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New Zealand- what to see & do(26 Posts)
Hi I’m looking at going to New Zealand during their summer for 11/12 nights stay then travelling onto Australia for Christmas/new year staying there for 15 nights.
Looking for ideas/recommendations on what to see & do in New Zealand. Thanks
I don't think they'll let you in atm. They've closed their borders.
I agree. Don't book it just yet.
But you could look at the NZ tourist board website.
I am an Australian, I would be very surprised if we opened our borders before the new year to anyone else but New Zealand.
11 nights isn't very long so I would recommend not trying to see too much. Stick to either the North Island or South, don't try to do both in that time. Anywhere you choose will be wonderful. Auckland is lovely, Bay of Islands, Coromandel Peninsula, Napier & that side of NZ. Wellington is lovely. It depends what sort of holiday you like really, obviously the South Island is completely different. It can take quite a long time to drive around. I think their borders will be closed for some time though.
NZ is closed for the foreseeable
11/12 nights I’d just do a tour of the South Island. Kaikoura, mount cook, queenstown, Milford sound, franz Josef glacier, Abel tasman. All the big sights, I’d love to go back. I found some routes online, but roughly that’s what we did I think!
I'd recommend doing the South Island if you have to do one of them, but starting at Wellington and getting the ferry across. I'd recommend Abel Tasman National Park for beaches, Queenstown and Milford Sound
We are going next year but we want to plan the itinerary so when the flights are out we know what to book.
Yes we were there for just over 2 weeks. South Island is incredible and we spent 4 nights in Queenstown which I felt was very worthwhile. I found Auckland a bit meh to be honest - we spent a few days there so we could catch up with friends and family, but it's a pretty average capital city.
If you do try to do both, then flying between North and South Island can save quite a lot of time - you'll miss some scenery obviously, but we did it so we didn't have many long driving days.
We did one night in Christchurch before flying home. I found it a bit sad to be honest, but nice to have a little wander around, this was a while ago, and all the earthquake damage was very visible still.
Loved Bay of Islands, but it’s a pain to get to! Abel Tasman is just as tropical, if you are looking for a beach type experience on the South Island. North island is great too, we had a month in total and just hit all the main sights on both islands, need to go back!
Oh and I’d recommend a lonely planet guide, it was all the main spots, routes etc.
I was in NZ at the start of this year. If you only have 2 weeks (or less) i would recommend picking 1 island rather than trying to fit in North & South. I'm sad to say it, but I wouldn't recommend Christchurch. I was genuinely shocked how much of the earthquake damage was still visible. There are convenient flights to Christchurch from the UK (or there were, before Corona) so it might be worth flying in, spending a night there before driving on. That way you do get to see the city (the botanic gardens are lovely) without committing too much time.
Do take into account that the jetlag can be pretty intense. I'd highly recommend not planning too much driving in the first few days to give you a chance to get used to the time difference.
We did a 3 week tour, starting in Queenstown, and worked our way up to Auckland.
We did a coach trip and overnight boat trio to Milford on 3rd day
Drove to Wanaca through Arrowtown , went to Franz Josef, then train to Christchurch, Kaikura, Nelson, over to North Island. Wellington, Napier, Rotarura, Taupo. A wedding in Taranaka and finally Auckland.
Had an amazing time.
If you don't want to stay in Christchurch, I can highly recommend Akaroa about an hour away. We did an excellent kayak to see Pohatu penguins and it was a gorgeous place if you try to visit when no cruises are docked there.
If you are on the West Coast of the South Island, spending a few hours or even a day kayaking up this river is magical:
I visited for 3 weeks
North Island Auckland
Bay of Islands wedding for a few days
South Island, one night in each place Milford Sound, Kiakora etc whales, glacier, kiwi birds, seals, albatross, penguins, dolphins, glow worm caves, self drive in circle
Back up to North Island, Rotarua
However, when speaking to people on return. People were only interested in hearing about the visit to the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings film set !
If I went again, I would hire a camper van & stay longer & visit some of the places that I didn't go to
Lake Wanaka and the surrounding area is magical. I wish I lived there.
Aaah I could be here all day, I went end of last year/start of this year for a couple of months.
Highlights for me personally;
Abel Tasman region
Rabbit island and then jump off the pier at mapua
Blue pools on the west coast, and be brave and jump off the bridge, it’s so worth it!
Kaikoura, whale watching there if possible
Arrowtown and wanaka
Franz Josef glacier is worth a look, even if you’re not a big walker (you can just walk to the base)
Do not miss Akaroa which is the little outcrop to the east of Christchurch, it’s breathtakingly beautiful and possibly my favourite part of our trip
I adored Fiordland, but that will eat your time up, it’s vast
Nelson, just in general is quite lovely
If you’re in queenstown, do the luge/gondola etc, but bear in mind queenstown is v v touristy. But also if you’re there, go for a swim in lake Wakatipu.
We have friends in Oamaru, Dunedin, Timaru and in Gore so we spent a lot of time right down there. If you do happen to go that way, waipapa point lighthouse, gemstone beach (we saw a pod of hector dolphins there!) and Oamaru, for the free range tiny penguins (and Scott’s and Fat Sally’s 🍻) are worth a look
If you do get to North island;
The coromandel 😍
Taupo, and I cannot stress that enough!
If you do go as high as Hamilton, do Hamilton gardens, it’s beautiful
Also, hobbiton really is a must if you’re even remotely a fan. We thought it would be mega touristy, and it is I guess, but definitely worth going. Even DH agrees and he doesn’t really like lord of the rings
Auckland is a waste of time imo, very wanky
Given that you haven’t got all the time in the world, I’d do a South Island tour, see as much as you can. We did both, a week and a bit on north island (mainly to visit friends) and the rest on South Island. If you want to push yourself, go for it, but I personally much preferred South Island.
If you go and hire a car or a camper, download an app called campermate, it was invaluable for us, so worth downloading.
I’m jealous 😂
Aaaaaanyway (I got carried away 😂) plenty to think about and lots of ideas I hope 😊
Personally, I've enjoyed Thailand, Malaysia & Indonesia more than New Zealand & they are better value for money
However, New Zealand is unique & I'm glad to have visited
it's the size of the UK so don't turn the trip into an endless drive, you might as well watch DVDs as do that.
the standard THREE WEEK itinerary is:
fly into Auckland, spend two days there getting over jetlag and seeing the sights.
go to Rotorua for volcanoes
fly to Christchurch, pick up a hire car for a 2 week loop of the south island: across Arthur's pass, glaciers, West coast sights, Wanaka, Queenstown (only if you want to do the expensive thrill rides) Te Anau, day trip to Milford sound, across to Dunedin and back up the east coast.
look on doc.govt.nz for lots of info on walks; the standard tourism providers won't mention those as they are all free. Plenty of day walk opportunities in NZ but make sure you have proper walking boots and the right clothes. Four seasons in one day isn't just a song.
for future times...
I forgot Napier, loved Napier and ended up talking to the lady who posed for the statue. Panier of the Reef
She was visiting with her dc and gc, wonderful lady.
If you want some adventure my DS did the black run at Waitomo caves. We just did the normal visit and had a great day
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