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Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · January 11, 2017
Route from Ohakune to Thames or Thorntons Bay  (3 Answers)

I'm wondering what's the best route to take from Ohakune to Thornton's Bay - are there any places worth stopping to see on the way? Any advice would be welcomed. Cheers, Shelley

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · January 04, 2017
South Island  (2 Answers)

Hi Guys

Can someone please suggest a Itinerary for New Zealand – South Island.

Fly in to Christchurch at 1am on the 11th of June and Fly out on the 18th at 6:30am.

Would like to see Mt Cook, Lake Tekapo, Fox Glacier and Milford Sounds.

Is that enough time?


Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · December 30, 2016
Auckland & Christchurch  (4 Answers)

Comments welcomed and gratefully received on the following itinerary please. We are used to driving approx. 200 miles per day - interests culture & scenery - not into hiking or sports. Possibly plan to do this in March 2017

Day 1 spare in case of stop over

Day 2 Paihia include bay of islands 3.30 227 KM

Day 3 Auckland same return route 3.30 227 km

Day 4 Rotorau /bay of plenty/ wai o tapu thermal 3.13 259km

Day 4 Tongario NP/Whanganui 3.38 296km

Day 5 Wellington/Mt Victoria 3.13 232Km

Day 6 Abandon car Wellington / Picton ferry 3.3km
Ferry crossing 1.30 hrs Hotel Picton

Day 7 Picton in case of delay [Abel Tasman NP}

Day 8 Punakaiki 5.07 372 KM

Day 9 Franz Joseph Glacier 2.47 217 KM

Day 10 Queenstown 4.50 350KM

Day 11 Milford Sound NP 3.49 288KM

Day 12 Te Anou Wanaka area cardona pass 2.51 226 KM

Day 13 Mt Cook NP area 2.22 207 KM

Day 14 Christchurch 3.49 326 KM

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 22, 2016
Rent a campervan  (14 Answers)

I will travel to new Zealand from 10/4/2017 to 16/4/2017. I am searching the information about the campervan. There are different type of van that suit me and my wife. Any recommendation for me and my wife?

We are considering two models: 2 Berth - Venturer and Esprit 2 Berth Deluxe.
Which one is suitable for us?

Thank for your advice! I am looking forward to hearing your reply......

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 15, 2016
Tour groups affected by earthquake  (4 Answers)

My sister and her husband flew to NZ on monday to join a coach tour of the South Island. They flew to Christchurch. I have sent her a text message and have not had a reply. I realise no coach tours have had injured passengers but would like to know what the plan is likely to be - if New Zealanders could let me know what the likely outcome will be I would appreciate it.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · October 22, 2016
Milford sound ferry ride  (3 Answers)

Which is the best way to get to Milford sound from Auckland and back in 3 days

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · October 17, 2016
Which is best driving S from Nelson / Mapua area to Christchurch?  (3 Answers)

This is a question coming from someone who has experience driving on the right side of the road in a country without hairpin roads ( Canada), and will have driven several weeks on the North Island, and hopefully still around and with more experience by then.... After staying in the Mapua / Nelson we have 4 days left before taking the plane back home from Christchurch. We are planning to spend our last two nights in Christchurch. This leaves two nights for another visit. We want it to be enjoyable and not too stressful.
The choices I can see are either to drive through Hanmer Springs and spend 2 nights there and from there drive straight to Christchurch. Or to drive from Mapua via Blenheim, Kaikoura to Akaroa and stay there for 2 nights, unless Mapua - Akaroa is too long a drive for one day ?
I can see that Hanmer Springs in an elevated area, but can't tell if it is hilly vs mountainous?
We would like to take the route with the most interesting sights as long as the drive is not a difficult / potentially dangerous one. Your help is greatly appreciated!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · October 15, 2016
Need help choosing location of accommodation in Welland  (2 Answers)

We will be driving in from Martinborough to Wellington and stay over night in a place convenient to catch the ferry to Picton the next morning.
As much as possible we would like to avoid driving through the city and congested areas. Yet be able to explore the city either by foot or by taking public transportation. I looked up the Travelodge hotel, seems to be central enough and close enough for the ferry, but have no idea about driving cond.
Looking for advice...
Thanks !

