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How long to stay in each city?

21 Mar 2009 aussie liz asked

I wont be able to go on a Contiki tour but am wondering how long you think is good enough time to explore Christchurch, Queenstown, Wellington and Auckland?<BR><BR>So far this is my plan for my 20 day trip<BR><BR>-Oct into to christchurch at 3pm, recover the rest of the day and get food<BR>-Spend a few days maybe<BR>-Fly to dunedin for overnight<BR>-Fly to Queenstown for a few days, maybe 5?<BR>-in that time do a scenic flight over milford sound<BR>-either fly back to christchurch and get train to picton and do a cruise on queen charolote pass<BR>or fly to wellington<BR>-spend a few days in wellington 3 at most<BR>-fly to Taupo for 2 nights<BR>-bus to Rotorua for 2 nights<BR>-fly to Auckland for 4-5 nights<BR>-?maybe bay of islands tour.<BR><BR>What do you lot think, the ones who have been there? Im reading through my Lonely planet and it seems that theres a lot to do.... And its about the same price to fly between the points than sit on a bus for hours...<BR><BR>hm i should realy go and do my study rather than looking up stuff on Nz...
  • Read the responses 5 responses so far
  • 31 Mar 2009 Rachael said


    Bus as much as you can, then you get to see the scenery alot more. Flights are not cheap! Unless you can book far in advance and thats only on the main route lines – eg, auckland to wellington to christchurch or visa versa.

    The length of time at each place and where you want to stay depends on what you want to see.

    Do you only want to see the main touristy places or do you want to see more? eg Do you want to do decent winery tours – then Hawkes Bay or Nelson in your best bet. OR See beautiful beaches as far as your eye can see?

    Defintaly suggest a Bay Of Islands tour! Its breathtaking there.

    Can you justify for what you want to do in Dunedin to fly there for one night? Or can you not see like minded things in another part of NZ?

    just some suggestions

  • 31 Mar 2009 retrospeck said


    I just got back from the Grand Adventurer and Queenstown was by far my favorite. We stayed 3 nights there and I could have easily stayed a few days more. Auckland and Christchurch I could have done without. I would have loved to stay an extra day in Rotorua just so I could Zorb a few more times (so much fun).

  • 5 Apr 2009 aussie liz said


    Cool thanks for that advice.

    Well thing is i hate being stuck on a bus for hours on end. Sure id see scenary etc but i want to get to places quicker.

    At the moment with that itenary minus dunedin, i could get flights for $400 in total. Id say thats pretty good. Plus id get scenary anyway!

    Found out also much to my disappoint that apparently most companies do not do tours out to Bay of Islands, like Cape Bret and swim with the dolphins.
    Now that really makes me sad coz that was going to be the 2nd highlight of my trip after seeing Milford Sound.

  • 10 Apr 2009 N-Rod said


    hi Liz,

    If I were you, I would spend less time in the cities, and more time in places like Taupo, Milford Sound etc

    Auckland isn’t really a tourist city unless you are going in the summer, and then you can head out to the islands on the Hauraki Gulf. I’m from Auckland and aside from that in regards to tourism there isn’t a huge amount to do.

    If I were you, after Milford Sound I would head up the West Coast and check out Abel Tasman National Park and do a kayak tour (haven’t been there but from everyone that has it is amazing). Then after that head to your cruise on the Queen Charlotte Sound.

    I’d spend 1-2 days max in Wellington, maybe check out Te Papa (national museum), if you get a sunny day Wellington is mint.

    In Taupo, I’d take a bus to Tongariro National Park, a world heritage site (or I’d stay in the park itself) and do some of the walks – if you do one you have to do Tongariro Crossing, which is one of the best walks in the world (google Tongariro Crossing and see why). It’s about 6-7 hours but well worth it. It also depends on the time of year you wishh to go, as in winter you need a guide to come with you. When the weather gets better (bout September) you can do it on your own.

    Also in Taupo check out huka falls and some of the other touristy things theres a heap. I’d spend 3 or 4 days in Taupo.

    2 days in rotorua (or rotovegas as we call it) should be sweet.

    4-5 days in auckland is too long, unless you just want to go bar hopping. Other than that, in terms of tourist stuff, I’d spend no more than 1-2 days there and that might really be pushing it.

    I’d take off a couple days in Auckland to do the Bay of Islands.

    Queenstown 5 days is sweet as well.

    Hope that helps.

  • 11 Apr 2009 aussie liz said


    Thank you very much for your help.

    This is my updated plan, am getting rid of Dunedin..if i had a car id go there but yeah… would only want to go to see the churches and Cadbury Factory lol.

    Um the time in Auckland will allow my trip to Bay of Islands…id just spend like a full day and half day on either side probably in the Bay.

    Someone said 1 night is plenty for Rotorua. I am definately going to Taupo to see the Huka Falls.wont be doing the jet boating though, dont want to get more nauseated than i already feel lol, and am worried id fall out, yes im sure all probably feel that lol.

    Ok heres my plan

    Sunday Oct 4…arrive in Christchurch at 3pm, just get orientated to the city and get around the fact that I am actually in NZ lol.

    5 and 6th, do stuff in christchurch

    7-th fly out to Queenstown until the 12th, in that time I will do a MIlford Sound Fly/Cruise/Fly

    12th, fly up to Wellington

    15th, fly from Wellington to Taupo

    17th, get bus to Rotorua

    18th, fly to Auckland

    20th, fly to Bay of Islands
    21st, do the day in the bay trip with Awesome NZ
    22nd, fly back to Auckland

    23rd, do more in auckland and pack up all my gear and pray that im not over weight limit lol..and drown my sorrows maybe coz im leaving beautiful NZ

    Now, I would love to do a cruise around Abel Tasman, I found that Black Cats i think it is do a 3hr cruise in that area. Thing is, that would mean I’d have to get a ferry from Welly to Picton and go from there…and back.

    Also….maybe i should fly from Rotorua to Bay of islands so that the final days are in Auckland, rather than 2 in one place then 2 in the other and back again….

    GAHHH i need to organise somethign soon so i can book trips etc…And got to start saving lol, Thank god i am working over easter (lots of money) and weekends!

    24th fly back to Brisbane

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