We are a family of 4 visiting beautiful NZ first 2 weeks of March 2018. We are trying to cover S and N island and I know it is not enough time.
We recently completed a trip to Norway fjords and also beautiful Oregon coast in USA so we are trying to see something different in NZ and of course, this is the land of LOTR that my kids love :-)
Really appreciate the expert opinion. I can change the itinerary and accommodation if needed.
My Qs in (...)
day 1: arrive at Queenstown airport at noon, pick up car, drive to Glenorchy and paradise (Toyota corolla should be able to navigate road to paradise, correct?), stopping along the way Bennet's bluff, Mt Alfred (which other scenic lookouts?) evening gondola ride, overnight Queenstown
day 2: drive to Remarkables ski area, then Te anau - Te anau glow worm cave tour (2 pm) with Realjourneys, 6 PM (1 hr) flight over doubtful sound overnight Queenstown
(what are scenic spots/short walks along the way to Te anau? Read about Mavora lakes road (Re: LOTR) off hwy 94 - is that good scenery? twilight until 9 pm, we should be back at the hotel by 9:30 pm. Since it would get dark when we are closer to Queenstown on hwy 6, would that be a problem?)
day 3: start at 7:30, drive to Chard farm vineyards (LOTR views?), kawarau gorge (how far to go on this road? is it better to turn around at suspension bridge). Mt Cardrona summit, Makarora blue pools walk, thunder creek falls, overnight wanaka
day 4: start early, mt iron walk, glendhu bay lookout, mt cook village (which are the best side trips and short walks along the way?), Kea point walk (2 hrs?) overnight mt cook village
day 5: Hooker valley walk OR Tasman valley walk (4 hr walk? which one is better scenery? is one much more challenging than other?), lake Tekapo, mt john drive to summit, then walk, by evening, reach Ashburton for overnight (which are scenic side trips, walks along this road? currently booked Ashburton as overnight to be closer to CHC airport for next day, Is there any other place that might work better?)
day 6: drive to Christchurch airport, return car for 11 am flight (how soon does one have to get to the airport? will have only carry-on bags)
Thank you so very much for sharing your experience to help us, tourists!