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3 weeks in New-Zealand/Australia, is it realistic?

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Sherbrooke, Canada
posts: 188
reviews: 96
3 weeks in New-Zealand/Australia, is it realistic?

Hi gang,

I am planning a 3 weeks trip. I want to see Auckland/Bay of Islands/Wellington/Christchurch and Port-Douglas and Sydney in Australia. I want to spend about 3/4 nights in each and every place. About car rental, is it easy to drive on the left hand side? Are automatic cars readily available?

Northland, New...
posts: 701
reviews: 1
1. Re: 3 weeks in New-Zealand/Australia, is it realistic?

Hi

I think that the timescale you have is realistic to see the areas you have mentionned.

In Nz, you may want to consider a flight from Auckland to Wellington to cut out some of the driving.

Driving on the left is pretty easy and the roads are generally good in NZ, if windy in places. In most areas outside of cities, the traffic is fairly light.

Automatic cars are definitely readily available, infact the majority of cars in NZ are automatic, as they are mostly japanese imports, and these tend to be automatic.

Sherbrooke, Canada
posts: 188
reviews: 96
2. Re: 3 weeks in New-Zealand/Australia, is it realistic?

Hi Luton Lodge,

Thanks for the advise. I saw the website of your property and it looks pretty nice. I'm not sure of my dates yet, but when I'll be ready I'll be glad to inquire about your rates and availibility. By the way, from your property how far is the drive to 90 miles beach?

Thanks a million.

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 51,038
reviews: 42
3. Re: 3 weeks in New-Zealand/Australia, is it realistic?

Jojo, what time of year are you coming?

For driving on the lefthand side of the road. Take it easy and you'll be fine. On roundabouts traffic is coming from the right. Bit tricky.

Xing roads walking is another thing to remember. Stand still before crossing and look to the right first.

Tet

Cala d'Or, Spain
posts: 3,162
reviews: 89
4. Re: 3 weeks in New-Zealand/Australia, is it realistic?

Hi jojo

I personally think you are trying to do to much, I have made the fatal mistake of trying to cram in to many places only to find myself stuck in a car and plane for half the trip.

If you do want to see both countries, I would do Sydney and Port Douglas both excellent choices (check out the weather in Port Douglas, Dec-May is the wet season) and then fly to Aukland and drive up to the Bay of Islands which is a pleasant mornings drive. I would then fly to Queenstown for a few days which has to be the best place in NZ, stunning scenery loads to do. Queenstown, is one of those places that exceeds your expectations, frankly places like Ninety Mile Beach (boring and uninteresting) are not worth considering unless you have plenty of time for a longer trip.

Happy travels

Crazypom

New Zealand
posts: 8,365
reviews: 8
5. Re: 3 weeks in New-Zealand/Australia, is it realistic?

Hi jojo, why are you wanting to visit 3 of our cities-nice cities but just cities, you're not going to get a feel for NZ or see some of our wonderful scenery.

I would do BOI, Rotorua, fly to Queenstown, Christchurch. If you base yourself in each of these areas then you have a wide range of day trip options where you can experience the real NZ.

Here's a thread discussing driving on the left;

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g255106-i404-k5428…

ann arbor, mi
posts: 13
reviews: 8
6. Re: 3 weeks in New-Zealand/Australia, is it realistic?

Hi Jo Jo

First, driving on the left side is not hard but it does take awhile to get comfortable with which way you should be looking. After coming home, months later I would find myself wondering if were on the right (proper) side of the road. Cars with automatic tranmissions are available but make sure you go through a major rental company and have them guarantee an automatic.

3 weeks will work if you are only planning to stay in Sydney for 3 or 4 days. Sydney is absolutely gorgeous. You will love it.

If you're planning on seeing more of Australia, I would suggest you plan another trip and take 3 or 4 weeks for just Australia. It is a very large country. Remember, from East to West, Sydney - Perth, it's the same distance as from New York to L.A. and from North to South, Miami to Hudson Bay.

I spent 4 weeks in Australia this February and March. 3 days in Sydney, flew to Albany via Perth, drove Albany to Perth, then to Adelaide, the Barroso Valley and home from Melbourne. Great Country.

Michael

Northland, New...
posts: 701
reviews: 1
7. Re: 3 weeks in New-Zealand/Australia, is it realistic?

Hi

Thanks for your comments regarding our lodge - would be great if you were able to fit in a stay with us.

We are just outside Whangarei, which is quite a central location for seeing most of Northland.

We are 1 hour from Paihia (Bay of Islands), and another 1.5 to Kaitaia, which is at the bottom end of ninety mile beach.

It is then another hour or so to drive to Cape Reinga, at the very top of the North Island.

If you are keen to see Ninety Mile Beach & Cape Reinga, by far the best way to do this is on a bus tour, probably starting from either Kaitaia or Doubtless Bay. You can't drive onto Ninety Mile Beach yourself unless you have a 4WD, and even then, you will see a lot more by going on a bus tour.

Having read the other posts on this forum, the one thing to bear in mind is that although your itinerary is do-able, it is really important to make sure you are not spending too much of your time driving, which is why I suggested that you take at least one flight within NZ to cut out some of the long driving days.

Sherbrooke, Canada
posts: 188
reviews: 96
8. Re: 3 weeks in New-Zealand/Australia, is it realistic?

Thanks for all the reply and sugestions. After reading all your valuable informations I think I will drop Australia and keep it for another trip. We are planning to go mid-April for 3 weeks. I saw there is a train between Auckland and Wellington, is it a good alternative instead of driving?

New Zealand
posts: 8,365
reviews: 8
9. Re: 3 weeks in New-Zealand/Australia, is it realistic?

Yes it's called the Overlander and it very nearly got canned a month or 2 ago but they have revived it and at the moment it is running 7days a week. in the off season it will be cut back to 3 days.

It quite a long trip approx 12 hours (in fact with my sister & family who have just done it, it was 14hours) Don't expect a super fast train but it is a lovely trip through the back blocks of NZ.

London
posts: 476
reviews: 36
10. Re: 3 weeks in New-Zealand/Australia, is it realistic?

Christchurch is boring but you will be forced to fly into it if you intend on visiting the sth island.

Queenstown yes

Rotorua -Yes

Napier- Yes (especially if you like wine)

Wellington and wairarapa- Yes

Everything else is give or take in my opinion.....

You should actually boat over from wellington-picton and train down the South Island....I did it once merely cos as a student I couldn't afford the flight but it took my breath away...hangover and all.....I still think about it today.....