We have 11 full days to travel from Auckland to Christchurch and see as much as possible along the way... what can we do?
Hey my boyfriend and I are travelling to NZ for the first time and have 11 full days (flying either side) to travel from Aukland to Christchurh and we had a few questions, any help would be great!
1) Is it possilbe to see: Auckland (1 full day), Corramandal (1 full day), Waitomo Caves (half day) Rotura (1 full day) and Wellington (1 full day) on the north island if we spend 5/6 days travelling?
2) Is it possible to see Milford Sound (1 full day), Christchurch (1 full day) and anywhere else worthwhile in the last 5 days? We are coming across from the North Island and didn\'t know if it was feasible to travel down to Milford Sound and then to Christchurch whilst seeing other stuff along the way in 5 days?
3) Is it best to hire a car or go by bus to do this?
I have looked alot for itineraries but wondered if anyone could suggest one that had been to NZ and done a similar thing. We travel in late September. Thanks for any suggestions!!
New Zealand is a relatively small country so you should find that just about do-able although it may feel a bit hectic! Do you have to get back to your start point at the end of the 11 days or do you fly out of Christchurch?
We mainly travelled by car while we were there which was great as it meant we could get off the beaten track a bit more and stop and start as we wanted. Am not too sure about buses but we did meet quite a few people who were travelling by bus - some seemed to enjoy it for the opportunity to meet other travellers, others seemed to feel a bit restricted. You might be able to get cheap deals on car/camper rental at that time of year as it's fairly out of season. I think due to your limited time I would be inclined to opt for your own wheels.
If you do go by car and have a bit more flexibility in your routes I would suggest not dedicating so much time to the cities - whilst Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are nice places, the real beauty of New Zealand is it's countryside and scenery.
Auckland - try to check out the suburbs if you have time - there is a link bus which does a loop that takes in some of the nicer ones where there is a nice cafe culture, more independent shops and something a bit more than just high street chains (Ponsonby, Newmarket are the two areas that spring to mind). One Tree Hill is worth a stroll for nice parkland and views around Auckland. You could also take a boat across to Devonport or Waiheke Island (Waiheke is a bit further afield but you can make it there and back in half a day with a bit of time to explore).
Travel time between Christchurch and Milford Sound is a fair distance (sorry not very specific!). We went from Christchurch through Arthurs Pass and down the west coast past the Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers. It's a drive full of lovely scenery.
The nearest big town to Milford Sound is Te Anau. It's a nice enough place and makes a good starting/stopping point to a day trip there. Am not sure if September is a good time to visit Milford Sound? I know the road is often closed because of snow in winter but maybe September is starting to get milder again so maybe clear - perhaps worth checking...
Hope that helps a little bit?! You might find our blog "And Then We
": The Entire of New Zealand in Four Weeks
useful from a working out a route point of view...
Wow I absolutely love your blob posts! I spent ages going through all of them. Yes we fly out of Christchurch. Thanks for the deads up about Milford Sound I will check that out.
Hi KaraP....I will answer your NI questions...unless u really want to do ciies u will enjoy NZ more by getting out into the country..beaches and bush. If u arrive in Auckland I would drive over to the Coromandel peninsular.its about 2 1/2 hours. be aware that roads in NZ are challenging in places..depending on your countryof origin. They can be twist and narrow in places and hilly...travellers can be caught out. Go to Coromandel and over to Mount Maunganui..surf beach cafes etc.
From Rotorua head via Taupo to Waitomo Caves..a bit of doubling back and then across down to taupo and on to Wellington. I live there. Nice city with hills harbour and great sightseeing. U would need to fly to either CHCH or Queenstown to do Milford Sound or the West Coast..long distances ie CHCH to Queenstown is 5 hours driving.
Go online and look at what the SI offers and decide what u want to see and then plan accordingly..u might be batter flying to Queenstown.
You'll be struggling to fit your itinerary in 11 Days. The roads are generally slow and there's a max 100Km/h (60mph) limit at best. The police have car radars and no sensitivity for visitors with hire cars, I know, I got done for 3 mph over the limit in the middle of nowhere (Cromwell actually), South Island.
Auckland is hardly worth a visit apart from a day trip across to Devonport and a drive to Thames. The Coromandel Peninsula road is very twisty but the scenery is excellent. We did Thames to Waihi Beach in a day stopping at Whangapoua, Whitianga and Hot Water Beach. Then a day to Lake Taupo via Waihi Gold Mine, Mt Maunganui, Rotorua and Huka Falls. Lake Taupo to Wanganui via Turangi and Raetihi can be done in a day and the scenery is excellent. Onward to Wellington and the Interislander ferry to Picton, South Island can be done in a day.
Seven days to see the SI is tight, especially if you've to get back to Auckland. We flew out of Christchurch, which is the nicest city/town in NZ. If you left NZ from here you could do Picton to Kaikoura and Hanmer Springs in a day. Then Hokitika in a day via Greymouth. Wanaka in a long day via Franz Joseph Glacier and Haas River. You could get to Te Anau via Queenstown in a day, fitting in a trip on the Gondola with spectacular views. If you stop at a motel in Te Anau, they will book you Milford Sound boat trip and some walks with Trips & Tramps, a great day if the weather is good. That leaves you with a drive to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo. This whole SI itinerary has excellent views, weather permitting.
Hope this helps!
Wow thanks for this. We are flying out of Christchurch so helps with the time a bit. Also we are going to fly from wellington to Queenstown to help our time as well!
It's a pity you'll miss the Interislander into Picton, a great trip (on a nice day, which we had). We didn't find Queenstown all that interesting but the flight in is terrific. A drive to Wanaka via the Crown Range Pass is good and Arrowtown is worth a visit. We were there last November/December. It might be chilly in September.
While in Christchurch, a trip up the gondola is worthy. A drive around to Akaora is interesting, especially if you do the ridge road. Akaora has some historic French connections.