6 Days South Island Help

Old Jul 4th, 2016, 06:23 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 18
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
6 Days South Island Help

Hi All, Read few reviews here about the South Island Itineraries and need some advice on 1st trip to this beautiful Island.
We are 2 families with 1 kid each. So 4 Adults and 2 kids(3yr and 6yr old).
My 1st question is, do we need to rent a 6+ seater car? Does both kid need to use child restrains? or is it ok to take a normal 5 seater car and make the 6 yr old kid seat with one of the adults? The ladies with us are slim so should be ok to accomodate i guess..

We will be in Auckland for 4 days and then are travelling south island in mid-august and will be there for about 6 days.
Arriving in queenstown from auckland(domestic flight).
Considering the kids we aren't looking for much activities. Mostly looking to enjoy the sceneray, a little bit of time on snow etc..
Below is what we are planning at this point but not finalized yet. Is this doable? do you have any suggestions? At this point only the domestic flights from AKL-Queenstown and CHC-AKL is booked.. The accomodation booking is pending..


Day 1 - Arrive queenstown at about 9am. Collect the car from airport. Check-in to hotel and explore queenstown. Go for Gondola/Luge ride. View bungy etc.. Are there any other activities that we can do with kids? Think others like shotover jetride, zipline adventure etc. can't be done with small kids

Day 2 - Milford sound (self drive). Can it be managed from queenstown in one day? does it snow in mid-august and will it be safe to self drive (My friend lives in Auckland and drives regularly but may not have driven much in snowy conditions)? Understand it is a long drive. We are ok to start early around 6am from queenstown and ok to drive 1hr or so in evening on the way back from milford. Think some part of the journey on way back from te anau to queenstown we may need to do in dark in the evening but should be ok..

Day 3 - Explore more of queenstown. Any suggestions if we can go to Coronet peak or cardrona for snow play, snow boarding..? In the evening we are thinking to head to wanaka and spend the night there

Day 4 - For day 4 we are thinking whether to go Franz Glacier or Mt Cook.. I personally want to go to Franz/Fox glacier as never been to any glacier but thinking if it is worth going as we won't be able to do much of the activies like glacier walk, heli hike to glaciers etc. and it is a long drive.. If not franz glacier then should we go Mt cook, Anybody know what's there at Mt cook for enjoying with kids? Or should we skip both and instead go somewhere like Treble cone for some time on the snow with kids?

Day 5 - Considering we go either Mt cook or stay around wanaka, Day 5 we are planning to go Lake tekapo, spend an hr or so and head to christchurch. Spend the night in christchurch. But if we go Franz Glacier, then thinking to drive to greymouth and then to Christchurch.

Day 6 - This day we fly back (but it is a night flight at about 8:30pm so we still have full day) from christchurch to auckland. Would we have enough time to drive to kaikoura, do a whale watch tour and come back to christchurch airport around 6-7pm?
iliketravel143 is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2016, 11:36 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 631
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Slow down and enjoy the holiday as you have planned way too much. Most of this trip will be sitting in the car just driving from one destination to another. Driving in New Zealand takes concentration and effort and any trip will take longer than you think.
NZ law states all children under 7 need to be in a car seat. Consider all your luggage as well. It's not so much the size of the passengers but getting 2 car seats in the back will only leave room for a smallish adult. Maybe an 8 seater would do. If there are 4 adults to drive that makes it easier. There aren't the big cars here like there are in the States. When you see some of our roads and one way bridges you will see why.
I'd rethink whether you really want to go to Milford Sound. It's a long way and the kids will be bored. Milford Sound road is a dangerous drive in winter. Any snow or an avalanche and you may be snowed in and with a rental car you will pay to be hauled out. Go on an organised tour in a bus.
Franz Josef is not doable in a day trip.
Neither is Kaikoura as it's about 500 km from Mt Cook.
Stay in Queenstown for 4 nights then 1 at either Wanaka or Mt Cook. Wanaka would be the easiest and you could try the Cardrona ski field.
tasmangirl is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2016, 05:05 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,384
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
I agree with tasmangirl.

Some things to keep in mind:

You won't be able to check into your hotel upon arrival unless you've made special arrangements. Suggest you drop your luggage at hotel and then set out to explore QT on foot.

