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20 Day Honeymoon

New York, NY
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10 posts
2 reviews
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20 Day Honeymoon


My fiance and I are planning a 20 day honeymoon in New Zealand. We will be there for the last two weeks of August and first week of September. It seems the weather won't be ideal at that time but unfortunately it's the only time we can go. We are New Yorkers in our mid 20's looking for an active vacation and lots of time outdoors, but also want to travel at a pace that won't feel rushed. Based on our research, we're more interested in the South Island attractions, so created an itinerary that is 2/3 South Island and 1/3 North Island. Can you review and let us know if you have suggestions for the itinerary or if anything we're thinking about isn't feasible?

1. Arrive in Auckland in the afternoon. Explore Auckland / Relax at hotel

2. Auckland / day trip from Auckland (any suggestions for a day trip?)

3-4: Overnight cruise to Bay of Islands

5: Day trip to Hobbiton

6: Fly to Queenstown in the morning. Explore Queenstown in the afternoon and evening

7: Drive to Wanaka in the morning

8: Wanaka

9: Go to Franz Josef (Any suggestions here? Would winter driving be challenging? Should we take a bus?)

10: Hike Franz Josef

11: Return to Queenstown

12: Drive to Te Anau

13: Te Anau glow worm cave tour

14: Te Anau

15: Milford Sound day cruise

16: Te Anau

17: Doubtful Sound day cruise

18: Return to Queenstown

19: Queenstown (Should we do a day trip? Any suggestions?)

20: Return to NYC

I really appreciate any feedback that would improve our itinerary. Thank you!

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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30,889 posts
307 reviews
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1. Re: 20 Day Honeymoon

Welcome & congratulations on your forthcoming marriage.

With 20 days a 1:2 split between the NI & SI is sensible. It seems a pity to miss Rotorua. Have you considered driving or taking a tour to Rotorua via Hobbiton on Day 5 & spending at least up to 24 hr in Rotorua before flying to Queenstown in the afternoon of Day 6.

Since QTN is so far south, again, a better use of your time would be to fly out of CHC instead of backtracking from FJG to QTN. I also think 6 N in Te Anau is overkill, esp in mid winter. Here is what I would do:

6. Arr QTN (4N)

7/8/9. Explore

10. Drive to Te Anau; glowworm cave in PM or evening

11/12. Day trips to MS & DS - do you really need to do both?

13. Drive to Wanaka (2N)

14. Explore

15. Drive to FJG (2N)

16. Hike

17. Drive to Punakaiki

18. Drive to Chch (or take TranzApine Train

19. explore/Fly to AKL

20. Return to USA.

Auckland, New...
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1,793 posts
114 reviews
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2. Re: 20 Day Honeymoon

1. Arrive in Auckland in the afternoon. Explore Auckland / Relax at hotel

2. Head to Waiheke Island for the day – numerous wineries, suggest Cable Bay or Casita Miro

3-4: Overnight cruise to Bay of Islands

5: Day trip to Hobbiton

6: Fly to Christchurch in the morning. Explore Christchurch in the afternoon and evening – suggest dinner/drinks at Baretta or Mexicano’s – two fun restaurants, make reservation in advance.

7: Drive to Punakiki

8: Drive to Franz Josef – explore, take time getting there

9: Hike Franz Josef

10: Drive to Wanaka, explore, fun winter scene.

11: Drive to Queenstown in the afternoon, explore Wanaka in morning, great fun in Queenstown.

12: Explore Queenstown

13: Drive to Te Anau in morning, glow worm cave in evening

14: Milford Sound day cruise – return to Te Anau

15: Doubtful Sound over-night cruise

16: Return to Te Anau – drive to Queenstown

17: Relaxing day in Queenstown

18: Day in Queenstown, wine tour, Skyline, jet-boating etc.

19: Queenstown – Auckland – presumably this is where you are flying out of. Dine at Harbourside or Prego

20: Return to NYC

The flight from Queenstown to New York is painful, as I am sure you are aware – I hate it. If you do it in one go – you transfer in AKL, then LAX/SFO, then get to NY – personally I prefer as few transfers as possible. If however you are happy for the multiple transfers you could add an extra day in at Wanaka, pushing everything from Day 10 – out one.

New York, NY
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10 posts
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3. Re: 20 Day Honeymoon

Thank you very much for the feedback! We've incorporated your feedback and found we might have some time to fit in Dunedin - hopefully it's not too rushed. Do you think we should just hang around Queenstown instead of trying to fit in Dunedin?

1 Arrive in Auckland early morning (~6:30am). Explore Auckland / Relax at hotel

2 Day trip to Hobbiton

3-4 Overnight cruise to Bay of Islands

4 Spend the night in Paihia.

5 Take the bus back to Auckland

6 Fly to Christchurch in the morning – approx. 1.5 hour flight. Relax and explore Christchurch in the afternoon and evening.

7 Drive to Punakaiki in the morning. Approx 3 hr drive according to Google Maps. Explore Punakaiki

8 Explore Punakaiki in the morning. Drive to Franz Josef after lunch. Approx 3 hr drive according to Google Maps. Relax at hotel. Reserve private hot spring across the street from hotel.

9 Hike Franz Josef

10 Drive to Wanaka in the morning. Approx 3 hr drive according to Google Maps. Explore Wanaka

11 Explore Wanaka in the morning. Drive to Queenstown after lunch. Approx 1 hour drive according to Google Maps. Explore Queenstown.

12 Explore Queenstown

13 Drive to Te Anau, Glowworm, stay overnight

14 Milford Sound day cruise

15 Doubtful Sound day cruise

16 Sleep in / Relax. Leave for Dunedin around noon

17 Relax / explore Dunedin

18 Drive to Queenstown in the morning

19 Queenstown

20 Fly out

Thanks again very much for the detailed feedback!

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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28,297 posts
74 reviews
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4. Re: 20 Day Honeymoon

I don't see the sense in staying Queenstown twice - why pack and unpack unnecessarily?

also Google drive times are seldom accurate or realistic. Franz to Wanaka can be done in 4 hours by those who know the road - visitors average 6 hours for the drive with brief stops.

my suggestion;

10 drive Haast Pass to Wanaka - allow 6 hours plus

11 drive 3.5 hours to Dunedin

12 explore

13 drive to Te Anau (4 hours via Gore, all day via Catlins)

14 explore Milford, stay Te Anau

15 Doubtful

16 drive 2 hours to Queenstown

17/18/19 explore

20 fly out

5. Re: 20 Day Honeymoon

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