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April 21-May 17th South Island NZ & Australia Trip

Upstate, NY
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April 21-May 17th South Island NZ & Australia Trip

Hi All, I'm at the beginning stages of planning a South Island New Zealand & Australia trip.

We are flying into Sydney, Australia April 21st and will be flying back to Los Angeles on May 17th via Sydney or Brisbane.

Our main priority is visiting the South Island of New Zealand. We are planning on at least two weeks there, possibly three. We would like to spend at least one week exploring the east coast of Australia (Sydney, Great Barrier Reef, Hamilton Island, Cairns, possibly Ayers rock if we can swing it). We're still in the planning stages but for New Zealand we are planning on hiking the Milford Track, Milford Sound, Te Anau- Glow Worm Caves, Queenstown and Franz Josef / Fox Glaciers. We're into adventure and would like to do some kayaking in scenic waters, a jet boat trip or white water rafting and sky diving. We also enjoy bike riding (not mountain biking), would love to enjoy a slow day of beautiful landscapes and wine tasting. If we could catch a rugby game that would be awesome (not sure when it is rugby season). We love photography and are looking forward to seeing the beautiful and dramatic scenery.

My boyfriend and I will be traveling together and we are 25 & 27 years old from upstate New York. We are athletic and in shape. We have a fairly large budget and are looking to truly experience New Zealand on this trip as it will likely be our only visit. We will be renting a car but we are open to traveling by train for a scenic trip or for means of transportation. We will prefer staying in hotels with a private room/bathroom.

I would like to know anyones thoughts on how to set up our itinerary. Should we plan on flying directly to Christchurch / Queenstown to start our NZ adventure right away? Will the weather be a big factor as it will be fall? Also, should we even plan traveling to the northern half of the south island or should we focus mainly on the southern end and save ourselves the travel? Should we plan on two weeks or three in New Zealand? It is our priority with Australia being a convenient (& awesome place to be able to visit on the way through).

Our initial thoughts are to continue our travels directly to New Zealand and begin our trip. Spend at least two weeks and book our flight back to Australia during our travels incase we need to use the additional third week. We will need to get back to Australia to have at least a week to travel there.

Any thoughts on these very early plans? I would appreciate anyones input! Thank you ahead of time.

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New Zealand
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1. Re: April 21-May 17th South Island NZ & Australia Trip

Hello T - what a great trip you are planning :)

You will need to purchase a ticket out of NZ before you are permitted to fly here …govt.nz/immigration/knowledgebase/item/1024

2 weeks is time enough to do a loop tour of half the South Island. 3 weeks allows a bit longer to linger in places. 4 weeks allows time to explore more of the island in depth.

And yes, flying here first and then popping over to Oz for a few days makes good sense.

Happy planning :)

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2. Re: April 21-May 17th South Island NZ & Australia Trip

WLnz stole my post.....

2nd try

I would recommend spending 3-4 weeks in NZ and do both islands, even in that time you will miss things and want to return.

IFF it was easier to get home via Sydney I would suggest a 2-3 days stopover there.

IMVHO, a week in OZ only scratches the surface, safe it for a future adventure, it would be like trying to do the USA justice but only see LA, Miami & Las Vegas. Dont forget OZ is a lot beigger than those places you mention.

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Upstate, NY
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3. Re: April 21-May 17th South Island NZ & Australia Trip

Thank you for the quick response! That is good information to have about the flights. Do we need any other documents for travel in New Zealand or is a passport all thats necessary? Maybe we will shoot for 2.5 weeks in New Zealand and 1.5 in Australia.

Upstate, NY
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4. Re: April 21-May 17th South Island NZ & Australia Trip

Thanks for your thoughts Jeff! Unfortunately I don't foresee another trip back to OZ/NZ in our future. I definitely understand that we won't even be scratching the surface of OZ and will be limiting ourselves with only touring the south island but we have to work with what we've got! We're pretty set on only visiting the south island and trying to get a taste of Australia's east coast in whatever left over time we have. I wish we could extend this trip another month! The more I research the shorter the days seem!

Christchurch, New...
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5. Re: April 21-May 17th South Island NZ & Australia Trip

Because of the vast distances in OZ, you need to write off any flying day and thus to visit 3 places eg SYD, GBR & Uluru would require at least 12 days. If you cut back to 2, then you could spend 3-4 days in SYD & 3-4 days in Cairns & still manage 2.5 weeks in NZ.

Have you checked availability on the Milford Track? It will be school holidays in NZ when you arrive and I suspect the Track will be fully booked. After 1 May bookings are not required but facilities & services are curtailed.

With 2 weeks + you will be able to drive a complete circuit of the SI, very rushed if you take 3-4 days out to do a Great Walk. 2.5 weeks makes the timing better.

Upstate, NY
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6. Re: April 21-May 17th South Island NZ & Australia Trip

Thanks for the info! I've been looking into the Milford Track tonight... I would really prefer to go on a guided hike but if the only possibility is a self guided we will have to do it (as long as its safe). Are there multiple companies that run guided multi day hikes? I've found Ultimate Hikes but they seem to stop running early/mid April and they seem to be the only overnight multi-day guided tours. Trips and Tramps looks like it is only day tours.

Does anyone have advice on this? Is it safe for the two of us to do it alone? Are accommodations adequate/safe? Will there be other people on the trail at this time? Is the weather too unpredictable to continue with guided tours?

This was one of our top activities we wanted to do in NZ so we will have to find a way to do it one way or another.

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7. Re: April 21-May 17th South Island NZ & Australia Trip

Ultimate Hikes is the only guiding company for the Milford Track.

If you are experienced hikers used to multi-day trails and carrying all your own gear you should be fine. The huts are of an excellent standard for remote back-country hiking and yes, other hikers will be on the trail. Milford is one of the wetter places on the planet and it can snow at any time, even mid-summer, so unpredictable weather is the norm.

Best carry an emergency locator beacon with you - they can be hired from DOC and they do save lives.

…govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/…

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8. Re: April 21-May 17th South Island NZ & Australia Trip

Hey T.. So happy to find your post. Hope you had a wonderful holiday. We are planning the same trip in September. Would love to hear how your trip went? We are doing the South Island and flying to Brisbane & touring Queensland. Sydney on way home. We've 4wks. Would love if you had the time to write up how it worked out for you, or how long you stayed in each place or any recommendation of must see.

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9. Re: April 21-May 17th South Island NZ & Australia Trip

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Upstate, NY
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10. Re: April 21-May 17th South Island NZ & Australia Trip

Hi! Our trip around the South Island was amazing. It was incredibly beautiful and we enjoyed every minute of it. I plan to write a trip report in the next week or two! Keep an eye out!

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