Help with New Zealand, South Island Itinerary

Old Oct 23rd, 2010, 01:25 AM
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Help with New Zealand, South Island Itinerary

Hi I would like some help deciding on the 2nd half of our 9 night itinerary over christmas holidays (South Island only). We are 3 adults and 2 young kids (4 yr and 1.5 yr) - as such, we're into viewing scenery, wildlife, parks (can't do long hikes, etc...). We have the first half booked, so we're just looking for help picking one or three options for the 2nd half - any suggestions will be helpful!!!

First half:

1. Queenstown to Mt Cook
2. Mt Cook to Queenstown
3. Queenstown
4. Queenstown (Miford day trip- coach/cruise/fly)

Second half:
Option 1:
5. Queenstown to Wanaka
6. Wanaka
7. Wanaka to Lake Tokepa
8. Tokepa to Christchurch
9. Christchurch
10. Fly out of christchurch

Option 2:
5. Queenstown to Wanaka
6. Wanaka
7. Wanaka to Fox Glacier
8. Fox Glacier to Arthur's Pass (stay somewhere on the pass or right before it)
9. Arthur's Pass to Christchurch
10. Fly out of christchurch

Option 3:
5. Queenstown to Riverton or Invercargill
6. Riverton to Catlins (south east coast drive) - stop midway
7. Catlins to dunedin
8. dunedin
9. dunedin to christchurch along east coast
10. fly out christchurch
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Old Oct 23rd, 2010, 12:10 PM
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My first question would be why are you going Queenstown to Mt Cook then back to Queenstown? If it was me I would stay in Queenstown Days 1 - 3 then incorporate Mt Cook as part of my trip to Christchurch. Follow this link to give you some help / ideas for option 1

http://www.aatravel.co.nz/gkrt/roadt...ueenstown.html

In fact if you go to this site and look at trips for Queenstown to Haast, then Haast to Karamea (I know this is not on your schedule but covers up to Greymouth / Punakaiki) as well as Christchurch to Kumara Junction / Westport you will get some idea of the areas in which you are travelling and whether or not you want to modify Option 2 / change your options.

Option 3 is certainly doable. In Dunedin you have the choice of Penguin spotting and albatross spotting too. Great day out on the peninsula. I know there is accommodation at Curio Bay - again the website I have given you also has accommodation options.

Good luck with your planning - such a lot to see in so few days.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2010, 03:48 PM
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I don't understand the QT-Mt Cook and return routing either, unless you're trying to use QT as a base from which to see the SI, in which case, MT cook is a bit far (263 km, 3:45 each way).

Of your three options, I'd personally prefer Option 2 as it covers some of the prettiest bits of the SI (the West Coast) and is a very scenic drive, however, if you're only planning one night in each spot, you're really missing out on what the area has to offer. You'll have no time to really explore the areas you're visiting.

As for Option 3, I personally love the Catlins, but you'll need time to explore it. You don't get the full impact of the Catlins by merely passing through. Besides, the drive from Dunedin to Christchurch along the east coast is the least scenic drive on all of the SI. It's not too bad until you reach Oamaru, but north from there becaomes really industrial and heavy with truck traffic (by NZ standards anyway). We plan our NZ itineraries specifically to bypass that stretch of road whenever possible.

As for Option 1 - These are areas you could see if you incorporated the first half of your itinerary with the second. If you opt for this one, you're backtracking over ground you've already seen twice during the first half of your itinerary, and you're limiting yourself to a very small part of the SI, and not the best part IMO. Lake Tekapo is only 99 km from Mt Cook; it's very easy to see both on the drive from QT or Wanaka to Christchurch.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2010, 06:11 PM
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Thanks so much for your response. Yes, I know the roundtrip to Mt Cook seems odd, but we did want to base our first half out of Queenstown and we were having trouble with accomodations in Mt Cook (with 5 of us) on nights later in our trip. And I heard the Lindis pass drive is beautiful, so I didn't mind backtracking over it.

Based on your responses, I think I'll focus on Option 2 and find if there's any way to modify it to give us more exploring time (maybe just one night in Wanaka and 2 nights on the west coast somewhere). Unfortunately, most of our exploring has to be done via car or short walks!!

Thanks
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 03:18 PM
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Even if you can't get anything in Mt. Cook itself you should be able to find something suitable in Twizel.
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