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Should we add on NZ in September, or save for separate trip?

Sutton, United...
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Should we add on NZ in September, or save for separate trip?

Hi there,

My fiance and I (late 30s) are planning our honeymoon to Samoa in September 2014. As we're flying from London, flights are long and expensive, and we thought we'd make the most of the trip by spending 1-2 weeks in New Zealand as well. We love nature, walking, kayaking, beaches, all things that NZ seems to have plenty of! However, it's turning out to be quite an expensive plan, and budget is tight, so some compromises will need to be made... I think we might have to cut it down to just one week, so now trying to decide whether just seeing the highlights of either the North Island or South Island is worth it, or whether we should save up for a separate NZ trip when the weather is better?

Flights from London come into Auckland, and flights to Samoa also depart from Auckland. So one option would be to just concentrate on the North Island. However, September doesn't seem like the best time of year to enjoy what the North Island has to offer, is that right? The beaches look stunning, but presumably will be too cold that time of year. I'm particularly interested in the geothermal sights around Rotorua, but is it too cold to enjoy a hot water spring in September?

Alternatively, we could catch a flight to Christchurch - Abel Tasman NP, Marlborough vineyards, Marlborough Sound all sound very interesting, and I've long dreamt of swimming with wild dolphins, which would be an option in Kaikoura. Would we be foolish not to go to Queenstown as well? We're not adrenaline junkies at all, but I can see how gorgeous it is in that area. Just can't fit it all in - plus we don't want to be driving great distances every day, we'd prefer to have 2 nights in each place if possible.

Any thoughts on our plans would be great. I'm worried that we'll leave frustrated, having had only a taster of NZ and also when the weather might prevent us from really enjoying everything the land has to offer. But at the same time, it seems silly to fly all that way and not attempt to at least experience some of it! If only money and time wasn't an issue...

Thanks :-)

GN

(I've posted this in the South Island forum, as it wouldn't let me post in the general New Zealand forum, but obviously the question relates to both islands)

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Biggar, United...
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1. Re: Should we add on NZ in September, or save for separate trip?

Hi GlobalNomadLondon, it will be going into Spring in NZ in September so like many other times of the year you will possibly get snow, rain, sunshine, etc. The weather might not be as big an issue as the lack of time - even trying to see the highlights of either island in 7 days is difficult and spending 2 nights in each place makes it more so. Think the size of GB and how much you can cover in 7 days with the help of a motorway network which doesn't really exist in NZ.

I'd focus on one region and get a flavour if I were you - e.g. Auckland, Rotorua (since you mention geothermals being of interest) and Coromandel peninsula (Hahei is very scenic, peaceful and has nearby attractions) and these may give you an appetizer. As you mention when you're in the vicinity why not? Enjoy your honeymoon.

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San Antonio, Texas
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2. Re: Should we add on NZ in September, or save for separate trip?

Why not fly into Queenstown from Auckland so you'd have time to enjoy some subset of Queenstown, Glenorchy, Wanaka, Te Anau, and Manapouri. The longest drive would be 2.5 hours or so between Queenstown and Te Anau, but the others are short. Maybe an hour between Queenstown and Wanaka. 45 minutes between Queenstown and Glenorchy. Maybe 30 minutes between Te Anau and Manapouri. And I can't imagine how scenic everything will be in September with snow all over the mountains. I thought it looked incredible in late October. Sunrises in Te Anau will be absolutely spectacular with the alpenglow off all that bright white snow that will be covering the Kepler range (they were when I was there in late October). With 7 days you could really see a lot in this spectacularly scenic area.

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3. Re: Should we add on NZ in September, or save for separate trip?

And congrats on getting married, Nomad!

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4. Re: Should we add on NZ in September, or save for separate trip?

Spurs has suggested a great trip outline.

And while temps in Queenstown will be a bit cooler than those in the top of the North Island, you won't get the constant rain and grey skies of up north. Queenstown generally has clear blue skies.

Happy honeymoon :)

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San Antonio, Texas
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5. Re: Should we add on NZ in September, or save for separate trip?

Sunrises would also be ridiculous in Glenorchy. I mean they were impressive in early November, but I imagine nothing like they'd be in September.

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Sutton, United...
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6. Re: Should we add on NZ in September, or save for separate trip?

Hi everyone!

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post and sharing your ideas! I'm loving the sound of everything that's been suggested!

We've finally made a decision - and we'll be travelling via Fiji instead of Auckland to get to Samoa - leaving New Zealand for a time (hopefully soon!) when we can dedicate the time the country deserves! There are so many things we want to do in the country, I was feeling frustrated at how much we'd have to cut out with so little time. Plus, given that we're travelling to Samoa with beach clothes, packing in fleeces, raincoats and hiking boots for the weather in New Zealand was going to make it more complicated to travel light.

So I will be keeping all your suggestions for another time and will keep dreaming of a trip to New Zealand!

Thanks once again :-)

GN

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7. Re: Should we add on NZ in September, or save for separate trip?

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