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Is this overkill for Fiordland / The Sounds?

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We're planning on arriving in Te Anau around midday on Tues 4/14, killing the rest of the day in town. The following day (Wed) Driving down to Manapouri for a Doubtful Sound Cruise. Then on Thurs going to Milford via bus perhaps for another cruise.

While we will do some walks, I'd expect them to be around 5K or so.

Not sure if it's overkill or not. We will be stopping in Wanaka prior to heading to Te Anau and could extend our time there (only 1 night planned right now).

Looking for some opinions...and any recommendations would be helpful too.

Thanks much
Steve

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    I don't think it's overkill at all. We've usually spend 3-4 nights in Te Anau on our visits. There's quite a lot to do in the area.

    Having said that, one night in Wanaka is giving it short shrift - you won't have time to do much, such as wander into Mt Aspiring Nat'l Park or take in some of the great walks. If you can only do one thing in Wanaka, I suggest hiking to Mt Iron, especially if the weather is clear - fabulous views from the top. Walking to the Diamond Lake/Wanaka Lake overlooks is a great option too - it's beautiful up there.

    I'm curious why you plan to take a bus to Milford since you already have a car? A car gives you the flexibility to stop and explore some of the tracks along the way (such as the walk up to Key Summit on the Routeburn) which you're not able to do if you take the bus.

    You can easily fill an entire day driving from Te Anau to Milford and back, taking hikes as you go. Driving will also give you a head start on the buses, so you can avoid the tourist traffic. The buses only make a few key stops, there's virtually no time to walk other than to a couple of overlooks. You can see so much more if you drive yourself.

    Even with three nights in Te Anau, I don't see much time for walks other than on your day of arrival (I suggest you walk the Kepler from Rainbow Reach to Moturau Hut and return, about 7.75 miles). Doubtful Sound is a very full day as is the Milford bus trip.

    As much as I like Te Anau, I think I'd choose between Doubtful or Milford and then spend another night in Wanaka. I've taken both cruises (several times for Milford) and personally, I wouldn't choose to do both back to back.

    And before you ask the inevitable question (which one?) I have to tell you, for me, Milford Road is much more interesting than the Milford cruise.

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    Thanks Mel.

    This helps. Looks like each day can be a totally different experience while still having some things in common to compare and contrast.

    Only reason for avoiding the drive is some of the stories I read re driving the route. Been driving a long long time and hills and curves don't bother me, just not on the other side of the road :-). I will have a few days under my belt prior to going to Milford, so may still do it for all the reasons that you cite.

    We may extend the Wanaka visit, just trying to balance the trip and the days. We haven't been to NZ for our first time, but it looks like we may end up coming down again to spend time in places where we made a visit too short, or just couldn't fit it in (read NI).

    Thanks again
    Steve

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    Driving to Milford isn't as daunting as some would have you believe, but it does come down to your personal comfort level. If the road is dangerous, they close it (black ice, rock falls, avalanche danger, etc).

    We've driven it many times and find it no different than driving in Colorado, albeit we have many years experience driving on the left. We have seen our share of stupid things though, like tourists stopping in the middle of the road to take photos oblivious to those behind them.

    The biggest danger IMO is being so distracted from the beauty that you forget to watch the road.

    Whatever you decide, enjoy NZ, it's a beautiful place!

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