I will be travelling to New Zealand for the first time this December-Jan. I have been working on this itinerary for quite some time now and I think I just need some expert or local kiwis to give me some sound advice. Is there anything I should take out and replace with a different destination? Should I reroute some areas to make it flow better? I have looked at maps and distance calculations to hopefully plan this correctly. Okay, so here it is, I shall let you all tear it apart now. :)
Also, the day I have planned for Milford sound I have read about some awesome day walks in the area. Should I skip the cruise and do the walk instead? Any advice or suggestions are well appreciated.
Day1-Arrive in Auckland. Have lunch/explore over at Waiheke island. Or just explore Auckland/ Relax.
Day2- May have some time this AM to venture around Auckland or else Waitomo before driving to Roturua. Explore Rotorua (zorbing, luge, thermal spas, etc) afternoon/evening. Maori Cultural Show/ Hangi dinner. (This may be too much for today, may have to take out Waitomo)
Day3- Rotorua-Full day planned
Day4-drive south to Huka Falls Jetboat and Lake Taupo, afternoon kayak to the Maori Rock Carvings. Turangi for 2 nights
Day 5- hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Day 6-drive to Pipiriki and take Jetboat up the Whanganui River
Day 7-Pipiriki to Wellington this afternoon. Explore Wellington (Museum this afternoon?) Maybe we'll have time before it closes. Wellington tonight
Day 8- Morning Ferry to Picton. Afternoon kayak on the Pelorus river. 2 nights in Nelson
Day 9- Abel Tasman for the day (This is New Years Eve, hoping there is something going on)
Day 10-Nelson to Punakaki
Day 11- Punakaki (Can raft through a cave here in replace of Waitomo)
Day 12-Punakaki to Franz Josef
Day 13- Franz Josef
Day 14- Franz Josef to Wanaka
Day 15-Wanaka to Te Anau/ Milford sound overnight cruise. (Can see glowworms in Te Anau in place of waitomo) May need to do Canyoning today and Milford Sound day cruise tomorrow
Day 16- Canyoning today. Explore Queenstown. (Or Milford Sound Day Cruise)
Day 17- Glenorchy (Have something planned 8am-4pm) - Drive to Lake Tekapo
Day 18-Lake Tekapo to Mt Cook back to Lake Tekapo for the night or stay at Mt Cook and have a longer drive to Christchurch
Day 19-Lake Tekapo to Christchurch-
Day 20- Last day in New Zealand. Early flight to Auckland to explore this morning in Auckland or later flight to explore in Christchurch.
We depart Auckland @ 4:45pm so we have a little room to play with flights on the last day. Does this seem like too much driving? Also, this trip is consisting of a lot of kayaking in certain locations, should I just hike or do an alternate activity in some areas? So overwhelmed!
Thanks in advance!