Where are you coming from? Are you accustomed to driving on the left? You might consider making shuttle arrangements for the first day in QT and pick up your car the following day. You'll be tired from your flight and driving on unfamiliar roads right off the flight isn't a good idea. Take that first day to rest and get your bearings.

QT to Milford and return is a very long day (eight hours of driving). Days in winter are very short. I doubt the kids would enjoy being holed up in the car for so long, and as mentioned, weather is a big factor in August. The road to Milford does close on occasion due to bad conditions. It's a long day on the bus too - about 13 hours. Are your kids up for that?

In the time you have I'd just spend most of your time in the QT area - loads to see, then work your way back to Christchurch via Wanaka and Mt Cook as mentioned by tasmangirl.

As for what to do in Mt Cook with kids - very weather dependent, but there are some lovely walks. Other ideas here:

http://mackenzienz.com/activities/

Don't underestimate drive times on the SI or the potential for poor weather. It's wise not to drive before 9 am in the morning as there is often frost on the road (think black ice).
Melnq8 is online now  
Old Jul 5th, 2016, 05:36 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 2,025
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with Tasmangirl's comments, especially concerning driving to Milford Sound from Queenstown and back in a day! Don't even consider this and don't drive after dark in winter in this part of the country. Part of the road from Queenstown to Te Anau has been nicknamed the Devil's Staircase (between Kingston and Queenstown), and there are many accidents along here. Over five days at the end of May (a little more than a month ago), four drivers slid off the Devil's Staircase when it was wet. See:
http://www.odt.co.nz/news/queenstown...r-long-weekend
Almost two weeks earlier, in mid-May, two drivers slid off this road within 10 minutes of one another.
http://www.odt.co.nz/news/queenstown...hes-10-minutes

In mid-August, the sun will rise at around 7:30 a.m. The roads could be icy/frosty, and thus slippery and dangerous. We've had a mild winter with many lovely sunny days so far, but we can still have frosty mornings.Read this article from a few days ago:
http://www.odt.co.nz/regions/otago/3...d-frosty-roads

The sun will set at around 6 p.m. You won't have a lot of daylight hours for taking such a long drive.

If some of the adults would like to take a day trip to Milford Sound, I agree they should take a bus tour from Queenstown. I also agree it could be too much for a 3 and 6 year olds. And they might be cold on the deck of the cruise boat, as it's winter. Maybe one of the adults can stay behind with the kids in Queenstown, take them to the Botanic Gardens, Kiwi Birdlife Park, or on a visit to a farm with sheep and deer. I've not been to the birdlife park or on the farm tour, but these might be good activities for kids.
http://kiwibird.co.nz/kiwi/
https://www.realjourneys.co.nz/en/ex...ak-farm-tours/
Diamantina is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2016, 05:39 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 2,025
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Melnq8, I only saw you post after I'd posted.
Diamantina is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2016, 04:50 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,384
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
No worries Diamantina, you and I seem to cross post a lot! We must have similar schedules, but half a world away.
Melnq8 is online now  
Old Jul 5th, 2016, 06:36 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 18
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks a lot for the replies everyone. Really appreciate y'all taking time to write..

so actually i am from SG, Arriving auckland on 12th aug night. we stay in auckland on 12th and 13th night and 14th morning we fly from auckland to queenstown(domestic about 2 hr flight). My friend/relative who is accomanying us is living in Auckland since many years and drives there. So most of the time he will be driving.. I know driving too(though i don't drive much in SG) but will mostly be driving on plain roads to give my friend a break..

Understand kids may not enjoy the car driving time or our milford sound trip but having spent a lot on this trip(the NZ holidays i understand are costly we do want to enjoy NZ scenary and cover as much as we can.. Don't want to stretch too much hence i think Franz glacier is out of the equation already

Probably we may take the coach trip to Milford sound but wanted to see if driving would be ok for milford sound so that we can stop at scenic lookouts as per our wish..

Also now that franz glacier is out, we may spend 2 nights at wanaka.. From wanaka i think we can go to cardrona or treble cone. In treble cone i see they have a scenic lift. Any idea how is that and if it will be operating in August?

