After much consideration and reviewing other posts and have put together another attempt at planning our trip at the beginning of Nov. We will be flying into AKL on day 1 and will fly to Wellington later that day so we can take the ferry to South Island the next afternoon. I wanted to take the train but the train doesn't run that route on Fridays.
Day 1 Arrive AKL - fly to Wellington
Day 2 Leave Wellington to Picton to Kaikoura
Day 3 Kaikoura to Christchurch
Day 4 Christchurch
Day 5 Christchurch to Hokitika
Day 6 Hokitika to Franz Josef
Day 7 Franz Josef to Queenstown
Day 8 Queenstown Coach-Cruise-Coach to Milford Sound back to Queenstown
Day 9 Queenstown
Day10 Queenstown to Mt Cook
Day11 Mt Cook to Lake Tekapo
Day12 Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
Day14 Christchurch to AKL (fly)
Day15 Leave AKL
I have at least a day and a half to play with as we can fly out of Christchurch in the morning before we leave AKL (we are going to Tahiti). We also have considered going to Dunedin and the Catlins instead of going the Mt Cook route to Christchurch. If that's what we decide, we will need all four days, I think. Any input would once again be so appreciated - wish I could meet up with all who have replied and buy you a pint or a glass of wine!