New Zealand South Island: SE coast or SW coast?

Oct 29th, 2006, 11:00 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
New Zealand South Island: SE coast or SW coast?

We will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in beautiful New Zealand in February 2007. Trying to finalize itinerary for our 14 nights on the stunning south island. ><

We like native flora and fauna, nature walks (3-4 hours max), romance, & scenery. When we travel we like to see what is unique to each country.

We have our itinerary almost finalized...except we are torn between the southern scenic route, between Dunedin & Invercargill, including Catlins region...OR ELSE the SW coast, near Haast, such as the Lake Moeraki area (World Heritage area)... Any votes?!

Here is our itinerary w/ SE coast included:

Fly into Christchurch

2 nights: Christchurch
3 nights: Mt. Cook/Aoraki
(w/ scenic flight landing on glacier)
3 nights: Dunedin
(with penguins and albatross visits...)
1 night: Catlins area
1 night: Invercargill
3 nights: Te Anau
(w/ Doubtful sound overnite or Milford)
1 night: Queenstown
Fly home from Queenstown to LAX...

Obviously we would have to move it around a bit if we substitute the SW coast for the SE coast!

This is our second trip to New Zealand...the first was over 20 years ago when we were young and zipped around very fast, so our memories are of a big beautiful blur...We want to go slower this time. We did drive the west coast on our first trip but honestly I barely remember it. I mainly remember the glaciers, Mt. Cook, and Milford Sound...

Thanks! We're booking airline tickets this week.

I should mention my husband is a biologist and would probably prefer whichever coast has more intact biological's hard to tell from our research!
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 03:59 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,175
Having just returned, here's my suggestion. Forget Invercargill and spend 2 nights near Nugget Point at Nugget Lodge, if you can get in - there are only 2 units and they are right on the beach. Be aware, the owner will not take 1 night bookings.

From there you can take a short drive to Cannibal Bay and walk along it to Surat Bay and stand a very good chance of seeing sea lions at close quarters (we also saw one from our accommodation). We walked from the lodge up to Nugget Point (an hour and a half each way). At the lighthouse there is a viewing platform where you can see seals, sea lions and loads of sea birds on the rocks. On the way you pass Roaring Bay where there is a hide to watch the yellow eyed penguins coming ashore. The owner is a photographer and wildlife ranger and will provide you with lots of local information - though she told us she was retiring and going to sell the lodge soon. The rooms are well equipped and comfortable with stunning views.

If you can't get in there, there is also accommodation at Kaka Point, 5 minutes drive away. You can easily drive from there to Te Anau. There are other places of interest along the Catlins but some of the walks (like Cathedral Caves) are only accessible at low tide, so if you are just driving through (or if like us you drive through in gale force winds and horizontal rain!) you may not be there at the right time.

Maria_H is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 09:26 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 213
Hello Marla H:

Thanks for your reply to Melissa5. My wife and I will be in the Catlins late January 2007 for two nights at Papatowai.

After reading about the Catlins, we decided to NOT rush through and will take three days, two nights in that area.

I look forward to seeing those yellow eyed penguin. So, again, thanks for the information.

woodie is offline  
Oct 30th, 2006, 11:37 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
Thank you for the Nugget of information! I clicked on the link and the photos just sucked me right into Nugget Point and the Caitlins area. The photos of the area on the web-site may help us make a decision.

In fact I can't see how I can pass this place up. I eagerly browsed through her entire web-site. It seems perfect for a woman on her anniversary trip with her biologist husband.

I have e-mailed the Real Journeys to see what is available for an overnite on Doubtful Sound as well.

Thanks so much Maria!

Your trip is so close to ours...enjoy! Our trip is first half of February. How did you decide to see the Caitlins area?

I have enjoyed chatting with you about travel on-line on several occasions. Thanks for your help and advice. I don't recall, though, if you have been to New Zealand before?

I am starting to e-mail people and I will book according to availability. That will help settle my itinerary into place! It was SO HARD to give up those whales...we wanted the boat trip to see the sperm whales from Kaikoura...But we decided everything else we wanted to see on this trip was south.

Kaikoura and the whales will have to wait for a 3rd trip to New Zealand, when perhaps we will focus on the northern half of the south island!

Enjoy gorgeous New Zealand.
Melissa5 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 06:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 53
jhw0101 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2007, 12:44 AM
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Topping re Nugget Lodge
mlgb is offline  
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