Also we were planning to go Kaikoura from Christchurch. Think that is about 2hrs drive? will it be good time for whale watch cruise in kaikoura? Kids will enjoy whale watch,dolphins,seals etc..
iliketravel143 is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2016, 09:41 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 631
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Treble Cone scenic lift is for the non skiers who want a look at the view of the lake and mountains. Looks amazing if you went on a nice day. $60 per family including a hot drink at the café so it's cheaper than skiing. There has not been much snow up to now - it's been a warm winter in New Zealand.
You will still have trouble squeezing in the whale watch. Being in Kaikoura the night before would allow you to get the first tour at about 10 am and then drive back to Christchurch. However that cuts into your time in other places and makes a long drive on Day 4.
tasmangirl is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2016, 11:12 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 8,617
Received 17 Likes on 3 Posts
The whale watch can be quite bumpy I understand, so your children may get sea-sick. I haven't done this trip for that very reason!!! It may also be weather dependent in mid-August, and could be cold!
nelsonian is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2016, 10:48 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,384
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
SG?
Melnq8 is online now  
Old Jul 6th, 2016, 12:09 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 8,617
Received 17 Likes on 3 Posts
I think SG might mean Singapore Melnq. Not totally sure though.
nelsonian is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2016, 01:00 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,384
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
That makes sense, thanks nelsonian.
Melnq8 is online now  
Old Jul 6th, 2016, 06:00 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 2,025
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello iliketravel143. Can you please post your tentative 6-day itinerary, including the coach tour to Milford Sound, days in Queenstown, days in Wanaka, drive to Christchurch, and day trip to Kaikoura so we can comment of this? When you say 6 days, are you also including the day of your arrival? Are you planning to stay in Aoraki/Mt. Cook Village or Lake Tekapo on your way to Christchurch?

Will it look like this?
Arrive Queenstown
Queenstown-all-day coach trip to MS
Drive to Wanaka, visit skifields, overnight Wanaka
Drive to Mt. Cook Village, overnight here
Drive to Christchurch, overnight here
Christchurch-day trip to Kaikoura
Leave

I agree with Nelsonian that the whale watch cruise might be too rough for your kids. I got extremely seasick on this trip (about half the passengers got sick). If you're determined to go to Kaikoura and take your children on the whale watch trip, maybe you should take the precaution of having them take seasickness medication appropriate for children beforehand.

I've been on about 15 whale watch cruises, mostly off the California coast, and I've seen kids get seasick far too often. Instead of enjoying the trip, they're suffering. I've felt so bad for them.

If your kids are inclined toward motion sickness they might get sick on the Milford Sound coach tour, as well.

You said you'd like to self-drive to make scenic stops. The coach tour also makes scenic stops. By the way, you'll see seals on the MS cruise and possibly dolphins and penguins.

You don't have to take a whale watch cruise to see seals. Many people drive north of Kaikoura to Ohau Point and/or Stream, but you can also see them near the Point Kean parking lot, which is right in Kaikoura, 4.4 km from the city centre. Please heed these warnings:
"Near Point Kean car park, there are signs warning that seals are likely to be present in the surrounding area. Most of the seals in the car park are males. They may appear to be harmless – however they are capable of becoming aggressive if disturbed and can inflict a nasty, infectious bite.
"The seals on the rocky platforms out from the car park are females and their pups. For your safety and to avoid disturbing the seals, remain 10 m from any seal in the vicinity of the car park. Along the rest of the Kaikoura Coast, 20 m is the recommended distance to keep away from a seal."
For more info, see this link:
http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-rec...nsula-walkway/

Instead of going to Kaikoura, maybe after overnighting in Aoraki/Mt. Cook Village or Lake Tekapo, you can drive to Akaroa, where you can take a dolphin cruise. Then overnight in Akaroa, it's a pretty place that's only about an hour and a half from Christchurch. From the cruise boat, you'll also have a good chance of seeing penguins swimming in the water. You won't see whales, though I've read small whales occasionally visit the harbor, but this would be a rare sighting. https://blackcat.co.nz/akaroa-harbour-nature-cruises
I don't know if they have an age minimum, but their website says kids under 5 ride for free.
Seasickness is not as much a problem on these cruises as it is on the Kaikoura Whale Watch cruises. I've taken the Akaroa Black Cat Dolphin Cruise myself (in August).

