Research Request: I am going to New Zealand for work, 5 March -1 April. I will be working Monday-Friday; therefore, I am looking for possible weekend trips (x3) and then a full week to travel 2 April – ~7 April with my boyfriend. I’m thinking…renting an RV on the South Island…and then perhaps get back to North Island a coupleish days before flying home to have time to do some of the sights there? Just initial thoughts for planning purposes. I request / authorize 3-hours of planning please.
2 hrs of Research with an hour reserved if she wants more information or to go a different way:
Evenings or spare time in Wellington:
-Hike (less than an hour) or take cable car up Mt Victoria
-Te Papa museum (The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is the national museum and art gallery of New Zealand, located in Wellington. It is branded and commonly known as Te Papa and Our Place; “Te Papa Tongarewa” is broadly translatable as “the place of treasures of this land”.)
-New Zealand Parliament and St Paul’s Cathedral
-Zealandia, an eco-restoration facility just 10 minutes from downtown Wellington
-Wellington also appears to be a jumping off point for a lot of Lord of the Rings tours/sights
1) Fly to Auckland. I was able to find $69-$82 flights on Jetstar leaving the evening of the 11th and returning the evening of the 13th (see links below). Auckland, is the largest city in the country. Top sights include: Auckland Museum, One Tree Hill, and Villa Maria winery,
While there go wine tasting on Waiheke Island (35 minute ferry ride)
Also can ferry to Rangitoto Island (volcano island), kayak out an island in the Hauraki Gulf or head out to Auckland’s west coast to visit black sand beaches
You can also go North to swim with dolphins, take a cruise, relax on golden beaches and visit the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
2) Fly to Christchurch. I was able to find similar flights, good times (after work) were around $100. Check out Jetstar again. Even if you meet Ryan in Christchurch, you could spend the weekend here doing some of the stuff that you two won’t have time to do or to narrow down some of the best stuff. Or there is a lot to do/see on your drive so you can visit Christchurch but just pick him up at the airport and start your adventure… http://www.christchurchnz.com/destinations/
3) Kapti Coast and Island. You can go by bus or car but I thought train could be cool. The timetable for the train is below. The Island also has bird watching but you will need a permit from Department of Conservation, (only 50 people are allowed to visit the island each day).
4) Picton via the Interislander Ferry. You can visit wineries or go hiking in Picton.
5) Fly to Rotorua. Therapeutic hot mud pools, redwood forest, dramatic geysers and a buried village are within easy reach of the city.
6) Of note: Maunganui Beach in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand (North Island) hits the trip advisor list as top 25 beach in the world and top 10 for the South Pacific.
5-6 day driving tour of the S. Island:
Fly to Christchurch to meet your friend. Rent a RV in Christchurch.
There are lots of options for RVs and prices are all over the map. One way rentals appear to be doable for not much more money so you may want to consider a one way rental and then flying back to the departure airport. Or can do a circle. I’ve included suggestions for both below:
http://rvrentalnewzealand.com/ 407 NZ $ for the week with an extra $400 fee to drop it off in Queensland.
https://secure.britz.co.nz/NZ/select?cc=nz&brand=b&ac=&sc=rv&vtype=rv&pc=&na=2&nc=&cr=us&pb=CHC&pd=02&pm=04&py=2016&pt=10:00&db=CHC&dd=07&dm=04&dy=2016&dt=15:00&vh=&pv=1.0 Twice as much at 960 NZ $ ($624 USD) for the week and an extra $100 to drop off at Queensland.
https://bookings.wilderness.co.nz/choose_your_motorhome?utf8=%E2%9C%93&booking%5Borigin_id%5D=2&booking%5Bstart_date%5D=01%2F04%2F2016&booking%5Bstart_time%5D=10%3A00&booking%5Bdestination_id%5D=2&booking%5Bend_date%5D=07%2F04%2F2016&booking%5Bend_time%5D=15%3A00&booking%5Badults%5D=2&booking%5Bchildren%5D=0&commit=Go Even more…
http://www.iconicmotorhomes.com/rentals/model/esprit-sundance gets good ratings but seems to top end.
From Trip Advisor:
Just be aware that our roads are far different from the multi-lane freeways you will be used to. Our roads tend to be narrow, twisty and steep – think backroads Vermont. You will not be making great daily mileage in a large motorhome – best to get as compact a model as you think the two of you can co-exist in. Plus you are not able to pull off the road and camp where you please. There is an excellent variety of commercial campsites plus DOC (Dept of Conservation) has some quite basic campsites in often remote and stunning locations – check each one carefully as some have unsealed access roads possibly with no bridges and some roads are not suited for motorhomes.
BTW: It appears you could almost spend an entire week around Christchurch or Queenstown.
The below itinerary could be a round trip or it can be a one way. It could also be done in a rental car with hotels/hostels/B&Bs.
Option #1: “East Coast” (Recommended but I have a couple of extra days here so I would recommend you consolidate around day 2-4 depending on what outdoor activities you do)
Day 1 – Christchurch City to Lake Tekapo (2 hrs 45 mins, 227 km)
Day 2 – Lake Tekapo – Omarama (2 hrs 12 mins, 198 km)
Day 3 -Omarama – Dunedin (2 hrs 46 mins, 226 km)
Day 4: Dunedin – Catlins – Invercargill (3 hrs 30 mins, 252 km)
Day 5: Invercargill – Te Anau (2 hrs 35 mins, 194 km)
Day 6: Te Anau – Milford Sound (1 hr 48 mins, 119 km)
**Milford Sound: This hits every list as a must sea with fjords, waterfalls and mountains.
Day 7: Milford Sound – Queenstown (3 hrs 29 mins, 189 km)
Option #2: West Coast
Day 1 – Christchurch – Hanmer Springs (1 hr 43 min, 135 km)
Day 2 – Hanmer Springs – Hokitika (3 hrs, 254 km)
Day 3 – Hokitika – Fox Glacier (1 hr 57 min, 158 km)
Day 4 – Fox Glacier – Wanaka (3 hrs, 262 km)
Day 5 – Wanaka – Queenstown (1 hr 41 min, 125 km)
Option #3: Fly in and out of Queenstown and spend a week exploring the immediate area of Queenstown, Milford Glacier, Te Anau, Doubtful Sound, Fjordland National Park
New Zealand Tourism Website has excellent ideas and location descriptions.