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New Zealand Tour

USA
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36 posts
312 reviews
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New Zealand Tour

We are planning to visit NZ for the first time in September, and would very much like to explore both the Northern and Southern islands. We have 12 days. Several questions which we would appeciate your help:

1. Is that too ambitious to cover both islands in 12 days?

2. Is driving by ourselves easy?

Archer Tours
Sightseeing Tours, Day Trips
Carrington Tours
Cultural Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours, Bike Tours, Private Tours, Sightseeing Tours
Harrogate, United...
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436 posts
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1. Re: New Zealand Tour

We had 16 days on both Islands, and wished we had more time. Flew into Auckland then Rotorua, Napier, Wellington (Great museum there) Ferry to Picton, Blenheim, Kaikoura, Christchurch, Lake Tekapo, Queenstown, Dunedin then fly home from Christchurch.

Driving is very easy there, not a lot of traffic and reasonably good road signs (much better than those in the US)

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Auckland
Auckland
North Island, New Zealand
Wellington
Wellington
Greater Wellington, New Zealand
Basye, Virginia
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2. Re: New Zealand Tour

We just returned from a wonderful month in New Zealand--our third trip--and spent roughly two weeks on each island. It was not enough time, really. Since it's your first trip, I would recommend flying into Christchurch on the South Island and spending your time on that island only--you can do the North Island next trip (you will want to go back!). Spend a couple of nights in Christchurch, three or four in Wanaka (where you can take an unforgettable plane ride to Milford Sound and also visit Mount Cook Park). (Make Queenstown a day trip if you must see it--it's gotten terribly touristy and packed with tour buses).

Then head over the Haast Pass and drive up the West Coast to see the Franz Josef glacier and Pancake Rocks, cut over to Motueka and/or Nelson to see the fabulous coastline of Abel Tasman Park, drive two hours east to the Marlborough Sounds area for a couple of nights near Picton or Havelock, then down via Kaikoura on the east coast back to Christchurch.

I'm not sure how that works out time-wise, but you'll see some of the best sights in the whole country. We are partial to the top of the North Island, too, from the Bay of Plenty and the Coromandel and past Auckland up to Northland, but you won't have time for that, too in just 12 days). Driving is easy.

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New Zealand
New Zealand
South Pacific
South Island
South Island
New Zealand
Auckland
Auckland
North Island, New Zealand
3. Re: New Zealand Tour

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