East Coast of South Island NZ

Old May 11th, 2008, 10:18 PM
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East Coast of South Island NZ

Planning a trip for November - is the east coast drive from Christchurch to Dunedin scenic?
Is it an "easy drive" or not?
And, does anyone have the website for distances between destinations in NZ please?
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Old May 12th, 2008, 02:11 AM
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The east coast of the SI isn't particularly scenic - many of the SI's residents live along this corridor and it's basically flat countryside and industrial type towns. The drive is easy enough - paved, level highway - but it's not very interesting and there tends to be quite a bit of traffic (relative to the rest of the SI that is).

The drive gets much prettier after Oamaru, and the traffic subsides quite a bit.

We took this exact route in March and you can find details of that drive here:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...3&tid=35118771

Here's a distance/time calculator that I've found to be pretty accurate.

http://www.aatravel.co.nz/main/td-calculator.php
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Old May 12th, 2008, 07:57 PM
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Melnq8,
Thank you for your help.
Do you know of an inland route that is more appealing?
This is my Mum's "once in a lifetime" trip and I want it to be special for her.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 08:29 AM
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It takes a bit more time to travel an inland route from Christchurch to Dunedin. If you have more time you could go via Methven-Geraldine-Fairlie-Tekapo-Twizel(side trip to Mt. Cook)-Omarama-Oamaru-Dunedin. I would recommend an overnight stop near Mt. Cook (Twizel has lots of accommodation), or in Mt. Cook park itself.

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Old May 13th, 2008, 09:54 AM
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Is there some reason why you picked this route? There are others that are more scenic.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 04:04 AM
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sunsurfsand -

I'm traveling, so don't have my SI NZ map in front of me, but there are alternative routes, which will add considerable time to your drive.

We discovered Scenic Highway 72 in August during our drive north from Wanaka to Christchurch (this is the route mlgb mentioned). We picked 72 up just past Geraldine and drove to Christchurch via Methven. It's here that we discovered Raikaia Gorge, which so intrigued us that we made a return visit in March 2008.

Scenic Highway 72 is a pretty drive with very little traffic and it's my new favorite backroad on the SI.

NOTE: The portion of the drive from QT or Wanaka to Christchurch via 72 is a LONG day of driving. You'll definitely want to spend a couple of days on the full drive from Christchurch to Dunedin if you choose an inland route.

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Old May 15th, 2008, 04:05 AM
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Sorry, I realize you'd be driving this route in reverse - didn't mean to add confusion.
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