|Subject: Re: New Zealand - tour or indie?|
I agree with Susie, you will love NZ.
Travelling by your self via rental car (very cheap rates) or by bus in the south island should not be a problem. Several bus companies sell tickets with which you can get off at any destination & catch the next bus through in a day or so. Another idea is to bring your hire car in the north to the south island by ferry across Cook Straight. The itinery you mention (plus Suzie's suggestion of Wanaka & the north of the island around Nelson) covers all the best spots & you will find the locals very friendly & helpful.
Everything is relative as I am from Australia but I found NZ to be very compact & the distances no trouble at all. If you need further information ask.