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New Zealand April 19'

We are going to New Zealand for our (official) honeymoon.
We will be there 13 days. Flying from LAX to Auckland.
I want to rent a camper van for 5-7 days in the middle of our trip.
I am not sure if it will be the best time to maybe try a whale tour.

I figure we will probably stick to the north island, NC 2 weeks is t enough time to see both islands, but my husband suggested a ferry ride from one to the other?

Any suggestions on best trip ideas that will remain relatively inexpensive?

To add to my inquiry; Which towns would best to stay in?
Is it worth while to stay in Auckland and drive to North island destinations from there?
Once again, Thank you for the input

Posted by
46 posts

You haven't indicated where you will be flying in from. I presume you will be arriving in Auckland.

Posted by
1970 posts

We had a cruise from Sydney booked to see New Zealand last year, but it was cancelled at the last minute, so we found a great tour that was about a week long of the North Island. Loved it, but sorry we missed the more scenic South Island. The tour company was Trafalgar.

Still, the Bay of Islands area is nice for a couple of days, then Auckland for a couple of days, then south to Rotura, ending in Wellington. We also visited the site of the movie set Lord of the Rings. That was great. Also, visited some amazing caves with glow worms!

Wellington was our favorite city, we spent three days there.

I don't know about camping, but April is the equivalent of October in the Southern hemisphere and NZ is chilly that time of the year. We were there in early to mid April and some nights were so cold. Be sure to take warm clothing.

Posted by
996 posts

We've spent time in both islands and would recommend you give that some thought. We liked the area around Christchurch and Auckland but didn't camp out but could do day trips from both. We were hunting so had a ready made tour guide with the outfitter and his family near Christchurch. It will be cold then, especially if you get up in the mountains though I doubt it will snow. We flew between the islands so can't help with the ferry idea. You might get on tripadvisor.com and post on specific cities' forums for detailed help from locals and other posters who've been to those cities. Good luck.

Posted by
1158 posts

You could indeed spend all of your time on the North Island, and wouldn't necessarily go wrong if you did, but it would be a shame to go all the way to NZ and not see at least some of the wonders of the South Island - especially the area in and around Queenstown with it's easy access to world class hiking, Te Anau, Milford Sound, and numerous LOTR film locations. Aoraki/Mt Cook is worth a visit too - absolutely gorgeous mountain scenery.

Christchurch is still rebuilding from the earthquakes of 2011. The whole city seemed to be one giant construction zone when we visited last year - I'd give it a miss if I were you. Likewise, I wouldn't waste any of your limited time on the Interislander ferry. Better to use that day to explore some of the many beautiful sights the country has to offer.

In April you'll be visiting during the shoulder season when most of the crowds of summer have started to disperse and the skiiers haven't yet descended on the Southern Alps. Would think that you could get pretty good deals on a camper van rental if that's really what you want to do. Traditional accommodations should be pretty cheap too if you choose to forego roughing it.

There are several direct flights per day connecting Auckland with either Christchurch or Queenstown, making for easy connections between the two.

New Zealand is (in our opinion) the most beautiful country on earth. Suggest studying several good guidebooks to see what's on offer and then structure an itinerary according to your particular interests.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you for your insight.

I would love to see the south island, I wasn't sure if a.week on each island would feel too rushed. Or if we should split it up for a couple extra days on the south.
I am very much the outdoor adventurer. But I like to be able to relax while on holiday, instead of being busy traveling from point A to B the entire time.

Posted by
1158 posts

If outdoor adventuring is your thing then I'd suggest making a beeline for Queenstown - the adventure capital of NZ. There's enough there and in the immediate vicinity to keep you busy for a month.
If you're interested I can provide the link to a place just outside of town along the road to Glenorchy where we stayed early last year.

Posted by
4 posts

That would be awesome to get that link/ information. Thank You.
I am very excited about this trip. All the help is greatly appreciated.

My plan is changing to 4 days on the north island and then heading south...

Posted by
4 posts

To add to my inquiry; Which towns would best to stay in?
Is it worth while to stay in Auckland and drive to North island destinations from there?
Once again, Thank you for the input

Posted by
46 posts

Stay in Auckland for four days. If you are energetic there are a couple of volcanic hills you can climb to the top of and get a panoramic view of the city: Mt Eden and One Tree Hill. If you like great beach walks, and interesting scenery then I highly recommend a ferry trip to Waiheke, one of the many islands close to downtown Auckland that are accessible by fairly frequent ferries. Waiheke has many great vineyards which produce good but pricy wines. There are tour companies that do tours of the island where you get to visit three or four vineyards and perhaps a beach. Onetangi is beautiful,
Auckland Museum has one of the best collections of Pacific Island art in the world. Auckland Art Gallery has paintings/portraits of famous Maori chiefs by Charles Goldie and Gottfried Lindauer.
There are some excellent craft shops in the city and nearby suburbs selling pottery, handwoven garments and NZ jade and Greenstone.

Avoid the shops at the airport which tend to be overpriced

Posted by
1158 posts

Here's the link to Tui House near Queenstown: https://www.bookabach.co.nz/baches-and-holiday-homes/view/19815. Note that the price you see quoted on the bookabach website are in NZD.
The place is very handy to Queenstown without actually being in the center of town, and it's a beautiful drive up to the end of the lake to the village of Glenorchy. The trailheads for several of NZ's Great Walks are close by.
Although I suggest skipping Christchurch itself, about an hour to the east is the Banks peninsula and the pretty French-themed town of Akaroa ... one of our favorites.
From Queenstown you could book day trips to Milford and/or Doubtful Sound (pick a sunny day), though with a car you could easily make the trip independently.
These guys have cornered the market on affordable day trips throughout New Zealand : https://www.realjourneys.co.nz/en/