Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand
So, I am going to interpret this as a bit of driving is OK, but not a total car trip, with about 16 days total in NZ (3-4 days in Aust + 1 day travel Aust-NZ-Aust).
What I would do spend two full days around Auckland, 1 day travel Auckland - Christchurch - Auckland and then spend the remain 13 full days in the South Island.
In Auckland do one of the following two:
1. Round trip Auckland - Coromandel Peninsula - Rotorua - Auckland.
2. Round trip Auckland - Bay Of Islands - Rawene/Kauri Forests - Auckland.
In the South Island, I would do a loop around the whole Island, starting and ending in Christcurch. There are lots of options ... for instance:
Christchurch to Mt Cook
Mt Cook to Queenstown via Lindiss Pass.
Around Central Otago
Down to TeAnau and across to Milford
QUeenstown to Wanaka and over the Haast Pass.
Up the West Coast, thru the Buller Gorge to Nelson.
Across to the Marlborough wine area and down past the Kaikoura Mts to Kaikoura.
Back to Christchurch.
Resist using Arthurs Pass and cutting out the northern leg of the trip, as the Kaikoura's are beautiful. The Golden Bay area is nice as well.
This route would give lots of variety, plenty of time to stay for 1, 2 5 days in any location. Even time to do the Milford Track or the Routeburn Track (how about the Heaphy?). Lots of side trips (Stewart Island, whales off Kaikoura, flights up onto Tasman Glacier etc).
This SI portion is high on physical stuff, misses much of the Maori, and the volcanic country in the NI. Anyway, to do all that as well they need to make it a car trip which they don't want.
Located: Auckland, New Zealand...
but I left my biking heart along the Scenic Byways of America.....
"Come fill the cup that clears
Today of past regrets and future fears." ....Omar Khayyam