mount cook or top of south - how?

Dec 29th, 2008, 05:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 10
mount cook or top of south - how?

New zealand has so many nice places to visit and I do not know which area to choose.

I have map out a 10 days itenary covering the following placesbr /> ~ Christchurch
~ Fran Josef
~ Queenstown
~ Te Anau
~ Dunedin

I am thinking of extending my itenary by another 2 to 4 days.
Should I cover mount cook or should
I travel to top of south( to Kaikora, picton and Nelson)

Which offer better scenary?

leaftreewind is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 11:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,070
You've already got a lot of stops for only a 10 day visit - don't under estimate the drive times involved. Are you thinking about making a loop, or flying into Christchurch and out of Dunedin?

Both options you've mentioned offer nice scenery. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the scenery on the inland drive, (Mt Cook) but Mt Cook itself is definitely worth seeing.

Up north you'll find coastal scenery around Kaikoura (and lots of seals), the beautiful serene water of the Marlborough Sounds (Picton) and rolling countryside, the coast and mountain ranges around Nelson.

The easiest option would be Mt Cook. It's more difficult to incorporate the top of the SI when also visiting the far south of the SI with so little time.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so take a look for yourself here:
Melnq8 is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 11:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,070
I forgot to mention that you might just want to add the extra days to your existing itinerary, giving yourself more time in the places you already plan to visit. Te Anau and Milford are gorgeous and there's a lot to do around there - be sure to give yourself sufficient time to thoroughly explore these beautiful places.
Melnq8 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2008, 11:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,691
Definitely add more days, the most that you can. Even then you'll wish you had more.

It depends on what type of scenery you like, glaciers and mountains or coastal scenery (although in the right season Kaikoura can do both).

Christchurch is least scenic, it's in a flat plain. A nice city to visit for a tourist, the Art Centre has a food and craft market on the weekends and there are some good museums.

Dunedin is mostly of interest for lovers of wildlife, you can take a trip to Otago Peninsula to see the rare yellow-eyed penguins (hoiho or noisy penguin). Some people find the city "too Scottish" to quote one of my friends, but others (like me) like it. There are some beautiful beaches but not many people see these or consider it the main reason for visiting.

Overall Queenstown and the surrounding area has I think the best mix of scenery and activities for a first time visitor, especially if you don't want to drive yourself. Many lodgings have views over Lake Wakatipu to the Remarkables. You can book day trips to Glenorchy/Dart River, Milford Sound and even Doubtful Sound, so there isn't a reason to stay in Te Anau which is mostly a base for hikers. You can of course, but the town itself is pretty dull. It's on a Lake, but not as scenic as Queenstown.

Franz Josef or Fox Glacier are scenic, but it does rain a lot on the west coast and can obscure any views. When it is clear, it is spectacular.

I do think Mt. Cook and the beautiful turquoise lakes (Pukaki and Tekapo) are extremely scenic, although there is a chance of not seeing Mt. Cook... my last two trips I was lucky.

Personally I think it takes too long to add Picton-Nelson-Kaikoura-Abel Tasman, especially just for 10 days. You can take a day trip to Kaikoura (out of Christchurch). The most scenic part in my opinion is Abel Tasman, very pretty waters and gold sand beaches.

Really you need something like 18-20 weeks to just sample everything that is beautiful in New Zealand, so don't worry too much, you will enjoy what you see and wish for more!

mlgb is offline  
Jan 1st, 2009, 02:49 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 137
A drive over Arthur's Pass is well worth it.

New Zealand is a beautiful place, and Queenstown is spectacular.
lorikeet is offline  

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