New Zealand Locations

Jun 4th, 2004, 07:14 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
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New Zealand Locations

We wil be spending 9 nights on South Island in January. We are flying into Christchurch and out of Queenstown. Looking for comments about the following:

Kaikoura-boat trip to see whales.

2 day/1 night walk/kayak in Abel Tasman-do not see area mentioned often on this site but wanted to experience an easy tramp.

Quick look at Franz Josef or Fox Glacier.

2 nights Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge.

Millford Sound-which is better option day or overnight boat tour? Any thoughts about day kayak trip for university son instead of boat tour?

Moderate to higher cost places to stay in Kaikoura and Te Anau.

Should we eliminate something and see Authur's Pass? We do not plan on spending anytime in the cities.

Thanks for you comments!

3Texans is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 09:31 AM
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I think that first you have to make a big-picture decision - do you want to try to do the whole S Island in 9 days (which means a lot of dashing around), or do you want to limit yourself to just the South half (which will be more relaxed, but you miss the northern locations). Personally, I would choose the latter, which will allow more time at the Glaciers, a two-day Fiordland tour, and time to do things in Queenstown/Wanaka.

I really like Abel Tasman - there is indeed fairly easy tramping and kayaking along the beaches, but, given 9 days, I would regretfully leave it behind.

You could still go to Kaikoura as a day trip out of Christchurch. This one depends on whether or not you like whale-watching. We have done a lot of similar trips (living on the coast of Washington), but had never seen sperm whales before. It was a very interesting and special trip that I would think is worth the driving from Cchurch and back.

You could then drive over Arthur's Pass and down to the west coast (at Greymouth). If you want to do some walking, you could take guided glacier walks and/or heli-hikes on Franz Josef and/or Fox Glaciers.

I would definitely do an overnight boat tour on Milford or Doubtful Sounds. It is so much better after the daytime crowds have left. I would do Doubtful Sound, which is more remote. Most of those trips include kayaks - one of our finest NZ experiences was the sunrise kayak on a mirror-still, totally silent Doubtful Sound. This might satisfy your son.

If you go this route, you can spend a day or two exploring Queenstown and/or Wanaka; going on a hike, taking the Skyline Gondola, going on a raft trip or jetboat trip, etc.

Have fun!

ALF is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 08:26 PM
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In February/March we spent six weeks taking friends around New Zealand, dividing our time evenly between the North and South Islands. We did some of the things that you are planning to do.

We stayed overnight at Kaikoura and went whale watching. We were lucky enough to see three Sperm whales then, as a bonus, two Orcas, or killer whales, hunting a pod of dolphins. It is essential to book in advance.

We have done both the daytime and the overnight cruises on Milford. On this last trip, we did the overnight and it was a fantastic experience. We took the more expensive option, the Milford Mariner, which has separate cabins. There is an opportunity to spend some time in a small boat ? a rigid inflatable. However, your son might be happier with the cheaper option that does include kayaking.

We always stay in Motels in New Zealand; they offer the best value for money. Kaikoura will be very busy in January, so you will need to book ahead. A couple of years ago we stayed at Donegal House, which is some distance out of Kaikoura. It is ?up market? in terms of price and was a pleasant enough place to stay, but I didn?t feel it justified the additional price. There are some nice Motels in town.

Te Anau will also be very busy, so you may want to book ahead there. This last trip we elected to stay in Manapouri and found a nice little Motel connected to a Pub. If you have time in Te Anau, consider spending a day with Sinbad Cruises.

I wouldn?t skip anything to see Arthur?s Pass, particularly in mid summer. As the New Zealand joke has it, having seen it you will understand why Arthur passed, as did Tom, Dick and Harry.

Tangata is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 11:17 PM
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I absolutely agree with the recommendations of an overnight on Milford Sound. Just an additional comment to Tangata's reply. We also overnighted on the Mariner in Milford Sound, and it DOES include kayaking (as well as the small boat); you can choose either or none.
Les is offline  
Jun 5th, 2004, 01:10 AM
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Have to agree with the comment about Arthur's Pass.

I really enjoyed Abel Tasman - we only walked portions from either end, but would love to see more of it. Problem is, it's the opposite direction of the other areas you plan to see, so time will be a major consideration as Alf has mentioned.

We also enjoyed Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge - we were there several years ago, but have fond memories of our time there. It's definitely worth the time, and a good place to stay after seeing the glaciers.

Have fun.
Melnq8 is online now  
Jun 6th, 2004, 09:35 AM
Original Poster
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Thanks everyone for all the comments. We are now convinced to do the overnight boat trip - just have to decided between Doubtful and Milford. I'm sure either would be a wonderful experience. Know it will be rushed but we think we will leave in Abel Tasman and Kaikoura and skip Authur's Pass. We have been told that Queenstown is similar to Vail, Colorado so we are not spending any time there either. Nothing personal against Vail but it is not what we are looking for this trip.

Thanks again for your help!
3Texans is offline  
Jun 6th, 2004, 10:03 AM
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If you are going to tramp Abel Tasman, I would recommend taking a water taxi from Marahau, out along the coast, then walking back. If you want a luxurious experience, you could overnight in Awaroa Lodge, which is a long day's walk to Marahau.

If you choose not to drive over Arthur's Pass, you might then want to consider taking the TranzAlpine train from Cchurch up to the Pass, then return. You will have several hours up at the Pass for lunch and a walkaround, before the TranzAlpine returns (from Greymouth) to take you back to Cchurch.
ALF is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 02:53 PM
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I spent 2+ weeks on South Island in April. The overnight on Doubtful Sound was a high point (kayaking under waterfalls!). I thought Haast Pass was far more scenic than Arthur's Pass. A quick look at the glaciers is enough, but the drive up the West Coast, esp. around the Pancake Rocks, is amazing.
4Nick is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 09:16 PM
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We did a sea kayak and walking tour of Abel Tasman but could have spent more time. Visited the wineries in Blenheim and had lunch. Doubtful Sound was wonderful, just did a day trip. We enjoyed Dunedin, saw yellow eyed penguins, most unusual. Stay in the motels, very accommodating, for under 75.00 US monies. Alana
alana is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 08:48 AM
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"Stay in the motels, very accommodating"

We plan to be in Queenstown and Te Anau next April. How is the availability of rooms in motels and hotels at that time? Should we make reservations or do you go to a central place when you get to town? Thanks
Jed is offline  
Jun 17th, 2004, 01:04 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Hi Jed,

There are school holidays around Easter, so check to make sure your travel dates don't conflict with the holiday. You'll want to make reservations during the holidays.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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We stayed at Explorer Motor Lodge in Te Anau - large room, w/ kitchen facility for NZ$125 (about US$75). Easy walk to town centre, friendly owners. Very satisfied w/ accomodation.
slim is offline  
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