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stotz Jan 19th, 2008 05:11 AM

Need advice on West Coast Route
One itineary we are considering is is Queensland-Milford Sound-Fox Glacier and then Greysmouth to catch the TransAlpine RR to Christchurch (We're doing it this way so that we can fly onto Sydney from Christchurch). We have seven nights. How would you break the trip? Where would you stay? Any other stops that make sense? We currently have a flight reserved from Queensland to Christchurch but I'd rather not backtrack.

Jed Jan 20th, 2008 05:39 AM

For your itine<b>r</b>ary, I'm not sure if you know that in going from Milford Sound to Fox you have to go through Queens<b>town</b>. Do you want to do the overnight cruise at Milford?

FYI - It usually helps to keep all info for one trip on one thread.((*))

Melnq8 Jan 20th, 2008 03:24 PM

stotz -

Are you arriving in Queenstown via plane?

If so, you might consider heading directly to Te Anau, which is about a two hour drive from QT. You could then spend a night or two in Te Anau (to access Milford Sound), then head back to QT for a couple of days. From QT, you can drive to Fox Glacier (about 6+ hours), spend a night or two, then head for Greymouth and the Tranzalpine Train to CHC.

So, perhaps something like this:

Te Anau - two nights
Queenstown - three nights
Fox Glacier - two nights

Of course, you may need a night in CHC before your flight, in which case, you'd have to cut a night somewhere.

I'm not clear on your flights - do you currently have return flights to/from Queentown reserved? Are you tied to these?

stotz Jan 20th, 2008 05:53 PM

We have our flights on hold with Qantas but haven't purchased them yet so I appreciate the help in fine tuning our NZ itinerary.

I don't think we'll have the stamina to continue onto Te Anau after Atlanta-LA-Auckland-Queenstown so we planned to rest a day and then go on. We have reservations for the overnight on Doubtful Sound and planned on seeing Milford Sound one afternoon.
Then we need to choose: Spend a third night in Te Anau (Glowworm Caves or day hike on Milford Track), drive back to Queenstown and fly to Christchurch for 3 nights. We planned on a day trip to Kraihoura (spelling is wrong I'm sure )for a whale watching trip with 3 nights in Christchurch. I thought this would work since Christchurch appears to be the only South Island airport that has direct flights to Sydney, our next stop. OR, we can shorten one night at Te Anau or Christchurch and spend one or two nights going up to Fox Glacier and taking the train over to Christchurch. I'd love to know your opinions between these two plans.

stotz Jan 20th, 2008 05:56 PM

Darn it. I keep typing Queensland and I realize that its QueensTOWN.
Never could spell itinerary despite degree in English Literature.

marg Jan 20th, 2008 07:03 PM

Why not get to Queenstown a bit earlier and have a look around there. The gondala to the top of Bob's Peak gives terrific views of the town and surrounds (plus nice coffee shop up there). You could do a boat ride across the lake to Walter Peak Station. Another option is to drive to Arrowtown - only about 15 minutes from Queenstown.
Incidentally if you are planning a day trip to Kaikoura - it took us three hours to drive there from Christchurch. It's only 168 km and I couldn't believe it would take so long. So if you are going there and back in one day, allow plenty of time for travelling.

Melnq8 Jan 20th, 2008 07:57 PM

stotz -

NO, definitely wouldn't recommend driving to Te Anau - didn't realize you were coming directly from the US!

Hard choice between your two itineraries, as there's just so much to do in both places. Marg makes a good point about Kaikoura, you'll need plenty of time for the drive and you'll want to book your whale watching trip in advance.

The area around QT has a lot to offer, such as Glenorchy (beautiful scenery), Cromwell (great wineries), Lake Hayes (near Arrowtown) and the lake district in general.

CHC has a lot to offer too, but it really comes down to your particular interests.

Banks Peninsula is about a 90 minute drive from CHC and makes a good day trip as does the port town of Lyttelton via Sumner.

If you like wine, the Waipara Valley is just a 40 minute drive north of CHC.

On our last stay in CHC, we really enjoyed Rakaia Gorge, which is located approximately 45-60 minutes NW (?) of CHC. They offer jet boat rides through the gorge if that's something that interests you.

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