New Zealand – the itinerary so far!

February 1, 2023
Wanaka Tree
Wanaka Tree

The ‘Wanaka Tree’ at Wanaka


Since my last post suggesting we may be going to New Zealand, things have progressed! We are no longer going to try and see both the north and south islands within 3 weeks. We will only be visiting the South Island on this occasion.

Flights have been booked!

We fly to Christchurch mid May – not arriving there until midnight!  We leave Christchurch early June.

We’ve seen a travel agent

. . . and accommodation and a couple of tours have been booked.  A car rental has also been organised. More tours to be investigated and booked yet.

I don’t like to reveal my accommodation until after I leave it, for safety reasons (this online world can be a dangerous place) but I’ll share how the itinerary is looking so far.



Days 1 to 4 – Christchurch (3 nights – remembering we don’t land until midnight on Day 1)

Days 4 to 5 – On the morning of Day 4 we catch the TransAlpine Train across to Greymouth and this is where we will collect our hire car that we will be driving for the remainder of the trip.  We spend 1 night at Hokitika.

Day 5 to 6Fox Glacier (1 night)

Day 6 to 8Wanaka (2 nights)

Days 8-12 – Queenstown (4 nights). Queenstown will serve as a base for a variety of day trips.

Days 12-14 – Te Anau (2 nights)

On Day 13 we’re doing a 7 hour Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise. There’s no  Milford Sound cruise available in May.

Days 14-16 – Dunedin (2 nights)

Days 16-18 – Lake Tekapo (2 nights)

Days 18-22 – Hanmer Springs (4 nights – a beautiful place to spend my birthday and to use as a base for a few day trips)

On Day 22 we head back to Christchurch where we’ll spend the morning before dropping off our hire car and flying home that afternoon.


So now we’re at the point of working out what we do during each of our days and decide if there are things we need to book in to. Along with a bit of rest sometimes, enjoying cafes and restaurants, taking zillions of photos, exploring shops and galleries, these are some thoughts so far (more research to be done yet & probably a cull later on):



  • Hokitika Gorge
  • Beach Walk
  • Lakes & Walks
  • Hokitika is famous for Greenstone & Glassblowing so we’ll probably see out places where we can see some.


Not sure what we want to do here. Can’t do any slippery or difficult hiking. Some options:



Extreme sports are not our thing however The Tennis Player is keen to do one (I am still on the fence) – see first dot point.


We had hoped to do a tour/cruise to Milford Sound but apparently there’s nothing operating in May! Nevermind, apparently Doubful Sound is just as beautiful if not more so!

Since the above cruise goes for 7 hours (all day) – not sure what else we’ll have time for but maybe some walking and exploring.


I haven’t researched Dunedin much yet so there may be much more to list here!

  • Visit Lanarch Castle 
  • Explore Dunedin’s beaches
  • Explore the town/city tour?
  • Walking/Cycling


I haven’t done much research on this yet so watch this space!  Feel free to tell me what I should do here in the comments!

However, there IS the beautiful lake so there’s nothing wrong with a bit of sitting and drinking up the beautiful scenery!

A visit to Mt Cook National Park is probably something we might do from here!


As we’re here for 4 nights this will be used as a bit of a base, with plans to:

  • do day trips to some of the northern coastal towns and visit nearby wine regions
  • enjoy the thermal springs
  • Relax and enjoy the scenery
  • Dinner somewhere nice on my birthday. Any suggestions?

So there you go, it’s a work in progress but we are slowly getting there and it’s fabulous to have something exciting to look forward to! More research to be done and then we need to have a good close look and see what we can realistically fit in. 

Hit me with any must see’s or suggestions for places to eat or things we must do, excluding any extreme sports!  

Ciao for now,

Linking up with Denyse Whelan’s ‘Wednesday’s Words and Pics


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  • Reply Joanne Tracey February 1, 2023 at 8:46 am

    A great itinerary! Punakaiki is well worth the detour and a look. Hokatika is a good place to buy pounamu (green stone). Check out Amazing World at Wanaka and make sure that you stop at the Cardrona Hotel on your way into Queenstown.

