New Zealand - specifically Dunedin, Queenstown

We’re planning a trip to NZ this January and have more places to see than days to do it. We prefer quality of time spent rather than trying to squeeze in every possible place.

We have about 4-6 days when we can visit Dunedin/Otago Penninsula AND Queenstown/Te Anau/Milford Sound/Doubtful Sound. If we cut back on the number of places by holding it to 4 days and doing just Queenstown and the fjordlands, we’ll have more time up in Auckland and the beaches and towns north of Auckland.

My question: Are Dunedin/Central Otago/Otago Pennisula/South Coast, must sees? Note, visiting wineries or wine country is not a goal of our travel.


I haven’t been to Dunedin/Otago Peninsula, so can’t really comment on that part. Queenstown is pretty much built like a ski resort and I didn’t think there was really a point in staying there unless you’re planning to try bungee jumping (which I’d recommend, actually), skiing or other active sports in the area. Te Anau/Milford Sound can be done (with a short cruise) in a day from Queenstown, but probably deserves a bit more time (I visited in May and barely saw anything because the whole area was just encased in heavy mist). There’s an underwater aquarium there which is really interesting, and the landscapes on the way from Queenstown are really nice.

One last thing, which is outside your scope: by all means try to visit the Mount Cook area (and the beautiful lakes on the way from Christchurch).

The Franz Joseph glacier is worth taking a day to see. There are companies that will take you out hiking on it, and there’s all kinds of fascinating ice formations and caves and tunnels and such to explore. We also went kayaking on one of the lakes near there (don’t remember which one), and it was gorgeous.