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24 day trip of both islands

Lichfield, United...
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24 day trip of both islands

Hi, i will bore you with my plans, any tips please let us know.

We will be collecting our motorhome in Auckland on 25th August and staying close to relatives for the first 3 days and then heading South. We plan 1 night in Rotorua,

on to Napier for 1 night then the ferry

1 night in Blenheim

2 nights in Kaikoura and do whale watching.

on to Christchurch for one night and then

Dunedin for 1 night at relatives.

Over to Queenstown for 2 nights - not sure whether to go via Gore or Invercargill. We plan to bungee and shotover jet boat here.

Up to Franz Josef for 2 nights and do a Helihike,

on to either Greymouth or Westport for 1 night- see how we feel then 1 night in Nelson.

Back on ferry to Wellington for 1 night then

1 night in Wangunui and drive via New Plymouth to

Waitomo for 1 night - heres the question, which glowworm cave trip to do - 1 thats 45min long or spellbounds thats 3.5hr long?

We will then head back to Auckland and visit the relatives for 5 days and do day trips, maybe head up towards Bay of Plenty for a night.

Thing is will we need to book the camp grounds before hand, how bad will the roads be in South Island with snow? We know that some activities will need booked before and we also know that we plan a lot of driving in not a lot of days but we want to see as much as we can, there will be 2 drivers and the kids are 11 & 14 so should cope with it.

So are we crazy or can it be done??

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1. Re: 24 day trip of both islands

One word- CRAZY!!!!! Actually two- BLOODY CRAZY!!!!!

This is in a campervan, at least a 4 berth van and maybe a 6berth one?? In the middle of winter when quite often roads are closed for 2-3 days at a time, even up to a week and more last year?? We won't even mention that the ferry can be cancelled any day any time!

"Not sure whether to go via Gore or Invercargill" and then "and drive via New Plymouth to..." You don't do things by half do you, not only would you be driving an extraordinary amount of kms by sticking to the most direct route you want to add the longest possible way from A to B onto the trip as well.

You are going to be putting an awful lot of pressure on yourselves with such a tight itinerary, you're going to be driving all day everyday with no time to see any of the attractions- what fun can that be? Sure you will see a lot of NZ, most of it, the road in front of you. Depending on what van you are hiring the 2 passengers will have a less than perfect road trip, seats may not face forward, vision obscurred, uncomfortable suspension.

NZ roads are mostly dual lane, narrow, twisting, winding, hilly with very few passing lanes- average speed for a car is 80kmph, a van with tourists in will be a lot less!

OK sermon over! I don't want to dissuade you completely, I just want you to realise how serious a trip like this could be and maybe re-consider a few things. I'll come back with some suggestions shortly.

Lichfield, United...
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2. Re: 24 day trip of both islands

now im disappointed, i know it was a lot but hoped it could be done, its a 6 berth we have hired by the way,

Laney

New Zealand
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3. Re: 24 day trip of both islands

Laney, don't be- we can still help you have a holiday of a lifetime. Does the 24 nights include your time with rellies in Auckland & Dunedin? What time & date do you fly home?

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4. Re: 24 day trip of both islands

PS- A 6 BERTH!!!!!! That makes it even worse! :) Average speed probably 60kph

Lichfield, United...
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5. Re: 24 day trip of both islands

we arrive and collect van on the 25th july and have allowed 3 days just in case of jet lag but we have got the van hired for 24 nights, again we wanted few days at the end to see our Auckland relatives.

Dunedin could be missed out if it made it easier but we really want to do Queenstown, Franz Josef and Kaikoura.

We return the van on 17th August and fly home to uk.

Lichfield, United...
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6. Re: 24 day trip of both islands

the time arrive is 05.30 and the van return on 17th is 17.00

New Zealand
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7. Re: 24 day trip of both islands

OK Laney, I'll start giving you some suggestions in installments. I see that you actually arrive 25th July NOT August as per your original post- now you really are in the middle of winter!

Jul25,26- Auckland, because you're there early this gives you 2 full days to recover from jet-lag and catch up with rellies but you really need to be on the road sooner rather than later.

