After a few months I think I have finally settled on the itinerary. The North Island was giving me some troubles, and there was one city I wasn’t sure about on the South Island. Over the weekend I finally figured it all out (for now).
One thing on my list of things to see was a Glow Worm cave on the North Island. But with as much as I wrestled with the other things I wanted to see, I could not make that work. The tours are only 45 minutes long, but the reality is to drive there, park, and do the tour means it is taking much more out of our day than 45 minutes. There are other things we could be seeing. So, I decided that the Glow Worms are not a necessity. I would rather be enjoying a hike (which is free) than in a cave seeing worms that light up. If we can make it work, great. If not, that’s okay and it is nothing to focus an itinerary off of.
So – now on the North Island the plans are to stay in Tongariro National park for two nights and Whakatane for two nights. The national park is literally in the central part of the North Island. This will allow us to pick any direction and go that way and we don’t need to decide until closer to the date. It will also allow me another day to take the kids skiing if my husband wants to go out on his own. Whakatane is about 3 hours and 45 minutes from Auckland. Again – this will allow us more options – we’ll be along the coast but we can also go towards the north east area of New Zealand.
I think with our itinerary we have a good mix of hotel stays and apartment stays. Two apartments we will be in for 5 nights, 1 for 4 nights, and 2 for 3 nights. With the hotel stays we will have 3 that are 2 nights, and 2 hotel stays that are only 1 night each. The longest we will be without a washing machine is 4 nights. So, we should be able to pack light.