Those of you who have read my New Zealand posts will knew that my friends, the Belchers, really helped me maximise my time in the country by putting together a detailed itinerary. Wanting others to have as much fun as I did (and with the Belcher blessing) I have posted it here (all photos and links are in posts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of my blog.)
North Island Trip
Day 1 – Collect rental car (Apex were well priced). Drive to Waitomo Caves. Visit Caves. Stay Waitomo.
Day 2 – Waitomo Blackwater rafting. Drive to Tongariro National Park. Stay Chateau area or National Park town.
Day 3 – Tongariro Crossing day walk. Stay Chateau area.
Day 4 – To Napier via Taihape and the “Gentle Annie” road. Bike hire and ride (I rode to Mission Estate Winery – excellent!) Stay Napier.”
Day 5 – Napier to Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony – beach tractor tour or 4WD cliff tour. Drive to Taupo – stay. (I went parasailing.)
Day 6 – To Rotorua – visit Whakarewarewa Maori Village. Skyline and luge. Stay.
Day 7 – Rotorua – Redwood forest bike ride. Agrodome on north side of Rotorua.
Drive to Lake Tarawera, visit Buried Village on way. Stay Mount Maunganui.
Day 8 – Mount Maunganui – climb Mount and enjoy beach. Then drive to Auckland via Waihi Beach and Pauanui.
Return rental car and stay Auckland near Airport
South Island Trip
Day 9 – Fly to Christchurch – Air NZ 0501 depart 7.00 am arrive 8.25 am. Collect motorhome (must be pre-booked) then provision at supermarket.
Drive to Akaroa and free camp in car Park by the sea. (Download “Campermate” app for all free camping and campsite locations.
Day 10 – To Lake Tekapo via Highway 72 (Methven). Stay
Day 11 – To Mt Cook – plane flight – weather permitting – or short hike. Stay or drive to Lake Ohau – dinner at Lodge?
Day 12 – To Queenstown via Cromwell/ Bannockburn. Stay.
Day 13 – Queenstown – Shotover jetboat then bungy jump Kawerau Bridge/Nevis/The Ledge. Gibbston Valley Winery opposite bungy.
Day 14 – Queenstown – Milford Sound day trip including boat tour on Sound.
Day 15 – Queenstown – choice of activity: bike ride, winery visit, paragliding from Skyline, white water rafting, walking etc. (I played golf and did a winery tour – both highly recommended).
NB – The next few days are a big hike. If you are not interested in this toe if thing, adapt as necessary.
Day 16 – To Greenstone Track & Greenstone DOC Hut (1st come, 1st served $15.00/night – buy ticket in Glenorchy).
Day 17 – To Lake Howden DOC Hut at start of Routeburn Track. Booking must be made well in advance via Department of Conservation website.
Day 18 – Lake Howden to Routeburn Flats DOC Hut. Booking as per above.
Day 19 – Finish Routeburn Track & return to Queenstown – book transport back to Queenstown before commencing trek. Stay Arrowtown or Cardrona Hotel.
Day 20 – To Wanaka via Coronet Peak, Arrowtown & Crown Range Road. Visit Cardrona Pub (if you didn’t stay there, of course!)
If weather good book Siberian Experience ph. +64 3 4434385 & stay Wanaka. Tandem skydiving or paragliding?
Day 21 – Wanaka – Rob Roy walk (5+ hours return) at end of Matukituki Valley road. Stay Glendhu Bay or Makarora if weather looks good for Siberian Experience – it is a wonderful trip.
Day 22 – Siberian Experience – chopper to valley, walk, then boat out.
Day 23 – Free day in case of itinerary changes.
Day 24 – Fox or Franz Josef Glacier – Lake Matheson for superb photo early morning or late evening. Helicopter onto the glacier and trek with crampons. Stay.
Day 25 (Long drive) – To Marahau via Hokitika – enjoy whitebait at Hokitika or along the route. Stay Marahau.
Next up, I did the “Homeward Bound” 3-day trip with Marahau Sea Kayaks but Marc’s itinerary below equally nice.
Day 26 – Abel Tasman National Park – water taxi from Marahau to Separation Point and walk back to Bark Bay DOC Hut. Watch tides at Awaroa Estuary Book water taxi and DOC Huts.
Day 27 – Abel Tasman National Park – walk back to Marahau. Stay Kaiteriteri
Day 28 – To Blenheim (lovely wine growing area famous for Sauvignon Blanc) via Nelson, Queen Charlotte Drive and Picton. Stay
Go to Kaikoura if at all possible, as very interesting place. (This was a week or two after a major earthquake and roads were unusable.)
Day 29 – Blenheim – visit Omakau Museum(Peter Jackson’s WWI aircraft exhibition)
Due to earthquake, main roads may still be closed and Kaikoura not operating. May have to return to Christchurch via Murcheson and Arthurs Pass, in which case have a night in Arthurs Pass area.
Day 30 To Kaikoura – whale watch, swimming with dolphins, seal colony. Stay Hanmer Springs Book
Day 31 – To Christchurch, return motorhome and fly to Auckland for onward flight.