With crazy work schedule, I got no time to actually explore what to expect out of New Zealand. I knew only two things about the place. One it’s amazingly beautiful and other its amazingly expensive.
From our experience of last 8 years of visiting different countries, now I can easily tell with the description of the place, whether that place is worth visiting or not. After couple of rounds of iterations, our itinerary was finally done.
My itinerary looked something like this
Day 1 - Apr 21 Fri - Apr 22 Sat – Fly from Bangalore to Auckland via Singapore
Day 2 – Apr 23 Sun - Auckland – Sky City Tower and local attractions
Day 3 – Apr 24 Mon - Auckland – Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari
Day 4- Apr 25 Tue -Head towards Lake Taupo – Visit Waitomo Glow worm caves en-route
Day 5- Apr 26 Wed- Lake Taupo – Waireke Thermal terraces and Local attractions
Day 6 - Apr 27 Thur – Rotorua – Gondola + Luge
Day 7 – Apr 28 Fri – Lake Taupo to Auckland- Fly from Auckland to Queenstown
Day 8 – Apr 29 Sat – Queenstown – Leisure Day
Day 9 – Apr 30 Sun – Queenstown – Milford sound cruise
Day 10 – May 1 Mon – Leisure Day
Day 11 – May 2 Tue – Queenstown to Glacier region – Franz Josef glacier
Day 12 – May 3 Wed – Franz Josef - Helicopter ride to Franz Josef glacier
Day 13 – May 4 Thur – Franz Josef to Christchurch
Day 14 – May 5 Fri – Christchurch – International Antarctic Center
Day 15 – May 6 – Sat – Christchurch – Leisure day
Day 16 – May 7 – Sun – Christchurch to Bangalore via Singapore
Tips to travel to NZ
11. Hire a car, public transport is non-existent. Taxis are also non-existent. (Right hand driving same as India). Full insurance of car is very expensive and mostly unnecessary. So unless you are a very rash driver, you won’t need it. Speed limit is something you need to be cautious about, apart from that everything is manageable.
22. Activities such as sky diving, bungee jumping, white river rafting, gondola, luge, para sailing, para gliding etc exist in both North and Sound Island. So plan the activities as per your convenience.
33. Travelling from North to South Island can have options like flight, cruise and road. Flight is the fastest and cruise is very scenic. But roadways would be very tiring.
44. Do not book for attractions in the sea and glacier in advance. Many times, due to bad weather cruise and flights are cancelled. Though they reimburse the whole ticket price, spending half a day to reach the place and then getting disappointed is not worth it.
55. There are strict restrictions on the stuff you carry from home to NZ. Firstly, whatever you carry, you HAVE TO DECLARE. Secondly, do not carry fruit, vegetables, plants, pickles, dirt (in shoes, bags etc). But you can carry packaged food. Ready to eat, sealed bag of rice, broken pulses, biscuits, maggi, haldiram products sealed pack, salt, turmeric, sugar, tea packets etc.
66. DO NOT LITTER. Kiwis are very cautious about cleanliness. You will hear more on this from me soon in the below travelogue.
7. And last but the most important! When you budge for NZ, make sure you budget 30 % extra in advance. It’s a SUPER EXPENSIVE place. Each activity can cost u anything from 200-500 NZD. And going that far, you don’t want to miss out on anything.
8. NZ has many good Indian restaurants, so anywhere you go in NZ you will find Indian food. Can’t promise a pure vegetarian restaurant, but veg food for sure.
9. For New Zealand, it is not mandatory to do pre-bookings for all the attractions because it is not very crowded as other tourist places. Availability is usually not a problem in any tourist attractions.