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Sproketz Oct 25th, 2007 05:49 PM

Nelson or Christchurch?
We are firt-time visitors to New Zealand, and are planning to drive up the West Coast of the South Island from Queentown in March.

We are trying to decide between heading to Nelson or Christchurch (after the Pancake Rocks). From one of these places we will drop the car and fly to Rotorua.

We'd appreciate any suggestions on which might be a better, more interesting route (Nelson or Christchurch). Thanks!

someotherguy Oct 25th, 2007 06:22 PM

Well, you could fly from Westport (a bit north of Pancake Rocks); there's an Avis place in town, and you can also drop the car at the airport and leave the keys with the Air NZ agents.

Personally, I'd take the Buller Gorge from there toward Nelson, but turn off to Motueka. This is a very attractive road (better than Albert's Pass in my opinion) and the journey into Motueka is particularly good. Motueka is a good base for exploring Abel Tasman and Golden Bay (two of the most attractive places in the South Island). Then fly out of Nelson.

rubybay Oct 25th, 2007 06:29 PM

Hi there

I agree with the last writer, I just posted on 'South Island in 2 weeks', do have a peek at my reply there it may be useful. We immigrated to Nelson 5 years ago as it's the best place we've found to live - anywhere :D !! Enjoy your trip!

Sproketz Oct 27th, 2007 05:55 AM

Thank you both for the replies!

Excellent suggestions--we will definately head to Nelson and maybe stay in Motueka! (Do either of you have suggestions on where to stay in Montueka?) on to more planning for the rest of the trip!

someotherguy Oct 27th, 2007 08:57 AM

The Avalon Manor Motel is a simple, but very functional and nicely maintained motel half mile from the center of Motueka. If you want something other than a motel, then there are many nice cottages and lodges in the area: if you type Motueka into the search box you'll find older messages with several suggestions.

Personally, I'd spend more time in this area (and around the Charlotte and other sounds, which are conveniently accessed from Picton--which also has the ferry to the North Island) than I would in Queenstown. I'd also spend more time in the northern parts of the North Island (Northland--above Auckland, and Coromandel) than I would in Rotorua--but of course it all depends on your individual tastes and interests.

Melnq8 Oct 27th, 2007 05:22 PM

Regarding places to stay in/around Motueka -

The Old Schoolhouse:

Maple Grove Cottages -

Blue Moon B&B -

Almyra Villa -

I've stayed at all of these and would happily stay at all again.

In Golden Bay I can recommend this place - Ashlea Downs

Suggest you allow yourself plenty of time to throughly explore the top end of the South Island - loads to see and do.

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