We have travelled to and around New Zealand a few times but have never been to the top of the South Island. This year, we have 15 days and intend to spend it all in that area. So far our plans are
Day 1 Christchurch overnight after flying in from Sydney.
Day 2 Hanmer Springs
Day 3 Nelson
Days 4-7 Golden Bay
Days 8-12 ???
Days 13-14 Kaikoura
Day 15 Christchurch ready for morning flight.
It's days 8-12 that are confusing me. Do we go to a hotel on the Sounds, or stay in Picton and do day trips?
My husband is 62, can't drive, is partially sighted (hence the trip - he knows he won't have his sight for much longer) and worried about getting about on boats with luggage. I fancy staying at Raehiti Lodge, Bay of Many Coves or Craglee but he seems to think it will be too difficult. Are they biggish boats? He thinks they are small motor boats.
I see that Raehiti has a road going to it, but it looks winding - is it sealed? I know that some of the hire companies have problems if we use the cars on unsealed roads. Is it reasonably wide or single track with passing places?
I saw on here that the Portage and Te Mahia are also driveable but was not impressed with the reviews. Are there any others that don't need a boat? I am not put off by distance, but would prefer to leave the car in Picton or Havelock and use the boat.
So, my next question - is there anywhere to leave the car in these places? I could take it back, and then rehire it, but there is little to be gained because the hire periods of more than 14 days are cheaper - but if it is going to cost me a fortune to park it, it might be better to dump it and get another.
Or -the other option would be to stay in Picton for the entire time and go on day trips to the Sounds and take in a winery.
What would you consider is the best option?