a VirtualTourist member asked on Sep 23, 2016
We have 33 days available, want to see places without stressing out too much. Could members please give some feedback about the time allocation for each segment, and if driving times between the segments are doable ? Never having been there, it is hard to prioritize as to which areas to visit and which to ignore, and how much time to spend where. Flying into Auckland and departing from Christchurch.
2 days Auckland
1 day travel to Bay of Islands
5 days Bay of Islands, visit area between Kerikeri to Whangarei
1 day travel to Coromandel area ( will this work time wise? )
4 days visit area between Whitianga and Whangamata
1 day travel to Roturua & Taupo area (or should we travel to Tauranga and make day trips from there to Roturua and Taupo ? )
3 days visit Roturua & Taupo
1 day travel to Hawke Bay area
3 days visit Hawke Bay area, wineries etc.
1 day travel to and overnight around Wellington
1 day ferry cross over to South Island and head towards Tasman Bay area
3 days visit area between Nelson and Takaka
1 day travel to Blenheim area
2 days visit from Blenheim to Kaikoura
1 day travel to Banks Peninsula (to Akaroa ? Lyttleton ? )
2 days Banks Peninsula
1 day travel to a hotel near Christchurch airport for early morning departure
We also spend one month in NZ we have a car, we start at south and ending up north.
You itinerary is relaxing and certainly no stressing on this trip.....we have a crammed itinerary to NZ, we want to see the whole country for a month which take us sometimes behind wheel for 7-8 hours with many stops on the way , we're flexible, no accommodation booked in advance, we stopped anywhere we want
I can't comment about it, you arrange the trip pretty good
Just one thing, I prefer staying in Roturua than Tauranga, I like smaller towns. You can always drive to Tauranga anytime you want
As a local the only journey I think would be really long is the Whangarei/Coromandel one. Suggest going as far as you feel comfortable and overnighting somewhere - perhaps KatiKati or Thames and head out in the morning again.
Akaroa is a great little place - Lyttleton is still recovering from the earthquake and no where near as pretty as it used to be.
Rotorua is a good base and while Tauranga is smaller it is often more difficult to get accommodation in as there are less places and more conferences.
I love your itinerary. While the lower South Island is beautiful it is also hectic with visitors and this itinerary will get you more of the local NZ flavour yet cover a lot of lovely areas.
You've missed school holidays and public holidays which is good accommodation wise and are unlikely to have many issues but to be safe have firm bookings for the first and last nights.
As you are staying a number of nights in some of the areas you may wish to look at 'bookabach' which also give you lots of local flavour and local input. This is the type of accommodation you can get (this one is in Opua in the BOI.) [original link] It also allows you to selfcater in a small way for some meals rather than continually eating out - which is lovely for a while but can get tedious.
I disagree with Kuskiwi re "While the lower South Island is beautiful it is also hectic with visitors"...true of Queenstown, but you have already included the tourist meccas of Taupo and Rotorua so you will be used to that. I think you could easily trim 5 days out of the North Island and give yourself a look at some of the south...loop from ChCh thru the inland scenic route to Wanaka (full day driving), do Queenstown next day and stay over if you can stand it, then back down the Pig Route to Dunedin, get thru the Catlins if you can,then back up highway 1 to ChCh
Have a look at [original link]
Thanks for the advice, will choose to stay in around Rotorua !
Thank you, will add an overnight stay between the Bay of Islands and Coromandel. We are not used to left hand driving, so want to take it extra easy. The place you mentioned looks lovely but unavail. for our dates. I fully agree with the self catering notion, we usually like to prepare at least 2 meal a day ourselves. Unfortunately I see that in NZ ( unlike places we have travelled in North America or Europe), cooking facilities often don't include a real stove or oven or at least a hotplate. We are not into microwaves nor fast food.
Since you seem familiar with Akaroa, would you know what water temps we could expect in the first week of March? If it is too cold for swimming ( I dislike swimming in cold water), maybe we should stay longer in the Tasman bay area?
Most motels have cooking facilities although a lot have moved to hotplates and microwaves other than large stoves which are difficult to clean, particularly when people are not as careful as you will be. (ex motel owner here).
Depends on what you call cold re Akaroa. I'd still go even if I couldn't swim as it is such a pretty place and quite different from where you have been. Early March should be okay though but it depends on so many factors including winds from the south which drop temps.
the water temperature in Akaroa Harbour ranges from 11C (52F) in the winter to 17C (67F) in the summer.
these guys will give you a wet suit...
Thank you all! 18 degrees is way way below our comfort level. We'D rather go to hotsprings than swim in wetsuits, maybe Hamner Springs, but not sure how easy the roads are to this place. Perhaps we'll return our car sooner and take a bus from Christchurch and back...
Re: microwave vs stove, I can understand the benefit from a motel owner's standpoint. Still, we will look for places that offer better cooking facilities. Interesting, many New Zealanders seem to be into healthy eating, natural and organic foods etc., yet are willing to settle for microwaves.
make sure you go to Hot water beach on the Coromandel...you wont get to swim in hot water, but you make a wee hollow and sit in it