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28 Days North & South Island New Zealand - Campervan

Perth, Australia
2 posts
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28 Days North & South Island New Zealand - Campervan

Hello all,

I am in the current phase of planning our month long vacation travelling both islands of New Zealand from the 20th September through to the 18th October 2014. I have already booked the van so the dates are set, below is our planned itinerary, any thoughts or suggestions would be most welcome.

I do have a few questions to ask though, we would like to go to the glaciers however the reviews and advice say that it is moderate intensity, unfortunately my heart is not 100% so I would just like to know whether I can do the hiking on the glaciers? For instance is it like a slow pace walk or do you get out of breath really easy due to atmosphere etc.I was looking at Frans Josef IceExplorer.

Have I covered the major tourist sites, or am I missing something? Should we stay in Napier? I have also joined Okay2stay, any reviews on places worthwhile staying at?

I have looked at AAMaps so the times are a driving estimate from this site, are we doing too much? My hubby has a truck licence and is a mechanic (always comes in handy) so hopefully no problems with the rental of the van. So here goes:

Day 1 - Arrive Auckland

Day 2 - Auckland

Day 3 - Auckland - Pick up campervan - Paihia

Day 4 - Paihia - BOI cruise

Day 5 - Paihia - Leigh (just avoiding Auckland)

Day 6 - Leigh - Coromandel Hot Water Beach

Day 7 - Coromandel - Matamata (Hobbiton) - Waitomo Caves

Day 8 - Waitomo Caves - Rotorua - Lake Taupo (Should we stay an extra night in Rotorua?)

Day 9 - Lake Taupo

Day 10 - Lake Taupo - Wellington

Day 11 - Wellington

Day 12 - Wellington - Picton

Day 13 - Picton - Abel Tasman (Abel Tasman can be changed, to spend extra days elsewhere, as it is double backing)

Day 14 - Abel Tasman - Kaikoura

Day 15 - Kaikoura Seafood Festival

Day 16 - Kaikoura - Hokitika

Day 17 - Hokitika - Franz Josef Glacier

Day 18 - Franz Josef Glacier Tour

Day 19 - Franz Josef Glacier - Lake Wanaka - Queenstown

Day 20 - Queenstown

Day 21 - Queenstown - Te Anau

Day 22 - Milford Sound Explorer and Cruise - Te Anau

Day 23 - Te Anau - Invercargill

Day 24 - Invercargill - Dunedin

Day 25 - Dunedin - Twizel - Lake Tekapo (Should we stay another night in either Lake Tekapo or Dunedin?)

Day 26 - Lake Tekapo - Christchurch

Day 27 - Christchurch - Drop campervan off

Day 28 - Christchurch

Day 29 - Chrstchurch - Auckland - Perth

Thanks for your replies in advance.

Sandra

California
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7,498 posts
71 reviews
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1. Re: 28 Days North & South Island New Zealand - Campervan

I'll let others deal with other aspects of your itinerary. Just a couple of comments: Invercargill is not a destination. You'd be better off driving straight through from Te Anau to Dunedin and spending 2 nights Dunedin. And if you need another night somewhere, eliminate the last full day at Christchurch (I would suggest adding an overnight at Wanaka with this day).

As to Franz Josef (or Fox, for that matter), The walks to the terminal faces are fairly level. If you take a half-day helihike, it is a slow pace and a lot of stopping. You're wearing crampons, so you stomp rather than walk, but it's not strenuous. And none of it is at altitude! Both glaciers terminate in rain forests at sea level. I would imagine that if you took the tour at Fox Glacier that walks onto the glacier without any helicopter ride, it would be a bit more uphill walking. I personally haven't done it, so can't say how strenuous it is. Franz Josef can only be walked on via a helicopter ride.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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28,315 posts
83 reviews
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2. Re: 28 Days North & South Island New Zealand - Campervan

You have planned well. Just be aware that drives will take longer than anticipated, especially in a campervan which travels about 20% slower than a car. Plus you will find many of our roads very twisty.

My suggestion - you need a full day to explore Abel tasman - one night just won't do it. And yes, Franz to Q'town is a very long drive - stay in Wanaka. Little point driving all the way to Dunedin to not stay and explore. Also, to enhance the scenery go;

12 ferry to Picton, drive Queen Charlotte Drive to Abel Tasman

13 explore

14 drive to Kaikoura via Blenheim

15 Seafood Festival

16 drive to Arthur's Pass - more scenic than Hokitika

17 drive to Franz Josef

18 heli-hike (easier on the body)

19 drive Haast Pass to Wanaka (visitors average 6 hours for drive with brief stops)

20 drive to Dunedin

21 explore

22 drive to Te Anau

23 explore Milford, stay te Anau

24 drive to Queenstown

25 explore

26 drive Lindis Pass to Aoraki/Mt Cook - fab drive (and more scenic than Tekapo)

27 explore terminal lake and icebergs http://www.glacierexplorers.com/

28 drive to Chch via Tekapo

29 home

you will note I suggest you keep the van an extra day - I'm sure the rental agency won't mind extending your hire.

happy travels :)

Day 20 - Queenstown

Day 21 - Queenstown - Te Anau

Day 22 - Milford Sound Explorer and Cruise - Te Anau

Day 23 - Te Anau - Invercargill

Day 24 - Invercargill - Dunedin

Day 25 - Dunedin - Twizel - Lake Tekapo (Should we stay another night in either Lake Tekapo or Dunedin?)

Day 26 - Lake Tekapo - Christchurch

Day 27 - Christchurch - Drop campervan off

Day 28 - Christchurch

Day 29 - Chrstchurch - Auckland - Perth

Oz
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12,385 posts
51 reviews
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3. Re: 28 Days North & South Island New Zealand - Campervan

Hi,

I can understand some not finding Invergiggle (Invercargill) of great interest but if the name Burt Munro or the World's Fastest Indian resonates with you or your mechanic husband then the Southland Museum is a must.

southlandmuseum.com/exhibitions_burt_munro.h…

WLnz's itinerary is, as usual, hard to improve on although I would add a night to Mt Cook at the expense of two in Auckland.

Cheers,

4. Re: 28 Days North & South Island New Zealand - Campervan

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