Hello all - first of all I'm not asking for the "easy out" - I fully intend to research all aspects of this trip :) Back in 2009 we spent one week on the North Island consisting of 3 nights in Auckland, 2 nights in Rotorua and 2 nights in the Coromandel. In Auckland we did a harbor cruise, walked around the city a lot, day trip to Waheike Islands and stopped at some wineries, South Pacific Museum - simply a lot of sightseeing. We stayed at the Westin and rented a car and then drove to Rotorua where we stayed at Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort (our best experience ever!!!!). We checked out the thermal parks, walked in the redwood forest, water fall hikes, etc. & relaxed at the resort - then off to the Coromandel where weather wasn't the best during our time there but we did hike down to Cathedral Cove and spent a afternoon at some hot spring place where they served you drinks (was quite nice). After our week in NZ we then continued on to French Polynesia for two weeks. This was without doubt, out best vacation ever!!!
Now 10 years later (Nov. 2019) and for our 25th Wedding anniversary we want to visit the South Island of New Zealand then spend 9-10 days in the Cook Islands before returning home. We'll fly into Christchurch and plan at least 7-8 nights on the island. Based on this short time and knowing we don't mind driving in a car exploring, does anyone have any tips to get me started on my research on what a sample itinerary may look like based on our first experience on the North Island? We are not into zip-lining or that type of high adrenalin activity, but enjoy moderate hikes, sightseeing, wine tasting, getting out on the water whenever we can, etc.
I really appreciate your help to get me started in the right direction with tips on the BEST experience with only a week time :)