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...
(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)