Greetings! My husband and I, after six years of marriage, are finally getting around to taking a belated honeymoon in NZ this November/December, and we want to try to find a balance between getting to see the really good stuff and not killing ourselves trying to do it all.
We’ve already booked our flights, and we have 14 full days between our arrival in QT and our departure from Auckland.
I am leaning towards spending most of our time on the southern part of the South Island, and saving the North Island and Abel Tasman for another trip. My husband would like to spend a few days in Auckland, and I have heard very good things about Wellington too (and there is an old friend who now lives there that I am trying to track down to meet up with, but no luck so far!).
That said, we are more “nature people” than “city people”, and are especially on the lookout for things we haven’t already seen in California or Hawaii or the Pacific Northwest (all places we’ve lived/visited/hiked a lot). Given our limited time will probably just do day hikes rather than multi-day tracks.
We will probably be renting a car so we have more flexibility as far as stopping and sightseeing and weather conditions, although we probably would prefer to sleep in m/hotels rather than get a campervan. (I realize this means we will lose some flexibility and have to book things in advance no matter what the weather/road conditions are, but I realize late November / early December is peak season).
Is the following itinerary reasonable? I have the Lonely Planet and NZ Frenzy books, and I’ve read past threads in this forum to try to incorporate your advice.
Nov 18 / Day 1: arrive 2pm local QT.
Nov 19 / Day 2: QT.
Nov 20 / Day 3: QT. Possible drive to Glenorchy and day hike out/back on Routeburn.
Nov 21 / Day 4: drive QT -> Milford Sound. Hike/ sight-see on way, do 4:30 cruise. Drive back to Te Anau & overnight there.
Nov 22 / Day 5: Doubtful Sound cruise leaves 7am from Te Anau. 9 hour tour. Drive to Wanaka & overnight there.
Nov 23 / Day 6: Relax and hike around Wanaka / do Puzzling World. Overnight at Wanaka.
Nov 24 / Day 7: drive Haast Road Sights, drive to Glaciers, afternoon hike, overnight at glaciers.
Nov 25 / Day 8: morning at Glaciers/Lake Matheson. Drive to Punakaiki rocks (try to hit high tide) Drive to AP, overnight at AP. (This might need to be 2 days?)
Nov 26 / Day 9: AP short hikes, drive to CHCH. Stay somewhere near train station
Nov 27 / Day 10: ditch car, 7am TransPacific Train and Ferry to Wellington.
Nov 28 / Day 11: : Wellington (Thanksgiving!)
Nov 29:/ Day 12: Wellington
Nov 30 / Day 13:: Wellington
Dec 1 / Day 14:: fly to Auckland
Dec 2 / Day 15:: Auckland
Dec 3: Day 16: early morning flight home
We’re also open to flying from CHCH to Wellington (or Auckland if we decide to skip Wellington altogether), although the East Coast and ferry crossing sounds scenic if the weather is nice. I’m leaning towards plane/train options because I think we’ll be sick of driving at that point, and hopefully we can just use public transit or taxis while we’re within Auckland and/or Wellington.
Thank you in advance for your help (and reading this far)! We can’t wait to visit!