Then continue to Christchurch the following day. There are a lot of kids' activities in Christchurch, Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, Orana Wildlife Park, penguins at International Antarctic Centre.
Diamantina is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2016, 06:36 PM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 18
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Melnq8, yes SG is Singapore

Thanks Diamantina and tasmangirl..

yeah thinking to drop the idea of whale watch cruise in kaikuora..

So now planning this

14 Aug - Arrive queenstown. Do activities like Gondola/Luge, bungy etc..

15 Aug - Explore more of queenstown..

16 Aug - Milford sound. still undecided on whether to take coach or self drive. thinking if we self drive is it worth spending a night at milford sound? So we go slow and at ease.

17 Aug - Miford sound to wanaka. Spend night at wanaka. if possible visit nearby ski field like treble cone or cardrona for scenic lift ride..

18 Aug - Lake tekapo. If have time go Mt cook or just see lake pukaki and relax near lake tekapo. spend night here..
Think we can also take a scenic helicopter ride from lake tekapo or mt cook with landing on tasman glacier right? are kids allowed on heli rides?

19 Aug - Depart from lake tekapo to christchurch. explore christchurch and return car at about 7pm at airport to catch flight back to auckland at around 9pm..

Does this sound do-able? any suggestions are most welcome.. Thanks as always for taking time to write..
iliketravel143 is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2016, 06:04 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 2,025
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi. It seems you only have five and half days. Your schedule looks doable, if you take the all-day coach tour to Milford Sound and if the weather doesn't take a turn for the worse, and roads are then closed.

Please review everyone's warnings about driving from Queenstown to Milford Sound and back in one day.

I'll go over it again. As Tasmangirl wrote, if there's an avalanche you could get stuck and have to be hauled out (expensive). Even if you could drive, it would be a long day for the kids. As Melnq8 and I have said, the days will be short. If roads are icy, then you could slide off the road. Driving in the dark is not a good idea, especially in winter. Milford Road is twisty in parts. The Devils' Staircase, near Queenstown, is also twisty and there are a lot of accidents along here.

Even in summer, when the days are long and weather much better, most people who self-drive to Milford Sound use Te Anau as a base.

I'm sorry I haven't taken a scenic flight from Tekapo. Please check reviews on these links:
https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/Attrac...th_Island.html

https://www.rankers.co.nz/locations/...apo/activities


Mt. Cook Village is more interesting than Tekapo. It has a beautiful setting, surrounded by glaciated mountains, and offers some beautiful walks, particularly the easy Hooker Valley Track (though I don't know how your kids would do). The road to Mt. Cook Village is also stunning (SH80). But you would have a longer drive to Christchurch the next day. Have a look at this You Tube video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuWJKVpGmfc

If you stay in Tekapo, drive up to Mt. John Observatory/Astro Cafe if possible. The view is great. http://www.earthandskynz.com/window-.../en/astro-cafe
You might want to visit Tekapo Springs. http://www.tekaposprings.co.nz/
Get up early to see sunrise from the lake.

Please read this brochure about winter driving:
http://www.nzta.govt.nz/assets/resou...er-driving.pdf

So far, we are having a warm winter. Hardly any snow. Queenstown's Coronet Peak will open as scheduled, but "without a single snowflake of natural snow."
http://www.odt.co.nz/news/queenstown...rn-snow-making
http://www.odt.co.nz/regions/wanaka/...e-cold-weather

I'm sure others will give you feedback on your itinerary soon.
Diamantina is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2016, 04:56 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 18
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks a lot everyone for the suggestions and advise..
Just came back couple of days back from NZ. Had a very nice trip. We were there in SI for about 6 days(including the domestic flights) and about 3.5 days in Auckland. The south island is fantastic.. Luckily got good weather and did the Milford sound trip as well.. It is amazing to say the least..
Will try to write up the report in details..
iliketravel143 is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2016, 07:35 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,384
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
Fantastic - look forward to the details!
Melnq8 is online now  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
HappyChu
Australia & the Pacific
6
Jun 3rd, 2017 04:57 PM
carr0510
Australia & the Pacific
3
Jan 27th, 2017 04:00 PM
Filler03
Australia & the Pacific
31
May 16th, 2016 05:42 AM
giggleguts
Australia & the Pacific
7
Jun 3rd, 2010 08:05 PM
aby
Australia & the Pacific
5
Jun 21st, 2006 01:42 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information