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Help with 14 Day New Zealand S.I. Itinerary

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Hello! This is my first time posting in the forums; I have read multiple trip reports, so I thought it was time I joined. Currently, my husband (B) and I are planning a trip to New Zealand’s South Island this December (I know it is high season, but due to our jobs, it is the only time of year that we can both get time off). We are Montanans in our late 20s. We enjoy being active (hiking, rafting, backpacking, fishing, running, cross country skiing, etc.) but also enjoy sipping wine on our front porch.

As for the South Island, I have a rough itinerary in mind, but would appreciate input. Currently, we plan on flying into Christchurch: leaving MT on 12/21 - possibly leaving on 12/20 if flights are cheaper – which puts us in NZ on 12/23 (thanks, International Date Line…heh), and we plan on flying out of Queenstown on 1/5, putting us back in MT later that evening (thanks, International Date Line!). We plan on renting a car and staying in budget hotels/guest houses/B&Bs (any recommendations would be appreciated). So, here is what I have so far:

Itinerary #1:
23 Day 1: arrive CHC late afternoon, find our hotel, and a place to eat
24 Day 2: Christchurch
25 Day 3: Drive to Blenheim with a stop in Kaikoura for lunch
26 Day 4: Blenheim (Bike 2 Wine Tour/Golden Mile) – we love our wine
27 Day 5: Blenheim to Franz Josef
28 Day 6: Franz Josef to Wanaka
29 Day 7: Wanaka
30 Day 8: Wanaka to Te Anau
31 Day 9: Te Anau with daytrip to Milford Sound
1 Day 10: Te Anau with possible overnight kayak trip in Doubtful Sound
2 Day 11: Te Anau/finish up kayak trip
3 Day 12: Te Anau to Queenstown
4 Day 13: Queenstown
5 Day 14: fly out of Queenstown

Itinerary #2 follows #1, but with a possible stop in Punakaiki on Day 5, giving us time to explore Abel Tasman, and more time to get to Franz Josef. We would make up the time by possibly eliminating a day in Te Anau. OR, we might eliminate a day in Te Anau to add more time in the Franz Josef/Mount Cook area (skipping a night in Punakaiki, and still driving from Blenheim to Franz Josef). We are a little nervous about driving on the left hand side of the road, but we are used to traveling on narrow, winding, rocky Montana roads. Any help/recommendations you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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