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Auckland to Christchurch in Dec 2013

Singapore, Singapore
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Auckland to Christchurch in Dec 2013

Hello! My family of 4 is touring New Zealand in a rented motorhome this coming December (2013). I've come up with the following itinerary, but it'd be great to know (1) if we're packing it too tight and how we could modify it, (2) if there're any great roads/scenery/attractions/campsites we should look out for along the way, and (3) if there are any precautions/warnings you have for us! Actually any helpful advice is welcome, really (:

Day 1: Auckland -> Matamata (spend the night)

Day 2: Matamata (Hobbiton) -> Waitomo (spend the night)

Day 3: Waitomo (caves) -> Rotorua (spend the night)

Days 4-5: Explore & chill in Rotorua (Hell's Gate, water sports, Maori villages)

Day 6: Rotorua (leave early morning) -> Tongariro Crossing (short walk, spend the night)

Day 7: Tongariro (leave early morning) -> Wellington (ferry) -> Picton (spend the night)

Days 8-13: Picton -> one of Nelson Tasman's national parks -> Westport -> Paparoa National Park -> Greymouth -> Arthur's Pass -> Christchurch.

Thanks for your help! (:

Ballarat, Australia
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1. Re: Auckland to Christchurch in Dec 2013

Day one you'd be best to rest up in Auckland. On day 2 you can drive to Waitomo for an afternoon of exploring, and then day three drive to Rotorua with a Hobbiton tour on the way, and still have time for an evening cultural performance.

Day 6: the Tongariro Crossing is not a short walk! It's a full day with no way to "bail" partway across. If you want to do it you'd be best to stay at Whakapapa Village the night before and after - shuttles run to and from the trail ends from there. http://www.whakapapa.net.nz/ If you wanted a short walk there are lots of lovely short walks in the area.

What ages are your children? Knowing that will help members suggest suitable stops and activities.

Singapore, Singapore
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2. Re: Auckland to Christchurch in Dec 2013

Hi Jean, thanks for the tips! (: Hmm I am 20 years old and my younger brother is 13. Our parents are quite young but extreme sports is definitely out of the question.

Regarding Tongariro, we've booked one night at Whakapapa Holiday Park. I understand from their website (whakapapa.net.nz/Whakapapa-Holiday-Park/Shor…) that there are walking tracks ranging from 15 minutes to 6 hours). Is it possible to travel from Rotorua to Tongariro in the morning, take a 2 hour walk in the afternoon, rest there for the night and then leave the following morning? Or might that be too rushed? I understand that there's a lot of scenery to be appreciated!

Day 1-3 advice sounds awesome, thanks! (:

Ballarat, Australia
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3. Re: Auckland to Christchurch in Dec 2013

Ah, so you are one of the "young" ones. :)

Yes one night at Whakapapa Village will be fine if you want to do some shorter walks, or if the day is clear you might want to take the chairlift up Mt Ruapehu to take in the views. There are plenty of options, depending on weather conditions and how energetic you're feeling.

As far as being rushed goes, that's inevitable on such a short trip. My advice would be try not to think about what you might be "missing" too much and focus on having a great holiday. If you love it you can go back, and there will be plenty more to see and do.

If you're passing through Wellington it would be a shame not to visit Te Papa at least. Unfortunately Wellington is not well served with campervan parks - they are well out of the city, and driving in and finding parking would be difficult in a campervan. Do you turn in your campervan and pick up a new one in Picton? If so you could return it and stay in a city hotel for the night, giving you a few hours to explore the city.

In six days a loop around the top of the South Island is a good plan - you will see some great places without spending too much time on the road.

4. Re: Auckland to Christchurch in Dec 2013

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