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Complete Beginner(s)

Suffolk
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159 posts
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Complete Beginner(s)

Hello there guys, I'm just going to get straight to the point. Me and my partner, and the rest of our group for that matter, are novices when it comes to planning and organising a trip. We have only been on the usual sun holiday but because of relatives in NZ we are broadening our horizons. As of yet I am the only 1 of my group that is actually planning ahead, so it looks like I'll be in charge.

Up to now I have looked at the 12 day Itinerary (tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g255116-c2916/South…) which is reasonable since we are in NZ for 14 days, exclusive of flight days. I have also looked into car rental (Jucy) and currently wondering about accommadation. I have/am looking at YHA NZ which have sites across the south island and wondering if that is the best/safest option.

Again sorry for being a complete novice but I would like to have the best experience possible which is why I came here for your help. Any pointers/tips would be much appreciated to help me on my way.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: Complete Beginner(s)

How old/how many people? What time of year?

14 days is not long (how much of the UK could you see in 14 days?) and assume you need to visit the rellies at some point too?

You don't need to stick to one hostel chain, although YHA are good & reliable - mostly in better condition than those in the UK, however there are many more privately owned hostels, some grouped as BBH. You can buy membership that reduces the cost & is worth doing if you are staying more than 10 nights in hostels. A site like hostelworld.com will give you a range of options.

Cabins in camping grounds/holiday parks are another option for budget accommodation, with shared cooking facilities.

Cheaper rental car options frequently recommended here include Apex, Ace & Pegasus. These companies use cars that are often 5 years old but mechanically sound.

Enjoy your planning.

Plymouth, United...
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2. Re: Complete Beginner(s)

I was in a similar boat to you about first time to NZ, including visit to relatives, and not knowing where to start from this end. However, the advisers on TA are so so knowledgeable and helpful I hope, like me, you will enjoy reading their comments. In fact it has now become an addiction to me and I read them every day, plus we are stopping over in Kuala Lumpur on the way back so I read that forum too everday. No day is complete without my fix!!!

Glad to say I'm now down to less than 5 weeks before we go and when we first started talking about it earlier in the year it seemed like a lifetime away.

Good luck with your planning and enjoy it.

Margtee

Suffolk
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159 posts
16 reviews
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3. Re: Complete Beginner(s)

Thanks for the replies and sorry for the lack of information.

Right so it's a group of 5. Me (22), my partner (21) and her family (24,50 and 55) and the relatives are her side (so I don't mind skipping that bit LOL). We are going March 10th-27th next year and although I'd like to stay longer I think it's the max the partners family could cope with, unfortunately.

As a group we are still undecided about what each of us want to do but splitting up is an option as the partners rents might stay with the relatives for a few days which, hard to believe, isn't what I'd like to spend my time doing.

So would you say the 12 day itinerary is out of the question for beginners or just needs a little tweaking. I have seen that it involves a lot of travelling time, which I'm happy with, but at the same time I don't want to feel rushed.

Surrey England
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4. Re: Complete Beginner(s)

Which island do the relatives live on?You may find it easier to stick to just the one island with the limited time you have.

Get a map and a good guide book and read up about the places which might interest you.Use itineries posted here as a guidline but tweak to suit yourselves.Find out about driving distances.When you have come up with something positive post it here and let the experts view it.

Five years ago I had never used a computer but with the prospect of a trip to NZ I taught myself.It was great fun browsing through the comments on this forum and finding out about possible activities/walks etc in the different areas.

I planned all our trip myself including the accommodation and have like the previous poster been 'hooked' on this forum ever since.

A second trip has now been planned and we are off on Monday for one month again.

Suffolk
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159 posts
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5. Re: Complete Beginner(s)

To above I don't mean to be rude but I did post this in the south island forum ;)

Also because we are going in March what would be people's must see/give a miss because of weather etc.

Slovenia
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266 posts
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6. Re: Complete Beginner(s)

So why don't you ditch the inlaws and extend your stay in NZ. Trust me, you will be kicking yourself all the way back wishing you had. I am sure they will manage to fly back allright.

St Davids, United...
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7. Re: Complete Beginner(s)

Hello

Just a suggestion for car hire:

http://www.arguscarhire.com/ (an irish/uk site)

We are going out there tomorrow.. (YAY!) and we've booked our car through these and it was by far the cheapest!

My paren't have used them before but I can't say how it went yet as not there yet.. but something to consider!

Bex

Suffolk
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159 posts
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8. Re: Complete Beginner(s)

To vapoforever I wish I could. I know a couple that went to NZ, with the same relatives, and they stayed there for only a few days but wished they didn't. :S

I won't back down though, I'm going to stand my ground and insist we don't stay there too long but I think we will both have to compromise and stay there at least a day or 2.

So far for my itinerary I definitely would like to visit Christchurch, Southbridge (rellies), Mt Cook, Te Anau, Milford Sound. Now looking at them on a map doesn't really make a route but instead uses the same route again, through the middle of the island, so should I (we) visit the east coast and/or visit the glaciers and the north of the south island? Because ATM how I see it ,because of the partners family, we will be doing say a 7 day itinerary but stretching it out over 2 weeks. It's not what I want to do but I don't think they will spend 2-5 hours travelling each day.

Edited: 09 December 2011, 12:55
Slovenia
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9. Re: Complete Beginner(s)

No prob in my view. If they want to stay longer with the rellies, you could take off and go to KAikoura to see the whales and dolphins, Then the next day via Greymouth to the glaciers (Fox and Franz Joseph), next day you could drive a little further down the west coast (amazing views, so pristine, and trust me, you have not seen the night sky until you saw it in west coast of NZ). Then I would drive to lake Tekapo to spend the night, then onwards to pick up the inlaws and to the rest of the trip.

IT is a little backtracing, but I'd rather do that then stay pinned with the inlaws. Another option is daytrips, there is a plethora of amazing places around Christchurch (Akaroa,...).

As for accommodation I can trully recommend BBH guide (whicch you cand have sent to you for free) where reasonable priced accommodation is sorted according to guest reviews. I have used it and I can only give it thumbs up.

As for thaveling time, If your party is not willing to spend at least a couple of hours per day (on average) driving than you will not see much of NZ. If I estimate just your basic itinerary Southbridge - MT. Cook - Te Anau - Milford Sound -Christchurch is more than 20 hrs driving alone and that's without stops, scenic lookouts, bathroom breaks etc. So if you were to do it in 10 days that would be 2 hrs per day on average. Please have that in mind.

Suffolk
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159 posts
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10. Re: Complete Beginner(s)

Thank you Vapoforever, I never looked at it that way. Exploring the north, of the south island, then back to the rellies, quite clever really. Also the BBH guide does look very useful but is there no online version anywhere? Don't know if I can wait 21 days.

As for travelling I think they do know it involves travelling but I don't think they no how much. It's something I'm going to keep drilling in to them.