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New Zealand: Looking for help with S. Island trip plan

New Zealand: Looking for help with S. Island trip plan

May 3rd, 2009, 07:19 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 302
New Zealand: Looking for help with S. Island trip plan

Working on an itinerary for the south island of NZ in October. Currently we're thinking:
Days 1 & 2: Picton/Marlborough Sound
Days 3 & 4: Abel Tasman NP
Days 5 & 6: traveling to & exploring Franz Josef area
Day 7: travel to Te Anau; overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound
Day 8: glow worm tour; photo ops on drive to Milford Sound
Day 9: overnight cruise on Milford Sound
Day 10: Queenstown
We can come up with an extra day or two from our north island plan, or cut something from this plan...We're thinking about Mr. Cook and the Lake Tekapo area, but are wondering if it will stil be a bit early in the season for this. (We live in Utah & have traveled quite alot in the western states and western Canada...so are leaning toward the west coast over mountains.) Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!
NatalieM is offline  
May 4th, 2009, 05:52 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,592
IMO, the two overnight cruises will be very similar. I'd do only one -- and spend the extra time in Queenstown. I loved strolling along the lake, gasping at the views of the snow-capped mountains. Also loved a tour of Skipper's Canyon (from Queenstown) with Nomad Tours (our guide was Fran). For me, Queenstown is not a place to simply check off the list, but a place to enjoy for a few days.

Also, be sure to see the Mirror Lakes en route to Milford Sound. They were spectacular -- and we preferred them and the scenery in that area to Milford Sound (which was very nice -- but not "OMG." I might have been less impressed than some because it's similar to the Norwegian fjords that I've seen).

Whatever you do, you'll see some beautiful places.
Songdoc is offline  
May 5th, 2009, 09:17 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 302
Thanks Songdoc! O.k. I'm trying to figure out a less stressful (maybe warmer) itinerary. Any thoughts about this 3 week plan?
Day 1 - Arrive Auckland. Light sightseeing while recovering from jet lag.
Day 2 & 3 - Bay of Islands - maybe Paihia or Russell.
Days 4, 5, & 6 - Sightseeing & fishing at Taupo.
Day 7 - Tour wine country; stay around Napier.
Day 8 - Drive to Wellington; see Museum of NZ
Days 9 & 10 - Ferry to Picton; drive to Abel Tasman; overnight kayaking/hiking trip.
Days 11 & 12 - Marlborough Sound area. Kayaking/hiking day trip.
Day 13 - Travel to Akaroa.
Day 14 - Travel toward Queenstown w/ sightseeing around Lake Tekapo & Mt. Cook area. Stay around Twizel.
Days 15 & 16 - Drive to Te Anau. Cave tour. Overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound.
Day 17 - Leisurely drive to Milford Sound. Take day cruise. See Mirror Lakes on way to or from Milford.
Days 18 & 19 - Drive to Queenstown for a couple days of sightseeing & relaxing before our trip home.
I'm totally overwhelmed by the distances & volume of things to fit in, so any input is appreciated!
NatalieM is offline  
May 20th, 2009, 08:37 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 25
Comprehensive itinerary there - you'll certainly be doing a lot of driving. Even just the first couple of days, Bay of Islands from Auckland is a good 3+ hours each way.

If you're doing the overnight cruise at Doubtful Sound you probably don't need to do the day cruise at Milford unless you really want to. Mirror Lakes, the Chasm and the Homer Tunnel are all great scenic stops on the Milford Rd. Staying in Te Anau is a great idea and breaks up the drive to Queenstown.
mike_nz is offline  
May 22nd, 2009, 04:59 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 86
On our 2nd trip to NZ we concentrated on the Wellington and the South Island. We flew into Auckland and then flew to Wellington the next day for 4 nights; took the ferry to Picton and train to Christchurch, stayed 3 nights; rented a car drove to Wanaka via Twizel (for LOTR spot) and stayed 2 nights in Wanaka; drove to Te Anau and stayed 2 nights so that we could drive to Milford Sound on a day trip and short cruise which we thoroughly enjoyed; then drove to Queenstown, stopping at Deer Park Heights on the way - a must - and spent 4 nights in Queenstown. The island is gorgeous, the roads easy to drive and we had a wonderful time. Now looking to go back to south island to take the trans-alpine (or drive it) and visit the glaciers. We did NOT go to Mt. Cook Lodge because we heard the mountain is often socked in with clouds. If you'd like more info on where we stayed, let me know. SWR
susanwr is offline  
May 23rd, 2009, 09:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 830
on day 3/4 are you driving from bay of islands down to taupo?
that's quite a full day of driving!

unless i read it incorrectly, day 9/10 has you ferrying to picton and driving to abel tasman and doing the overnight boat trip. the trips leave in the morning, so i don't think you will make it on day 9 for that day's boat trip (assuming you are kayaking). you would need to do it on day 10 and then an overnight would bring you to day 11, when you intend to double back several hours to marlborough for a different boat trip?

i would either do abel tasman as a day trip,allowing you an early start back in the direction from whence you will have just come, or re-calculate your alloted time/dates for these places to accommodate the activities you want to undertake.

kerikeri is offline  

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