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Need advice for our 21 night Honeymoon!

Gaithersburg...
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Need advice for our 21 night Honeymoon!

Hey TA. We need the experts help. We are planning a 3 week honeymoon in NZ at the end of December through January. When landing we will have exactly 21 nights in New Zealand. We are going to be very rushed at the beginning because I would like to celebrate my 40th playing golf at Cape Kidnappers and thus spending New Years Eve in or near Napier. I am having a few difficulties here and could use your advice.

Here is what I have thus far:

Auckland (2 nights)

- visit Hobbiton on way to Rotorua

Rotorua (1 night)

Napier/Hawke’s Bay – lunch in Taupo, then to Napier (2-3 nights)

- golf at Cape Kidnappers

- New Years?

Wellington - (1-2 nights)

- visit Martinborough

Ferry to Picton

Picton or Nelson (3 nights)

- visit Marlborough wineries, Abel Tasman NP, Queen Charlotte Sound

Kaikoura - (1 night or skip and stay 2 in Akaroa)

- Whale Watching

Akaroa (1 night)

Mt Cook (2 nights)

Wanaka (1 night)

Te Anau (2 nights)

- Milford Sound

Queenstown (3 nights)

Fly to Auckland

Auckland (1 night)

We are seriously thinking of skipping Wellington and the Nelson/Picton area and simply fly from Napier to Christchurch to have less rushing and more time in the South? Thoughts?

Our Itinerary would then look like this:

Auckland – 2 nights

Rotorua – 1 night

Hawke’s Bay - 3 nights

Fly to Christchurch

Akaroa – 2 nights

Frans Josef – 2 nights (or 1 night Arthurs Pass & 1 night Franz Josef)

Wanaka – 2 nights

Te Anau – 2 nights

Queenstown – 4 nights

Mt Cook – 2 nights

Christchurch – 1 night

Fly Home

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated? Thanks again to everyone for their help in making our honeymoon spectacular!

Christchurch, New...
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1. Re: Need advice for our 21 night Honeymoon!

Welcome & congratulations! I think Option 2 is less rushed and any itinerary that gives you more time in the SI wins my vote ;-)

However it is a pity to only have 1 N in Rotorua. It is NZ's #1 tourist destination for a reason. With only 1 N you will be driivng all of the day before & the day after. I would sneek a night from Queenstown since you laready have plenty of time in the Wanaka-Te Anau area.

Do bear in mind that this is NZ's peak summer holiday season and you should secure accommodation ASAP.

New Zealand
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2. Re: Need advice for our 21 night Honeymoon!

Congratulations on your honeymoon :)

Both itineraries have positives - the second is more leisurely however it is a shame to skip Abel Tasman! Can you not add a couple more days to your visit?

What time do you arrive Auckland? If it isn't midnight I would spend one night Auckland, 2 nights Rotorua.

Happy honeymoon :)

New Zealand
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3. Re: Need advice for our 21 night Honeymoon!

Zhuhai - we really are going to have co-ordinate better so we don't continue to say pretty much the exact same thing at the same time ;)

Blenheim, New...
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4. Re: Need advice for our 21 night Honeymoon!

Akaroa / Banks Peninsula is where Christchurch locals go where they do not have the time to holiday in Able Tasman, Kaikoura or the Marlborough Sounds. If you are planning on spending time in either of the other destinations I would drop Akaroa and spend that day elsewhere. While still scenic, its one of the more over hyped towns in NZ. It does have some nice historical buildings which are lacking in the other destinations.

So on your first itinerary I would drop the night in Akaroa and spend it say in Tekapo, but certainly visit Akaroa if you decide on the second itinerary.

Gaithersburg...
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5. Re: Need advice for our 21 night Honeymoon!

Thank you very much! This is why TA has been my go to source for a long time.

