NZ was a very beautiful country. Extremely outdoorsy, but not as varied in things to do as in Australia.
I also wish I had more time to see more things. It's a big country, and I'm sure I missed some wonderful vistas.
The travel team are experts and they are very well connected. They were very responsive and thorough in planning the trip, and aligning to our needs.
The hotels/apts were excellent--with laundry in almost ALL of them allowed us to travel super light.
Hobbiton was great--loved even the drive from Rotorua to get there. White Island was incredible--probably THE highlight of the whole trip.
Loved the hotel in Auckland. Would've enjoyed one more day in Auckland to explore the city. Location was terrific.
Probably skip Queenstown--or spend less time there.
I would've skipped the Xmas dinner at the steak house in Queenstown--lots of casual eateries were open and we could've just walked into the village and found plenty to eat on Xmas eve and day. The steak house was ridiculously overpriced for what it was.
Milford Sound itself is a bit underwhelming--4 hours in car for a 90 min cruise. I would probably fly THERE and back. (We did fly back and it was great.) Incredible views--another highlight.
The tour of the coast from Auckland was also a bit rushed. I think I would've maybe picked only one spot, and hiked a bit more at that locale, like the waterfalls.
Also maybe plan more time to visit other smaller cities in south island.
Finally--I'd book some of the excursions a bit earlier. Things tended to fill up over the holidays. But the travel team are so well connected that they managed to find us guides and drivers regardless.
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