Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Australia & the Pacific
Reload this Page >

Drive from Nelson or Christchurch to Queenstown during winter

Drive from Nelson or Christchurch to Queenstown during winter

Jun 24th, 2016, 07:35 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2
Drive from Nelson or Christchurch to Queenstown during winter

My husband and I decided to spend 6 days driving in Southland of NZ this winter, exactly last week of July. I'm contemplating driving from Nelson to Queenstown or we start in Christchurch. I have been reading both route and seems both are worth seeing. Though not really sure which route should we take. Appreciate any suggestion as its our first time in NZ And I would like to stay safe concerning that it's winter.
gbdbek0712 is offline  
Jun 24th, 2016, 01:26 PM
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 631
I suggest starting in Christchurch.
Travel to Queenstown via Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo and Pukaki. Stay 1 night in Mt Cook and drive on to Queenstown for the other 5 nights. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy. Nelson to Queenstown is a long long way - about 900 km with narrow winding roads on the West Coast. July is mid winter here so driving long distances will be difficult.
Can you post an itinerary so we can see the plan of your trip otherwise your plans are very vague.
How will you get to Nelson to start the road trip? Christchurch is an international airport so that makes it easier to start from there.
Southland? You mean South Island I presume...
tasmangirl is offline  
Jun 25th, 2016, 02:19 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2
Thank you @tasmangirl for your note. Sorry, yes, I meant South Island. We were planning to do Nelson - St Arnaud - Westport - Punakaiki - Franz Josef - Wanaka - Queenstown. I have been speaking to my friends lately and I they told me to start in Christchurch as well. For this route, planning to stay one night in Christchurch, drive to Lake Tekapo - Wanaka - Queenstown. I wanted to see as much of the South Island but I guess not on this trip. Will just have to plan another one I guess. Thank you again for your suggestion.
gbdbek0712 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2016, 11:57 PM
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 631
The weather could make it a very miserable trip and there's is no other route to take once you going down the West Coast so you couldn't change your mind and divert somewhere else. The weather could be okay - who knows. I live here and I would not do a road trip in the winter. Save the Nelson/West Coast trip for the summer and you would enjoy it much more. Nelson is a wonderful summer destination with a great market on a Saturday morning and lots of lovely beaches.
Queenstown in contrasts thrives on the winter scene and is a great place to go. Hope there will be some snow on the mountains by the end of July.
tasmangirl is offline  
Jun 26th, 2016, 02:08 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 8,161
I don't think winter is a reason not to do the trip from Nelson down the Coast, it is done all the time. Admittedly you should check the weather forecast before you go in case of snow etc, but the same could apply down South also, in fact you are more likely to get snow the further south you go,

The Nelson market is still on in winter, and depending on the day you can still do a boat trip into the Abel Tasman.
nelsonian is offline  
Jun 28th, 2016, 09:01 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,549
We have done two, two month road trips to NZ by Campervan in the winter and didn't find the weather to be an issue when it came to driving. It did snow a few times but not enough to cause any problems. Unlike my home country, when it snows the kiwis seem to get right on to it and clear the roads straight way! Far from it, the roads were pleasantly free of traffic. I second the suggestion of boat trip in Abel Tasman. We did that last August and loved it. We got the shuttle about 10 kms along the coast and hiked back - one of our most enjoyable hikes ever.

Alternatively, we loved our time further south, especially around Lake Tekapo, Mt Cook etc.

There are some photos and detail of some of our 2015 trip on our blog ( which I haven't gotten around to finishing yet.

crellston is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Australia & the Pacific
Jun 30th, 2015 07:36 AM
Australia & the Pacific
Jun 13th, 2015 06:26 AM
Australia & the Pacific
Jun 10th, 2011 08:35 PM
Australia & the Pacific
Aug 25th, 2008 11:03 PM
Australia & the Pacific
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 -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:17 PM.