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Planning a 12-day trip to NZ in November

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Hi,

I am planning a 10-12 day trip to New Zealand in the month of November for me, my wife and our 22 month (by then) old daughter. We are from India and I have been eager to see NZ since - yes, you guessed it - LOTR. I am yet to arrive at a working itinerary but wanted to get some views and feedback on some of the points that will help me put together a plan.

1) The primary reason to visit NZ is to enjoy the natural beauty and vast landscapes. Hence, I am thinking of doing the entire trip on self-drive. Further, since the trip is of short duration and to not put too much stress on myself (and the baby) driving long stretches, I am thinking of restricting myself to South Island for the trip. Is that reasonable or are there absolute must-dos up North?

2) In all likelihood, we will fly into Christchurch from India and fly out of Queenstown. Many people suggest to choose either the glaciers or Mt.Cook when choosing the path of drive from Christchurch to Queenstown. I am more inclined to choose a glacier (Fox or Franz Josef) over Mt.Cook. Am I missing anything by not seeing Mt. Cook?

3) Between Milford Sound and Doubtless Sound - which one would be better. Milford seems closer to Queenstown and hence lesser driving time I suppose. But some members seem to highly recommend Doubtless Sound!

I am going through a process of exclusion to arrive at my itinerary and hence will keep coming back with questions. Your patience will be appreciated!

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