My hubby and I will be visiting NZ in February 2015. Our intention is to do a self-drive tour of both Islands. We are in our early fifties and enjoy the outdoors, recreational hiking, cycling, as well as beaching and soaking in life in quaint little spots. We have about 24 days to play with for our stay in NZ. We would prefer to keep most of the driving to about 3 hours between destinations, with perhaps a few exceptions. We also want to have have a mix of 2-3 days in some places which are worth a longer stay, and one night only in transitory places.
I worked with a New Zealand website to calculate driving distances, but would greatly appreciate if the time estimates were validated by folks who have driven between these destinations! We are trying to balance seeing a lot without exhausting ourselves driving too much.
Any comments and suggestions on our proposed itinerary would be greatly appreciated.
We also hope to stay in B&Bs mostly, and would love recommendations for the various destinations. We are not looking for luxury, only nice, clean and friendly places to stay. Finally, should we reserve all our accommodations before leaving, or is it safe to reserve once there, 1-2 days ahead only? We plan on arriving in NZ in early February and staying the month.
Thank you in advance for your precious advice.
Proposed Itinerary of Self-drive tour of New Zealand
Day 1-3: Arrive in Christchurch (from Canada via 4 day stopover in Dubai)
Day 4: Christchurch to Lake Tekapo - 3 hours (227 km)
Day 5: Lake Tekapo to Queenstown - 3 hours (258 km)
Day 6: Queenstown to Milford Sound - 3.5 hours (289 km)
Day 7: Milford Sound (Te Anau) to Queenstown - 2 hours (174 km)
Day 8-10: Queenstown to Franz Josef - 4.5 hours (353 km)
Day 11-13: Franz Josef to Nelson - 5.5 hours (459 km)
Day 14: Nelson to Picton to Wellington - 5.5 hours (includes ferry crossover to NI)
Day 15-16: Wellington to Napier - 4.0 hours (316 km)
Day 17: Napier to Taupo - 2 hours (142 km)
Day 18-20: Taupo to Rotorua to Auckland - 4 hours (300 km)
Day 21-23: Auckland to Bay of Islands - 3 hours (228 km)
Day 24: Bay of Islands to Auckland - 3 hours (228 km)