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · October 14, 2016
Birthday Celebration  (4 Answers)

I'll be in Auckland for 48 hours before sailing to Australia, Malaysia, Bali on 2/18/17. My birthday is 2/17 and I'd like to have a merry old time. Any suggestions?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · October 07, 2016
hiring car or van in auckland  (4 Answers)

Hi, we're coming to NZ in November (first time visitors) and we want to hire a (budget!) campervan and travel around the north island. We've been told it's not economic to do that because you must stay in camping grounds when in the van. Would it be better to hire a car and stay in cheaper accommodation? Can anyone suggest and reliable and cheap car/van hire company? Any other suggestions also welcome. BTW we are an older couple.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · September 24, 2016
North Island accommodations  (4 Answers)

Hi, we are a youngish couple in our sixties from the US and are planning a NZ trip ( Nov 1 -16). Would we need reservations at the towns around the island or can we wing it ? (Which is our preferred m.o.) We are planning to rent a car and see where the roads take us. Do I need to make reservations at any of the major attractions, like the caves ? And what is the best way to have phone and internet service ? Thanks in advance!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · September 23, 2016
Help please with time allocation for North and South Island visit  (9 Answers)

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

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · September 22, 2016
How to divide time between Nelson, Wellington, Auckland?  (3 Answers)

We have 10 nights/10 days in January to divide up between Neslon, Wellington and Auckland? Would love any advice on how many nights to stay in each of these 3 towns assuming that we will arrive in each place in the early afternoon. (Starting in Neslon, then taking ferry to Wellington, then flying to Auckland. Because of the track we will be in Nelson first.)

We are an active couple, enjoy the outdoors (we will be doing the Abel Tasman track starting and finishing in Nelson), bike riding, swimming, hiking/walking. We enjoy art galleries, local art, wine tasting, coffee shops and soaking up the local culture. We are not planning on having a car in any of these places. To proceed with booking lodging we need to decide how long to stay in each of these places. We will have already been to Christchurch and Queenstown (Milford Track).

How many days/nights would you suggest we stay in each place?

Also any recommendations on what not to miss would be welcome.
Thoughts...recommendations...what not to miss. Thank you!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · September 18, 2016
Gap Year options  (3 Answers)

Hi. My name is Bobby.

I am a matriculant and dont know what to do next year.

I am keen on adventure and travel and would like to go overseas and work in some part of the adventure and outdoor industry. Any advice on where to get started?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · September 13, 2016
Suggestions for two week tour with 10yr old  (3 Answers)

Hi peeps!
I Am visiting NZ and will be based in the outskirts of NW Auckland, as I am travelling with 10 yr old girl & I was wondering can you suggest something which 10 yr old can enjoy.
Hobitton is on our list as is Ratarora, we going to have a car and I am not scared driving long distances but I would like to keep to the North Island. We are travelling in early April so thats Autmn down under.
Any chance we can take swims or water will be too cold?
Any info highly appricited.
Many thanks

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · September 01, 2016
price of ferry crossing and car rental  (7 Answers)

We are planning to rent a car for visiting both the North and the South island. I checked various car rental companies . Some such as apexrentals include the ferry crossing in their car rental price, most others don't. In order to have a fair comparison, I was trying to find out how much the ferry crossing for a car and the 2 of us would be. I find figures for car, and for passengers. A ferry ticked for a small car was quoted around $232.-, I believe this would be one way? But I could not find out if this will include our passage, or if we have to buy two tickets for each of us as well ?

