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need HELP with planning zealand north island 10 days?

London, United...
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need HELP with planning zealand north island 10 days?

hi, me and two other students (age 19) are planning to visit new zealand during march for 10 days. we are open to both south and north island ideas however flights to the north island see to be far cheaper (auckland specifically and also wellington is an option). we will fly from sydney to NZ then fly back to australia afterwards.

we would like to experience something different to the usual bus trip to each location and would prefer a more physical, outdoor experience. by the sounds of it the kiwi experience is the opposite to what we are looking for? we wouldnt like to be stuck on a bus all day and would like to experience as much of the outdoors as possible whilst covering the major sites. with this in mind we think covering the north island in 10 days would be the best option? although i hear the south island is supposed to be better?

we are backpacking so cost is something we need to consider and would ideally want to spend around $1000 NZ dollars to cover the north island properly (including accomodation, food trips etc). we really like the sound of the following trip:

activeearthnewzealand.com/volcanoes-and-rain…

however it is over our budget. what else could people recommend similar to this hike covering most of the top sites? any advice would be welcome even if it is off topic about NZ because it will be our first time visiting the country. thanks for your help in advance :)

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1. Re: need HELP with planning zealand north island 10 days?

Hi chazabaz.

The North Island has heaps of adrenaline activities both land and marine to keep you all occupied over your 10 days stay. Another advantage for visiting the North is that distances between towns and attractions are relatively close yet the diversity of scenery is ever changing. Auckland alone has bungy jumping, harbour bridge walk, sailing tours, surf beaches, motor cross & stock car racing, wind surfing schools, kayaking, indoor ski slope, tandem skydiving.

Cave adventures and quad biking around Waitomo, surfing at Raglan, white water rafting & excellent tramping in the Bay of Plenty, swim with dolphins, snorkelling and overnight sailing in Bay of Islands. Taupo & Rotorua both have heaps of thrill-seeking activities. Backpacker accommodation in all the centres will support your budget and be a resource centre for travel tips and suggestions. Use that link as a guide to explore at your leisure by taking the bus pass to reach each main attraction.

Although I note that you wont be keen on becoming stuck all day on a bus, this mode of travel is certainly most affordable for the budget concious and the aim would be to select destinations within reasonably close proximity to limit the times spent inside the bus. Have you also looked into Stray, Naked bus, Intercity etc? Should you get as far as Wellington, there are always domestic flights back to Auckland to make the going seem easier.

Edited: 05 November 2010, 14:31
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2. Re: need HELP with planning zealand north island 10 days?

hi thanks for your reply frangipani08 the information is really useful. i have to agree that the busses seem to be by far the cheaper option in comparison to the other guided tours and hikes availaible. i have heard of stray and naked bus but not intercity. intercity looks very cheap and well organised. to me it looks like more of a cheap no frills coach journey for both locals and backpackers? it doesnt seem to be like the guided backpacking/tourist companies such as kiwi and stray? not saying this is bad because i am looking for something like this where i can get away from the usual planned trips that are on offer. personally i dont want to be held to a strict guideline of what to do and i definitely do not want to spend alot of time on a bus with a guy giving commentary. i would like the freedom to explore but also have a good travel guide or bus driver to inform me of the best places to stay. the more time i spend outdoors exploring this country the better. this is my first time in nz and my first time travelling so maybe a company such as stray could give me more advice on good budget activities and accomodation during my stay at each location? i may be wrong however this is just the impression i get that from the companies. kiwi sounds too planned and doesnt sound like the ideal freedom that backpacking should offer?

does anyone else share the same views as me on kiwi as i may be getting the wrong image of the company? i have never been to nz its just the impression i get.

i think the best option for me is the bus due to my budget, its just which company would suit me best. im thinking stray at this moment in time? any other suggestions?

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3. Re: need HELP with planning zealand north island 10 days?

