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-   -   7 day south island itinerary help, start/end in Queenstown (https://www.fodors.com/community/australia-and-the-pacific/7-day-south-island-itinerary-help-start-end-in-queenstown-1032111/)

airyip77 Dec 14th, 2014 02:20 PM

7 day south island itinerary help, start/end in Queenstown
 
Hi all,

I made a last minute decision to goto the South Island in Queenstown from the USA and have never been to NZ. I've been doing some research to find out what to do and was hoping for some help. I thought 7 days would be a lot of time because i thought NZ was small, but as i researched i realized i was pretty wrong and won't have that much time if i'm driving everywhere.

I am an older young adult single male, fit and active. I arrive on 12/18, fly out 12/25, and I rented a car for the duration. Fly in/out from Queenstown. What i'm looking for in this trip is hiking, outdoors, and of course random relax times. Here's a general of what I was looking at so far for what i'd like to do (from my limited knowledge):

Day 1 - Queenstown exploring, then to wanaka...take easy first day?
Day 2/3
- Fox Glacier / Franz Josef - hiking, heli tour to ice hikes?
- Hike to mirror lake
Day 3/5
- drive up to Mt Cook village (aoki)
- hike places, stargazing observatory
Day 5/6
- Te-Anau to Milford Sound
- Day tour? drive and hike random places, hike to Key Summit / lake Marian
Day 7 - End in Queenstown to stay?
Day 8 - Rest, fly out mid-afternoon.

Notes:
- Hot springs close by anywhere? beaches worth going to?
- Is Arthurs Pass worth it or possible?
- Bringing mostly summer/hiking clothing, some thin warmer stuff for glaciers. Is that good for this time of year?

Are there hostels and such to drop in on everywhere, bed and breakfasts and such? Again, i think i'm mostly looking for views and hikes on this trip. Like as I'm driving if there's places i can stop to hike i would love that. I used a lot of the newzealand.com trips and driving itinerary pages are references as well as other travel sites.

But I'm wondering if my itinerary is too much...with something like this will i be able to enjoy what i'm doing or mostly rushing to drive from place to place? Are there things i'm missing and should do, or are there things i prob shouldn't do that's on my list? In my head, i was thinking of circling the whole island at first but then realized that that was ridiculous in the amount of time I had planned. thanks for the help!

longhorn55 Dec 14th, 2014 08:51 PM

You've got WAY too much planned for the amount of time you have on the South Island. With this itinerary, you'd be spending too much time driving and too little time sightseeing, hiking, etc.

I'd recommend visiting no more than 3 places on this trip. You could do something like:

Queenstown (3 days) - Wanaka (2 days)- Franz Josef (2 days)
or
Queenstown (3 days) - Wanaka (2 days) - Te Anau (2 days)

If you should decide to go to Franz Josef (which I loved) definitely book a heli-hike or a regular hike on the glacier. Note that the helicopters can get grounded due to fog (it happened to us), so have a back-up plan. Our back-up was the regular glacier hike which was great!

On our first trip to NZ in a summer month (January) we did not book our accommodations in advance. We ended up with a place to stay each night, but we wasted valuable time searching for accommodations. I would definitely plan to book in advance since you have so little time available anyway and you are traveling at a peak time of year.

mlgb Dec 15th, 2014 12:14 PM

You need to look at a better map and not just a list of things to do.

EG the drive from Fox/Franz to Mt Cook is not a straight shot. You have to go back down to Wanaka and then north.

It would take you virtually all day. BTW you cannot go 100 km per hour (even if that is the speed limit). Most roads you will be stuck behind slower traffic, slowing for towns, bridges and curves. I'd calculate the kms and then look at using about 60km per hour as an estimate.

The maps that I use on line are www.wises.co.nz.


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