Please help.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 28, 2016
Itinerary for South Island New Zealand  (6 Answers)

We will be in the south island for 14 days in October. I have set up my itinerary but after reading a bit more am questioning if it is doable. Welcome any suggestions. I guess I should point out we are 66years old but in good health. 1. Wellington to Kaikoura by ferry and train 2. Whale watching tour and train to Christchurch 3 & 4 - sightseeing in or near Christchurch - we will get a rental car - Any suggestions on must sees? 5. Christchurch to Dunedin 6 & 7 - Dunedin to include golf and train ride 8. Dunedin to Queenstown by car 9, 10 & 11 - Queenstown - See Milford Sound and Doubtful Bay - Is it better to drive or take a tour coach? 12 & 13 Queenstown to Fox Glacier (overnight) to Greymouth and TransAlpine train to Christchurch - Should we drive to Greymouth or take InterCity bus and leave car in Queenstown? 14. Flight from Christchurch to Auckland. We leave for home (California, USA) the next evening. Thank you for any ideas or suggestions.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 20, 2016
Anyone experienced DiscoverNewZealand travel company recently?  (1 Answer)

For someone flying in/out of Auckland in mid-late October and having 10-12 days to explore the north island, do you have a preferred trip company or personal experience with one? I'm doing initial research right now via VT and elsewhere..

Any help appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 20, 2016
Queenstown-Mt Cook-Tekapo  (4 Answers)

I would like to take Tasman Glacier boat excursion on Mt Cook. I will leave from Queestown and end in Tekapo to meet other tour members. I have checked that bus from Queenstown will arrive at Mt Cook at 12:30 pm, so the earliest boat excursion I can join is the one starts at 2:00 pm. The tour lasts for 2.5 hours, but the local bus to Tekapo leaves at 4:00 pm, that means I will miss the local bus. Does anyone know if there are any local tours from either Queenstown or Tekapo that will take me to Mt Cook with staying time long enough for me to join boat excursion and go back to Tekapo on the same day? Is there any transportation other than Cook Connection bus that will take me to Tekapo? What other options do I have?

In the event that a boat excursion is not possible on the same day, what else can I do on Mt Cook other than taking ski plane? Will I still be able to see the icebergs if not taking the boat? I will be travelling with my 75 year old mum. Will I still be able to see the icebergs if not taking the boat?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 18, 2016
Hire car restrictions in South Island (eg. gravel roads, Tasman Valley Road @ Mt Cook)  (9 Answers)

A number of car hire companies restrict travel on gravel roads & particular roads including Tasman Valley Road @ Mt Cook. Any suggestions of those with less restrictions? We'd really like to do the walk at Tasman Valley which relies on driving on Tasman Valley Road and also a number of gravel roads into attractions in the Catlins/Owaka area (eg. Nugget Point).

Thanks :)

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 15, 2016
3 weeks stay, need advise please  (2 Answers)

Hi, I will appreciate all your advise please.

period of stay = 18 nov, 9 dec

about me = 36 y.o., travelling alone, backpackers style (hostel, couchsurfing...), I will rent a cheap car (omegacar rental ? the cheapest I found for the south island from nelson to christchurch), I love sports,.. ready everymorning from 8 or 9am and sleep not late in order to enjoy a maximum

My itinerary =

North Island
day 1 / arrival auckland 12h05.... stay in auckland
day 2 / drive to tongariro park
day 3 / tongariro alpine crossing 8 hrs (sleep in tongariro)
day 4 / rotorua
day 5 / afternoon, drive to coromandel peninsula (+stop at matamata for LOTR? I am not a big fan but it's an option)
day 6 / coromandel peninsula
day 7 / back to auckland and flight to nelson + drive in abel tasman area

South Island
day 8 / abel tasman
day 9 / abel tasman
day 10 / drive to punakaiki or hokitika
day 11 / drive to franz joseph area
day 12 / drive to wanaka
day 13 / wanaka
day 14 / drive to te anau
day 15 / kepler track, trek
day 16 / kepler track, trek
day 17 / kepler track, trek, drive to queenstown
day 18 / queenstown
day 19 / drive to aoraki (in which city to find hostel because there is not a lot of choice in aoraki ?)
day 20 / drive to christchurch
day 21 / flight to auckland, visit the city
day 22 / flight back to Europe at 14h05

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 13, 2016
1 month in the Northland Feb 2017  (7 Answers)

My husband and I are planning to spend 1 month in New Zealand to get a break from the Canadian winter. This will replace our balmy winter holidays in warm places such as Costa Rica, Aruba etc. As New Zealand is so big, we are thinking to spend time in the warmer parts of New Zealand - the Northland- where we will also have some opportunity for beach time and swimming. We are on a budget and are hoping to find perhaps two one week assignments as house sitters in different locations, and spend the rest of the time travelling. Ideally I would like to arrange for two to three different home bases in nice areas ( one near a beach for swimming) were we can just hang out and can do local sightseeing as well as do day trips etc. Driving in a foreign country can be stressful, we don't want to do it on a daily basis. Perhaps rent a car for a week, stay put for the rest or do bus excursions.

