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Need help on a self drive trip

Visakhapatnam
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Need help on a self drive trip

Hi…We (a couple) are planning a trip to NZ in April-2015. This will be a self driving trip, covering both the islands. I have worked out a rough sketch of the plan. My thumb rule is not to exceed driving more than 3.5 hours on any given day (atleast on most days). Our self drive tour will have a leisurely attitude and where possible cover a few attractions along the route. We fly into Auckland and fly out from Christchurch.

Day1: Auckland to Hahei

Day2: Hahei to Rotorua

Day3: Rotorua to an undecided destination (between Rotorua & Wellington)

Day4: Undecided destination to Wellington

Day5: Wellington to Picton by Ferry (I read that only a few rentals allow their cars on the ferry)

Day6: Picton to Greymouth

Day7: Greymouth to Haast (stop for Fransz Josef Glacier)

Day8: Haast to Wanaka

Day9: Wanaka to Te Anau

Day10: Te Anau to Milford Sound

Day11: Milford Sound to Queenstown

Day12: Queenstown to undecided destination (between Queenstown & Christchurch)

Day13: Undecided destination to Christchurch

Does my plan sound good or am I missing or overlooking any important aspects? Further I also need your help on choosing a destination between Rotorua and Wellington and another destination between Queenstown and Christchurch.

Further, are there any other good alternatives other than Picton and Greymouth? and where in my trip can I add an extra night to stay? I am open to any other idea you guys have too…

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Auckland
Auckland
North Island, New Zealand
Christchurch
Christchurch
Canterbury Region, New Zealand
Hahei
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Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
Rotorua
Rotorua
Rotorua District, New Zealand
Wellington
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Greater Wellington, New Zealand
Picton
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Marlborough Region, New Zealand
Greymouth
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West Coast Region, New Zealand
Haast
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West Coast Region, New Zealand
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Otago Region, New Zealand
Te Anau
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Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
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1. Re: Need help on a self drive trip

Hi, we just spent 2 weeks covering half of the sth island and even then there are a lot of things you have to drive pass. IMO i thonk you wont do it justice. Arthurs pass is beautiful, a quick look at franz glacier isnt enough. We spent 2 nights at fox glacier and could have spent another. 2 nights at queenstown easy, Te Anua with the glo worms, mt cook hikes etc etc. In the end its up to you but we found we were for ever pulling up and doing short hikes and pics and videos and it takes a lot longer to get around if you really want to see the place and not just drive past it. April though is a beautiful time to visit, just some thoughts

Blenheim, New...
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2. Re: Need help on a self drive trip

You are doing a lot of driving.

Day1: Spend first day in Auckland to recover from jetlag (Inida to NZ is a long flight)

(Hahei is nice, but you would see similar scenery in the Marlborough Sounds)

Day2: Auckland to Rotorua

Day3: Rotorua (These a lot to do and see)

Day4: Rotorua to Wellington (long driving day, but I feel a extra day in Rotorua is worth it)

Day5: Wellington to Picton

Picton is nice, but I feel you should get moving. Unless you want to go back on the water these not a lot to do in Picton. Maybe try and drive on to Saint Arnaud or Murchison. Apart from whitewater rafting these not a lot to in Murchison but it gets you closer to the Westcoast)

Day6: Picton to Greymouth

(I find Greymouth boring, I prefer to stay in Hokitika or even Okariko).

Day7: Greymouth to Haast (stop for Fransz Josef Glacier)

(Possible, but these not a lot to do at Haast, maybe stay at Fox instead)

Day8: Haast to Wanaka

Day9: Wanaka to Queenstown

Day10: Coach tour to Milford Sound (gives you a rest from driving)

Day11: Queenstown

Day12: Queenstown to Mount Cook

Day13: Mount Cook to Christchurch

Edited: 22 May 2014, 12:31
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Auckland
North Island, New Zealand
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Hahei
Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
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Marlborough Sounds
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Picton, New Zealand
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Rotorua District, New Zealand
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3. Re: Need help on a self drive trip

You have a fleeting trip at breakneck speed - I think you will be surprised/disappointed at how many hours you end up spending on each drive, with very little time to explore before dark once you arrive.

