How is this NZ itinerary...what should I add/drop/change?

Old Jan 12, 13, 5:26 pm
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How is this NZ itinerary...what should I add/drop/change?

Day 1 Arrive in Queenstown 1pm
Day 2 Begin 3day Routeburn Track
Day 3 Routeburn Track
Day 4 Complete Routeburn track, overnight Queenstown
Day 5 Drive Queenstown-Greymouth, visit West Coast. Overnight Greymouth
Day 6 Drive Greymouth-Picton, ferry to Wellington, Overnight Wellington
Day 7 Drive Wellington-Rotorua
Day 8 Drive Rotorua-Auckland (in PM)
Day 9 Drive Auckland-Paihia & Bay of Islands
Day 10 Bay of Islands
Day 11 Bay of Islands
Day 12 Drive Bay of Island back to Auckland
Day 13 Depart Auckland back to USA

Are there any ways I can cut out some of the driving? Any spots that I should add? Should I skip the West Coast drive, and instead just fly to Wellington from Queenstown on Day 5, or fly Queenstown-Christchurch on Day5 and then scenic train from Christchurch to Picton on Day 6?

Am I missing anything on the North Island?

Thanks for any help!
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Old Jan 12, 13, 5:56 pm
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What month is this ? http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...mpossible.html
Day 6 will be very long. What ferry departure time have you looked at ?
Day 6 could be Drive Greymouth-Nelson, fly NSN-WLG-ROT (if flights time are OK)
But the ferry trip is good
Day 7 Drive Wellington-Rotorua has not much to see / experience

Most rentals cars cannot be taken on the ferry. You drop off /pick up at the terminals

Be aware driving times are long for the distance in Kiwiland. Most of your roads will be slow (45-50-55 mph). single lane. You currently have many many hours driving: take some flights is my opinion

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Jan 12, 13 at 6:06 pm
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Old Jan 12, 13, 7:34 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
What month is this ? http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...mpossible.html
Day 6 will be very long. What ferry departure time have you looked at ?
Day 6 could be Drive Greymouth-Nelson, fly NSN-WLG-ROT (if flights time are OK)
But the ferry trip is good
Day 7 Drive Wellington-Rotorua has not much to see / experience

Most rentals cars cannot be taken on the ferry. You drop off /pick up at the terminals

Be aware driving times are long for the distance in Kiwiland. Most of your roads will be slow (45-50-55 mph). single lane. You currently have many many hours driving: take some flights is my opinion
Thanks, all good points. I think we might look into some flights, that is good to know. Re: rental car, we would return the car in Picton and then get another one in Wellington, the following day. The ferry departure time I'd seen was ~230pm arriving in Wellington ~530pm.

The trip is in March.
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Old Jan 12, 13, 7:45 pm
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2 more things:

A) Should I add at day in Queenstown to go see the Milford sound?

B) Is the West Coast worth the 2 long days of driving, on such a compressed trip? or am I better off flying ZQN-ROT or something similar, to save on time and driving?
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Old Jan 12, 13, 9:03 pm
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Originally Posted by atcguy View Post
.... rental car, we would return the car in Picton and then get another one in Wellington, the following day. The ferry departure time I'd seen was ~230pm arriving in Wellington ~530pm..
Could pick in Wellington terminal when you arrive at 5:30 (but I would head for the WLG airport)
Greymouth to Picton by 1:30 - 2:00 pm will be a rush (but the ferry ride is good). Need time to refuel - give the car back.
Being from the South Island, I like the West Coast.
All depends on what you like to do. As you doing the Routeburn, guess its nature type stuff

Spend less time in the North Island. I would skip Rotorura and head to the Bay of Islands by air (bypass Auckland: its just a city)

This site is useful http://www.aatravel.co.nz/main/td-calculator.php
from:Queenstown to:Greymouth
time: 7 hours 0 mins
distance: 529 Km

from:Greymouth to:Picton
time: 4 hours 48 mins
distance: 351 Km

You have too much driving: not enough time to stop and look at / explore places

Look here: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ocean...er-thread.html [but the initial posts are way out of date]

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Jan 12, 13 at 9:34 pm
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Old Jan 12, 13, 10:32 pm
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I second the advice to reduce the amount of driving. There is too much in my view - some days you'll be driving all day with not enough time to enjoy the sights or any activities en route.

Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
from:Greymouth to:Picton
time: 4 hours 48 mins
distance: 351 Km
That drive time is for a straight run through Wairau Valley, which is not as picturesque (or anywhere near as long) as going via Nelson and the Marlborough Sounds (a much nicer drive).

In terms of planning always allow an extra day or two post-tramp to cater for weather delays. When the weather is poor you can easily be stuck on the track for 1-2 days.

Given the choice between drive up South Island west coast and a drive in the North Island I'd take the west coast any time. From Nelson you can easily fly to Rotorua (via Wellington) or Bay of Islands (via Auckland) - there are lots of flights.

On the west coast I'd spend the night at Franz Josef (and perhaps also at Westport if you go that far or Nelson). Greymouth is fairly boring.
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Old Jan 12, 13, 11:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Kiwi Flyer View Post
...That drive time is for a straight run through Wairau Valley, which is not as picturesque (or anywhere near as long) as going via Nelson and the Marlborough Sounds (a much nicer drive)
Good point

from:Greymouth to:Nelson City
time: 3 hours 52 mins
distance: 287 Km

from:Nelson City to:Picton
time: 1 hour 46 mins
distance: 134 Km

Even Nelson to Picton is far better (more scenic) via the coastal route instead on direct over the hill.
For me a morning getting from Nelson to Picton would be better

(I believe KF is a South Islander like myself, but we are not biased )

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Jan 13, 13 at 2:12 pm Reason: added time & distance
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Old Jan 13, 13, 4:46 pm
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All great info, thanks, Mwenenzi and Kiwi Flyer. As I deal with on every trip, I need to reiterate to myself that you can't have/do it all. Something's gotta give.

It seems like the stuff between Wellington and Bay of Islands are the ones worth giving up, huh? I don't know why I selected Rotorua...what about Taupo?

Re: what kind of travelers...we like outdoors, and we like being out of cities, in the countryside, small coastal towns, etc.

I also don't have the Milford sound in there, would that be something worth adding?

I'll take a look at the other thread too, and try to revise what I have.
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Old Jan 13, 13, 6:30 pm
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Rotorua was home to one of the 7 modern wonders of the world in the 19th century; destroyed by an earthquake some time ago, but the remnants are still visible ... so selecting Rotorua is not silly in the least. It all depends what you fancy. The problem with NZ is that it has a dozen differerent eco-systems, all of which are interesting and worth visiting. So you could easily spend 100 days and still not see everything. As for whether it is too much driving, that is a matter of taste. I did similar trip over 22 days and went 3000 miles (visiting all of NZ) and enjoyed it but knew going in that it was a lot of driving. Some of these roads have 1 car per hour
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Old Jan 13, 13, 10:35 pm
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Originally Posted by atcguy View Post
Day 1 Arrive in Queenstown 1pm
Day 2 Begin 3day Routeburn Track
Day 3 Routeburn Track
Day 4 Complete Routeburn track, overnight Queenstown
Day 5 Drive Queenstown-Greymouth, visit West Coast. Overnight Greymouth
Day 6 Drive Greymouth-Picton, ferry to Wellington, Overnight Wellington
Day 7 Drive Wellington-Rotorua
Day 8 Drive Rotorua-Auckland (in PM)
Day 9 Drive Auckland-Paihia & Bay of Islands
Day 10 Bay of Islands
Day 11 Bay of Islands
Day 12 Drive Bay of Island back to Auckland
Day 13 Depart Auckland back to USA

Are there any ways I can cut out some of the driving? Any spots that I should add? Should I skip the West Coast drive, and instead just fly to Wellington from Queenstown on Day 5, or fly Queenstown-Christchurch on Day5 and then scenic train from Christchurch to Picton on Day 6?