Can some people please suggest nice areas that are either just enjoyable in themselves, or would lend themselves as a base from which to tour a bit? We are not interested in big city adventures ( we live in a big city). We are interested in nature, natural wonders, local culture and cuisine.

If by chance someone has experience with a particular house sitting website, please let me know.

Many thanks in advance!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 10, 2016
Buying Supplements in NZ  (10 Answers)

I have bought supplements at discounted prices at Chemist Warehouse when visiting Australia. Can someone advise if there is a Chemist Warehouse in New Zealand? Or where can I get supplements at discounted prices in Auckland or Wellington or Christchurch? Thanx.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 01, 2016
Driving using Waze and Device for Mobile Phones & IPad  (4 Answers)

Hi, can anyone tell me if Waze is popular in NZ for driving from North Island to South Island? I was thinking of relying on Waze versus a GPS.

Another matter is that I am looking to rent a device that allows four /five devices to be logged on at the same time?
Which provides better coverage - 2degree or vodafone? Or are there other telcos?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · July 31, 2016
South Island  (2 Answers)

Hi everyone
I am just after some advice on my itinerary do you think it is to rushed anywhere am I missing anything super important and do you think the number of days in each place is okay?

We arrive in Christchurch mid Oct and fly out 14 days later

Day 1 arrive Christchurch stay 1 night
Day 2 Pick up motorhome head to hammer springs stay overnight
Day 3 Kaikoura possibly swim with seals
Day 4 Blenheim (wine tout)
Day 5 greymouth
Day 6 greymouth (glow worm tubbing experience)

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · July 30, 2016

I am looking for a great mode of transport to get around. I'm not into car sharing because I like to have freedom and go or stop when and where I like on the way to places. What is the best car rental company to deal with at a great rate.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · July 28, 2016
Transportation by bus/train  (3 Answers)

I will be taking northern explorer from Wellington to Auckland will reach Auckland at about 6:45pm (ngaoho place, the strand, auckland central).. is there any bus from there going to CBD area? any backpacker hotel recommendations? and how far the CBD area from Auckland Airport?.. and from CBD area going to Hobbiton how many hours by bus/train? would really appreciate any help as i will be travelling alone. thanks

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · July 27, 2016
A Bit Here & There  (7 Answers)

We are a party of four who will be arriving into Auckland on 22 Nov late afternoon. As our hotel is off Queen Street, can someone please advise if it is worth my while to catch a bus to Parnell rose garden or Ponsonby or just stick around the CBD? We will spend the whole of next day in Auckland. Any recommendations? We do not want to do Kelly Tarlton or museums. I am the only one in the party who has been to North Island and I remember from my trip in 2007 visiting One Tree Hill. Is it worth going, seeing that the One Tree has been removed?
Having read numerous forums suggesting a ferry ride to neighbouring islands/bays, can someone recommend one to us for a half-day visit? We will need to be back to Auckland by 4:00pm as we have to pick up our rental car. We are thinking of grabbing a bite from the Auckland Fish market. Are there fresh oysters there? I have read that it is not as big a set-up as Sydney's Fish market though. I welcome any recommendations on cheap eats.

We will be headed to Hamilton for a short visit at the Hamilton Gardens guided tour the next morning. Can someone recommend any cheap eats along the way from Hamilton to Waitomo Caves? We are booked for a 4:00pm visit to Waitomo Caves.

