Planning for 6 weeks in New Zealand

While it was Mr. On the way to somewhere who planned our backpacking trip around Europe, and really any holiday we’ve been on, the task of planning six weeks in New Zealand landed on me. And rightly so, given my switch to full time housewife at the beginning of the year.

So, planning for six weeks in the land of the long white cloud. No big deal, I’ve planned curriculum for weeks, terms and full school years, how hard could planning for a holiday be? Evidently very when you’re the super organised, perfectionist to the smallest detail like I am. Coupled with my inability to make decisions when faced with an overwhelming number of choices, and the planning process was all too quickly becoming more work than the holiday itself.

We had a start however and it came in the idea of tramping the Milford Track. As one of New Zealand’s nine great walks and labelled as ‘the finest walk in the world’ through the world heritage listed Fiordland National Park, it really did seem like a feat worth completing. I think the Milford first presented itself to me through social media, but once we started looking into it a bit further Jase and I discovered there’s a whole country worth of great walks to be tramped across NZ. We read up on the walks and the notion of a tramping trip started to form. Despite visiting Queenstown the previous Easter, we decided to stick to the south island once again, our holiday was very slowly beginning to take shape.

It was here that we met our first hurdle. As it is such a popular walk, the Milford Track books out well in advance. Looking at the online booking system in December, the earliest we could walk the track was the following April… well, at least it gave us plenty of time to plan. From here we found cheap flights and decided on three other great walks to complete; the Heaphy, Routeburn and Kepler tracks.

Having a beginning and end date for our trip, and definite dates for the Milford Track, I now had the task of simply filling in the days between the start and finish. Not so simple. So many options of what to do, where to go, accommodation, transport, tours. So many decisions, so much uncertainty. I guess I really am my indecisive mother’s daughter. One thing was for sure however, I was going to plan and book as much as I could. Yes, this limits your flexibility once your trip had begun but it also means that once you’ve landed at your destination all your time can focus on the present (or so I thought). This need to be preplanned stemmed from my biggest regret of our Europe trip – the amount of holiday time we spent on the internet, researching accommodation and planning our next stop. I wanted to eliminate the need for a computer this time, particularly since I wasn’t sure we’d bring one to then have to carry on walks, and I went about doing this by planning all the details.

Countless hours of research later I created a detailed, jam packed itinerary. An itinerary that a member of Lonely Planet’s Thorn tree forum said “covered the real New Zealand”. And, to be honest, I’m pretty pleased with it. I share it in the hope it can assist others in the endless decision making process of planning six weeks in New Zealand.

New Zealand Trip Planning Calendar and Itinerary