A month in New Zealand
There are no motorways so don't expect to get anywhere fast, but the roads are good, and the scenery is fantastic.
Days 1-3: Auckland, Quality Inn, Parnell.
· Day trip to Devonport: walk to the top of Mt Victoria, an extinct volcano, for magnificent panoramic views,
· Wander the trendy streets of Parnell, Newmarket and Ponsonby.
Days 4, 5: Coromandel, Anchor Lodge Motel.
· Experience the hot sands and springs at Hot Water Beach, nr Hahei; walk the Cathedral Cove track to the beach; drive the 309 road, a well-maintained but steep gravel road (watch out for wild pigs).
· Drive to Waitomo Caves to see the glow worms.
Days 6, 7: Rotorua, Cedarwood Lakeside Holiday Resort.
· Visit to the Wai-o-Tapu thermal wonderland. Don’t be put off by its commercial name – the sight are so awe-inspiring, words hardly do justice.
· Wander around town through the Kuirau Park and along the lake to see steam rising from every crevice.
Day 8, 9: Rotorua, drive on to Napier. Mission B&B www.missionbnb.co.nz
· Bath in the hot springs at Waikite Valley Thermal Pools.
· Wander the Art Deco buildings in Napier. Visit the Art Deco Centre on the corner of Herschell Street and Tennyson Street for guidance and tours.
· Head down the coast to the vineyards towards Te Awanga.
· Drive to the top of Te Mata Park, 16km from Havelock North.
· Dine at the birthplace of New Zealand wine at the Mission Estate Winery, Taradale, Napier.
Day 10, 11: Head to the south island, Blenhiem. Dry Olive B&B www.dryolive.com
· Get up early to tackle the four and a half hour drive to Wellington, to get a ferry over to the south island. You’ll need to book in advance.
· Visit the Marlborough vineyards.
Day 12: Kaikoura: Austin Heights B&B www.austinheights.co.nz
· Drive to Kaikoura to see the sperm whales – three hour boat trip. Book in advance.
Day 13: Oamaru: Windhaven B&B www.windhaven.co.nz
· Long drive but beautiful countryside.
· Visit Riverstone Kitchen for dinner
Day 14, 15: Drive to Te Anau: Kepler Oaks chalet www.teanaunz.com www.facebook.com/keplaroakschalet
· Drive to Te Anau via Frankton.
· Day trip to Milford Sound, organised through Real Journeys. Book in advance.
Day 16, 17: Drive to Wanaka: Alphine Resort, Wanaka
· Drive via lunch in Queenstown
· Hire bicycles and pedal around the lake, walk to the top of Mount Iron, take your brains to the gym for a workout at Puzzle World.
Day 18,19: Drive to Franz Fox and Franz Josef
· Take a helicopter to the top of the glaciers with Helicopter Glacier Tours: Alpine Adventures, www.scenic-flights.co.nz
· Kayaking: we joined Glacier Country Kayaks www.glacierkayaks.com
· Visit the Glacier hot pools: www.glacierhotpools.co.nz
For wild life visit the West Coast Wildlife Centre to see kiwis www.wildkiwi.co.nz or take a tour to see the White Heron Sanctuary
· For culture visit the Maori Cultural Experience by Puawai: a new live performance of traditional songs and dance. Be prepared for some participation and fun. www.maoriculturalcentre.co.nz
· Stay at Glenfern villas, just 6km from Franz Josef (www.glenfern.co.nz) or 58 on Cron motel, which is within walking distance of Franz Josef’s restaurants and bars. (www.58oncron.co.nz)
Day 20: Drive to Hokitika
· Walk along the beach, which is littered with fantastic driftwood
· Visit the glow worm dell.
· Get your walking boots on: Click here for more details
· Stay at the Shining Star Beachfront Accommodation. The chalets back straight on to the beach and are opposite a glow worm dell. www.shiningstar.co.nz
Day 21: Drive to Christchurch via Arthur’s Pass
· Signs and cracks of the 2011 earthquake, which killed 185 people, are still very much evident. Just wandering around the town you’ll get a glimpse of how life has changed from the shopping area and the cathedral.
Day 23: fly back to Auckland
· Lonely Planet’s guide to New Zealand
· There are plenty of free guides and maps to pick up enroute. Look out for information from Jasons.co.nz and the AA (Automobile Association, aatravel.co.nz)
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