Please critique South Island itinerary!

Aug 5th, 2004, 12:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 262
Please critique South Island itinerary!

OK, I have some more questions, and I would be most appreciative of any help you can provide! We (4-30 year olds) will be on the South Island for 20 days in November.
Day 1- Christchurch (has anyone stayed at the Stonehurst Motel?)
Day 2-Kaikoura - thinking about whale watch and seal swim-- has anyone done the seal swim? Better to stay out of town or in town?
Day 3-Blenheim/Renwick-- want to do the winery tour by bike- better to stay in Renwick or Blenheim?
Days 4&5 - Mudbrick Lodge
Days 5,6,&7 - Abel Tasman-- think we are just going to do day excursions, kayaking, tramping, and maybe a day up to Farwell Spit-- comments?
Day 8 - Greymouth/Hokititka - I have heard Hokitika is better - thoughts?
Days 9&10 - Franz Josef - hoping to Helihike the glacier, if not, we'll just hike!
Days 11&12 - hoping to stay at the Wildness Lodge Lake Moeraki-- any comments?
Day 13 - Wanaka or Queenstown
Day 14 - Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound - hoping to do an overnight cruise
Day 15 - Te Anau
Days 16&17 - Dunedin (may spend 2nd night in Oamaru to see penguins)
Day 18 - Work our way back to Christchurch
Day 19 - fly home (still have until 5pm before we go to the airport).
jonesie is offline  
Aug 6th, 2004, 12:17 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 424
Hi, jonesie,
Time frames between places and generally in places seem to be okay but I just wonder if you have left yourself enough time in Kaikoura for both activities and in Blenheim / Renwick to do the wine tour by bicycle.
Would definitely recommend a trip to Farewell Spit - a fascinating area of NZ. There are some good tour companies to go with based in Collingwood.
We stay in Greymouth because we have family there (although we stay in motels) but I think Hokitika is a more interesting place. Unless you are planning to do lots of side trips around Franz Josef I wouldn't think you would need two nights there. There is not really much in that vicinity to see apart from the glacier. Wanaka would be my choice - slightly less touristy and therefore cheaper, but close enough for you to visit Queenstown. Milford Sound well worth a trip although I believeDoubtful Siound has the most awesome overnight trip. Dunedin offers the choice of the Royal Albatross Colony at Tairoa Heads as well as penguins on the road to the colony. There is also the world's steepest street, plus Olveston House and Lanarch Castle if you are interested. I have often wondered about visiting the penguins at night in Oamaru but so far have not. Lots to do in Christchurch during the day before you fly home. One suggestion would be to visit the Antarctic Centre out near the airport - a wonderful experience.
Just as a matter of interest - where is Mudbrick Lodge??? Have never heard of it.
Hope this helps a little, but whatever you do you have chosen a great time to visit the South Island and to enjoy it unfolding after the winter.
dotty is offline  
Aug 7th, 2004, 02:54 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 262
Dotty, thanks for all of your help! Most of the guidebooks recommend 2 days at Franz Josef, b/c we want to do the helihike, and there is such a high chance of bad weather.
We definitely want to see the Antarctic Center, about how long for a good visit???
The Mudbrick Lodge is about halfway between Blenheim and Nelson, if you search on Google you should find their website, that's how we found them!
Thanks again,
jonesie is offline  
Sep 9th, 2004, 06:10 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5
I was in CC in Jan & Feb and stayed two different times at the Stonehurst. It has all sorts of accommodations from dormitory-style backpackers lodging to self-catering rooms with above average quality. I stayed in the latter the first time around, and the single rooms for backpackers the second go-round. The baths the second time were co-ed, which was interesting and a change. It is interesting (but not too much of a struggle) to shave next to an young lady backpacker decked out in her bra and towel. It is a "youthing adventure" for a mid 50's guy. The benefit of the Stonehurst is the young people you will meet from all over the world.
Jimcycles is offline  
Sep 18th, 2004, 03:58 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 168
We spent about 2 weeks in NZ last Christmas (also 30 something year olds) and had a fabulous time.

We stayed at the Stonehurst - at the hostel side of the Stonehurst, although we had a room with private bathroom, just like any hotel. We liked it, and of course enjoyed having a beer in the lobby before we headed out.

We also tried to helihike Franz Josef, however, the weather wouldn't permit this, so we just did the half-day hike instead. I agree with Dolly - 2 nights might be too much, unless you really want to do the helihike, and would like to increase the chances that the weather would be appopriate. We were in Franz Josef for less than 24 hours, and didn't see any need to stay longer.

Only one day for Queenstown? What kind of activities are you interested in? I like to travel around fast, but we stayed in Queenstown for 4 nights, and could have stayed longer. This was a highlight of our trip. Beautiful scenery, amazing adventure activities, and just a great place to relax for a few days.

We did an overnight in Milford Sound - and it was spectacular. The only disappointment - at the end of this trip, we were supposed to fly back to Queenstown, but since it was raining, we had to take the bus back, and it took us about 5-6 hours longer than we had planned.

We also went to the Antarctic center before our flight. In fact we went to the airport, checked in, and then walked to the Antarctic center. I think we spent about 2 hours there.

Enjoy your trip - I'm jealous - I would go back tomorrow if I could!
travelersusan is offline  
Sep 18th, 2004, 04:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 207
I agree with the previous poster that 1 day in Queenstown is not enough. There is so much to do, I would recommend at least 2-3 days in Queenstown. The jetboat rides are great - there is also para-sailing and of course, bungy jumping.
mjnbrown is offline  
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