could someone please critique my NZ itinerary?

May 16th, 2004, 05:38 PM
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could someone please critique my NZ itinerary?

Hello and thank you in advance for helping. This is just a rough outline of our plans so far. My best friend and I are 26 years old and we are trying to plan our south island trip in July. here is what I have so far..
Day 1, 2-fly into Christchurch from wellington and spend the weekend there exploring the city.
Day 3 --Take the TranzAlpine trip to Greymouth via Arthur's Pass National Park; pick up a rental car in Greymouth -drive up to punakaki and stay there for the night.
Day 4--Make our way to Franz Joseph early and do the glacier walk that day or the next morning--stay there 1 night.
Day 5 and 6--make our way through haast and into wanaka. stay for two nights.
Day 7 and 8-- (weekend) spend two nights in queenstown--do some outdoor activities and enjoy the city.
Day 9 head for Mt. Cook stay the night and spend some of the next day touring about--if the weather is decent.
Now here is where we are stuck--are there some nice places to stay for a couple of nights between mt. cook and Christchurch? We have one or two more days to play with before we fly back to wellington from Christchurch.
any advice would be most welcome. We will be travelling on a budget and are looking forward to some outdoor fun during the day and some pubs at night. we will also be renting a car. are we insane for trying to see this much?
thank you!
sarah77 is offline  
May 16th, 2004, 06:35 PM
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I would hate to go to South Island without getting down to Milford or Doubtful Sound. They are both beautiful and well worth the trip. You can probably stop at Punakaki from Greymouth for a few hours instead of overnight, then head for Franz Josef - saving a night. I recommend doing a heli-hike at Franz Josef - really a lot of fun. Also, the jetboat trips out of Queenstown are great fun. In my opinion, there's not much to do in Wanaka to merit two nights.

mjnbrown is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 04:50 AM
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I agree that you should spend a day or two in Fiordland.... IF the weather is decent. At that time of year, the weather may be decidedly indecent, and would not be as worthwhile. Still, it would seem preferable to spending a lot of time in Wanaka and Cook. Even on a cold rainy overcast day, the waterfalls cascading off every cliff on the approach to Milford, is something to see.
ALF is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 06:33 AM
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Thank you for your replies. Is Milford Sound difficult to get to? Perhaps we will cut Punakaki and a night in Wanaka and check out Milford instead--perhaps I will leave that decision until we are there and we pray to the weather gods for some nice days!
thank you. S
sarah77 is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 07:27 AM
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Hi Sarah

Doesn't look too bad to me. I just got back a couple of months ago and my girlfriend and I spent three and a half weeks or so in the South Island, on a budget, doing the YHA thing.

My trip reports are here:

Let me briefly go through what I think about your itinerary.

1. Two days ChCh - good.
2. No need to stay in Punakaiki, just pop up from Greymouth and then down to FJ glacier. I drove from ChCh to Punakaiki to FJ in a day, not a great trauma (so you save a night!)
3. Next day do FJ walk in morning and then either stay that night or head off to Queenstown.
4. Two nights in Wanaka not a good use of time - there are so many outdoor activities in Queenstown that you should head there instead. Maybe not even one night in Wanaka...
5. Haast Pass beautiful, especially in the sunshine!
6. Now use up the days you've saved above by heading to Fiordland. If you have a hire car, you cannot possibly allow yourself to be in Queenstown and not visit Milford Sound (a staggeringly beautiful drive) or Doubtful Sound (more impressive than Milford, less tourists by a mile, but difficult to get to).
7. This would then mean that after you've left Queenstown for the journey back, you could spend a night at Lake Tekapo (cleanest air in the WORLD!) and a great little hostel with views over the magnificent lake - views of Mt Cook are wonderful en route...

You're not insane at all. Just be prepared for torrential rain at any point, especially down south, but also prepare yourself to see the most amazing countryside, beautiful scenery and stunning views.

Anything more I can do, don't hesitate to ask...

All the best
Jimbo is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 09:59 AM
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Hi Jim--fantastic pages by the way--lots of great information. Do you think the Milford Sound trip can be done in one day from Queenstown?
sarah77 is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 12:44 PM
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I pretty much agree with Jimbo except I am not sure you need 2 full days in Christchurch. I would do with less than a full weekend in Christchurch. Agree with skipping a night in Punakaki, and Wanaka. Have to be careful with weather as it can snow in the upper elevations. Consider getting a 4 wheel drive vehicle if possible with your budget. Do take some of your time saved at the front of this trip to visit the fiords. You can do Milford in a day if the weather is ok but it will be a very long day. If you do not have 4wd and experience driving in the snow I would take a bus tour to the fiords at this time of year.
mjs is online now  
May 17th, 2004, 01:47 PM
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Do bus tours run out of Queenstown?
Thank you.
sarah77 is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 07:55 PM
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You can take a bus tour from Queenstown to Milford, or you can rent a car. It is a beautiful drive, that culminates in driving through the Homer Tunnel, which is bored through a shear rock wall, in order to get down to the Fiordland coast.
ALF is offline  
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