Please help with weeks South Island New Zealand

Jan 5th, 2018, 07:08 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,747
More idea of places to get out and stretch.

I mentioned this before, but outside of Westport, there's a walk to Tauranga Bay Fur Seal colony. It's a short walk with richly verdant scenery.

There's more about it on the link below (read "Shorter option: Tauranga Bay carpark to seal colony viewpoint Time: 15 min Distance: 500")

You might want to see nearby Cape Foulwind Lighthouse, as well. From Westport, it's only about a 15 minute drive along Lighthouse Road to the the parking lot, then a short walk to the lighthouse.

As I mentioned before, if you'll be self-catering in Punakaiki, you might want to buy groceries and wine at the New World Market in Westport. Maybe top off your petrol in Westport, too.

More suggestions for Queenstown.
While in Queenstown, you'll want to visit Arrowtown. Maybe do a loop, driving from downtown Queenstown over Arthur's Point Road -Malaghan's Road to Arrowtown. Have a look around Arrowtown, don't miss the historic Chinese settlement, before returning by way of Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Road. Lots of restaurants in Arrowtown or you can dine at Amisfield Winery (reserve ahead). You can also make a side scenic drive off Arthur's Point-Malaghan's Road, by driving up to Coronet Peak ski resort. The ski resort is closed, but there are great views along this steep road.

You can also drive up to the Remarkables Ski Resort. I believe it's a gravel road and more of nail-biter. I've yet to take it, but the views must be great. Maybe Melnq8 can tell us more about it.

You might want to tour Skippers Canyon Road (includes a jet boat ride on the river). The road is extremely scenic and historic, but not a self drive for those with rental cars. Part of Lord of the Rings was filmed in this canyon.
Here are a couple of tour companies that offer this trip:
Diamantina is online now  
Jan 22nd, 2018, 12:37 PM
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OK here’s where I am at the moment

All accommodations are booked so I can’t change those. I will post URLs to where we are staying in case someone reading this is trying to figure out where they want to stay. The larger houses we booked gave a lower rate for just the 2 of us (they usually lock/close some of the bedrooms so they don’t get used, don’t need cleaning)

You’ll see it finally sunk in that we really did need some time in Marlborough Sounds, so not ideal, but we have 2 nights in Blenheim, then 2 nights in Picton, then 2 nights in that cool Schoolhouse at Kina Beach Vineyard north of Nelson.

So here are the first couple days ~

* These are my first thoughts on Vineyards/Wineries ~ I love Sauvignon Blanc, my husband not so, he does like Riesling, and he likes Pinot Noir, but usually prefers Syrahs, Cabs, Portuguese Reds, Italian Reds more, so I’m hoping to accommodate him with some these choices. Suggestions always welcome.

Fly to LAX, then to Auckland, then to Blenheim

DAY 1 ~ Arrive Blenheim, pick up rental car, drive 15 minutes to our self catering cottage and decide then if we want to crash or explore, or go for lunch,or ????

We will stay 2 nights here

Dinner at ????

DAY 2 ~ full day in Blenheim

Lunch at Brancott, great views

Stop at Rock Ferry to pick up some Reisling (Husband’s favorite white), also check out Wairau River, (Riesling, Albarino, Syrah)
At some point we hope to walk around the garden with the owner of the cottage
Would like to visit Hedgerows Strawberries (and Ice Cream!)
Visit town, if not done yet
Any Walks other things we should see when there?