    • Reply Min February 1, 2023 at 10:35 am

      Great – thanks Jo! I know you’ve been to NZ like a zillion times so if you think the itinerary looks great then that’s very reassuring! Good to know that Punakaiki is worth the detour, and all your suggestions have been vigilantly noted down. I need to go back through Jo Castro’s posts from her recent NZ trip for all her little tips and suggestions too. They were so helpful. I recall that they went to Cardrona and I remember her reference to Bradrona there – the fence of bras to raise awareness for NZ Breast Cancer Assn. Thanks so much Jo!

      • Reply Jo Castro February 18, 2023 at 4:32 pm

        Hi Min, so glad you found my tips helpful! We were so fortunate to have the most brilliant holiday from day 1.

        Your itinerary looks fabulous, and I’m very jelly that you are getting to Doubtful Sound. I think that will be a fantastic day out.

        We didn’t get to the east coast, but I’m told sandflies on the beaches can be nuiscance so take a good insect repellant , roll on or gel, or liquid (not a spray cannister – which you can’t take on the plane).

        In Dunedin I really enjoyed the historic tour of Olveston House, and Dave did the Speight’s Brewery Tour which he said was really informative and interesting. I think you’ll love all the Edwardian and Victorian buildings.

        Also try and spend an hour or two in Omauru if you can – it’s fascinating.

        Hope you have a fabulous time!! Jo x

        • Reply Min February 20, 2023 at 12:48 pm

          Hi Jo – more tips from you – hooray (all added to my list)! Thank you! I’m glad you think our itinerary is looking good. Wow – and I thought Australia was bad for insects! We will definitely be taking some insect repellent! Good tip to not take a spray cannister type. I’m really looking forward to our Doubtful Sound cruise day. Not sure about Milford Sound – lots of cruises not operating in May. I’ll do another Google browse to check for sure. I’m so looking forward to this trip. Thank you! xo

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee February 1, 2023 at 4:00 pm

    This is very exciting. Other than being offloaded overnight, I’ve not been….There’s a blog Albom Travels (?) and she does losts of NZ (livinging there) – not sure how up to date it is with COVID lockdowns but she used to travel around a lot. Might be worth checking out.

    • Reply Min February 2, 2023 at 10:12 am

      Hi Lydia – it is exciting! I’ve wanted to visit NZ for a long time and I’m very in need of a decent holiday, so I’m very much looking forward to this. I’ll Google Albom Travels – thanks!

  • Reply Sherry M February 1, 2023 at 6:10 pm

    my suggestion is taking lots of woollens! it will be freezing in May on the south island. But beautiful and wonderful. your trip sounds excellent.

    • Reply Min February 2, 2023 at 9:57 am

      I love cold weather Sherry (I have a very hot thermostat) so I will love that aspect of the trip. I don’t travel well in summer as I am not good in hot weather. And here I am living in hot and humid Brisbane, Queensland! Thank goodness for airconditioning is all I can say, plus we’re lucky enough to have a pool.

  • Reply Leanne | February 1, 2023 at 7:48 pm

    It all sounds amazing Min – and a well deserved break + birthday celebration combined. You’re going to have a fantastic time. NZ is definitely on my ‘one day’ plan – no rush for us, but we’ll get there eventually I’m sure.

    • Reply Min February 2, 2023 at 10:00 am

      Thanks Leanne, I really need a holiday and this will be the longest holiday I’ve had in I don’t know how long (ever maybe!). It will be a very welcome break from my regular routine and will be very uplifting for me because the ‘nature’ over there is stunning and always lifts me up!

  • Reply Susanne February 1, 2023 at 10:46 pm

    Wow Min, that looks like you have a fantastic trip ahead of you! I know nothing about NZ but look forward to learning more about it on your blog later.

