- Aug 13, 2014
- Honolulu, HI
- Real Name
OUCH!thanks so much for all the input thus far.
i really wish we had the time and money to do a month-long tour, but sadly we don't. it looks like we're probably spending a couple of days on the north island before heading down to christchurch and touring around the south for the remainder of the trip. maybe a quick jaunt up to kaikoura, then off to see mount cook, te anau, milford sound, lake wakatipu, queenstown, wanaka, then taking the train back to christchurch
maybe a little touristy, but this is going to be a bit of a crash course in NZ.
i'd love to do a longer, more authentic trip, but this time we just don't have the resources. i have a feeling we'll be back though!
You said you did not want to spend too much driving but that is looking like a very heavy schedule. 2 days in NI, one day travelling to S Island, one day flying backto Auckland. That leaves 7 days for the itinerary you propose, and presuming you are going to Kaikoura to do the whale watching (there is not much else) that is another 1-2 days - also be aware that the road from Christchurch to Kaikoura and north are still badly suffering from repeated earthquake damage and travelling can be slow.
I think Te Anu and Milford could be stretching your schedule but Wanaka and North are really worthwhile in themselves. However, if that is your proposed schedule I would suggest for consideration:
1 day in Christchurch
1 day round the Banks Peninsula (next to Christchurch),
Drop down to Tekapo - this is reputedly one of the world's great 'dark skies' areas where you can get excellent views of the Milky Way
Then loop North with 2 days through back Mt Aspiring Park, Mt Cook and through Arthur's Pass to Christchurch
Maybe stop at Franz Josef Glaciers (lamentably sinking) and a possible helicopter flight over one of them
You could do pretty much this in reverse and if you get to Wanaka area and decide you have enough time to go to Te Anau you can make a last minute decision to get there.
Sorry to add more options but NZ is so compact and so beautiful that once you accept the fact you will not see anywhere near everything you can do a small tour and still have your pants blown off with the wonder of the place.
Sunhat, sunscreen, long-sleeved but lightweight clothes. Also, be prepared for layers of clothing - weather changes a lot (Crowded House didn't sing '4 seasons in one day' for naught). Lightweight raincoat & something warm (a fleece/pullover) to go over your clothes - particularly if you're going in to the bush; it can seem warm and sunny until you duck under cover of dense forest or you're on an exposed hillside (or checking out one of the Glaciers like Franz Josef in the Sth Island)..Make sure you get some good sunscreen and apply it regularly. Sunburn can be severe in NZ even on days you don’t think will burn you.