I am retiring in September and have always wanted to go back to the South Island--Christchurch in particular and the surrounding areas. I last spent time (1 month) in the Christchurch area in 1985 when I was young, in US Air Force and fell in love with the country. It was early spring (September) and the beauty of the blossoming trees, the countryside, the charm of the Cathedral Square and "wizard"...well you get the idea.
I'm in the initial stages of planning a return visit in early to mid October--this time with my wife and mentally-handicapped adult son, but after reading some of the posts on the forum, I'm starting to doubt whether all the reasons I want to return may not be there or not the same--possibly making my "bucket list" vacation time in NZ a regret.
I'm thinking of planning our stay on the South Island for about a week then either going to Sydney for a week (or visa-versa) then back to the US. We love exploring and doing things on our own unless an organized tour would be advised for some things that aren't to be missed. Hotels/motels in quiet locations are preferred; camping is a no-go for the wife who loves interesting things, sights, scenic beauty and simple gift shops. She likes easy-moderate short hikes and bicycle riding for outdoor activities if it isn't too cold (sorry, just telling it like it is) She's a princess ;-) and I've been telling her how much I've always wanted to go back and take her and my son there.
So, NZ experts...what do you think? I really appreciate your thoughts and suggestions--thank you in advance. I feel like I'm trying to make a decision on something that needs some current local expertise.