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South Island Trip Planning: Akaroa Tour or Tranzalpine?

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My husband and I are planning our first visit to the South Island...an earlier plan was canceled due to my back injury so we are planning a less arduous schedule this time around and keeping our fingers crossed.

We arrive in Christchurch on November 20 and at this time we have planned our rental car pick-up for the 22nd, to drive to Picton via Kaikourra.

On the 21st, our current options are a small group tour to Akaroa via the Summit Drive or the Tranzalpine to and fro.

Which of these options would offer more spectacular views at that time of year and is one clearly superior? Also, if the train should we go up to Arthur's Pass or all the way to Greymouth?

And is there a third better option for our 1.5 days in Christchurch? We can rent the car on day one if needed.

Thank you so much for thoughts!

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