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New Zealand Trip: Late September/South Island/10 days.

New Zealand Trip: Late September/South Island/10 days.

Old Mar 21st, 2015, 12:57 PM
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New Zealand Trip: Late September/South Island/10 days.

In late September of this year, I'll be traveling to New Zealand's South Island with 10 full days to spend. I'll be flying into and out of Christchurch after spending 4 days in Sydney. I don't think I'll get to visit everywhere I'd like to go. Could those of you who have been there help me with a plan? To avoid sandflys I was considering spending the majority of the time to the east of the Alps. I hope to visit some wineries and do some shorter outdoor walk with varied scenery. I was considering visiting four areas, but I think I'll only have time for three likely: 1. Areas North of Christchurch (wineries), coastal walks with wildlife, etc. 2. Arthur's Pass--spend a few days in the area with a few good walks. 3. Lake Tekapo 4. Queensdown/TeAnau area. In the end I'll have to get back to Christchurch for an early flight back to Sydney and the US. I'm trying to figure out where to base my self for each leg. I'll be renting a car for travel.

Day 0: Arrive Christchurch late and stay at airport near hotel

Day 1/2: Christchurch/Kaikoura/wineries

Day 3/4/5: Arthur's Pass area

Day 6/7/8: Lake Tekapo area

Day 9/10: Queenstown area (maybe day trip to Te Anau or the Southern Tip)

Day 11: Early flight back to Sydney and connect to the US.

I think I'll have to get rid of one leg of this trip. Are Arthur's Pass area and Lake Tekapo similar? Or would it make sense to get rid of the Queenstown end of the island.
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Old Mar 21st, 2015, 04:27 PM
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I hate to break it to you, but Arthur's Pass and Te Anau have sandflies. Queenstown does too as I recently discovered, although you'll never get a local to admit it.

Don't plan your trip around sandflies...you'll have time of year on your side - they're much less prevalent in the cooler months, and they're slow anyway, so they're easy to outwalk.

The only winery in Kaikoura that I'm aware of has closed (or at least they had when I was there last September). You'll find plenty of wineries around Christchurch and in Waipara, about 45 minutes north of Christchurch. You'll also find many wineries around Queenstown.

That day trip to the Southern Tip = sandflies.

As for your itinerary, you'll be doing some backtracking. Assuming you haven't already, you might want to sit down with a map and sort out driving routes and distances.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2015, 05:02 AM
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Thanks. Good to know that sandflies may not be such an issue when we're there.
I had been looking at a map and was sure we'd have to be doing some back tracking. Maybe places near Christchurch are closer than I think they are and it would be better staying near there and doing some day trips from there. Plus, we're bit of foodies and maybe there restaurant scene would be better in the larger cities? Is a four wheeled drive rental car good to have if visiting national parks etc or could we get by with a regular mid-sized sedan?

Evolving Itinerary
Day 0: Arrive Christchurch late midnight from Sydney and stay at airport near hotel

Day 1/2/3/4: Stay in Christchurch vicinity with day drips to wineries, Arthur's pass, the coast. (Maybe one overnight up in the Marlbourgh area?)

Day 6: Drive to Lake Tekapo area (Overnight there)

Day 7: Drive to Queenstown Area (Overnight in Queenstown)
Day 8: Day Trip from Queenstown (Overnight in Queenstown)
Day 9: Drive to Dunedin areas (Overnight somewhere around there)
Day 10: Drive back to Christchurch-turnin rental car (Overnight near airport)
Day 11: Early flight back to Sydney connecting to the US at 11 AM.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2015, 02:39 PM
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a good insect repellent should work pretty well and if the beasties do get through, roll-on deodorant works a treat. [our hosts in Wanaka told us this and they were right!]

Mel is the expert here [wish we'd listened to her a bit more else we wouldn't have had to change our itinerary half way through our trip] but the 2nd half of your trip looks very hard work. could you fly back to C/Church?

then you could spend longer in QT and do day trips to Wanaka, Arrowtown, Glenorchy, etc.

it is possible to drive to Christchurch from QT with one overnight stay - we did it by staying in Oamaru, which we loved, but going via Dunedin makes it a very long drive.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2015, 04:43 PM
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In my dozen trips to the SI, I've not once needed a 4WD.

There are only 2-3 roads on the SI that are rental car violations, and they're not on your itinerary, so no worries.

Places near Christchurch are not closer than you think they are - one of the biggest challenges in planning SI itineraries is the time involved in getting from one place to the other. Roads are narrow and winding, and there aren't many of them.

