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South island Honeymoon - 10 day Itinerary - Need Help ?

Bengaluru, India
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South island Honeymoon - 10 day Itinerary - Need Help ?

Dear All,

My husband and I are planning to visit South island on our honeymoon from 24th Dec to 3rd Jan 2015 During Christmas and new Year.

We will be reaching Auckland on 24th and need help to build a good Itinerary from the experts here which will include a relaxing and rejuvenated holiday / honeymoon for us :). We do not want to do extensive travelling but want to cover the best of South island.

Any help / suggestions are much appreciated. Our Itinerary looks like this so far

Day 1 (Dec 24th) - Arrive Auckland in noon. Relax in the eve with a nice dinner

Day 2 (Dec 25th) - fly to Chch in the noon or stay in Auckland to celebrate Christmas???

Day 3,4, 5 (Dec 26-28) -Stay and explore Chch ?? (suggestions of places in Chch OR shud we cover nearby places)

Day 6 (Dec 29th) - Drive to Queenstown via lake Tekapo

Day 6,7, 8 (Dec 29-31) - Stay and see nearby places in Queenstown ??? (Fox Glacier ???)

How is New Year celebration in Queenstown, should we stay in Qstwn for NY eve or leave for Chch ???

Day 9 (Jan 1st) - leave for Chch

Day 10 (Jan 2nd ) - Leave for Auckland from Chch

Day 11 ( jan 3rd ) - Morning flight from Auckland back to Blr.

I have been reading and following up the blogs here but I am really confused now as to what should be the best for us to plan and see in south island. We are more keen on relaxing and enjoying the beauty around rather than only travelling all 10 days. I just want this time to be the best and most memorable for both of us,

Appreciate any help and suggestions!!!

Also to add- both of us are vegetarians so any suggestions on good restaurants will be most welcome in any of these places.

Thankyou all in advance!


Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: South island Honeymoon - 10 day Itinerary - Need Help ?

Welcome to TA. I think you will be a bit disappointed if you spend so much time in cities (esp Christchurch). NZ is not about cities. You certainly don't need to return to Chch on Jan 1 st. Better to fly straight back to AKL.

Chch to QTN is too far to drive in one day. You need to stop at least 1 night, ideally at Mt Cook to break the journey.

24. Arr AKL; relax; explore waterfront/Wynyard Quarter/Viaduct Basin etc

25. Most things will be closed - maybe Waiheke Island?

26. Fly to CHC (2N)

27. Day trip to Akaroa

28. Drive to Mt Cook via Lake Tekapo (2N)

29. Explore; short walks; Glacier Explorers boat tour

30. Drive to QTN (3N)

31. Explore; jet boat ride; visit Arrowtown; Glenorchy etc

1. Full day tour to Milford Sound

2. Fly to AKL

3. Fly home.

Brisbane, Australia
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2. Re: South island Honeymoon - 10 day Itinerary - Need Help ?

This is what I would do if honeymooning is the reason you are going to NZ (adventure stuff off the table)

DAY 1 (24th) Arrive Auckland....dinner and stay at the sky tower, skycity in Auckland Bring in xmas with a view.

DAY 2 (25th) MERRY CHRISTMAS Early flight (8-10am) to Christchurch (one good thing about flying christmas day...its usually cheap) , pick up hire car. (pick up to drop off in Invercargill or Dunedin) Take in the sights of Christchurch...its quiet sad looking at all the scaffolding everywhere as they rebuild....but the food and restaurants are still divine. You should book ahead as it will be christmas day and not much will be open.

