7 nights NEW ZEALAND - South Island

Old Nov 5th, 2013, 01:34 AM
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7 nights NEW ZEALAND - South Island

Hi Friends,

I am planning a week long holiday to South Island, New Zealand.

We are coming from India and would rather visit NZ via Melbourne/Sydney either ways.

I have made a sample itinerary which is as follows

Day 1 - Arrive CHC and stay overnight
Day 2 - Take Transalpine to Greymouth and stay overnight
Day 3 - Drive to Wanaka and stay overnight
Day 4 - Drive to Queenstown and stay for 4 nights
Day 5 - Milford Sound & Te Anau
Day 6 - At Leisure / Sky line
Day 7 - At Leisure
Day 8 - Depart from QST to Sydney

I would ideally want to drive a maximum of 3.5 hours everyday....

Can someone recommend a better itinerary or revisions?
I am missing Mt. Cook?
Is my itinerary doable?
Is te anau and milford doubale in 1 day without being too hectic?

Thanks
Akshay
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Old Nov 5th, 2013, 02:38 PM
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Hi Akshay -

The drive between Greymouth and Wanaka is 465 km - at least seven hours w/o stops - and takes you along the beautiful West Coast and glaciers. This is not an area you want to rush through as there's so many beautiful places to stop enroute, even if only for photographs. There's little point in driving along the West Coast unless you plan to at least visit the glaciers.

I highly recommend you drive at least as far as Franz Josef from Greymouth (2.5 hours) on Day 2 for several reasons 1) Greymouth isn't all that interesting from a tourist point of view 2) Driving to Franz Josef will make your drive to Wanaka the next day shorter and give you more time to make stops enroute and 3) The glaciers are well worth a visit, although only one night there doesn't give you much time to visit!

I recently drove from Wanaka to Franz Josef and it took NINE hours - yes, NINE - and it wasn't my first visit, I've made this journey many, many times. According to the travel charts, this is normally a 4-5 hour drive, but there are so many reasons to stop - even for those of us who've been there many times - the Blue Pools, waterfalls, ocean overlooks, walking tracks, a salmon farm, lakes, beaches - that 4-5 hours just won't cut it for visitors who are there to see and do.

Keep in mind that this road has also suffered some extensive damage from landslips over the past few months. Every time it rains, the road becomes hazardous, and therefore it's often closed, and is currently closed every night. You'll want to plan accordingly.

I assume you're visiting Milford from QT as a day trip? People do this every day, but it's a LONG day - about 13 hours or so by bus. I personally don't recommend people do this as I think it gives short shrift to the area, but it works well for those short on time like yourself. If you're driving yourself, keep in mind that it's a four hour drive from QT to Milford each way - this doesn't give you much time to explore the beautiful Milford Road enroute - many places to stop, tracks to explore, things to see.

Te Anau is basically a loo stop for the buses, but it has a lot on offer for those who love the outdoors. You won't have time to see much of Te Anau if you're just passing through on the way to/from Milford though.

Yes, you're missing MT Cook, but you have to miss something - there's no way to fit much more into so few days.
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 02:45 AM
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Hi Melnq8,

Thanks for such a detailed reply. I have altered my itinerary as per below:

Day 1 - Arrive CHC and stay overnight
Day 2 - Take early morning Transalpine to Greymouth and drive to Franz Josef
Day 3 - Drive aftrenoon to Wanaka and stay overnight
Day 4 - Drive to Queenstown and stay overnight
Day 5 - At Leisure
Day 6 - Drive to Milford Sound and back to Te Anau and stay overnight at Te Anau
Day 7 - Drive to QST and rest day at Leisure
Day 8 - Depart from QST to Sydney

Do I have enough time to do a heli-hike at Franz Josef on Day 3 and then reach Wanaka by sunset?

I am not short of time as I am coming on a longer holiday with 2 weeks in Australia where I plan to visit

Hamilton Islands - 3 nights
Gold Coast - 4 nights
Sydney - 4 nights
Hunter Valley - 1 night
Melbourne - 4 nights (including 1 night at Lorne on Great Ocean Road)

So, I can easily add 1-2 nights in south island NZ and reduce the same in Australia.

Or would you rather suggest, I take off NZ completely from my itinerary and add 4 nights at Port Douglas (Daintree, Cape Tribulation, Kurunda Rainforest)

Any suggestions will be appreciated.
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 03:28 PM
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What time of year is your trip?

If summer, on Day 2, you might also have time to make the 45 min detour to Punakaiki (Pancake Rocks).

<Do I have enough time to do a heli-hike at Franz Josef on Day 3 and then reach Wanaka by sunset?>

Unlikely - unless in summer time, when the sun sets around 9 pm. Remember that nine hour drive I mentioned? If you don't leave until the afternoon, you won't have time for stops enroute.

Another option - Spend morning of Day 4 exploring Wanaka, then drive from Wanaka to Te Anau (3:20 hour drive), spend the night in Te Anau, visit Milford on Day 5, return to Te Anau for the night, then drive from Te Anau to QT on Day 6 (2 hour drive), spend the rest of that day (6) and all of Day 7 in QT, then leave QT on Day 8. This prevents breaking up your stay in QT.

I'm not going to be of much help with the rest of your itinerary (I know Western Australia much better than the eastern states), but a lot will depend on time of year.
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 09:09 PM
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Hi Melnq8, I shall be visiting mid-february
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 11:15 PM
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Long days then, sunset will be around 8:45 pm in NZ.
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