    • Reply Min February 2, 2023 at 10:01 am

      Thanks Susanne – I’m very much looking forward to it!

  • Reply Sue from Women Living Well After 50 February 2, 2023 at 6:05 am

    Hi Min, how exciting for you! An overseas trip to a beautiful country that isn’t a long plane ride. We did this exact itinerary when we visited back in 2003 except we didn’t get to Hamner Springs. Te Anau was fabulous especially the cruise on Milford Sound. We also enjoyed the Trans Alpine Train to Greymouth. I’m looking forward to reading your posts. Take care. #WWanP

    • Reply Min February 2, 2023 at 10:03 am

      Hi Sue, thank you and yes I am very much looking forward to this holiday! I was surprised by how short the plane trip is from Brisbane to Christchurch. It takes longer to get to Perth! I’m loving the look of Hanmer Springs – perfect for me and a lovely place to be for the last birthday of my 50’s!

  • Reply Debbie Harris February 2, 2023 at 6:57 am

    Hi Min, that all sounds good and I’m glad you’re not trying to do both islands as they have so much to offer on their own. Dunedin has fabulous murals all over the city from memory and is a nice place to visit, the beach is nearby and there’s lots to do. I’m sure you’ll have a great time. We’re off to England for 2 months in mid May so counting down begins!

    • Reply Min February 2, 2023 at 10:06 am

      Hi Debbie, yes it was too hard to see all we wanted to see on both islands within the 3 weeks. As it is, we can’t get to everywhere we’d like to see on the south island! Dunedin is one of the places I’m really looking forward to visiting – great to hear your memories of it. Fancy you being in England around the same time. It’ll be great to see your daughter and little Dottie again. I have never been to the UK or Europe – really hope that will change before too long!

  • Reply Denyse Whelan February 3, 2023 at 9:29 am

    I think planning is one of the highlights of a big trip like this…and LOVE yours in such detail. I hope all goes exceedingly well. I appreciated seeing that map because I am in a support group on FB for head and neck cancer which is NZ based and now I can see some of the places, and how far they are from each other, that some of those people live!!

    It was great to see your post shared for this week’s Wednesday’s Words and Pics. I am grateful for your support. I hope to see you next week too. Thank you. Denyse.

    • Reply Min February 5, 2023 at 4:52 pm

      Hi Denyse, I’ve learnt that planning really does help make a successful trip! Still lots to work out yet. I need the map still to know where in the heck the place I’m talking about it! LOL By the time this trip is over I think I will know where things are on the south island without a map! I’ll be back linking up next week but will be at Mum’s, so slower to reply to comments and to read and comment on other linked up posts. Hope you’ve been having a great weekend! xo

  • Reply Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid February 3, 2023 at 9:06 pm

    This looks like a great itinerary. I am so jealous as we always wanted to go to NZ but never quite made it across the pond. I can’t wait to virtually follow along on your adventures!

    • Reply Min February 5, 2023 at 4:53 pm

      Hopefully we’ll see all the most wonderful ‘must see’ things on the South Island! Such a shame you didn’t get over there while you were here but you sure did get a good look at most corners of Australia! Maybe next time you’re over this way?

  • Reply Elizabeth February 4, 2023 at 2:36 am

    Hello Min, your itinerary looks great – I’d have trouble narrowing down the choices as every where looks really interesting. Whatever you chose to do on your birthday, I’m sure you’ll have a fabulous time. I look forward to seeing your photos and reading all about your adventures.

    • Reply Min February 5, 2023 at 4:55 pm

      Hi Elizabeth, thank you! I hope it allows us to see all the most ‘must see’ places and things. I’ve relied heavily on the advice of the travel agent, my own research, and the advice of other people who’ve been to NZ. My birthday will be in Hanmer Springs – a beautiful little alpine village which is very me. Beautiful nature around me (which is guaranteed at Hanmer Springs) and a nice dinner out would make my birthday perfect! There’s sure to be heaps of photos of our travels shared on social media, and posts to follow when I’ve returned.

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