Any cheap eats recommendation for Matamata is also welcome after our tour of Hobbiton the following day.
Apart from one night dining at Tamaki, I am seeking recommendations for cheap eats at Rotorua too.
As we are after a lunch venue at Taupo, can someone recommend a place to go for trout for lunch? I need something fast as we are driving through Taupo to Huka Falls and going on to Napier.
Which winery restaurant should we visit? I am looking for a dining venue that offers good food and nice view of the vineyard.
I have read that Wellington is a craft beer city so is Grill Meats Beer worth a visit? any recommendations for a dining venue that serves craft beer and food (burgers, pastas and pizzas would be good.)
We plan to stop over for lunch at one of the vineyards at Blenheim. Any recommendation on a winery?
We plan to visit Nin's Bin at Kaikoura. As we are going to be overnight at Kaikoura, any other recommendation is most welcome.
We would like to visit Fergburger in Queenstown. As we do not take beef, do they serve other meats?
What else is worth visiting for dining in Queenstown as we have three nights there? We are doing a dinner cruise one night onboard TSS Earnslaw.
What about dining in Christchurch? Any recommendations?
Any recommendations for dining in Cromwall? We are doing a 7 hour drive from Christchurch direct to Queenstown? Where is a good place to stop for meals (lunch)?
Any recommendations for Franz Josef?

On another note, how do I get hold of the Virtual Tourist flag? I would like to have one in my photo.
Am planning a tandem skydive in Queenstown and Heli Ice Hike in Franz Josef.
And a ride on the Tranz Alpine.

Thanx in advance.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · July 22, 2016
Itinerary Help  (8 Answers)

Hey Guys,

We are planning to travel NZ (South Island) in early December with our 8 year old daughter. Could you pls let me know what you think about this Itinerary ?

28-Nov-16 Christchurch (Reaching CHR in the morninng and planning to spend the day wondering arounthe city)
29-Nov-16 Hokitika (Leave early morning and drive through Arthers, Punakaki, and reach Hokitika)
30-Nov-16 Fox Glacier / Franz Josef (Spend the day visiting Glaciers / Walks)
1-Dec-16 Wanaka (Visit Lake Matherson and go to Wanaka)
2-Dec-16 Wanaka (Spend the day around Wanaka and Rafting)
3-Dec-16 Queenstown (Relax, City and Gondola and Dinner
4-Dec-16 Queenstown (One of Jet Boarting / Ziplining or Visit Arrowtown)
5-Dec-16 Te Anau (Relax and something around reach Glowworm Cave tour in the evening)
6-Dec-16 Milford Sound (Drive to Milford for overnight cruise)
7-Dec-16 Te Anau (Spend the day relaxing)
8-Dec-16 Tekapo (reach Tekapo in the evening)
9-Dec-16 Tekapo (Walks arounf the area)
10-Dec-16 Mount Cook (Visit Hooker Vally Track)
11-Dec-16 Christchurch (Reach CHR and depart next day night)

Can you please share your thoughts on this.

Should I have to move things around? Is this doable?


Asanka & Vishwa

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · June 27, 2016
16 day trip of north and south islands: what to keep and what to skip  (10 Answers)

Hello! My boyfriend and I are flying into Auckland from the US for a 16 day trip of the north and south island in Feb 2017. I am working on our itinerary but i've been told it is too ambitious and we need to eliminate a few stops. These are some places we would like to hit, can you suggest how to do this in 16 days, if it is feasible, and what to eliminate? The only set plan is that we fly into auckland on feb 1st and we fly out the afternoon of feb 16th. we are planning on driving most of the trip with the exception of flying from queenstown to auk on the 15th. we are open to other travel options (local flights) if it will cut on time and be more feasible

In the north we would like to visit: auckland, bay of islands, waipoua kauri forest (if time) hobbiton, waitomo caves, rotorua, taupo, wellington (if time, were told to get rid of this or bay or islands, but BoI seemed like a great destination)

in the south: marlbourough/bleinheim for a wine tour, abel tasman park and nelson, kaikura, christchurch, te anau, queenstown...we had dunedin on here too but were told to take it off

during this we are looking to get some nice hikes in as well as fishing and snorkling so if there are spots on here where we can do this and it is redundant please let me know so we can consolidate.

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