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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Help Finalizing SI Itinerary for Nov/Dec

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I am planning a 3 wk trip to the SI in Nov/Dec. I like hiking, very into photography and a little relaxation as well. I would like to see some wildlife but not sure where or how to fit it in (penguins, etc). My main concerns are: am I leaving the right amount of time to get from place to place (knowing I will stop to take photos), is there enough diversity in the places I've mentioned for hiking (mostly Milford sound/Mt. Cook differences) and any suggestions for the places I haven't quite figured out yet what to do in that area!

Here's my draft itinerary:

1. Flight into Auckland, transfer to Christchurch and drive to Blenheim. Recover from jet lag.
2. Blenheim wine tour
3. Queen Charlotte Drive and possible mail delivery boat trip (feasible in one day?)
4. Abel Tasman - kayak trip (what else is good to do as well?)
5. Abel Tasman - hike, maybe catamaran trip (any recos for best hiking area?)
6. Drive Abel to Punakaki. Check out Motukiki beach for sunset.
7. Do something around Hotika - not sure what to do ... any ideas? Again do motukiki beach for sunset (I want two different night options to hit this beach as it looks amazing and you never know with the weather. If the tide comes in around sunset how long do you realistically have on either side of that before you get into trouble? Two hours?)
8. Fox Glacier, Lake Mathenson
9. Drive Fox to Wanaka
10. Drive Wanaka to QT
11. Milford Sound Guided Hike (any tips, side trips along the way, comments about it are appreciated!)
12. Milford Sound Guided Hike
13. Milford Sound Guided Hike
14. Milford Sound Guided Hike
15. Milford Sound Guided Hike
16. QT activities (canyon swing, jet boat ride - must do!)
17. QT - check it out, luge on hillside - what else to do?
18. Drive QT to Mt. Cook - hike around
19. Mt/ Cook/Lake Tekapo hike around, Lake Tekapo night observatory for night photography. (Do you think I will be tired from Milford Sound hike? Is the scenery that different? Would my time be better spent somewhere else?)
20. Drive Tekapo to Christchurch and sadly fly home.

thanks so much for your help!
Michelle

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