Regarding your second itinerary:

The drive from Christchurch to Arthur's Pass is 2:20 each way. That's almost five hours of driving. Days in Sept are short, so you'll probably have enough daylight to take a walk or two and then you'd need to head back. Arthur's Pass is surrounded by mountains, so the sun disappears very early. There's not much in Arthur's Pass other than walks and a very nice visitors center - it's also an ideal place to see Keas and of course the Otira Viaduct. I'm not discouraging you from seeing it, just be aware that it's a very full day if you do it as a day trip from Christchurch. Possible - yes, but you'll want to get an early start to take advantage of the limited daylight.

Christchurch to Marlborough (Blenheim) is a very long haul - about five hours w/o stops, one way. This makes no sense to me even with an overnight. If it's wineries you're after, use that day to drive up to Waipara instead - a mere 45 minutes north of Christchurch and plenty of wineries to visit. I highly recommend breakfast or lunch at Nor'Wester Café in Amberley on the way up. Do check winery opening times though as some are weekend only.

http://www.waiparavalleynz.com/news/about-waipara/

With so few days to work with, I suggest you give Dunedin a pass and spend more time in the Queenstown area - loads to do. We spent a week in Arrowtown (25 min from QT) and six nights in Wanaka last month and didn't run out of things to do (and we've seen all of it before).

Driving from QT to Dunedin (almost four hours) just to spend a night and then drive another five hours back to Christchurch the following day makes no sense to me. What do you hope to see in so little time other than the inside of your car?
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Old Mar 22nd, 2015, 07:24 PM
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>

Caveat - there are only 2-3 that you're likely to find, I mean. I'm sure there are plenty more that are well off the tourist path.
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Old May 17th, 2015, 11:17 AM
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Taking note on not wanting to spend the entire vacation in the car, I was considering the following changes. We'd arrive in CHC late one evening and fly to Queenstown early the next morning and then work our way back to CHC, stopping at home intermediate stop for two nights to explore and do some hiking. Could anyone recommend a spot between CHC and Queenstown that would be good for two days? I'm thinking we could base our selves in Queenstown and do day trips and then also do the same in CHC or somewhere nearby. Would there be enough to do for four days around Queenstown and CHC including day trips?

Tuesday: Arrive Christchurch late from Sydney
Wednesday: Fly to Queenstown, Stay in Queenstown
Thursday: Stay in Queenstown
Friday: Stay in Queenstown
Saturday: Stay in Queenstown
Sunday: Drive to Lake Tekapo in morning (or other recommended spot), Overnight there
Monday: Overnight in Lake Tekapo
Tuesday: Drive towards CHC and stay there or around
Wednesday: Stay in CHC
Thursday: Stay in CHC
Friday: Stay in CHC
Saturday: Early morning flight back to US.
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Old May 17th, 2015, 04:07 PM
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<can anyone recommend a spot between CHC and Queenstown that would be good for two days?>

Mt Cook

<Would there be enough to do for four days around Queenstown and CHC including day trips?>

Absolutely, even w/o day trips. Do keep in mind that day trips from Christchurch aren't as convenient as you might expect, but you can certainly get to places like Arthur's Pass, Rakaia Gorge, Waipara and Akaroa easily enough.

Unless you have a specific reason for staying in Tekapo, I'd suggest staying in Mt Cook instead - you can see Tekapo enroute.
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Old May 30th, 2015, 01:13 PM
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Have just been looking up places to stay in the Mt Cook area. Where have people stayed that they have enjoyed? We'd likely spend two nights if there was enough to do in the area.
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Old May 30th, 2015, 01:26 PM
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What are the roads like on the drive up to Mt. Cook Village.
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Old May 30th, 2015, 03:17 PM
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There's only one road to Mt Cook and it's paved and easy to drive.

As far as I'm concerned, this is the nicest accommodation in Mt Cook:

http://www.aspencourt.co.nz/aorakicourt

We stayed at The Hermitage once, but it's overpriced and underwhelming IMO.
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Old May 30th, 2015, 03:18 PM
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Two nights will only give you one full day, and there's plenty to do in the area, particularly if you like hiking.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 06:26 PM
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What will the weather be like this time of year? Will I need hats and gloves? Fleeces or down jacket?
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Old Aug 3rd, 2015, 07:08 AM
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Layers...September can still be pretty nippy, especially down south. A fleece jacket and a waterproof layer that fits over the fleece has served us well on every single one of our NZ trips, regardless of time of year.

If you plan to do lots of hiking a pair of rain pants might come in handy. Fleece hat and mittens are also good to have on hand just in case. For instance, the cruise on Milford that time of year can be downright cold.
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