What makes Rotorua so special? We've been to Yellowstone. Please advise. I think I could take the suggestion and take away 1 night in Akaroa/Christchurch and add to Rotorua. Its def a shame to miss the ATNP but we definitely want to enjoy our time and not fly through the trip.

After I posted this we were also thinking of skipping both Rotorua and Napier and doing 2 nights in Auckland then 3 nights in Paihia (I can play Kauri Cliffs instead of Cape Kidnappers) then 2 nights back in Auckland so we can take a day to go visit Hobbiton and maybe the Caves then fly to Christchurch. Thoughts?

Christchurch, New...
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6. Re: Need advice for our 21 night Honeymoon!

All of those choices would work for you. If you decided to spend time in the Bay of islands, Frangipani will advise you. You might then find it works for youto take a coach tour with Great Sights that includes both Hobbiton & Waitomo caves and returns to AKL.

greatsights.co.nz/new-zealand-tour-destinati…

The advantage is more frequent & cheaper flights from AKL to CHC than from Rotorua to CHC.

Gaithersburg...
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7. Re: Need advice for our 21 night Honeymoon!

I wanted to thank you for not only the information youve provided here but to the countless posts Ive read of yours while planning this trip. I see you live in Nelson. I am still not sold on cancelling out of going to this area even if we end up flying into CHC. We may end up doing a loop going North through Picton/Nelson and back down the West Coast. What makes this area so great? Can it be compared at all to BOI in Northland? Understanding you are probably slightly bias, but if choosing one or the other which would you recommend? If we were basing ourselves in the area for a few nights whats the big differences between Picton, Blenheim and Nelson? Thanks again!

Rarotonga, Cook...
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8. Re: Need advice for our 21 night Honeymoon!

An advantage for the BOI and Northland region is that it's a relatively short drive from Auckland (about same length of time as driving to Rotorua). But also the eastern coastline has a number of offshore islands making the coastline very attractive, as well as having a sub-tropical climate.

The Kauri Cliffs area and indeed Matauri Bay is one of the most picturesque parts of Northland. A bay cruise or eco-cruise to view dolphins are big attractions in the Bay of Islands. If staying at Kauri Cliffs lodge, it's an easy drive to Paihia for a cruise or sailing trip. The Waitangi golf course located just north of Paihia is another wonderful coastal course. Some nice accommodation in the BOI, including Eagle's Nest in Russell.

Since it appears from this thread, and your previous one too, that you are more interested in Hobbiton alone, a day trip from Auckland with Great Sights tours is a very good option. Perhaps do this trip on day 2 from Auckland. On day 3 self drive to the Bay of Islands for 2/3 nights before returning to Auckland airport for a direct flight to Christchurch.

Edited: 10 May 2014, 02:14
New Zealand
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9. Re: Need advice for our 21 night Honeymoon!

Picton is a small town with the ferry terminal. From there you can explore the Marlboriugh Sounds.

Blenheim is the nearest town to many well known vineyards - the region makes some pretty wonderful Sav Blancs.

Nelson is a small city with many local artists and vineyards - plus has the fabulous Abel Tasman National Park on it's doorstep. Abel Tasman has stunning beaches, walks and kayaking. http://www.abeltasman.co.nz/

Plus the Nelson/Golden Bay region has high sunshine year round - the NZ record most years - and less rain/grey skies than Bay of Islands.

with limited time you could;

1 fly to Chch

2 drive Lewis Pass to Nelson and continue to Abel Tasman

3 explore, hike/kayak

4 drive to Punakaiki

5 drive to Franz Josef....

Christchurch, New...
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10. Re: Need advice for our 21 night Honeymoon!

Another way to max your time might be to visit the BoI as suggested above for 2-3 days and then return to AKL and FLY to Nelson.; starting your SI tour from there. The only disadvantage of this route is that it limits your choice of rental car company as I am not aware of any 2nd tier companies, favoured on this Forum, having a depot in NSN. Flying into Blenheim & arranging to pick up a car in Picton might work but I have no experience of this.