Sunday, July 16, 2017

How I plan a tour for 12 Days traveling of 5000KM in New Zealand

Country: New Zealand
Tour period: May 8, 2017 to May 20, 2017

This is the most recent driving trip I had just completed with my life partner Phong Lin. It was quite a short plan. The flight tickets was bought under Air Asia's promotion package. It was done by Phong Lin's younger brother. This is a standard practice. Whenever her younger brother noticed cheap air ticket offer, he asks Phong Lin to confirm my availability and if my answer is YES then the tickets will be bought. On confirmation on the buying of flight tickets, the destination and tour period will be fixed. This becomes the starting point of the whole planning process and my work started there.

The same happen this time. Without any idea on the tourism in New Zealand, I started to gather necessary information through internet, travel blogs, travel books and magazines. For this New Zealand trip, my main resources included Lonely Planet New Zealand (Travel Guide) , Ma Feng Wo (蚂蜂窝) and Qiong You(穷游). Note that I do frequently refer to Chinese travel books and websites because I am a Chinese educated Malaysian Chinese. There are quite a number of other travel books available in the market too.

After some reading, I finally realised that it is not easy to travel in New Zealand. The  road transport distance between cities is very long and International flight from Malaysia only arrive at Auckland, the northern part of North Island whereas majority of the tourism cities are in the Southern part of South Island.

I use to ask my life partner on where are her preferred sites before I fix the itinerary, and it happens that majority of the selected sites are at the Southern part of South Island too. Hence the first consideration is should we take a domestic flight? Should we rent a car and tour around? Or should we travel with caravan?

I am lucky to have my partner be my driver most of the time, and she always appreciate to have me as her personal tourist guide with the help of GPS. So after discussion on the options, we finally decided to leave out domestic flight option because we both like to look at natural scenery rather than spending time in checking in and out and yet only to observe what happen the the steward and stewardess in the flight.

Next, on checking the option of normal transport and or caravan, we finally think that we are both too tall to be comfortable sleeping in little two persons caravan. Hence the last choice is to rent a normal car and travel around.

This follows by deciding on the cities to visit and type of activity to go for. There are a lot of challenging activities in many of the cities in New Zealand. As we had experienced quite a number of different activities prior to this trip, and it normally takes long hours to join the activity, this is not the option to us.

Finally, the following cities listed below become our choose destinations.
  • Auckland
  • Rotorua
  • Lake Taipei
  • Wellington
  • Greymouth
  • Franz Josef and Fox Glacier
  • Queenstown
  • Invercargill
  • Bluff
  • Milford Sounds
  • Lake Tekapo
  • Christ Church
With the list, one can know that we are planning to cover the whole New Zealand in 12 days, except the Northern tip of North Island. Can we do it?

As we had decided on the option to drive around both Island, thus I have to check for required driving distance and timing. This is done by checking through Google Maps. Selecting the starting and destination cities with auto as mode of travel, the itinerary was then finalised to be as below:
2017 May 12: From Greymouth, via Frenz Josef and Fox Galacier to stay in Queenstown for 3 nights.
2017 May 13: Visit Invercargil and Bluff
2017 May 14: Day tour to Milford Sounds
2017 May 15: Leaving Queeston to Lake Tekapo and over night in Fairy
2017 May 16: Drive to Nelson on the way back to North Island.
2017 May 17: Nelson to Wellington via Blue Bridge Ferry.
2017 May 18: From Wellington to Lake Taopo and over night there.
2017 May 19: Lake Taopo to Auckland.
2017 May 20: Fly Off from Auckland and back to Malaysia.

With this, now is the time to book for our lodging and I decide to try out with Airbnb this time. This is the first time I use Airbnb to book for our stay. In the process, I do read the comment of previous traveler, checking the actual location and double confirm the road travel distance and time for each home booked. If you are a frequent traveler and not having an account with Airbnb yet, I would recommend you to register a free account here for your future logging in and home booking.

After the above plan be completed, I am now temporary ending this post here. New posts will follow after this to provide detail on our trip and I will link them back to the schedule in this post after publishing each of them.

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