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Fly or drive between islands?

Houston, Texas
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92 posts
14 reviews
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Fly or drive between islands?

I have 2 weeks in the south island and 1 week in the north island (or three weeks total). It doesn't matter where I fly in, but I'll need to fly out of Auckland.

Which of the below options would be best?

1) Fly into Christchurch, drive a loop around the South Island, then fly to Auckland for a small North Island loop


2) Fly into Queenstown, meandering north then taking the ferry to the North Island, ending in Auckland?

Whangarei, Northland
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2,647 posts
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1. Re: Fly or drive between islands?

Both of these make sense - it just depends which parts of the North Island take your fancy for the week you have....

If you like the sound of the route up through Martinborough, Hawkes Bay, Taupo/Rotorua, Matamata and on to Auckland, or if you fancy Wanganui, Tongariro, National Park, Waitomo, Raglan and on to Auckland, then these are excellent ways to drive from Wellington and a week is a good timescale for these routes.

If you fancy spending time in the Coromandel or Northland, then you are better off flying to Auckland and starting a driving tour from there.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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28,315 posts
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2. Re: Fly or drive between islands?

No wrong choice - it just depends on what you hope to see in the North island.

Happy planning :)

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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32,927 posts
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3. Re: Fly or drive between islands?

If you fly into CHC, in 2 weeks you can do a rushed circuit of almost the whole island and end up in Picton to ferry across to WLG and drive north in 1 week. (I sometimes call this a letter "b"-shaped trip); or a cheaper circuit of the lower half of the SI, returning the car to the same depot in Chch.

If you fly into ZQN, you will have a more leisurely trip doing a small loop around Fiordland & then straight up to Picton, but you must choose between West Coast or Inland route; you can't do both.

As WLnz said, there is no wrong choice.

4. Re: Fly or drive between islands?

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