11days trip in south island new Zealand

Old Oct 1st, 2011, 09:20 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2011
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11days trip in south island new Zealand

I need advised how to plan my trip to South's island NZ by end of dec. I will have 12 days to spend. Should I go north of the island n move to the south or the other way round ? Pls advice. My journey start from Christchurch ....
Reanuka_Alaga is offline  
Old Oct 1st, 2011, 05:16 PM
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It really doesn't matter if you go north or south first, the weather in December shouldn't be a major factor. It's generally warmer up north, cooler down south.

I suggest you consider doing a loop, perhaps something like this:

Christchurch to glaciers via Arthur's Pass, with a side trip to Punakaiki

Glaciers to Wanaka

Wanaka to Te Anau/Milford

Te Anau/Milford to Queenstown

Queenstown to Mt Cook

Mt Cook to Christchurch

There are many variations of this loop, but it will give you a good taste of the SI of NZ and incorporates most of the attractions visitors come to see. It doesn't include the north of the SI or the far south, but I think you'll find it difficult to do it all in 12 days.

It really boils down to your particular interests and what you want to see/do.
Melnq8 is online now  
Old Oct 2nd, 2011, 03:22 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269

Your route options here Southern Circle route

works well for most... might consider a Milford Sound cruise

carrentals.com cheapest rentals for me in the past.

Direction immaterial except spen lots of time in fiordland

To me the prettiest area where most of the Lord of the Rings

was filmed simply AWESOME.

Happy Travels!
qwovadis is offline  
Old Oct 2nd, 2011, 12:42 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 8
We are doing 11 days in south island end of Nov. to early Dec. but are not doing Mt. Cook. We are much more excited by the penguins, albatrosses and the train of Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula.
janeth is offline  
Old Oct 3rd, 2011, 01:34 AM
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Janeth, you will enjoy Dunedin, the Yellow-eyed penguins are fantastic, so unique. You can see them on some of Dunedin's public beaches, such as Sandfly Bay, but the best place where you are sure to see many is the privately run Penguin Place. They also operate a little "hospital" on site, where ill, distressed, starving or injured penguins are nursed back to health before release. When I was last there they had about 30 rescued penguins in their hospital, different types including a large group of Fjordland crested penguins and a Snares crested penguin. (They don't always show visitors the hospital.)

On your 90-minute walk on the pathways and in the trenches of Penguin Place farm, you will be able to get some amazingly close views. You might even see mothers nursing their babies, as you are going at about the right time of year:

The Royal Albatross Colony is very close by, also on the Otago Peninsula. There is a wonderful guide there, Mary Laurenson, who is descended from the Maoris who once lived at Tairoa Head:
In addition to adult albatrosses and/or chicks, you will see plenty of shags (cormorants), and you will get a tour of Fort Tairoa.

If you are driving yourself, there are two ways to get out to the Otago Peninsula from downtown Dunedin: Portabello Road, the flat road that goes along the harbor; or Highcliff Road, the steep winding road that goes over the top of the peninsula, which has some great views (Larnach Castle is up here):

If you enjoy looking at wildlife and have time, you might want to take a drive out to the side of the harbor opposite to the Otago Peninsula (the Port Chalmers side), out to The Mole at Aramoana Beach. You might be able to see seals lounging on the rocks and a large colony of white terns here, maybe even a little blue penguin swimming in the surrounding waters. It is a beautiful spot and on the drive you are likely to see some Royal Spoonbills and herons.

In Dunedin, I highly recommend visiting the Botanical Garden (which also has an aviary); it should be bursting with foliage and flowers at that time of year. The Otago Museum is the best museum on the South Island, many consider it the third best in the country.
There is a great bookstore across from the museum, University Books.

You won't have time for this, but about 75 miles north of Dunedin is the city of Oamaru, which has a tiny but beautifully preserved historic center that also houses the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony. The penguins start coming in as the sun goes down, though during the day you might be able to see some chicks in the nursery (the 'Blue Wing'). Their nest boxes are behind glass and the lighting is dim and the room smells like fish, but the chicks are adorable. There are additional nest boxes outside.
When I was there last November, they got about 200 adult penguins coming in at night, which was a high number for them.

It takes about 90 minutes to get from Dunedin to Oamaru if you drive straight through, but most folks stop at Moeraki Beach to look at the famous Moeraki Boulders.
Diamantina is offline  
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