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.