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Sydney and nearby area. NZ entire country

If you have 25 days on ground, arriving in Sydney and leaving from Sydney, how long and where would you suggest to best allocate time spend for Sydney, the surrounding area of Sydney and NZ? What would be your ideal itinerary, logistics and activities in your experience to make it an once in a lifetime trip if we never go back to these 2 countries again in our lifetime.

We are an active family with boys. Unfortunately, skiing isn’t out top priority, but hiking, local culture, food, scenery, kayaking are. Main reason to NZ is for Lord of the Rings.

Thank you so so much!!!

Posted by
1097 posts

WE flew into and out of Auckland, NZ. Upon arrival we got a NZ Air flight down to Christchurch where we hunted, then toured around the south island. Lots to see and do there including the glow worms. We had two weeks total. We flew to Sydney for 5 days then over to Hobart Tasmania, the highlight of our trip. Don't miss Hobart and take the Richmond Express to see the Tasmanian devils at Zoodoo Safari Zoo and maybe onto Wellington. www.hobartshuttlebus.com. With 25 days you can catch flights from Sydney up to the Great Barrier Reef for example. Lots to see and do.

Posted by
1698 posts

Flying in and out of Sydney would mean that you'd be essentially using two of your days in transit just getting to and from Queenstown or Auckland. To keep from backtracking and in order to free up more time for exploring I'd suggest scheduling your trip as an open jaw (multi destination) flight plan - flying into Auckland and home from Sydney (or the reverse) and connecting the two places by using Jetstar, the low cost Qantas affiliate.
Jetstar would also be handy for internal trips within Australia - to Cairns for the GBR, Uluru for Ayers Rock, and/or Melbourne for the Great Ocean Road. Believe that Jetstar also has direct connections between Auckland/Queenstown and Cairns.

Posted by
1097 posts

We looked up reviews of Jetstar and decided to go with NZ Air and Quantas whenever we could. Too many negative reviews for us. You decide.

Posted by
1698 posts

Re Jetstar: It's essentially a bus with wings - a typical low-cost, no frills airline similar to others you'll encounter around the world, ie ala carte pricing for everything, reduced seat pitch, etc. We've found it to be spartan but adequate for our needs, having flown with them about a dozen times over the years. Their main selling point is cost - they'll get you to where you want to go at a reasonable price and with a minimum of hassle.

Posted by
4116 posts

I would give Sydney about 5-6 days. We have been there twice and loved the city. Need a day for the Blue Mountains and if you like wine, do a wine tasting trip north of the city.

Some great museums, also take a harbor cruise and a city tour.

Melbourne, Australia deserves a week, don't miss the Great Ocean Highway and Penguin parade on Phillip Island.

We did an 8 day land tour of the North Island of New Zealand. To see the entire country, you need minimum of two weeks.
Hobbitown is worth visiting, but is a lot more to the wonderful country. Loved Wellington.