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North/South Island Self Drive Honeymoon...can this work?

Los Angeles...
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North/South Island Self Drive Honeymoon...can this work?

Would appreciate thoughts from someone who knows NZ well to see whether the below itinerary works or whether there are any suggestions to tweak. I know I'm planning a lot in a short amount of time, but I have thought through a lot of the logistics, including car hire companies/locations, driving times and conditions, and activities.

Starting honeymoon with two nights in Queenstown on October 1. We will get our car hire on October 3 after completing a morning Shotover Jetboat ride. Thinking of leaving Queenstown around noon and driving to Franz Josef Glacier. We will have limited stops on the drive as I've heard Haast Pass can close early.

Stay the night in FJ (Oct. 3) and hope to be able to complete a heli-hike the next morning (I know this is very weather dependent, but we'll take the risk). Drive to Hokitika and stay the night (Oct. 4) after the heli-hike.

Next morning drive to Kaikoura via the Lewis pass and spend the night in Kaikoura (Oct. 5). The next morning, we plan to do a dolphin swim in Kaikoura before driving to Blenhiem and spending two nights (Oct. 6-Oct.7). Blenhiem has to be two nights due to activities/arrangements planned.

The morning of Oct. 8, we will drive to Picton, drop off the rental car and take the Ferry to Welington. We plan to stay in Wellington for two nights (Oct. 8-Oct. 9).

We will get another rental car and drive to Taupo on Oct. 10 and stay there for the night. Then we will head to Rotorua on Oct. 11 and spend the night there. We will then drive up to Auckland on Oct. 12 before heading home on Oct. 13.

I haven't included everything that I plan to do in all of the stops, just want to get any advice and thoughts on whether the shell of this trip seems realistic or not.


Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: North/South Island Self Drive Honeymoon...can this work?

Welcome to TA.

The biggest flaw in your plan is the 3rd Oct. AAmaps gives a travel time of 6 hours but It usually takes people a whole day of exhausting driving to travel from QTN to FJG and most of the DEs recommend breaking the journey in Wanaka. Trying to rush this scenic drive esp on your second day of driving in NZ is not wise.

I can't see a day that you can lose elsewhere so it may be wise to shift the Shotover Jet to the 2nd if possible and get an early start to FJG on the 3rd.

New Zealand
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2. Re: North/South Island Self Drive Honeymoon...can this work?

With your limited time, consider a domestic flight vs all day driving :

Oct 10 = morning flight Wellington to Rotorua ; pick up rental car ; drive 50mins to Taupo, night in Taupo

Oct 11 = drive to Rotorua, night in Rotorua

Oct 12 = head for Auckland (if of interest, go via Hobbiton @ Matamata or Waitomo Caves); either night on route to Auckland or night in Auckland

Oct 13 = fly home

OR :

Oct 10 = morning flight Wellington to Napier (Hawkes Bay) wine country ; day/night in Napier

Oct 11 = drive 2hrs to Taupo for lunch then drive 50mins (excludes time for tourist stops on route) on to Rotorua; afternoon/evening in Rotorua

Oct 12 = as above

Los Angeles...
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3. Re: North/South Island Self Drive Honeymoon...can this work?

Thanks for the advice!

4. Re: North/South Island Self Drive Honeymoon...can this work?

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