A New Zealand holiday has had a long-time presence on our travel wishlist. Being Australian, we like to travel and have been all over the world, but up until now we have not visited one of the greatest travel destinations right at our doorstep. This is all about to change, a two week trip to New Zealand is planned for Aril 2019.
Here are some of our notes from the planning for our trip to New Zealand. We use online blogs by other families to help with our planning, so maybe this may be interesting to some other families who are doing the same.
How Long To Go For?
We have a two-week holiday planned, mostly limited to that duration by the school holiday period, the time we can get off work and budget restraints. Judging by the selection of online itineraries, this is a common amount of time to tour New Zealand. We picked this timeframe before we looked at where we were going to visit. But as usual, once you start to plan out your trip you quickly discover that whatever you have panned is never enough. New Zealand is a lot bigger than we thought, and there is a lot that we would like to see and do too.
Two weeks is not really enough to cover the whole country, you would be better off selecting either the North Island or South Island if you have this amount of time. But that wasn’t going to be good enough for us, this might be our only New Zealand experience, and we want to see it all!
Where to Go?
The North and South Islands of New Zealand offer very different travel experiences. We were able to come up with an itinerary that sampled a bit of each, without rushing too much (we have kids in tow remember), though to fit within our time restraint we had to include an internal flight between Auckland and Queenstown.
We fly from our home in Perth into Auckland, the capital city on the north island, and head straight out of town (cities are not what we come to New Zealand for), heading to the glowworms of Waitomo Caves. From there we cross to Rotorua for the hot springs and an authentic Maori experience. Unfortunately, that’s all we have time for in the north, if we had longer we would have travelled overland south, visiting Wellington and crossing Cook Strait to the south island.
By flying internally from Auckland to Queenstown we save a few long days of driving which we didn’t have time for and also did not want to burden the kids with.
For us, the south island of New Zealand represents quintessential New Zealand; adventure sports, dramatic scenery and wildlife. From Queenstown, we head to Milford Sound (it’s too far to drive in a day so we stop at Te Anau). Then we head to the coast, and drive from Dunedin to Christchurch, from where we fly home. If we had more time, we would have loved to spend more time in the high country and visited Franz Josef Glacier.
When to Go?
We did not have much choice of when to go but are happy with being there in April, apparently one of the prettiest months to be in New Zealand. Autumn leaves and colours abound, and it is not too cold in the south. That suited us. If you want to go skiing, or at least see snow-capped mountains, you need to come at a different time. We don’t like travelling in the cold weather, so springtime was as cold as we wanted. Now let’s hope we don’t get too many washed out days, there is no time to rest in our itinerary.
See You Soon!
Stay tuned for photos and reports of our trip, they are sure to be spectacular.