Jul27- Rotorua, if you leave Auckland early you will be in Rotorua(4hrs driving) by lunch time so at least you will get do some activities in the afternoon. Read this thread for the "quick" directions to Rotorua (reverse the order though, these people were travelling Rot-Auck);

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g255105-i403-k4657…

Jul28- Taupo (or Napier), if you stay in Taupo(1.5hrs) then you can do some more activities in Rotorua in the morning and/or visit one of the thermal parks on your way to Taupo, the 2 best parks are located 1/2hr south of Rotorua on the way to Taupo. With teenagers Rotorua has dozens of activities for them, Luge, Agrodome & Zorb to name a few. There are also various things to do in Taupo- Huka Jet, Prawn Farm etc.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g255111-i1219-k414…

Now if you decide to head to Napier add another 2 hrs to the driving from Rotorua- have you any thoughts on what you want to do there- you'll only have from mid-afternoon to evening to do anything as you will need to be on the road early the next morning, it's quite a drive from Napier to Wellington allow at least 6hrs. Having said this you will also have at least 7 hrs driving to Wellington from Taupo, straight down the middle of the Island. from Napier south there really isn't much to see or do, you'll pass mainly through rural famland and small country towns and you're best to take the Eastern route through the Wairarapa SH2.

If you decide on leaving out Napier and heading through the middle you could perhaps get a bit further down the island than Taupo, there is a great camping site in Mangaweka about 3hrs further south.

http://www.rra.co.nz/campsite.htm

Now I know why you're thinking of heading east on the way down, so you're not travelling back up the same road on your way back to Auckland at the end. Personally I would travel this road twice just to allow me more time at the next destination, 2nd choice would be go to Napier on the way down and travel back up SH1 on your way back. Don't be tempted to go via New Plymouth, this is a very long way off course and the roads north of NPly are very winding. You could go to Wanganui and then up SH4 through National Park and on to Waitomo but again this is quite a long drive and winding narrow and lots of hills.

Jul29- You will have to spend this in or near Wellington before catching the earliest ferry crossing to be in Kaikoura for Jul30 night. The earlier the crossing the calmer the water (usually) and then you can take a leisurely drive to Kaikoura and only need 1 night there, do the first Whale Watch trip the next morning, again the waters are calmer and also the sealife is more active.

To be continued................. (time to cook dinner)

Wellington, New...
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8. Re: 24 day trip of both islands

Just a note in regards Zappers programme. I would plan on stopping in Taupo instead of Mangaweka. The Desert road Turangi ( Southern end of Lake Taupo) to Waiouru and the Taihape Road Waiouru to Taihape can be quite treacherous late in the date in the middle of winter. They are often closed at that time of year and often it is later in the day that the roads are closed opening up again in the morning.

If this is the case or likely to happen ( only the weather can dictate this) you have two options stay in Taupo or travel onto Napier for the night.

If the weather is okay my rationale for staying in Taupo is to give you more time in Rotorua, where there is more to see and do and to give you better driving conditions at the start of the day.

I lived for 3 years in Waiouru and the weather can change quite dramatically and without warning. All too often on the evening news we see pictures of trucks and campervans starnded on the road.

The drive to Wellington is about 7 hours from Taupo and 5 from Mangaweka.

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9. Re: 24 day trip of both islands

Thanks bean, after all my sermon I forgot about winter when typing that up! Bit hard to think of snow when you're sitting out on the deck with brilliant blue sky, 28c, the world passing by with a nice glass of vino in one hand and a laptop in the other! :)

Laney, do a rain check on Mangaweka, it's bloody cold in the middle of the Nth island at that time of the year especially in a campervan! Looks like Napier may be the better option after all, lets hope we can find an extra night somewhere to add to Napier to make it worth while.

Back again later...........

Lichfield, United...
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10. Re: 24 day trip of both islands

Thanks for all this, glad you sitting in sunshine I'm wrapped up in my woolies at least our snow has gone.

I'm looking at the route and can't wait the next installment

Laney