New Zealand itinerary

Sep 27th, 2007, 12:24 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 68
New Zealand itinerary

We will spend almost 3 weeks in Australia, and the remainder in New Zealand..around 9-10 days,in early-mid November...
We thought we would do best just going to the South Isand. We are looking at the Christchurch area. Is it worth renting a car there and just driving around?

Is it worth going to see the glacier and what would be the best way or best place to do that?

Or would you recommend other areas to focus on?

Honeybear is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 05:48 PM
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With only 9-10 days, I'd definitely stick to one island.

Renting a car is the best way to see NZ. Christchurch is okay as cities go, but if you really want to experience the SI, you'll need to branch out.

Only you can decide if it's "worth it" to go the the glaciers, but given the popularity of the area, I'd say most people think it is.

You might consider somthing like this:

Arrive CH - take TranzAlpine train to Greymouth, collect rental car in Greymouth.

Make side trip to Punakaiki (Pancake Rocks) then back to Greymouth and down the west coast towards the glaciers

Spend a couple of nights in Franz Josef or Fox glacier area - maybe take a helihike, guided glacier walk, or just do some freedom walking

Continue down the west coast - perhaps spend a couple of nights in Wanaka, or continue on to Queenstown

From Queenstown you can take a bus to Te Anau and on to Milford Sound, then back to Queenstown - it's a very long day, but a good way for people short on time to see Milford Sound

Spend some time in the Queenstown area, maybe drive to Glenorchy and walk a portion of a track, or perhaps take the Dart River Safari (which I can highly recommend)

Fly from Queenstown to CH for your departing flight.

If you're considering Christchurch as a base city, be aware that the base city concept doesn't work well in NZ. The distances and travel time are far too great. If you choose to base yourself in CH and only take day trips, you'll be limiting yourself to areas like Kaikoura, Hanmer Springs, Akaroa, Sumner, Lyttelton, etc. While all of these places are worthy of a visit, you won't really see much of the SI.
Melnq8 is online now  
Sep 28th, 2007, 06:33 AM
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Hi Honeybear - It would be beneficial to you to keep your posts on one thread so we could follow your plans and advise you better.
Jed is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 09:39 AM
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 68
Thanksso much for all the info...that is really helpful. It's just really challenging to put this together so fast. What should we expect in terms of temperatures at the glaciers? And, overall, will there be much difference in temperature/weather from Australia?

So, how much time would you recommend for the Christchurch area?

It was recommended to spend a few days in Milford Sound...but we only have 10 days or so...and it sounds like your suggestions will give us a great overview...a taste of many things.

Also, we will actually fly out of Aukland, but feel we should just concentrate on one island and maybe spend a day up there because we will be there anyway and save it for next time.

I thought it might be easier for someone to respond to just one thread or the other...sorry if I made it harder to follow!

Honeybear is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 05:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,095
Honeybear -

I haven't been following your Australia post, so I don't know where you'll be or how the temperatures will differ from NZ.

Weather in NZ is unpredictable, but generally speaking you can probably expect rain at some point, especially along the West Coast (glacier area). We've been to NZ several times in several seasons and we've always gotten by with a fleece jacket and a waterproof layer that fits over the fleece. It should be warming up a bit in November, but keep in mind that rain is always a possibility.

As far as how much time to allow in Christchurch, it really depends on what you want to do. If you're just staying in the city, a day or two should be plenty to check it out. If you plan to explore further afield, say drive to Akaroa or Lyttelton, you might want more time. Having said that, because your time is so limited, I'd suggest you spend a minimal amount of time in Christchurch thus leaving more time for the more unique spots on the SI (Milford, glaciers, etc).

I can certainly understand why someone would suggest you spend more time in Milford Sound, but don't underestimate the time it takes to get from place to place in NZ.

If you're most interested in Milford and surrounds, you might consider flying from CH to QT, then back to CH. This way you could spend all your time in the Queesntown, Te Anau and Milford areas.

Planning NZ itineraries is always difficult, even for those of us who've been there many times. I suggest you decide what you want to see the most, then build your itinerary from there.

Melnq8 is online now  
Sep 28th, 2007, 06:39 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 68
Hi again Melnq8,

Thanks for checking back. Is there a site that shows driving distances?

Also, any suggestions for lodging in any of those areas would be appreciated. I am looking at some books and trip advisor, but would welcome personal input.

Thanks very much!
Honeybear is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 07:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,095
I've found this site to be pretty accurate when figuring drive time/distances. You'll need to add more time for stops though:

As for accommodation I can personally recommend the following:

Christchurch - Del Lago Motel

Franz Josef - Bella Vista Motel, Punga Grove

Fox Glacier - Lake Matheson Motel

Wanaka - 52nd on Willowridge

Arrowtown (near Queenstown) - Orchard Cottage

Queenstown - Villa Del Lago, A Line Hotel (kinda of noisy as on a major street though), Bella Vista Motel

Te Anau - Explorer Lodge
Melnq8 is online now  

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