Is day 1 the day you fly into NZ? Please don't get off a long-haul flight and directly behind the wheel of a car - jet lagged drivers are impaired drivers - and a danger to everyone on the road.

day 1 arrive Auckland, explore

day 2, collect rental...

for the South Island - why Haast? It is basically a bend in the road with one hotel and millions of sandflies - why rush past Franz? Are you planning to kayak Milford Sound? if so, staying the night there makes sense. However if you wish to cruise Milford then no need to stay the night - again, Milford is the end of the road with one accommodation and millions of sandflies;

5 ferry to Picton, drive to Blenheim

6 drive to Hokitika

7 drive to Franz

8 drive to Wanaka

9 drive to te Anau

10 explore Milford, stay te Anau

11 drive to Queenstown

12 explore

13 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

14 drive to Chch

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Aoraki/Mt. Cook
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Mt. Cook Village, New Zealand
Visakhapatnam
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4. Re: Need help on a self drive trip

Thank you Braz67, Thmswalsh & WLnz. for sparing your valuable time to help me out!

No, Day1 isn't the first day in NZ, I will have a night stay in Auckland after landing from the flight. I am planning to take the overnight cruise in Milford Sound and I think that includes Kayaking.

It seems I have packed in a lot of driving within a short time....let me consider your advise and I will get back with some changes....

One option that is now in my mind is to take a flight from Rotorua to some place on the West coast, preferably near the glaciers. This way I will get extra days to spend at the Glaciers and Queenstown.

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Auckland
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Milford Sound
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Te Anau, New Zealand
Rotorua
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Rotorua District, New Zealand
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West Coast Region
South Island, New Zealand
Queenstown
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Otago Region, New Zealand
Visakhapatnam
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5. Re: Need help on a self drive trip

Just an edit to my post...looks like there is not much airport connectivity on the west coast...I think I need to fly from Rotorua to Christchurch, next day take the transalpine to Greymouth (with an one night stopover at Aurthurs Pass). After getting off at Greymouth, get to Hokitika for night stay and then continue with the driving tour down south. Does this look better?

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Rotorua
Rotorua
Rotorua District, New Zealand
Christchurch
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Canterbury Region, New Zealand
Greymouth
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West Coast Region, New Zealand
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California
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6. Re: Need help on a self drive trip

I think you would be better off to collect your rental car at Christchurch and driving Arthur's Pass. The rental will be cheaper if returned to same location vs a one-way rental. The Transalpine goes through a tunnel and the hills will be brown in April. You can stop at Arthur's Pass and do a short hike or two and then continue on. I would suggest staying overnight at (in order of preference) Punakaiki, Hokitika, or Westport.

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7. Re: Need help on a self drive trip

I agree with all the above. You have far too many one night stays. This means that far from being a leisurely trip you have an endless regime of packing & unpacking. Far better to drive a bit further on some days and stay 2 nights in some places. And, yes, flying from Rotorua to CHC makes a lot of sense and will save you a full day.

1. AKL to Rotorua (2N)

2. Rotorua

3. Fly to CHC

4. Pick up rental car; drive to Punakaiki

5. Drive to Fox Glacier (2N)

6. Explore

7. Drive to Wanaka

8. drive to Te Anau

9. Milfrod ON cruise

10. Return from cruise, drive to QTN(2N)

11. Explore

12. Drive to Mt Cook

13. Drive to Chch

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Rotorua District, New Zealand
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Christchurch, New Zealand
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West Coast Region, New Zealand
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Fox Glacier
Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu), New Zealand
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Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Mumbai, India
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8. Re: Need help on a self drive trip

Hi,

I would suggest fly from Rotorua to Queenstown. So then you can do justice to the destinations. I would suggest

Auckland - 2 nights, Rotorua - 2 night (So much to see, if I have I would suggest 3 here), Fly to QT - 3 nights, Te Anu - 1 night, Milford cruise - 1 night, Wanaka - 1 night, Franz - 2 night, Hokitika - 1night, Crhistchurch - 1night.

Regards,

Kavita

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Queenstown
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9. Re: Need help on a self drive trip

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