Thanks for all of your posts, I have been reading for the past couple weeks, and it has been amazingly informative!!
I will be coming to New Zealand for a three week honeymoon in December of this year. My fiance and I are in our early 30s and very active - we want to swim with dolphins, go rafting, kayaking, etc. (Although we won't be as adventurous as skydiving or bungy jumping.) We also want to absorb New Zealand culture as much as we can.
We would like to see a lot, but don't want to have long drives every day - we would like to stay in the same place for a couple days at a time to slow down and better enjoy our honeymoon.
I'll post my inital itinerary below, but main questions are:
-Is it ok to skip wellington? (are we missing out)
-Is doing a helitour of Mt Cook just as good as driving to it?
-Where to stay in glacier area? We would like to stay in one place for both days of glacier hikes.
-What city in Bay of Islands? Thinking Russell for honeymoon, but wondering if public transportation will get us there?
-Any other locations I am missing that are a must-see?
We’ll be driving all of South Island, so I wanted to take public transportation when it’s available and convenient for us. (which actually doesn’t seem very often)
Day 1: land Auckland 7am from Los Angeles, stay in Auckland
Day 2: Take bus to Bay of Islands (relax)
Day 3: Bay of Islands (relax, rent a car for drive to Waitomo/Rotorua/Tauranga)
Day 4: Drive to Waitomo Caves (glow worms, black water rafting), stay in Rotorua
Day 5: Rotorua (maori culture, zorbing)
Day 6: Rotoura (hot water springs), drive to Tauranga
Day 7: Tauranga (blokarting, sea kayaking, beaches)
Day 8: Tauranga (the Mount hike, White Island), return rental car, fly to Christchurch in afternoon, rent car in Chch
Day 9: Kaikoura day trip (dolphins), stay Chch
Day 10: Arthurs Pass to Punakaiki (pancake rocks)
Day 11: Punakaiki/Greymouth/Hokitika (white water rafting), stay Punakaiki
Day 12: Drive to Franz Josef Glacier (do a hike), stay in Lake Matheson?
Day 13: Drive to Fox Glacier (do a helicopter tour to see Mt. Cook), stay in same place as night before
Day 14: Drive to Wanaka via Haast pass, stay Wanaka
Day 15: Wanaka, stay Wanaka (canyoning, sledging)
Day 16: Drive to Te Anau (via Cromwell for wine), stay Te Anau
Day 17: Milford Sound, stay Te Anau
Day 18: Drive to Queenstown (return rental car)
Day 19: Queenstown
Day 20: Queenstown
Day 21: Fly out of Queenstown in early morning back to Los Angeles
Any suggestions are helpful! Thanks again