My trip is just around the corner & I can't wait! I thought I'd see if anyone has any last minute advice for me. Quick stats: 42 yr-old female from Colorado travelling solo; 15 days in NZ (Mar 8-23)
The first part of my trip is walking thru cities enjoying the architecture, hitting bookstores & coffee shops; and attempted penguin sightings. Not sure if I have allowed enough time in this 1st part of my visit for exploring and/or driving (and recovering from jet lag):
• Mar 8 & 9 - arrive Christchurch, explore city & surrounds (incl Akaroa);
• Mar 10 - rent a car (prob Apex) and head south stopping by wallaby rescue, elephant rocks, poss omarama (maybe try gliding; are the sheep dog trials during my visit), then overnight in Oamaru. Try to see penguins on own via public hides;
• Mar 11 - Moeraki boulders (lighthouse; penguins) on way to Dunedin; explore city & surrounds for 2 days; hoping to see more penguins;
This next part of my trip is dedicated to mountains & hiking, and it’s very unscheduled as I'm hoping to move on or spend more time depending on how each area resonates with me (I’m an accountant so a planner by nature & this is very new for me!)
• Mar 13 - head to Te Anau; explore area and find lodging, drive Milford Rd to end (between bus times of course!) then make stops on return drive for hiking, exploring
• Mar 14 - day hikes along the Kepler & Routeburn Tracks
• Mar 15 – poss need an extra day in Te Anau for more hiking? Poss kayaking
• Mar 16 & 17 – Queenstown– explore & hike, Q gardens @ dusk; road to Glenorchy supposed to be beautiful & hardly bothered by tourists – is there hiking off the road or is it just a pretty drive?
• Mar 18 & 19 - Wanaka/Mt Aspiring NP – explore & hike
• Mar 20 – poss extra day for boat tour of Doubtful or Milford sounds
I have not included a boat tour of either sound as I get motion sickness so boats & I usually don’t mix. But, are the sounds so overwhelming that I should pop a couple Dramamine & give it a try anyway? Or are the waters so well-protected that it won’t be rough anyway? If so, Doubtful or Milford considering it would definitely be a day trip (~ 4 hrs) vs an overnight?
Finally, the return to Christchurch: I’d like to go up thru the glaciers on the way back (vs Cook/Tekapo), but not sure how I should arrange where to stop along the way.
• Mar 21 – drive to Fox glacier, explore & hike, pictures @ lake Matheson near dusk
• Mar 22 – hike the glacier; start driving toward Chc, stopping somewhere overnight?
• Mar 23 – drive over Arthurs Pass & rest of way to Chc; drop rental & head to airport
One last item; I have lodging when I arrive in Chc but so far nowhere else. I plan to look for B&Bs along the way. Is there any destination on my itinerary where you suggest I must book ahead of time? And if I plan to treat myself to one luxury stay, do you have a suggestion in any city along my route?
Thank you SO MUCH for any help you can provide! I am so excited about this trip!!