Am I missing anything on the North Island?

Thanks for any help!
Good choice doing the Routeburn! have you planned how you are getting to/from track? It's ~5 hour trip from ZQN to Te Anau and then the start/finish of the track is another 80km from Te Anau so it's a big trip...
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Old Jan 13, 13, 11:02 pm
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Originally Posted by atcguy View Post
As I deal with on every trip, I need to reiterate to myself that you can't have/do it all. Something's gotta give.
I don't have specific suggestions but your self-knowledge described here is the key point. RadioBloke and I spent 17 days touring from Auckland to Queenstown and it wasn't enough. (We didn't spend 3 days hiking but did spend 3 days at our friends' house.)

BTW - We had a single car rental agreement for the trip which included dropping car #1 at the ferry wharf in Wellington and picking up #2 at the ferry wharf in Picton - very fast and easy.
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Old Jan 13, 13, 11:41 pm
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Originally Posted by brenrox View Post
Good choice doing the Routeburn! have you planned how you are getting to/from track? It's ~5 hour trip from ZQN to Te Anau and then the start/finish of the track is another 80km from Te Anau so it's a big trip...
We're doing it through a tour operator, who provides the transport to/from Queenstown to the trailhead.



Originally Posted by RadioGirl View Post
I don't have specific suggestions but your self-knowledge described here is the key point. RadioBloke and I spent 17 days touring from Auckland to Queenstown and it wasn't enough. (We didn't spend 3 days hiking but did spend 3 days at our friends' house.)

BTW - We had a single car rental agreement for the trip which included dropping car #1 at the ferry wharf in Wellington and picking up #2 at the ferry wharf in Picton - very fast and easy.
Thanks RadioGirl! I just emailed with a friend who spent 6month in NZ and he gave similar advice. He is suggesting to emphasize on the South Island, and minimize time on the North Island. He says that Bay of Islands is OK, but not as amazing as some of the stuff in the South Island. So I am re-working the itinerary with more time in the South Island, and trying to figure out the logistics. I'll post it here when I come up with the next version!
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Old Jan 14, 13, 2:11 am
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Originally Posted by atcguy View Post
...He is suggesting to emphasize on the South Island, and minimize time on the North Island. He says that Bay of Islands is OK, but not as amazing as some of the stuff in the South Island. So I am re-working the itinerary with more time in the South Island, and trying to figure out the logistics. I'll post it here when I come up with the next version!
Concentrating on just one island is a good idea, but I disagree that the "Bay of Islands is just ok". It is a different kind of beauty. South island is more rugged, isolated and unpopulated. But also fewer tourist amenities and when they exist, more touristy -- rather ironically. North island is definitely different, but just as beautiful and maybe more enjoyable if you look for things like a local pottery or artisanal food. The best chocolate cake anywhere in the world was in a bakery at Thames, for example, in my experience (and I do test the chocolate cake in >100 countries in the world so far).

That's the "trouble" with NZ: too much to see, and too much of it is irresistable. Really hard to go wrong with a vacation there, unless you stay in AKL.
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Old Jan 14, 13, 11:50 am
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How is this NZ itinerary...what should I add/drop/change?

I am also planning a trip to NZ for March so am following this thread with great interest! After reading the responses here I think we will focus on the South island...a few days of wine and food in Nelson/Marlborough before heading down to Fjordland for kayaking, tramping, etc.
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Old Jan 15, 13, 12:46 am
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Their is a train that goes from Auckland to wellington/ It is a 12 hour trip but it is pretty nice scenery the whole way. They probably have other train stops to other cities along the way as well. Just depends on what you are looking for.
You do have way to much driving though I would cut the driving in half if you can So you can enjoy more of each stop you make. I also would pick 1 island and stick to it.

I lived on the North island for 11months. NZ is amazing. I am always trying to get back their for good somehow.
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