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Visiting New Zealand in December 2013

Shah Alam, Malaysia
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Visiting New Zealand in December 2013

Hi folks!

My family and I are going to NZ for first time from Dec 06 to Dec 22 this year. We are a family of 5 (with children ages 15, 20 & 22). We are more of a nature lover and not so keen in shopping in big cities. We will be visiting both Islands. For north Island, we will be staying in our time share property (Kaimanawa Lodge) and renting a car to move around. The following week, we intend to fly to Christchurch and have already booked a Kea Campervan for 8 days. It would be great to get some feedback or tips as we would love to make of this trip a truly remarkable memory.

Day 1 (6th Dec) – Early flight arrival into Auckland. (rent a car from the airport. Drive down to Turangi via Matatoki ( visit The Cheese Barn) & Te Puke(visit Kiwi 360)

Day 2 (7th Dec)– Turangi (explore the area around Kaimanawa Lodge)

Day 3 (8th Dec)– Turangi - Taupo - Turangi (planning to do the Canopy Tour, visit Mamaku Blue and Te Puia)

Day 4 (9th Dec) – Turangi - Matamata - Waitomo - Turangi (visit Hobbiton, Waitomo Glow worm cave, Ruakuri Cave)

Day 5 (10th Dec) – Turangi - Rotorua - Turangi

Day 6 (11th Dec) – Turangi - Gisbourne - Hasting - Napier - Turangi (vineyards)

Day 7 (12th Dec) – Lake Taupo area

Day 8 (13th Dec) – Turangi - Auckland Airport (stay a night in Bella Vista)

Day 9 (14th Dec) – Early flight into Christchurch. Collect camper van and head for Twizel via Lake Tekapo & Blue Lake (freedom Camp @ Lake Pukaki). Will be looking out for the Salmon Farm!!!

Day 10 (15th Dec) – Twizel - Wanaka (planned activities : Movie @ Cinema Paradiso & Puzzling World & Maze)

Day 11 (16th Dec) – Wanaka - Queenstown via Cromwell & Arrowtown. Would like to try the Fergburger & Devil Burger)

Day 12 (17th Dec)– Queentown - Te Anau

Day 13 (18th Dec) – Te Anau - Milford Sound - Te Anau (Plan to do the Rosco Milford Kayak Day Safari)

Day 14 (19th Dec) – Te Anau - Dunedin ( To visit Cadbury World & Speights Brewery)

Day 15 (20th Dec) – Dunedin - Oamaru - Christchurch

Day 16 (21st Dec) – Fly into Auckland. Rent a car & stay in Auckland City Oak. A quick tour around the city & last minute shopping

Day 17 (22nd Dec)– Flight back

I am also thinking if there is a way to slot in Fox Glacier & Franz Josef Glacier. Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance!

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: Visiting New Zealand in December 2013

Welcome to TA!. I am worried about the amount of driving you are planning to do, esp on day 1. Have you plotted this on a map site such as www.maps.aa.co.nz? I hope you are renting a GPS. DEs do not recommend driving on day 1 after an overnight flight. Jet lag can be a killer.

You have an enormous amount of backtracking planned. I would be tempted to ditch at least one night of your time share stay to stay a night in Rotorua to avoid having to drive the slow road between Turangi & Taupo so many times.

New Zealand
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2. Re: Visiting New Zealand in December 2013

Day 6 (11th Dec) – Turangi - Gisbourne - Hasting - Napier - Turangi (vineyards)

This is just not possible!

Turangi - Gisborne = 5hrs

Gisborne - Napier/Hastings = min 3hrs

Napier/Hastings - Turangi = min 2.45hrs

All of the above drive times do not include any stops for food, restrooms, photo ops or any of the tourist sights along the way let alone any visits to wineries!

If you want to visit wineries suggest you drop Gisborne from your itinerary. It will be a long day to Napier/Hastings for one day of wineries so maybe you could have a look at :

www.greatlaketaupo.com/new-zealand/vineyards

Consider changing your day 6 to another fun tourist day in Rotorua? Then on day 7 visit wineries around Taupo? Or as Zhuhai suggests stay a night in Rotorua - maybe day 6 night, then you can do Taupo wineries on route back to Turangi?

Edited: 26 November 2013, 22:57
Shah Alam, Malaysia
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3. Re: Visiting New Zealand in December 2013

Thanks, Zhuhai2007 & expatkiwiwairoa for the great advice. I must agreed that there are alot of back tracking for us in North Island. Will consider dropping visiting Hawke's Bay from the itinerary and replace it with a night in Rotorua. :)

Shah Alam, Malaysia
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4. Re: Visiting New Zealand in December 2013

Looking at our itinerary, instead of back tracking to Rotorua on Day 6 perhaps it would be wiser that after the Te Puia (ending by 10pm), we put up a night in Rotorua. Then Day 4 will be spent in Rotorua (Huka Honey Hives) and track back to Turangi in the evening.

Day 5 (10th Dec) - – Turangi - Matamata - Waitomo - Turangi (visit Hobbiton, Waitomo Glow worm cave, Ruakuri Cave)

Day 6 (11th Dec) –Lake Taupo area

Day 7 (12th Dec) - Turangi & Tongariro

That should be it for the North. What about the South??? Is it ok???

Christchurch, New...
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5. Re: Visiting New Zealand in December 2013

You are still doing that road between Taupo & Turangi about 8 times!

Hobbiton & Waitomo are sort of in opposite directions from Rotorua. I would do Waitomo as a side trip from your day 8 trip from Turangi to AKL, and Hobbiton as a side trip from Rotorua rather than a separate trip from Turangi.

Shah Alam, Malaysia
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6. Re: Visiting New Zealand in December 2013

Oh! Thanks for pointing it out.

So you mean, it would be better for me to visit Waitomo on our trip back from Turangi to Auckland?

As for Hobitton, it would mean on Day 4, to loop up to Matamata before returning to base ie Kaimanawa Lodge, right?

That would mean less time on the road :)

7. Re: Visiting New Zealand in December 2013

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