Mrs-so3003 and I have 8 days to spend in New Zealand. We arrive in Auckland around 7am on day 1, and depart around 4pm on day 8. We'd welcome advice about how to best spend our time in NZ. Our flights are fixed and while appreciating we have a very limited time, 8 days is the reality of our trip there.
We are in late twenties / early thirties. We enjoy seeing things, including museums / visitor centres / beautiful scenery etc. Highlights of previous trips elsewhere have been exploring Melbourne, day trip to Blue Mountains, visiting museums in Toronto.... We enjoy exploring places on foot, though don't want to do full scale hiking / camping etc. We are not into adrenalin sports / activities.
Our budget (in £GBP) isn't really fixed - we aren't intending on spending money for the sake of it, but equally we would spend a few hundred pounds here and there for worthwhile trips eg flying rather than driving to save time etc - for argument's sake let's say £1000 on activities for the week, though that's an arbitrary amount plucked out the air. Hotel / eating costs not included.
So that's our blank canvas - all suggestions and ideas are warmly welcomed!
Aug 19, 12, 10:17 am
Wahiki Island a boat ride away from Auckland has a ton of wineries which was nice.
Just south of Auckland they have some really cool caves to check out.
Zorbing is a ton if fun. U can do that in rotarua,, about 1.5 hrs from Auckland.
Definitely check out south island. queenland is really nice, and alot of activities. Milford sound in South island is also very nice.
Aug 19, 12, 5:13 pm
I'd spend 3-4 days in and around Auckland, i.e., including day trips like the Waiheke Island and go north.
The other times, I'd go to Rotorua and maybe even Taupo.
Aug 19, 12, 6:46 pm
What time of year are you there? If you loved Melbourne, I might even be inclined to suggest Wellington, but not if you're there in winter, because like Melbourne, Wellington is...not so awesome in winter.
I agree with the poster who suggested Waiheke--it is GORGEOUS, and the beaches and wine trails and short walk are lovely.
Beyond that...I would suggest one of two itineraries: Go north, or go south. In either case I would suggest a one-way car hire with returning domestic flight. I also recommend booking ahead with your accommodation if you are going in summer.
Going north you are going to see beautiful beaches, kitschy little Kiwi towns, maybe sample local honey, cheese, wine... You could head up to Russell and Waitangi and see where the Treaty (NZ's founding document) was signed, and hear the story about Hone Heke and the flagpole.
Going south I recommend Rotorua (I've been a lot of places in the world, I'm from NZ and I still think the mudpools are weird)--you can also do some Maori cultural activities here if that's your thing. Taupo and surrounds are beautiful. From there you could head down to Martinborough, where you can walk between wineries, and on to Wellington, where Te Papa (the national museum) is not to be missed. Wellington is also the centre of a fun cultural scene--local artists, boutiques etc.
I personally never recommend spending too much time in Auckland, because I think it is the least unique part of NZ--that may be bias on my part though!
Aug 20, 12, 12:11 pm
Thanks for the advice so far - I should have added that we're going in January 2013.
Aug 20, 12, 12:26 pm
Tagging along with this thread and before I start doing more research, any words on what I should expect regarding snow conditions around Queenstown in the first week of September?
Sep 10, 12, 4:30 pm
also agree with visiting Waiheke Island. It's a suburb of Auckland.Get off the plane, catch a shuttle bus to the downtown passenger ferry terminal, catch the ferry to Waiheke. I'd even plan to spend an overnight. Cute, artsy, great food and wine(so many) Cable Bay,Te Whau are a couple of my favorites, have lunch and take in the stunning views. Plan a couple of days in Auckland, Visit Rotorua for a couple of days. Enjoy the hot pools at the Polynesian spa (very reasonable) and maybe a treatment or two. Take in a Maori cultural experience. Drive back to the east coast and meander back to Auckland. Don't cram to much in a week...you'll miss the laid back feel of NZ.
Sep 11, 12, 4:39 am
I'll tag along as well - flying in to AKL for 7-9 days early November and look for things to do.
Not much into wine, but will give Waiheke Island a try for sure.
More into nature and scenery sightseeing, was thinking about renting a car for the week and do a big circle around the north island with a stop in Wellington for a couple days maybe. Plus Hobbiton of course, for the touristy stuff. Anything else to include?
Sep 12, 12, 5:37 pm
In January I would recommend looking at the south island only.
Admittedly I have not seen much of the north island, but I found Auckland remarkably boring and average. I've said that before here, and not had much argument. I know there is other beauty on the north island, but in one week you could really see a lot of the south island and save the north for next time.
Weather will be at it's best in the south island in January and it is a remarkable place. I visited Christchurch, Sumner (small beach town south of Christchurch), and Queenstown on my trip. Christchurch would require some more recent research, I know the earthquakes have taken their toll. But I would definitely recommend Queenstown and the surrounding areas. Just a gorgeous place and lots of daytrips to the surrounding areas.
Air New Zealand offers specials every day and intra-NZ flights are cheap at http://grabaseat.co.nz/
Good luck, and enjoy NZ.
Sep 12, 12, 5:59 pm
A few older threads about NZ...
(with what seems to be a slant towards South Island)
I would also recommend doing South Island only if you have just a week. There is a lot of driving just around Christchurch, Queenstown, Mt Cook, and Milford Sound. When you are at Mt Cook, take the ski plane ride to the top of the mountain. Fabulous and not to be missed. When my son and wife were your age, they took their honeymoon in South Island. Their flight was one of our wedding gifts to them and they LOVED it.
Don't try to do more as you will be run ragged with driving. We had 10 days and dropped the original idea of driving from South to North. Caught a plane in Queenstown, flew to Rotarua and drove to Auckland. It was perfect except that we missed Wellington. Really, the best is South Island anyway. Auckland is just another big city. Rotarua smells so bad from the volcanic fumes that you may wish you skipped it anyway.
Nov 10, 12, 8:42 am
... on to Wellington, where Te Papa (the national museum) is not to be missed.Completely agree; fantastic place.
... Auckland ... is the least unique part of NZ...Erm ... something is unique or it's not. It can't be more or less so.
Nov 14, 12, 3:05 am
not going to hijack the thread but great tips. I've got my trip coming up in a few weeks and I'm doing a mix of north/south of the North Island and a few days in Auckland.