DAY 3 (26th) drive to Hanmer Springs, a beautiful leisurely 2-3 hour drive (take up the pamper pack offers available from the HS thermal springs spa, they are cheap and it is FANTASTIC considering it includes 4* accommodation, we did the $329 one and it was cheap compared to having to price what you get AND accommodation)

DAY 4 (27th) Arrange with the local bakery to pack a picnic lunch. Start off at about 9-10am Leisurely ..beautiful drive through Lewis Pass ..grab a bottle of wine from the winery on your way out (stop at the picnic spots, there are hidden treasures at nearly all of them, suspension bridges, secluded little hobbit picnic areas...you will think you are the only people on earth....but dont make the mistake of actually believing you are LMAO. Drive through Reefton...at least read about the town next to the public toilets, you will be impressed, Lots of things to stop and see on your way to Greymouth. If you take it slow you will be there by 2-3pm.

I would suggest continueing on to Hokitika (another 40 mins south) to stay. (shining beachfront hotel in the spa chalet...fantastic)...the views as the sun goes down is beautiful. If you time it when it is going dark stop in at the Glow worm dell (before you get into Hokitika) its free and can set the scene for a fairy night dinner.

DAY 5 (28th) The Hokitika Gorge 1hr there and back drive, stay an hour at the gorge, breakfast or lunch and then on to Franz Joseph Glacier Treat yourself to a B&B stay at Holly Homestead. Explore to your hearts content :-)

DAY 6 (29th) Travel to Wanaka or straight on to Queenstown 3.5 to 5hr relaxing drive.

DAY 7 (30th) Milford sound stayover, Suggest leaving the car parked up in Queenstown and taking one of the bus / cruise / flight packages. This way you will experience ALL of the alps Te Anau, the lakes and not have to take the long trip back to Queenstown (the bus is worth the trip...the scenery from the ground is spectacular as well as from the air on the way back)

DAY 8 (31st) Back to Queenstown for New Years... book dinner up at the skyline gondola restaurant (I doubt very much whether this will be cheap LOL) go on the star tour if you can, I thought it was fantastic.

DAY 9 (1st) Drive to Invercargill ...why? I say why not....been to the bottom of NZ, not many have and scores of tourists bypass it...so be the exception :-) Never been myself but wanted to.... or go to Dunedin it is a pretty little city on the coast...and has some great tourist spots. Drop car off and fly to Wellington. If you leave Queenstown early 6am...you will get to Invercargill with plenty of time to fly to Wellington and get in by lunchtime. My suggestion would be to have lunch and visit TE PAPA museum...well worth it.

DAY 10 (2nd) Wellington... Get a car for the day...if you are into city driving or just cab it to one spot and back again. If you stay in the city centre...shopping and food is great and go for a ride on the cable car, cheap and nice views at the top :-) Karori Sanctuary is a must in my book....especially the Weta cave LOL. Flight back to Auckland. Stay near the airport in a nice hotel and relax before the big day tommorrow.

DAY 11 Fly home.

Probably the only place that you wont see on the south island that is spectacular up close is Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook. You will see mount cook from the other side (when you drive from franz Josef to Queenstown)

It is a lot of driving but it is at such a slow and easy pace that you wont even know you have driven so many hours. IMO its easy driving if you are confident and dont mind heights. Stop often so the driver can see the views too or swap drivers.

Approximate cost per person $2000 ...for everything other than food.

Have a great honeymoon

Mumbai (Bombay...
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3. Re: South island Honeymoon - 10 day Itinerary - Need Help ?

Hi AJ,

Christchurch does not have much to see. Things to see are Antarctic Center, Orana Wildlife park, Garden and punting. You can do day trip to Kaikoura/Akaroa for dolphin swimming.

Quenstown is good for adventure activity. Day trip to Fox will be not possible in a day.

I would suggest:

Day 1 (Dec 24th) - Arrive Auckland in noon. Relax in the eve with a nice dinner. Sky tower has revolving restaurant but veg will be limited. I had got Risotto, tomato soup and 1 or 2 more items.

Day 2 (Dec 25th) - Take morning flight to CHC and drive to Hokitika via Arthur's Pass. It is very scenic drive.

Day 3,4 (Dec 26-27) - Drive to Fox and stay for 2 nights. Helicopter with glacier landing would be highly recommended.

