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Itinerary Help! Queenstown Five Day Return Trip

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Hi everyone,

I need help with my itinerary for a full five day return trip from Queenstown. The flights from/to Auckland from Queenstown were already booked through Jetstar before I realized that leaving from Christchurch would have been better. Unfortunately the flight can not be modified.

Having said the above, I know we have to double back somewhere. There will be just two of us arriving at Queenstown at 11am and our flight leaving Queenstown at 4pm from the 21st of September to 26th of September.

At first I was thinking of doing the following:

21-drive to Wanaka, explore and stay at Wanaka

22-drive to Franz josef, stay at Franz Josef

23-explore Franz Josef take heli hike, stay at Franz Josef

24-drive back to Queenstown

25-fly cruise fly to Milford Sound

26-explore Queenstown and depart

The fly cruise fly might be too expensive for my friend as well as the heli hike. Which one would be best to do if we had to pick just one? Probably fly cruise fly since it is less likely to get canceled?

I know cost is really important to my friend so a result I started thinking about an alternative itinerary:

21-drive to Te Anau, stay at Te Anau

22-drive to Milford Sound and take a cruise, stay at Milford Sound

23-drive to Queenstown, stay at Queenstown

24-drive to Dunedin, stay at Dunedin

25 explore area, drive to Queenstown stay at Queenstown

26-depart

Or maybe drive to Lake Wanaka and explore surrounding areas instead on the 24-25th

I know that because we have to leave from Queenstown we are limited in our options. What is the best we can do with our options? I'm up for any suggestions and changes. Expensive and not so expensive options. I also read it's better not to drive to Milford Sound due to avalanches and that it would be better to take the bus?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Pulling my hair right now ;)

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