Dinner at the Bistro at Hans Herzog, and maybe pick up some wine there also as they seem to have more reds than just Pinot Noir, and a Reisling

DAY 3 ~ leave Blenheim drive to Picton

morning market at 9:00, pick up some provisions for 4 days of self catering, and a picnic lunch if we take the “scenic route”

Has anyone done this route?
Blenheim to Picton via the coast ~ turn east at Tuamarina, up through Rarangi, Robin Hoods Bay, Whatamonga Bay to Waikawa

Scot Cook's NZ Frenzy guidebook suggests this route if you have time

Port Underwood Road Beach Coves Drive | NZ Frenzy Guidebook | New Zealand

From TA review
… suggested a drive along the coast through Waikawa, Port Underwood and Rarangi. This drive along the twistiest of gravel roads, turned out to be one of our most memorable times in New Zealand. There are much easier, and faster ways of getting from Picton to Blenheim, the bends for 40km sign at Waikawa, doesn't really do justice for the nature of this road, and make sure that you are wearing sunglasses if you are driving it on a sunny morning as the glare on some corners makes the road disappear, and don't go this way if you are in a hurry, it took us some three hours, with lots of photo stops, instead of the 20minutes it would have taken us on the main road. The scenery was spectacular with delightful bays around every bend, our favourite being Robin Hood Bay, I can't put in to words how stunning this drive was

This blog has pictures and more details, looks okay to me.

Our self catering house is at Waikawa ~ stay 2 nights

Upon arrival do some laundry, eat dinner and drink wine at the house that night, enjoy the view

DAY 4 ~ full day Picton

Take a E-Ko bird sanctuary tour ~ the tour is 4-5 hours starting at 1:
Suggestions for short walks in that area? Short scenic drives? I think the tour is 4 -5 hrs, starting around 1:30 so the afternoon is out

Dinner at ??????

DAY 5 ~ Leave Picton

Drive Queen Charlotte Drive, stop at Cullen Point Lookout/Walk and ???
Mussels for lunch in Havelock
Arrive at Kina Beach Vineyard north of Nelson, 2 nights self catering in Old Schoolhouse


DAY 6 ~ full day
Abel Tasman ~ haven’t decided which water taxi/walk yet

Will send next few days in another post, I figured it might be easier for responding if not too many days
wrenwood is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2018, 03:35 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Maybe Arbour would be a good choice for dinner in Blenheim/Marlborough.
Arbour Restaurant was on NZ's Cuisine Magazine's top 100 restaurants of 2017 and rates #1 of Blenheim restaurants on TA:
I haven't had a chance to try it yet.

Picton doesn't have as many dining choices as Blenheim. We ate at Cafe Cortado one night. Casual, lively atmosphere, simple food, nice location.
Cafe Cortado, Picton NZ
Another night we drove over to the restaurant at Hotel d'Urville in Blenheim.
On our first night we dined on Kaikoura crayfish and more. We were staying in Waikawa Bay as well.

Sauv blanc is ubiquitous in, and almost synonymous with, the Marlborough wine region; I'd be surprised if a winery didn't offer it among their tastings. Pinot noir and riesling are common, too. You might want to visit Cloudy Bay because its sauv blanc was the first NZ sauv blanc to command international attention, though its winemaker at the time has since started his own winery, Greywacke, which is only open to tastings by appt..

Great rieslings and pinot noirs in Central Otago, and good to great ones in Nelson, too. Hawkes Bay and Waiheke Island are the best places for Bordeaux varietals and syrah. You won't be going there, but you might see these wines listed on restaurant menus.

Villa Maria, one of NZ's biggest wineries and with cellar doors in Marlborough and Auckland (near the airport), offers tastings of their wines from around the country, including their Hawkes Bay region syrahs and cabs, as well as other Rhone and Bordeaux varietals. They have three different levels: private bin (white label), cellar selection (gold Label) and their reserve and single selections (black label).
Diamantina is online now  
Jan 23rd, 2018, 05:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,772
I've done a section of the drive you refer to above. We were there in winter, and it was quite the challenge. It's used as a logging road. I'll try to find my trip report from when we made the drive and post back.

We've used Waikawa and Whatamonga as bases for past trips to the area. I highly recommend both, but keep in mind Whatamonga is a good drive into Picton for meals and the road can be challenging.