Day 5 - Dec 28 - Drive to Wanaka via Haast Pass - many viewpoint en-route.

Day 6 (Dec 29th) - Drive to Queenstown

Day 7 (Dec 30) - Coach-Cruise-Coach trip to Milford

Day 8 (Dec 31) - Queenstown - If not interested in adventure activity, then can drive to Glenorch and Arrowtown.

How is New Year celebration in Queenstown, Queenstown would be much better than CHC.

Day 9 (Jan 1st) - Fly to Rotorua - Enjoy Mauri Show in Evening

Day 10 (Jan 2nd ) - See Wai-O-Tapu and drive to Auckland.

Day 11 ( jan 3rd ) - Morning flight from Auckland back to Blr.

What time is your flight on 3rd Jan? Rotorua has many different things but 1 day would be quite short. May be you can cut Rotorua and stay at Te Anau and self drive to Milford rather than taking coach.

If you need anything feel free to PM me.



Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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4. Re: South island Honeymoon - 10 day Itinerary - Need Help ?

Jellybee, which rental car company did you use that allows drop off in Invercargill? Personally I think Queenstown is much more convenient for rental car drop off as almost every company has a depot there, and tourist always want cars there so no drop off charges.

Edited: 09 June 2014, 07:46
Bengaluru, India
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5. Re: South island Honeymoon - 10 day Itinerary - Need Help ?

Thanks a ton guys for coming up with such a great itinerary and for all your valuable inputs. I will create a fresh new itinerary with my husband based on your inputs and will share it with you by this weekend, and this time I will def keep less no. of days for ChCh ::). Hopefully this shud be the final one :)


Bengaluru, India
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6. Re: South island Honeymoon - 10 day Itinerary - Need Help ?

Dear All,

This is what my itinerary looks like after all the feedback and research--

23-Dec Blr to Auckland

24-Dec Auckland -- 1N Stay (Hotel Option ---Kiwi International Hotel) ???

Question - Where shud we stay in Auckland for one night. We dont want to spend too much but also want a place where they will serve Breakfast and closer to the good restaurants.

25-Dec Chch -- 1 N stay (Hotel Option -- Cranford Cottages and Motel)??? Any suggestions on another hotel / motel / B&B welcome.

26-Dec Drive ChCh - Punakaiki -- 1 N stay hostel --http://www.punakaikibeachhostel.co.nz/accommodation/

I checked for accommodation in Punakaiki but there is hardly anything available due to Christmas and New year time. Should we directly go to Fox glacier or still consider Punakaiki. Is it worth staying there ??

Dec 27- 28 Drive Punakaiki - Fox Glacier ( via Greymouth and Franz Joseph) -- -- 2 N Hotel suggestion ???

Dec 29 , 30, 31 Drive -- Fox glacier to Queenstown -- 3 N Grand Mercure / Oaks Club resort ??? Cover Milford sound (a day trip)

1-Jan Drive Queenstown to Chch (via Lake Tekapo ) --

Here can you suggest if we should directly fly to Auckland from Queenstown to save time and cover coromandel or go via Chch. Which route will be more economic??

2-Jan Auckland -- Would like to go to Coromandel

3-Jan Fly back

I ahve few more question - :)

1) Can you also suggest how much will be our daily expense on food (vegetarian)

2) How much approximate should we budget for car rental. Is it daily rate or rate / mile. Any suggestions on good car rental service in south island.

3) Looking at our Itinerary I see that we will be travelling for almost 16+ hours when i checked in map from ChCh to Queenstown, in realistic scenario can you suggest if this will be too tiring.

4) Which route is more spectacular - ChCH to Queentown (Via lake Tekapo )


ChCh to Queenstown (Via Fox Glacier)

I know this is like a ocean of questions and queries. Any Suggestions, advice will be much appreciated.

Thanks a ton in advance!!!


7. Re: South island Honeymoon - 10 day Itinerary - Need Help ?

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