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New Zealand for 9-10 days

San Francisco...
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New Zealand for 9-10 days

Planning a trip to New Zealand the end of Dec to beginning of January. We are a family of four, my husband and I and our 2 adult children. Any ideas on what we must see during our trip there? Would love to do some sightseeing, outdoor activities, hiking(6 miles or less, no more than 800 feet elevation gain, one person has slight knee problems), kayaking, rafting, snorkeling. Heard there is a rain forest, caverns and glaciers there. Weather mild during that time of the year, but do we still need to pack warm clothes while visiting the glaciers.

My children love animals, so seeing the wildlife and visiting farms are a must do. We also love food, and want to sample local fare.

Any suggestions on where to stay and for how long in each location. Budget open, $175-$275USD. Will probably rent a car for short trips, but don't want to spend all day driving. Are there other forms of transportation between the two islands? Best to start at one end and travel to the other? We can fly in and out of different airports if necessary.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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1. Re: New Zealand for 9-10 days

Welcome to the Kiwi forum :)

I know NZ looks tiny on the world map but it takes time to get from place. We don't have freeways or highways and we go over rather through mountains so many of our roads are narrow, twisty and steep.

With 10 days you can fly into Queenstown and see mountains, lakes, rivers and fiords but to see more you really need to drive. And driving here is very scenic so often the actual drive is the highlight, rather than the destination.

So, in summary, if wanting to see the glaciers etc, you need to drive or bus.

the basic 10 day trip goes;

1 arrive Christchurch

2 drive Arthur's Pass to Hokitika

3 drive to Franz Josef, explore glaciers

4 drive Haast Pass to Wanaka

5 drive to Te Anau, glow worm caves

6 explore Milford Sound, stay Te Anau

7 drive to Queenstown

8 explore

9 drive Lindis Pass to Aoraki/Mt Cook

10 drive to Chch, depart

In the summer most hike on the glaciers in shorts. Aoraki/Mt Cook has the fabulous terminal lake with icebergs http://www.glacierexplorers.com/

I have helicoptered and ski planed into the mountains and played in the snow in shorts and Tee - if the weather is nice you don't need layers of clothing.

Hope this helps, happy planning :)

Nova Scotia
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for Nova Scotia
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2. Re: New Zealand for 9-10 days

I would go to a library or bookstore and get some guidebooks right away. You don't have much time to plan and with only 9-10 days you will need to plan carefully.

We spent over two weeks in the central part of the South island and can highly recommend that area.

Use the search feature below and put in words such as itinerary and 9 days and see what you can find.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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3. Re: New Zealand for 9-10 days

A nice walk would be the first stretch of the Routeburn Track. This is one of NZ's premier walks. You could easily walk as far as the Flats Hut and back in a day. It is a gentle uphill and is 12km return - sorry you will have to do the conversion to miles :) - If keen, you could do an extra hour or so return to the Falls Hut.

As WL has said, with only 9-10 days, you need to focus on a smaller area of NZ as it does take time to drive. As an example, I have just driven from Wanaka to a town near Auckland. It took me 11.5 hours to drive from Wanaka to Blenheim. I had a toilet stop in Tekapo, then a couple of hours shopping in Christchurch, but no other stops to look at the scenery etc. For the North Island, it took me 8 hours to drive from Wellington to Thames (near Auckland). I stopped in Taihape for petrol/ice cream, a few stops on the Desert Rd to look at the mountains, and half an hour in Taupo for pizza.

You need to do some research and dedcide what aspects of NZ appeal most. The South Island has fantastic mountain scenery, glaciers, fiords etc. The North Island has more Maori culture, volcanoes, morfe people (though this is a relative term!), different scenery - rugged green hills rather than snowy peaks.

Happy planning.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: New Zealand for 9-10 days

Thank you everyone for your tips, didn't realize that New Zealand was so vast. You've given me plenty to think about and do some research on.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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5. Re: New Zealand for 9-10 days

Not vast at all - just a huge amount of variety packed into a compact space :)

your Sec of State, John Kerry, holidayed here a few months ago - he loved it and will return. His one complaint - 'the roads are too small'.

Oz
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6. Re: New Zealand for 9-10 days

Hi,

Great advice from the others. FWIW with your interests and such a short time frame I would suggest that you limit yourselves to a South Island loop that includes Queenstown, Fiordland, Wanaka, Mt Cook and Christchurch.

Cheers,

7. Re: New Zealand for 9-10 days

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