Driving or trains in New Zealand?

Jan 26th, 2006, 04:50 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 86
Driving or trains in New Zealand?

Has anyone taken some or all of the 3 Tranz scenic trains? There is a 7 day pass...but I can't seem to get anyone to post about it. We can either take the train "The Overlander" from Auckland-Wellington-then the ferry-then the "Tranzcoastal" Christchurch- and "Tranzalpine" to Greymouth and then rent a car OR we could rent a car for all or some of these legs? We would be staying in Wellington and Christchurch 3 nights each. Plan is to eventually fly back to Auckland from Queenstown after going to Franz Joseph glacier, Wanaka, maybe Mt Cook, Milford Sound cruise. (We could do this whole trip in reverse too, starting in Queenstown). But the train from Auckland to Wellington takes 12 hours...should we fly or drive instead? We have toured the North Island before (but not Wellington) so we really just want to get to Wellington and not stop anywhere along the way. Since we are arriving Auckland from Bangkok on Sunday, I thought catching the train the next morning might be relaxing, because I'm sure we'll be jet-lagged. Otherwise, we might need 2 nights in Auckland to recuperate from the flights. Thanks for your help...I think these posts are a great tool...from people who live there or have traveled there!
susanwr is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 07:31 AM
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I'd fly Ak to Wellington personally. It may actually be cheaper as well. 69NZD one way if you look hard.
wilees is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 05:21 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 235
Agree with the previous post. Fly to Wellington, then fly to Christchurch or Queenstown.
The best way to see the South Island is by car, but the Tranz Alpine train is worth while. You could do it from ChCh and rent a car in Greymouth, driving down the West Coast to the Southern lakes (Queenstown/Te Anau). Either return to ChCh via Tekapo, or via Dunedin, or fly out of Queenstown.
vbca is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 06:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,276
We aredoing exactly what you suggest by taking the train to Greymouth, renting a car to drive down to Te Anau for a few days and then driving back to Christchurch. Which is the best, most scenic way back? Tekapo looks the most diret and by that point we will probably need to make it back to Christchurch in a day to be able to have a day seeing that city before flying out to Auckland.
jcasale is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 07:38 AM
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@ from Greymouth u MUST visit Punakaiki - "Pancake Rocks" return
@@ without hesitation, The CATLINS from Te Anau to Dunedin passing through Invercargill. So many attractions on the way the best is to do it 2 days but 1 long day ia awesome!! Nugget Point with its scenary & wildlife is a must. Curio Bay with Jurrasic (Park) Petrified Forest {hope 4 low tide} lots of stops for forests waterfalls views even possible dolphin observations.
i would cut a day from Te Anau if needed.
@@@ at Dunedin - Otago Pen' - Penguin colony Albatross colony !! etc'
Enjoy it
aby is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 11:55 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Qtn / ChCh via Tekapo is the most direct, and fastest, about 6 hours excluding stops. If you go via Dunedin you could probably add 2-3 hours to this. Probably you would want to overnight in Dunedin and take in the Albatross colony, and some of the other sights.

Everywhere in NZ is scenic, so your choice is wide open on this one.

Have a great trip.
vbca is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 08:24 AM
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I'm betting we will! Thanks for the times and suggestions returning from Te Anau. We'll probably just play it by ear and see what the weather is like. If we stop halfway and miss time in Christchurch - oh well. We'll just have to come back !
jcasale is offline  
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