This year we're basing for five nights in Rarangi - should be ideal for our needs, a base between Blenheim and Picton.
Melnq8 is online now  
Jan 23rd, 2018, 05:42 AM
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Found it - the section regarding the drive we made is here - note it was in June, so you may not have the same issues:

Intrigued by an area we’ve never visited, we decide to continue along Port Underwood Road towards Rarangi. We’ve been warned that the road is challenging, although supposedly not as challenging as the one we’ve already driven to French Pass. This is the longer, more rugged route to Blenheim, taking about 1-1/4 hours vs. the 20-30 minute drive along SH 1 from Picton.

Watching for errant logging trucks we work our way to Oyster Bay, where the narrow and winding road turns to gravel. Clear felling is obvious and widespread, but we encounter no loggers, just a highway crew cleaning up a substantial landslip; we must wait several minutes for the crew to clear the road. We stop at a hill to soak up the fabulous view of the sounds. The road narrows even more as we pass through Cole’s Bay and Tom Cane’s Bay. As we skirt yet another massive slip, we question the wisdom of attempting this drive after so much rain. We continue on through the former whaling station of Kakapo Bay, named after a rare flightless New Zealand parrot, the area now completely fenced in, presumably for deer farming. We enter Ocean Bay, amazed (not for the first time), to see houses back here; it seems Kiwis build their homes in the most challenging places. We’re surrounded by undulating forest, some areas logged into oblivion. We turn back at Robin Hood Bay; it’s getting dark, the drop offs to the coast are unnerving, and there’s no signage to indicate distances or what lies ahead.

To get a sense of this drive, take a look here:
Melnq8 is online now  
Jan 23rd, 2018, 04:38 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Oh my, Melnq8, I had a look at that zoomin link—what a squiggly road! It's used for logging trucks, yet narrow!
Diamantina is online now  
Jan 26th, 2018, 05:38 AM
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Will there be many loggong trucks on a Sunday?
wrenwood is offline  
Jan 26th, 2018, 05:38 AM
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Sorry, logging
wrenwood is offline  
Jan 26th, 2018, 06:53 AM
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No idea on that one wrenwood, but the local I site (information office) should know. Interestingly enough, when I googled Port Underwood logging, a whole slew of articles came up - seems it's a contentious subject.

Last edited by Melnq8; Jan 26th, 2018 at 06:53 AM. Reason: typo
Melnq8 is online now  
Feb 14th, 2018, 05:58 AM
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The owner of the house we have booked in Picton was kind enough to see what he could find out, sent me an email today

****I managed to talk to people at Marlborough Roads, a department of the district council.

There is some logging, but most is shipped out, and a small amount is still trucked, however although there is no restriction, they don't normally operate on Sunday.

I think the beauty of the drive would make it worthwhile.****

So that will be our route from Blenheim to Picton!
wrenwood is offline  
Feb 14th, 2018, 06:40 AM
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Good to know wrenwood, thanks for reporting back.
Melnq8 is online now  
Feb 14th, 2018, 09:22 PM
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What a great thread

I can offer no current info, but as I was reading this delightful thread, it occurred to me that it captures the very best of what Fodors & other travel Forums can be.

An open minded Visitor who has done some good research before launching into questions. Gives enough information about themselves & others in their party to allow people responding to give relevant information.

Reads answers & is open to changing plans - and/or seeking clarification or more options that may work better.

Responders who are knowledgeable, generous, have current information & an understanding that what may be our favourite thing may not work for someone else, taking on board the information given along the way.

Its nice to see such a lovely spirit of cooperation & good hearted endeavour to make the most of the OPís Trip.

i just wish I were going, too. And yes, I could
Bokhara2 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2018, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Jul 2017
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Just responding to your question up thread about Blue Pools vs Hokitika Gorge, yes they are quite different. Hokitika Gorge has vivid but kind of cloudy blue waters, and the water is deeper. The Bue pools are a nice walk off the road from the Glaciers towards Wanaka and the water is crystal clear and a very pale blue. The water is also shallower at Blue Pools. Both are lovely locations and a nice easy short walk to get to.
Andee01 is offline  

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