TRIP COACH

A Month in New Zealand With No Set Plans

A couple wants to see the country's dramatic landscapes, Maori culture, and...penguins and Art Deco architecture?

The South Island's west coast is the focus of their final 10 or so days in New Zealand, and they saved the best scenery for last. The first stop is Milford Sound, one of the world's wonders, with countless waterfalls and sheer cliffs that shoot out of the sea more than a mile high. Since there isn't much in the way of lodging nearby, we recommended the Lowes go for the overnight cruise on the Milford Wanderer, which includes bunks, meals, and the use of sea kayaks.

From there, we set the Lowes on the prettiest path to Christchurch: up through the lakes and mountains of adventure capital Queenstown; through the lakeside town of Wanaka (wah-ni-kuh); past the snowy trio of the Mount Cook, Fox, and Franz Josef glaciers; and, finally, across Arthur's Pass National Park, which is filled with vistas of rivers and mountain peaks that'll overwhelm the average digital camera's memory card.

If our suggestions don't suffice, the Lowes can talk to a local at Tourism New Zealand's 24-hour toll-free number. Have a blast! We nine-to-fivers are indeed jealous.

Transportation

  • Pacific Blue 011-61/7-3295-2284, virginblue.com.au, Christchurch to Melbourne $154
  • Interislander 011-64/4-498-3302, interislander.co.nz, ferry to South Island for two adults and a car $193
  • Stewart Island Experience stewartislandexperience.co.nz, round-trip ferry to Stewart Island $64.25
  • Lodging

  • Fairley Motor Lodge Napier,fairley.co.nz, $85.75
  • South Sea Hotel Stewart Island, 011-64/3-219-1059, http://www.stewart-island.co.nz/, motel unit $85.75, hotel room with shared bath from $57.25
  • Attractions

  • Whakarewarewa Rotorua, 011-64/7-349-3463, whakarewarewa.com, $14.25
  • Te PapaTongarewa Museum Wellington, 011-64/4-381-7000, tepapa.govt.nz, free
  • Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony 011-64/3-433-1195, penguins.co.nz, $10.50
  • Royal Albatross Centre 011-64/ 3-478-0499, albatross.org.nz, free admission, one-hour tour $17.75
  • Natures Wonders Naturally 011-64/3-478-1150, or 0800-246-446 in New Zealand, natureswondersnaturally.com, tour $25
  • Ulva's Guided Walks Stewart Island, 011-64/3-219-1216, ulva.co.nz, three-hour tour $60.75
  • Milford Wanderer 011-64/3-249-7416, realjourneys.co.nz, overnight cruise $139 Resources
  • New Zealand Automobile Association aaguides.co.nz
  • Brebner Print Art Deco Weekend artdeconapier.com
  • Stewart Island stewartisland.co.nz
  • Tourism New Zealand 866/639-9325, newzealand.com
  • Get Inspired with more from BudgetTravel.com


    Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
     

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