Intercity is our domestic bus company and probably the company that is used the most, it also goes to the most destinations. You should look at their FlexiPass, this would suit your travel plan.

http://flexipass.intercity.co.nz/

Edited: 05 November 2010, 18:40
Christchurch, New...
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4. Re: need HELP with planning zealand north island 10 days?

I understand that you don't want to spend 10 days on a bus, but have a look at this company (I know nothing about them except that they've been around for a while): http://www.flyingkiwi.com/north-island-tour/

You will have to use buses to get from one tramp to another. Another plan is to research 3 or 4 "destinations" - such as Rotorua & the Tongariro crossing and allow alternate days to travel, then spend 2 nights in each place.

OTOH - it should be no more expensive to fly SYD to CHC on Pacific Blue or Jetstar and that would give you the SI instead - just to increase your options!!

BTW is that "$1000" AUD/USD or NZD? Not enough if it is NZ$.

Edited: 05 November 2010, 18:54
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5. Re: need HELP with planning zealand north island 10 days?

the intercity flexipass would certainly give me the flexibility to choose where i go and skip all the places a company such as kiwi would take me to. because i am limited on time and only have 10 days you are right i think i should concentrate on 3 or 4 places either in the north or the south island.

flying kiwi is another option that looks to be alot better than any of the other bus tour companies that i have been looking at e.g. magic/stray and kiwi as it seems to give you more time outdoors? however im worried that the optional activities would eat into my budget compared to something like the hiking trip i mentioned earlier in the forum that has a fixed price itinery for the trip. simply because i will not want to stop somewhere and do nothing if everyone else ends up doing the activitiy, if there are good free alternatives avaliable then that would be perfect. that way i can choose which trips i want to go on without feeling oblieged to. i would also be worried that if i took an 8 day tour with flying kiwi whether this would be too rushed. the 8 day tour gets to see everything on the north island but maybe it would be better to skip the bay of islands and do the minimum 5 day tour that also ends in wellington? what are peoples opinion on doing a minimum 5/6 day tour over 10 days, would even doing a 5 day tour be comfotable?

initially i believed that $1000 NZ would be enough to last me the 10 days (roughly £50 per day) however now i think this figure will increase to $1500-$2000 if i want to see everything properly in this short time. with that in mind i am considering flying to Christchurch and doing this trip activeearthnewzealand.com/world-heritage-wan…

the cost of the trip is $1075 NZ and lasts for 7 days and extras will include no more than $30 per day for accomodation and food. the only other extra i would like to do is the fox glacier guided tour for $99. this comes to a total just under $1400 including transport, accomodation, food, activities and 6 hour hikes per day. groups are no bigger than 11 according to who i have been contacting from the website which seems good. the trip starts at greymouth and ends in queenstown passing down the west coast of the south island which is supposed to have some breathtaking views

i was thinking i could fly to christchurch via virgin blue who are the cheapest for $189 and then spend 2/3 nights dorm acommodation and hang around christchurch before getting the west coast shuttle which would cost $43 single (with a 10% discount YHA card) to greymouth. the other option was the tranz alpine train which is too expensive at $167 single to greymouth. from greymouth the trip would start.

after the trip finished i would spend that evening in queenstown and also the following day maybe doing a bungee or something like that? the following day i will fly to brisbane via air new zealand as virgin blue rates are more expensive from here to brisbane ($369 AU) and air new zealand surprisingly are around $200 AU.

does this sound expensive even with all accomodation and activities included in the price? i am estimating $1400 on the trip and an extra $300-$600 staying in hostels in christchurch and queenstown, thats including doing a bungee or some other activities during my stay. is this reasonable or do you think i could achieve so much more in my 10 days with this amount of money? like i said i want to minimise travel which is why this trip appeals to me as i consider camping and trekking an exciting prospect. not too keen on the busses but i know they are necissary to cover such large distances, especially on the south island.

both negative and positive feedback are most welcome as i do not want to make the mistake of wasting my valuable money and time on the wrong things in this magnificent country, thanks.

6. Re: need HELP with planning zealand north island 10 days?

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