We just came back from our “New Zealand in Nine Days” trip. We managed to visit both the South and the North Islands, and hit most of the key things to see. We rented an RV, a first for us, and managed to spend eight peaceful nights in it, while also driving 2,200 km (1,400 miles) in it. The RV has been a great choice for us, and we woke up several mornings with absolute marvelous views, be that of Mount Cook, or incredible glacier lakes.
Coming back we got quite a bit of questions. Some generic: how was the trip, what to visit, how was the RV. Some very specific: how to get a discount on the ferry booking, what things cost, how to buy a prepaid Vodafone card for the iPad, what RV camps are better than the others, should you drive to Te Anau or take the cruise transportation etc. etc. .
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Why is nine days such a magical timeline for a trip?
While New Zealand is a BIG country, and the typical tourist you’ll meet is there is touring for three weeks (yes, and it feels they are all Germans), with some good planning, you can see it in nine days.
If you live in US, you already know the answer to the “why nine?”. The US typical vacation length is, well…a week. Add the other end of the weekend, and here are your nine days. Flying out of Los Angeles (LAX) on a Friday evening puts you on Auckland on Sunday morning – you just crossed the International Date Line. 8 days of travel will get you to the other Sunday. Leave Auckland back to LAX on a late Sunday flight, and that will put you on Los Angeles on noon Sunday. You just got back your 24 hours that you lended on your first crossing of the International Date Line.