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Itinerary - thoughts, ideas etc, please

London, United...
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Itinerary - thoughts, ideas etc, please

We are delighted to be visiting NZ again after a gap of 12 years.

We only had a couple of weeks last time, but now, having retired, we have nearly 5 weeks, but hope to include Fiji and/or Tahiti in our plans. Not only are we 12 years older (now late 60s) our bones feel more than 12 years older so some activities will be not options - long walks, kayaking etc

Last time we visited Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown and Christchurch which we intend missing out this time. We also visited Paihia/Russell, Franz Josef (where it rained solid for two days so our chopper trip to the glacier was cancelled), Milford Sound (where it did not rain enough, so many temporary waterfalls did not materialise) and Mount Cook (a chopper to land on Mount Cook was the replacement for Franz Josef), all of which we plan to revisit.

Flights are not finalised, but we are flying Thai with a stop over both ways in Bangkok (one of our sons lives there).

So, itinerary

day 1 - arrive AKL midday, hire car (SUV), drive to Paihia. 3 nights

day 4 = Paihia to Omapere

day 5 - Omapere to AKL, drop off car, fly to Wellington late afternoon, 2 nights

day 7 - fly (early) to Christchurch, hire car, drive to Mount Cook

day 8 - helicopter trip, drive to Dunedin, 3 nights

day 11 - Dunedin to Invercargill, 2 nights

day 13 - Invercargill to Te Anau

day 14 - Milford/Doubtful Sound 2 day/overnight trip

day 15 - back to Te Anau

day 16 - Te Anau to Wanaka

day 17 - Wanaka - Franz Josef, 2 nights

day 19 - Franz Josef - Motueka, 2 nights

day 21 - Mouteka - Kaikoura, 2 nights

day 23 - Kaikoura - CHC, fly to AKL, then to Fiji/Tahiti, for 7 nights

day 30 - fly back to AKL, hire car, drive to Napier, 2 nights

day 32 - Napier to Thames North, to explore Coromandel, 2 nights

day 34 - drive to AKL for 1450 flight

Having the Fiji/Tahiti trip before Napier/Coromandel may seem daft, but feel it less likely that there will be a delay driving to AKL (should be 90 minutes maximum) than flying into AKL with a different airline to that with which we are flying out.

Decided to miss out 90 mile beach, and undecided what we might do in Abel Tasman region.

Grateful for all comments.

Gloandbob

Christchurch, New...
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1. Re: Itinerary - thoughts, ideas etc, please

You do have some massive drives planned. Why are you spending 2 nights in Invercargill? Not a very exciting place to even spend 1 night! Personally I would recommend you take 2-3 days to drive from Dunedin to te Anau via the South Scenic Route (the Catlins) with overnights at Owaka & Riverton

California
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2. Re: Itinerary - thoughts, ideas etc, please

Invercargill would not be my idea of a destination. I would either take my time and explore the Catlins for a couple of days, or venture over to Stewart Island for an overnight.

I've never done it, but Auckland to Napier seems like it would be a long drive.

London, United...
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3. Re: Itinerary - thoughts, ideas etc, please

Thought we might go to Stewart island.

driving - couple of long ones up the west coast, but we do a lot of driving generally and are comfortable with it, esp in decent car. When you have massively crowded roads as in the uk, driving elsewhere is a pleasure.

will look at South scenic Route though.

Any thoughts on Abel Tasman. Specific ideas for a day?

California
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4. Re: Itinerary - thoughts, ideas etc, please

Re: Abel Tasman, if you don't want to kayak, you could take a water Taxi in to Bark Bay, and hike (not too strenuous) to Anchorage, water taxi back. The middle section is gorgeous and not very crowded.

Ballarat, Australia
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5. Re: Itinerary - thoughts, ideas etc, please

I would give some thought to perhaps visiting the Cook Islands rather than Fiji or French Polynesia.

I also think Auckland - Napier straight off a longish flight is too much, and it would be a shame to waste another night in Auckland. After Northland, I would fly Auckland - Christchurch, then do SI, then Chch to Wellington, and drive to Napier, Coromandel, Auckland, and then do the islands last. This saves one flight (with the associated waste of time getting to/from airports etc) and gives you a little less driving too. Travel insurance should cover you for flight delays.

London, United...
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6. Re: Itinerary - thoughts, ideas etc, please

Thank you, Jean. Napier according to mapquest is 4 hours from AKL. Flight from Fiji is 3 hours so we do not see a tiredness problem, but we will certainly revisit your suggestion of doing CHC first and then fly to WLG and drive to Napier. Would need to check travel insurance, as our flight back from AKL to BKK is on a free upgrade (we are Thai gold members and they give you one free upgrade so we are doing LHR-BKK-AKL return in business for economy (Q class) prices). At worst, perhaps a night in Auckalnd would be a better alternative.

Thanks, deSchenke for your comments on somewhere a long way from home. We love your coastline, and spent 5 weeks last year in the four corners states

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7. Re: Itinerary - thoughts, ideas etc, please

I can't believe you can do AKL to Napier in 4 hours. It is 413 Km & no way can you AVERAGE 100kph. AA gives 5:20 hr!

Ballarat, Australia
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8. Re: Itinerary - thoughts, ideas etc, please

I also don't believe the four hours drive time. For Auckland - Napier I would allow a minimum of six including short stops. And remember an international flight isn't just the flight time, first you have to get to the airport, there is the insanely long check-in and waiting, and customs at the other end, then picking up the rental car, maybe getting out of the city at rush hour, etc. You're looking at a 12-hour day minimum I'd say. (More if you've come from Tahiti.) Towards the end you will be very tired.

London, United...
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9. Re: Itinerary - thoughts, ideas etc, please

Thanks. Your concerns about Napier are noted. Just looked up AKL Napier on Mapquest and it says 4 h 35 and 251 miles. Generally, Mapquest seem to think an average of perhaps 55 miles an hour is achievable so there timing here maybe not unreasonable, but you guys are nearer so happy to take your advice. Have already reviewed your comments and will do as Jean suggests, We now plan to go to CHC first, do South Island, and then fly t o WLG from where will drive t o Napier. Will mean a stop over in Auckland for last night after coming back from Fiji or wherever. As yet have not found flights on Air NZ from Fiji to Cook Islands or to Tahiti, as would like to visit two of the three and do not want t o come back to AKL to go off again. See ms there is Air Pacific, who we check next, but any other thoughts welcome.

Also taken note of your comments about Invercargill. Do you not recommend a trip to Stewart Island? Is seeng the Kiwi an unlikely experience?

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10. Re: Itinerary - thoughts, ideas etc, please

The maximum speed limit in NZ is 100k per hour. You will not achieve an average of 88kph (55mph) on our often narrow and twisty roads. We do not have the multi-lane freeways you are used driving. Our roads follow the contours of the land and pass through every town, settlement etc where the speed limit is 50k, or sometimes 30k. You will be lucky to average between 70 and 75kph (43 - 46mph) over the length of the drive.

A couple of nights on Stewart island is highly recommended - a couple of nights in Invercargill isn't.