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Both islands in 16 days

Brussels, Belgium
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Both islands in 16 days

Hi Guys -

In januari we are traveling to NZ. We are a group of 3 couples and will rent a large car (minivan). We have about 16 days and really want to do the best of both islands. I know you can easily spend a month on one island but that is not an option for us. We will be flying in from Sydney so won't be suffering from a jet lag :-)

What do you think of the draft itinerary below. Idea would be to rent a car from Auvkland and travel to Wellington. We then plan to fly to queenstown rent another car and drive our way up. The distances / times are based on google maps and seem reasonable. As we are a large group I do not really think driving a lot is a big issue and the routes seem to be quite nice with good scenery.

I was thinking to skip bay of Islands and go to coromandel instead just to avoid driving north and then south again via Auckland..

Looking forward to having your input!

Date Hotel Travel

2/1/2014 Auckland

3/1/2014 Auckland

4/1/2014 Hahei / Coromandel 2h14 / 176 km

5/1/2014 Rotorua 2h47 / 217 km

6/1/2014 Tongariro 2h14 / 184 km

7/1/2014 Tongariro

8/1/2014 Wellington 3h30 / 287 km

9/1/2014 Queenstown Plane

10/1/2014 Queenstown / Te Anau

11/1/2014 Queenstown

12/1/2014 Lake Wanaka 0h59 / 67 km

13/1/2014 Mt. Cook 2h17 / 199 km

14/1/2014 Lake Tekapo 1h01

15/1/2014 Christchurch 2h48 / 227 km

16/1/2014 Christchurch (Kaikoura)

17/1/2014 Plane back home

Christchurch, New...
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1. Re: Both islands in 16 days

Welcome to the NZ Forum. This looks like a pretty good itinerary without too many long drives. please do not rely on Google maps as they do not take road conditions into account (twisty roads, small villages with speed limits etc). Ww recommend www.aamaps.co.nz/#directions for more realistic times. Eg TNP to Wellington is more like 4:30 hr.

The only day I would question is the 10th when you say Te Anau. Do you really mean to drive to Te Anau & turn round & go back to Queenstown or will you be taking a coach tour to Milford Sound that day? Given the short distances that you are driving in the later part of your trip I would suggest that you could drop the night at Lake Tekapo and instead:

9/01 Arr ZQN (2N)

10/01 explore

11/01 Pick up car; drive toTe Anau (2N)

12/01 drive to Milford Sound; stay Te Anau

13/01 drive to Wanaka

14/01 drive to Mt Cook

15/01 drive to Chch (4:30 hr + time in Lake Tekapo)

New Zealand
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2. Re: Both islands in 16 days

Consider more time in The Coromandel area vs Auckland

3/1/2014 Coromandel (drive time 2.5hrs+)

4/1/2014 Hahei / Coromandel

5/1/2014 Rotorua (drive time 3.5hrs+)

6/1/2014 Tongariro (drive time without tourist sight stops and not including stopping at Taupo 2hrs+)

In a minivan your driving will be slower. Away from the cities the roads are single lane each way, restricted speed limits, BIG trucks, SLOW campervans/caravans/tourist drivers (!) as well as being NZ's peak holiday season.

Brussels, Belgium
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3. Re: Both islands in 16 days

Thank you for your answers. I will adapt the trip accordingly! I was thinking to stay two nights in Auckland because we are only flying in from Sydney in the afternoon. We were also thinking to do a wine tasting in Waiheke, but there might be better places to do so during our trip..

Not sure we want to spend a full day tasting? Where would you recommend to do wine tasting based on our itinerary?

Date Hotel Travel Activity

2/1/2014 Auckland Arrive from Sydney

3/1/2014 Auckland Wine tasting (Waiheke)

4/1/2014 Hahei / Coromandel 2h34 / 176 km Cathedral Cove

5/1/2014 Rotorua 3h23 / 207 km Thermal baths

6/1/2014 Tongariro 2h02 / 151 km Lunch Lake Taupo

7/1/2014 Tongariro Tongariro crossing (21 km, best day walks of world)

8/1/2014 Wellington 4h33 / 333 km Museum

9/1/2014 Queenstown Plane Plane to Queenstown (150€)

10/1/2014 Queenstown MTB / Skydive (?)

11/1/2014 Te Anau 2h26 / 172 km

12/1/2014 Te Anau Milford Sound (self drive or bus tour)

13/1/2014 Lake Wanaka 3h19 / 227 km

14/1/2014 Mt. Cook 2h50 / 206 km Star gazing

15/1/2014 Christchurch 4h34 / 330 km

16/1/2014 Christchurch Whale Watching in Kaikoura

17/1/2014 Plane

California
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4. Re: Both islands in 16 days

There's the Gibbston Valley just outside of Queenstown:

www.cowa.org.nz/downloads/maps/Gibbston.pdf

And just north of Christchurch, on your way to Kaikoura is the Waipara Wine Trail:

http://www.waiparawine.co.nz/wineries

Rarotonga, Cook...
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5. Re: Both islands in 16 days

Waiheke Island is not simply about wine tasting, although the island does produce wonderful wines for such a small area. The ferry ride down the Gulf offers great views of other islands, including Rangitoto.

Waiheke has a charming blend of coastline, farming, villages, wineries, olive groves and art studios. Enjoy this adventure as planned on day 2. I recommend you book a tour that provides a nice mix of all these scenes as opposed to purely wine tasting.

Brussels, Belgium
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6. Re: Both islands in 16 days

Guys -

Thanks for your response, very helpful. I have updated the planning a bit. Friends told us that Rotorua is a lot about Maori culture and thermal baths so we might stop there but likely not stay over. We have also included an extra day to stay in Napier / Hastings area to visit some wineries.

Let me know if you guys have any remarks on this itinerary.. We need to be in Christchurch to drop part of the group that is flying back two days earlier. We consider doing a trip to Kaikoura (other suggestions?) for the two last days.. We do not need to sleep in CC the last day as our flight back is only in the evening..

02-Jan Auckland

03-Jan Taupo / Rotorua

04-Jan Taupo

05-Jan Tongariro

06-Jan Tongariro

07-Jan Napier / Hasting

08-Jan Wellington

Fly to Queenstown

09-Jan Queenstown

10-Jan Queenstown

11-Jan Te Anau

12-Jan Te Anau

13-Jan Lake Wanaka

14-Jan Mt. Cook

15-Jan Christchurch or Kaikoura

16-Jan Christchurch or Kaikoura or other?

17-Jan Fly Home from CC

Rarotonga, Cook...
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7. Re: Both islands in 16 days

Day 2 - Rotorua for 2 nights. Visit Taupo on the way through to Tongariro NP on Day 5, or Day 7 on the way to Napier..

New Zealand
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8. Re: Both islands in 16 days

07 Jan - drive Tongariro to Napier = drive time 3hrs

Suggest you pre-book winery tour for the afternoon - if you do a organised tour then all your party gets to enjoy themselves!

Christchurch, New...
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9. Re: Both islands in 16 days

You def Should spend more time in Rotorua than Taupo, unless you are going fishing. I agree with Frangipani that you don't need a night there:

03 Jan. AM Akl to Rotorua; PM explore

04 Jan. Explore Rotorua

05 Jan. AM Wai-o-tapu; lunch in Taupo; PM drive to National Park

06 Jan. TC

07 Jan. Drive to Taupo,; visit Huka Falls; lunch; drive to Napier....

10. Re: Both islands in 16 days

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