Has anyone been to New Zealand? I'm all ears!

posted 1 year ago in Honeymoons
Post # 2
Member
2748 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle

Kiwi here! With two weeks (and I’m assuming October, given that’s your wedding date?) I’d fly into Auckland and then get straight on a domestic flight to Christchurch and spend your two weeks on the South Island – but I am slightly biased because I’m a South Islander! You can easily spend a fortnight doing a South Island loop – drive from Christchurch via Arthurs Pass to the west coast, down the coast via the glaciers, in to Wanaka via the Haast Pass, spend a few days in the Queenstown area (amazing Pinot noir country, plus Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand) then back up through the centre, stopping at Mt Cook, returning to Christchurch (and if you have time, visit Akaroa for a day trip).  Stacks and stacks of fabulous hiking from short walks through to multi-day hikes.

Or, if you decide to stay on the North Island (you really don’t have time to do both islands in a fortnight) I’d go up to the Bay of Islands for a few days, head back through Auckland, stop at Waitomo for black water rafting, go down to the Tongariro area and do the Tongariro Crossing walk (one of the best day hikes in the world), visit Taupo, Rotorua (which is the geothermal area) and then spend some time in the Coromandel before returning to Auckland.

Post # 4
Member
1121 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2019

I second the vote for the South Island. I’ve visited a few times and it is just stunningly beautiful, the people are amazing and there is no shortage of activities to do. I spent most of my time around Wanaka because we were skiing at a local hill and we were able to do a lot of excursions from that location. 

Post # 5
Member
1413 posts
Bumble bee

I would start in Christchurch and rent a car and drive up the Kaikoura Coast ( scenery is amazing). Then catch the Picton Ferry and go across to Wellington. You can either drive up the west coast of the North Island or up the Middle to see the Volcanoes- Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe ( Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings) or the East Coast which has some lovely wine country around Hawkes Bay. I would also suggest checking out the Bay of Islands on your way to Auckland. Rotorua with it’s bubbling mud pools and Maori history is a great stop too. My husband and I hiked up Rangitoto ( another volcano) the last time we were in New Zealand it was fantastic.

I would highly suggest ” going bush” somewhere along the way. New Zealand is filled with birdsong and to really experience the country it is a good idea to walk through the native habitats.

There is really so much to see and do. It is such a gorgeous country. I envy you!

Post # 6
Member
2748 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle

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absinthevintage :  October is usually starting to warm up (particularly further north) although you may find that some ski fields in the South are still open – it’s not super unusual for the ski season to extend that long!  The majority of hikes will be open – some tracks have bridges which are removed over the winter and they may not be back in place, depending on the snowpack, but there will be enough open that you won’t have trouble finding anywhere to hike.

Happy to answer any other questions you might have!

Post # 7
Member
1219 posts
Bumble bee

Omg we’re doing this exact trip right now for our honeymoon! Though we’re not planning to do much hiking. We flew into Wellington, spent a couple of days there (craft beers, good food), then driving to the Hawke’s bay region for some fishing and nice wine. Then Rotorua for the thermal pools and geysers. Then drive to Auckland, stopping by Hobbiton. We’re only spending a week here then flying out of Auckland to Cook Islands for relaxing at the beach (snorkelling, kayaking etc). 

No advise for hiking I’m sure you’ll get plenty from others. But definitely visit NZ, such a beautiful country! I always feel so serene and at peace when I’m here.

I’ve already been to South Island so not doing it this time but if you drive down from Auckland to Wellington, you can then travel across to South Island and do that too. Queenstown is beautiful, and Milford Sound is a must visit (I’ve heard there’s great hiking there as well). Also can do the glaciers if you have time / can make it, that was amazing even in summer.

Post # 8
Member
486 posts
Helper bee

I’m also from the south island so I like KiwiDerbyBrides plan, except I like Wellington much better than Auckland, so I’d fly into there, and spend some time drinking the awesome coffee! I love Mackenzie, so I would recommend staying at the Hermitage hotel at Mt Cook (in one of the rooms with the mountain view rooms), and also stopping at Tekapo,on the way back to Christchurch, maybe via Geraldine. And definitely Akaroa. 

Post # 10
Member
319 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

I much prefer the scenery in the South Island. The North Island is beautiful and hilly, the South Island is more dramatic with mountains, lakes and glaciers. With 2 weeks I would pick one island to explore properly. Don’t rush and try and see the whole country.

if you happen to layover in Auckland there is a winery 10 minutes drive from the airport. Perfect lunch stop for a layover.

Post # 13
Member
2349 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

Im from New Zealand. Here’s what i recommend.

Fly into Auckland, visit Waiheke Island (treat vineyards), west coast beaches with black sand like Piha etc. The harbour is what makes Auckland.  Auckland is full of amazing restaurants- world class. Best restaurants are on ponsonby rd, wynyard quarter or around Sky Tower.

Then drive to Rotorua. This is a thermal area like Yellowstone. Think geysers, frying lakes, mud pools etc. There are also lots of adventure things like the luge etc. It’s a  place enriched in Maori culture. Then stay in national park & do the Tongariro crossing day hike.  It’s very very popular and i recommend always being prepared. It can snow at any time. Many people get caught out. You can ski at Mt Ruapheu too.

Then drive to Waitomo and visit the glow worm caves plus Hobbiton in Matamata on way to Rotorua if you’re a lord of the ring fan.

You can drive to Auckland and fly to south island but i recommend driving to Wellington and taking ferry to South island. The marlborough sounds are amazing on the ferry. Once in south island, check out vineyards in Blenehim and try their world class sauvignon blanc. Im a big fan of peter yealand wines. Also at the top of south island there is sunny Nelson with Abel Tasman national park and fox glacier if you venture down west coast. 

On East coast on the drive to Christchurch, check out Hanmer Springs. They have amazing hot pools. Also Kaikoura for Whale Watching. I wouldn’t bother with Christchurch.  South of Christchurch is Akaroa. It’s a very beautiful french inspired village with a lovely harbour. Then take the most amazing drive through to Tekapo. This road is out of this world. Stay the night in Tekapo, visit the observatory and pools. Then drive to Wanaka or queenstown. Queenstown is amazing but not the town it was. Very busy. The ski fields close end of October.  I cant recommend Onsen pools enough but book early as they book out quickly. Also bungy jumping, theirs an amazing cannon swing, jet boats, the Earnslaw steam ship to Glenorchy, Arrowtown. I recommend a day trip on a bus to Milford Sound. Sadly i haven’t done it yet but it’s incredible. There’s lots of hikes in South island, including Milford Track,  queen Charlotte sound – they’re long hikes. Best bet is Tongariro since it’s a day hike – takes about 8 hours if you’re slow.  

Both islands have their beauty and they’re very different. The north island has beautiful beaches and much warmer temperature. The south island has beautiful mountains.

If you have any questions,  plese let me know. I’ve seen nearly every inch of this beautiful country. 

 

Youll also find many amazing Airbnbs

Post # 14
Member
631 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

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absinthevintage :  I’d recommend reaching out to destination specialists who regularly sell New Zealand and the South Pacific. 

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