenery.

In the coromandel region, hot water beach and cathedral cove are definitely worth a look.

California
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5. Re: suggestions/advice on 33 day itinerary in March 2014

Hi all,

I just started to look at this site and am going to need to plan a driving itinerary for July 2014 for 31 days. I realize the weather will be different at that time of year. Would this be a good itinerary for that time of year?

Christchurch, New...
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6. Re: suggestions/advice on 33 day itinerary in March 2014

Luvtotravel36, since you have different needs why not start a new thread so you can get specific replies? Simply click the "Ask a Question" button.

Nuremberg, Germany
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7. Re: suggestions/advice on 33 day itinerary in March 2014

Thanks for all your suggestions

I've been reading lot's of threads in the last few days - some mentioned that a counter clockwise route might be more scenic so I reworked the itinerary (also added the additional day for the Glaciers)

Not sure, though, how 15.3-21.3 is best structured (a long driving day now and then is not that much of a problem, since we're two drivers), or if I should give one of those days to Dunedin/Caitlins region.

the more I read, the more I somehow get the feeling, that our 33 days are still not going to be enough ;) (but the flights are booked ...)

1.3. arrive Christchurch

2.3. Christchurch (Akaroa (public transport?) or Edoras Tour from Christchurch) - [little or no self driving]

3.3. --> Punakaki (Arthur's Pass)

4.3. --> Glaciers

5.3. Glaciers

6.3. --> Wanaka

7.3. Wanaka

8.3. --> Dunedin

9.3. --> Invercargill

10.3. --> Manapouri (Doubtful Overnight)

11.3. --> Manapouri (~12:00) --> Milford Sound (late boat trip if possible, stay Lodge -- or return to Te Anau)

12.3. --> Queenstown

13.3. Queenstown

14.3. Queenstown (Arrowtown, Glenorchy)

15.3. --> Mt. Cook (Lindis Pass)

16.3. --> Hanmer Springs

17.3. --> Motueka/Nelson/...

18.3. Golden Bay

19.3. Abel Tasman

20.3. --> Marlborough Sounds - Picton

21.3. --> Picton - Wellington

22.3. Wellington

23.3. --> Napier

24.3. --> Taupo - Roturua

25.3. Roturua

26.3. --> Matamata - Waitomo - Hamilton

27.3. --> Hamilton - Coromandel

28.3. Coromandel

29.3. --> Auckland - Bay of Islands

30.3. Bay of Islands

31.3. --> Auckland

1.4. Auckland

2.4. Auckland

Rarotonga, Cook...
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8. Re: suggestions/advice on 33 day itinerary in March 2014

Hi nini,

I suggest:-

26th day - Rotorua to Waitomo Caves (tour) to Hamilton overnight.

27th day - Hamilton to Matamata (Hobbiton) to Coromandel.

Saves backtracking to reach your tours, with less time spent driving.

Nuremberg, Germany
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9. Re: suggestions/advice on 33 day itinerary in March 2014

thanks :) that's sounds like a good idea

New Zealand
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10. Re: suggestions/advice on 33 day itinerary in March 2014

Your trip looks good, however...

I would take a day from Auckland and add it to Dunedin, the Otago Peninsula with albatross, sea lions, penguins and Larnach Castle requires a full day to explore. The following day drive the Catlins as far as Riverton - more scenic than Invercargill - before heading up to Manapouri and your Doubtful overnight.

It's a great trip, enjoy :)