Here's the itinerary I've come up with for my big trip around NZ. Please have a look and tell me what you think! I'm not backpacking, but not doing a luxury tour either. I'm not self driving. I have other destinations on either end of this itinerary.
Dec 30th Arrive Auckland
**Advice for New Years in Auckland welcome! I want to photograph the fireworks.**
Jan 1 fly Auckland to Queenstown, TSS Earnslaw tour
Jan 2 Real Journeys tour to Stewart Island
Jan 3 Tour transport to Te Anau
Jan 3-5 Glowworm Caves, Doubtful Sound, Milford Sound. Pre-arranged tours.
Jan 6 Te Anau to Queenstown (bus)
Jan 7 Queenstown to Tekapo (bus)
Jan 7 Tekapo Stargazing tour **I've spent my entire life in NYC. I'm gonna see some stars.
Jan 8 Tekapo to ChCh (bus)
Jan 9 Tranzalpine train round trip
Jan 10 Birdlings Flat **I'll self drive for this bit since there's no other option and I like rocks.
Jan 10 (evening) fly to Wellington
Jan 11 **Recommendations for Wellington?
Jan 12 Northern Explorer train to Hamilton, connect with late bus to Rotorua.
Jan 13 Maori cultural tour **If anyone can please recommend a hotel/motel with a/c and no smell
Jan 14 Rotorua to Auckland (bus) **Auckland hotel recommendations welcome
Jan 15 Bay of Islands day tour? **I'm undecided and might play this by ear.
Jan 17 BDO, if it doesn't get cancelled :D
Jan 18 fly out of Auckland
I know the weather can be a little bit finicky so I'm trying to leave a bit of room to account for that, but I worry about things selling out. I haven't booked a Maori cultural tour yet in Rotorua as I think there are several, but I am concerned that if I don't book in advance they will be all booked when I get there. Same goes for the extra day I wound up with in Auckland. I'd like to take a day trip to the Bay of Islands but I'm not really loving any of the tours I've found, PLUS if it ends up being a gray and rainy day it might be worth skipping. Please let me know what you think and if you have any recommendations for me.