New Zealand for only 3 weeks!

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New Zealand for only 3 weeks!

Postby bethrc » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:00 pm

Hello, I'm looking for some advice and help for an upcoming trip to NZ: all suggestions are welcome so please and thank you!

I going to be going to New Zealand (landing in Auckland) march time for the first time, however the only misfortune is that I can only stay for 3 weeks so I'm looking to find out the must-sees of the kiwi nation. Ill be staying in hostels or couch surfing for the most part and hoofing It by any means necessary; will this limit me a great deal?
I hope to visit the country, even if for a short time and still return with enough awesome photos and stories that will
Make my friends want to beat me death out of jealousy ( well maybe just turn green with envy instead of that last part).

Thanks for your help, Beth.
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Re: New Zealand for only 3 weeks!

Postby Zuleika » Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:33 pm

Hi ya! All depends on what you like to do of course but this is what I would recommend:
Get a Greyhound bus to Wellington with a stop over at Rotorua for the thermal activity and maybe Lake Taupo which is very pretty.
Then get the Cook Strait ferry through the Marlborough Sound to Picton on the South island - GORGEOUS on a calm day but heinous on a rough day! (Take your seasick tablets just in case LOL) The Sound is beautiful!

Then join a hop on hop off bus such as MagicBus, StrayBus or even Kiwi Experience (this last is very much a party bus - if thats your thing) and travel down the West side of the South Island - its GORGEOUS!
Noteworthy stops will be Punakaiki for the interesting pancake rocks, Franz Joseph for the glacier hike, Wanaka - gorgeous lake and they make wooden games which are great. Mt Cook is STUNNING.
Milford Sound is a must - goes without saying - but if you want to do the 3/4 day hike you need to book up your dates 3 months + in advance for the overnight huts, but if you get the coach in, I don't think this needs booking, but DEFO do the boat trip through the sound - its amazing!
Queenstown is GREAT - plan to spend a few days here - this is adrenalin junkie heaven and there are loads of things to do here, including hiking etc. After that is Dunedin which is a nice University town but not much else if your in a hurry just pass through, go up to Christchurch and get a flight to Auckland if your flying out from there - or alternatively try and get your International from Christchurch. Also, a trip north of Christchurch will take you to Kaikoura where you go whale watching but this is VERY dependent on good weather and is often delayed for days on end if its bad.
The weather in the South Island is very changeable and by March when your planning to go will possibly be pretty cold so take plenty of layers and warm/wet weather clothing. You may even get snow on the mountains!
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Re: New Zealand for only 3 weeks!

Postby bethrc » Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:12 pm

Thanks you so much! that sounds like a great trip and will definitely be following your wise advice. Am i right in believing that there isn't much to do on the North Island or just that the overall my time would be best spent on the south Island?
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Re: New Zealand for only 3 weeks!

Postby Reditor » Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:24 pm

I've made Tongariro one of the must-stops on the north island for when I hit NZ....simply looks too amazing.

Hey Zuleika, any tips on best place (if you can choose only 1) to see penguins in New Zealand?
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Re: New Zealand for only 3 weeks!

Postby Zuleika » Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:37 pm

bethrc wrote:Thanks you so much! that sounds like a great trip and will definitely be following your wise advice. Am i right in believing that there isn't much to do on the North Island or just that the overall my time would be best spent on the south Island?


Nooo - theres loads to do on the North Island too - its just you dont have so much time and the scenery is more dramatic in the South - in my humble opinion of course. In the north - up North - The Bay of Island is lovely, further south The Coromandel is great - fantastic winery's - loads of fab wine tasting. You can dig holes in the sand at the Coromandel and the hot thermals fill them up with water - its like sitting in the bath but on the beach!!! Great/novel in winter!
Tongariro is lovely, great for hiking - I went skiing on Mt Ruapehu - fantastic!. Lake Taupo is very pretty!

If you had 6 weeks - I'd say spend 3 weeks on each, but if you have to pick I'd go mostly wwith the South Island.

Hey Red - Im afraid I dont know about the penguins - maybe Jimshu can help out here, being a kiwi hiimself and all!!


PS - sorry I think Greyhound bus is in Australia - I cant remember the name of the national bus service in NZ - but should be easy to find out.
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Re: New Zealand for only 3 weeks!

Postby onyx007 » Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:04 am

Some years ago I did the trip in 4 weeks on both Islands seeing prety all the things Zuleika wrote about. But if I had only 3 weeks I would probably exactly do what she told you in her first post.
Auckland - Rotorua, Lake Taupo and Wellington on the North Island;
Pancake Rocks, Glaciers (either Fox or Franz Josef), Wanaka, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Dunedin and Christchurch on the South Island (maybe Kaikoura with the whale watching)

If you do only a day trip to Milford Sound and if you fly out from Christchurch than maybe you should think about going to the Bay of Islands as well. I did it with Magic Bus in three days from Auckland.
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Re: New Zealand for only 3 weeks!

Postby bethrc » Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:15 pm

How much is flying internally in NZ- i.e the flight from Christchurch back up to Auckland?
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Re: New Zealand for only 3 weeks!

Postby jimshu » Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:20 pm

Penguins probably best to see down around Dunedin's peninsular or just near Oamaru.
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Re: New Zealand for only 3 weeks!

Postby Zuleika » Tue Sep 07, 2010 4:03 pm

jimshu wrote:Stuck in a whisky distillery in Scotland at the mo.....


NOt a bad place to be stuck!!!!!!
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Re: New Zealand for only 3 weeks!

Postby georginal » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:10 am

Intercity is one of the bus companies offering reasonably priced long journeys. I used them between Auckland and Wellington and it was comfortable enough. Otherwise there is nakedbus.com they reckon they offer fares from $1, but like any other offers you have to be quick off the mark in booking and perhaps travel and some ridiculous times, but its still an option. Otherwise Atomic, but to be honest, I don't know much about them.

I was in NZ for 7 weeks, and did half on the North Island, and half on the South. I used Stray as a hop-on hop off and it was so much fun. I was sold it on the understanding that the Stray bus loads are usually a touch older generally than the Kiwi experience lot, and smaller groups on the whole. That certainly seemed to be the case when I was there. I'd agree totally with what has been said about itinerary above, so can't really add anything else much there.

When you get to Auckland there are 2 Tourist Information offices. One on the Waterfront and one in Sky Tower, which I didn't find until after I made some bookings. Doing it again, I'd have a look in both and compare any special offers on trips from both places.

Hope that helps and have a great trip!
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