New Zealand South Island Jan 2009

Old Nov 16th, 2008, 06:32 AM
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New Zealand South Island Jan 2009

My partner & I are planning a trip to SI end Jan. We will be there for 8 days. We are an adventurous couple in our 30s, enjoy boutique-style acco, have an interest in nature and adventure sports (but nothing extreme). Based on the very helpful earlier postings we plan to fly from Sydney into Queenstown, spend 1/2 nights, take the TranzAlpine train, then pick up a car, drive to Te Anau, spend 2-3 nights, couple treks and the Milford Sound cruise, then on to Fox Glacier for a heli-hike and a night (?), then maybe Wanaka and back to Queenstown for our flight to Sydney? My questions - are we doing too much? What would u change or drop? For acco we're considering the foll: in Queenstown Crown View Bed & Breakfast, Larch Hill Homestay, Browns Boutique Hotel, in Te Anau - The Crofts, Dunluce B&B, Te Anau Lodge, in Wanaka - Wanaka Springs, Wanaka Homestead - any comments on any of these from people who know them or have stayed there?
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 07:57 AM
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hobbes. If it weren't for the Tranzalpine, I'd say the itinerary is doable, but rushed somewhat. I would check driving times, Te Anau to Fox Glacier in particular, to see what you're committing yourself to.

The trouble with TranzAlpine is that it connects Christchurch and Greymouth (on the west coast), not Queenstown. If you fly from Sydney into Queenstown and then back to Sydney from Christchurch (or vice versa), you might be able to work a one-way TransAlpine ride into your trip.

I recommend 3 nights in Te Anau and 2 nights in Queenstown. You will need a full day to drive to Milford Sound and back from Te Anau - one of the most beautiful drives on the planet, I will add. Queenstown is a bit of a zoo these days, but nonetheless, there is a lot to do there.
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 08:28 AM
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Indeed, the Tranzalpine train is out of your area.

Also, you probably won't be able to go from TA to Fox in one day.

On the way to Fox, you could stay at Wanaka which would make the drive reasonable.

If you plan on the heli-hike, you should stay at Fox the night before. Then from Fox directly to QT for your flight.

That said, it may be too much for 8 days to do both sides of QT, especially if you want to stay a few nights in TA and take the Milford overnight. You could go to Wanaka if you feel this is important, but Fox is far, and it would involve doubling back to QT, a long drive.

It would be best to see the itinerary on a map, along with driving times. Then pick out what you really want, and show us a more detailed itinerary.

http://www.accommodationz.co.nz/distances2.html
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 12:29 PM
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Unless you are really keen on trains, I would skip the TranzAlpine idea. It is a spectacular trip, but it is better when there is a bit of snow around -- and there won't be at that time of year. You will get to see plenty of equally good alpine scenery in the rest of your itinerary.

As suggested, take a look at the driving times involved. You may be spending more time in the car than you really want.
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 03:21 PM
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Thanks everyone for the very helpful tips. I was fearful that we might be doing too much time in the car! If we ditch the TranzAlpine should we do this as a loop around Queenstown? Is there another place we could return the car and fly to Sydney without coming back to Queenstown? Also, any views on any of my hotel options? Or other suggestions of similar acco? Thanks very much - this is my first time in NZ and I am eager to get it right!
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 05:37 PM
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Agree with the previous posters - the Tranzalpine just isn't feasible with your other plans.

As far as other places you can return the rental car and then fly out - options are limited, but Wanaka and Dunedin are possiblities (although adding Dunedin creates yet more time issues).

You might consider picking up your rental car and going straight to Te Anau when you arrive, spend 2-3 nights there, then drive to Wanaka, spend a couple of nights there, then drive to QT for a few nights and depart from there. This prevents backtracking and might be a better use of your time.

From Queenstown, it's only a 40 minute drive to Glenorchy, where you'll find some fabulous walks and spectacular scenery - an easy day trip from QT.

We absolutely loved The Croft in Te Anau - great owners, lovely location and very comfortable accommodation.
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Old Nov 30th, 2008, 04:15 AM
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Thanks Melnq8, that's very helpful as is the feedback on The Croft which is high on my list. I have been away from the forum and it now seems we may have to do North island instead as my partner may be working in Auckland a couple days. If that happens I will post a new thread. Meanwhile, just to clarify, are you suggesting straight to Te Anau because the airport is outside Queenstown so it is nearer to embark immediately to Te Anau?
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Old Nov 30th, 2008, 02:16 PM
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I suggested Te Anau first because your initial itinerary has you starting and ending in Queenstown with overnight stays on either end.

Figured it would be a better use of time to only spend time in QT once, as your last stop since you're flying out from there.
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