Help - South Island in April!

Old Mar 21st, 2007, 11:42 PM
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Help - South Island in April!

Ok, I and my family (wife, two kids 8 and 5) are doing an all-too short 7 day trip to the South Island on April 2-9 and I need help - have read dozens of your wonderful trip reports and feel as though I know so many of you, but I am also a bit overwhelmed and confused on how to plan, so i will go back to the experts (all of you) to help me.

Here is my proposed itinerary:

Arrive Monday, April 2 at 0910 into Christchurch. Plan to rent car and drive from CHC to Lake Tekapo and stay overnight there.

Tuesday, April 3rd - Bfast near Tekapo, drive (with stops) to arrive evening in Haast. Any good suggestions for lodging in or near Haast? (Moeraki Lodge was too expensive, $1080 NZ per night for 2 adults and 2 kids!)

Wednesday, April 4th - Sightsee around Haast? or just drive and stop often en route to Queenstown? overnite in Q'town;

Thursday, April 5th - Queenstown - spend the day and relax; early evening drive to Te Anau to stay overnight.

Friday, April 6th - leave Te Anau in the dmorning and drive Milford Road and try to get to Milford Sound for the cruise around 2;30 pm; stay overnight in Te Anau

Saturday, April 7th - Te Anau? Manapouri?? probably drive back and lodge in QUeenstown on this evening (but open to other ideas?);

Sunday, April 8th - drive Queenstown to Twizel with frequent stops; stay overnite in Twizel (opinions on Mountain Chalets?)

Monday, April 9th - early morning, drive Twizel to Mt. Cook, spend a few hours there, then drive to Christchurch to drop car, sleep and catch early morning flight on Tuesday the 10th!

Please give me your thoughts/opinions; This is Easter Week, but lodging seems to be ok (I called a few places); not sure if the tourist attractions will all be shut down on Good Friday and Easter Sunday or the opposite!

General question: would I be better off dropping Haast altogether and spending more time in Queenstown, Te Anau and the Fjordland?

And yes, I know this is far too short a time to see this wonderland, but we have no choice! And we definitely plan to be repeat visitors so the intention is not to see everything but to see memorable things!

thanks in advance..
ynotgo is offline  
Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 02:01 AM
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ynotgo -

IMO, you're better off dropping Haast and adding a night somewhere else. Haast has been popping up alot on this forum lately, and I can't for the life of me figure out why. It's a township of about 300 people, and unless I completely missed something on my six visits to the SI, I don't see the attraction.

Yes, the Haast region is a World Heritage area, and if you're going for that reason, by all means go, but do be aware that Haast itself is a pretty unexciting place and you'll be backtracking when you go to QT.

If you've got your heart set on staying in or near Haast, suggest you check out this site for affordable accommodation:

http://accommodationz.co.nz/haast.html

Mt Cook is just over an hour from Tekapo, so it might be a better use of your time to visit there on your way to QT or perhaps consider staying there overnight before moving on.

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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 07:57 AM
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thanks, Melnq8, the only reason I had Haast in there is that people say the drive down the west coast and through the pass is spectacular. I'm glad to have your advice on this, thank you.

What might be a good option if I decide to spend an extra day in Te Anau area? (assuming we do Milford Road + Sound cruise one day)?

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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 04:29 PM
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Don't get me wrong, the scenery on the west coast IS spectacular, but going from Tekapo to Haast then back south seems a bit inefficient considering you have so little time.

If you want to see some great scenery, you might consider driving from CH to Greymouth via Arthur's Pass. then down the west coast from there.

How about something like this:

April 2 - CH - Greymouth via Arthur's Pass takes about 3:15. While you're there, you'll probably want to drive up to Pancake Rocks, which is north of Greymouth a bit. You can then continue on to Hokitika (30 minutes from Greymouth) and spend the night there - 1 night

April 3 - From Hoki, you can continue down the West Coast to Haast (3:30) stay there or perhaps continue on to Wanaka for the night (6:15) - 1 night

April 4 - You might want to drive from Wanaka to QT (1:30), spend the afternoon in QT, then head to Te Anau in the evening as planned - 1 night Te Anau.

April 5 - Leave Te Anau for Milford early in the day (1:30-2 hour drive). Then drive from Te Anau to QT - 1 night QT

April 6 - Day in QT

April 7 - Drive QT to Mt Cook (3:20) - overnight in Twizel

April 8 - Drive Twizel to Lake Tekapo (35 minutes) either stay here overnight, or continue on to CH (2:45)

April 9 - extra day

April 10 - departure from CH



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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:13 AM
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I agree with Melnq to go via Arthur's Pass down the West Coast. From CHC to Greymouth you could either drive or take the TranzAlpine. But then I would suggest going further to the glaciers and staying there. That would make the trip over Haast Pass less rushed.
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