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New Zealand South Island in 8 days!

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Hi all,

A friend of mine and I are traveling from the States to New Zealand in Feb. 2015 (just a couple of weeks!). We are flying into Wellington because we have a friend who lives there (who it turns out we are missing!) and then I am flying out of Christ Church 10 days later. We plan to spend the majority of our time on the south island, but we need help with our itinerary. Here's what we have, which I know is insane, but I don't know how to fix it - all suggestions welcome - we like hiking, biking, glaciers, etc. generally being outdoors.

Days 1-2 Wellington and thereabouts.
Day 3-4 take the ferry to Picton, rent a car and drive to Marahau. Stay one night, possibly two?
Day 5-drive from Marahau to Fox and Franz Jose Glacier - is this to far to drive in a day? We would like to hike around a bit and spend the night
Day 5-6 - drive to Wanaka and stay over 1 night
Day 6 drive to Te Anau and stay two nights, do Milford Sound, hike etc
Day 8 fly from Queenstown to Christchurch and back to the U.S.

I am beginning to think that this is totally insane and even though I want to do the ferry from the north island to the south and see Nelson and that area, we should just fly directly to Queenstown area (everyone says not to stay there in particular) and do day trips from there to Milford sound, Wanaka, etc. Is there a better way to get from Marahau to Wanaka than driving?

Thanks in advance for all of your help!

Robin

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