question about driving times in the south

Mar 18th, 2006, 05:24 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 10
question about driving times in the south

We are headed to New Zealand next month from NYC for eleven days. Our plan is to fly directly into Christchurch, tour the South Island for eight days, fly to Auckland for a few nights and then leave from Auckland. We will be renting a car.

I have been looking at several websites trying to determine driving times, but there are major differences. For example, Multimap has Christchurn to Dunedin listed as 3.5 hours while Maporama lists it as over 6 hours. Another example is with Queenstown to Franz Josef; Maporama lists it as 5.5, Multimap 3.75, and Discovernz 7.75 hours. Does anyone know a site where they know the times are accurate? If not, maybe you can comment on how long these drives have taken you: Christchurch to Dunedin; Dunedin to Queenstown; Queenstown to Fans Josef; Frans Josef to Christchurch.

Thanks a lot
amp156 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2006, 05:37 PM
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Hi Andy -

We've used this site several times when planning trips to NZ and have found it to be pretty accurate.

Of the sites you've mentioned, Multimap seems to be WAY off as there's no way you can drive from Queenstown to Franz Josef in 3.75 hours!

I'll take at look at my trip reports and get back to you shortly with actual driving times it took us between the destinations you've mentioned.
Melnq8 is online now  
Mar 18th, 2006, 06:19 PM
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In 2005 we drove from Queenstown to Franz Josef in 7.5 hours, making several stops for photos, an extended stop at the Blue Pools, a short stop at Thunder Creek Falls and an extended stop for lunch in Fox Glacier. This was a leisurely drive.

The site I posted lists this drive at 5 hours, which seems a bit ambitious, but might be possible if you make NO stops. It's 404 km/251 miles.

Don't rush this drive - the roads are winding, it's very pretty and it's worth taking your time and stopping along the way.

The site gives an estimate of 2:20 (187 km) to drive from Invercargill to Queentown. We did this drive in just over two hours.

The site gives an estimate of 2:40 to drive from Invercargill to Dunedin - it took us three hours with stops.

I'd suggest using the time/distance calculator as a guide only and to allow plenty of time to stop along the way. NZ is not a place you want to rush through - there's just too much to see and do.

You might also consider flying from Queenstown or Dunedin back to CH to connect with your departing international flight. This will maximize your time and allow you to see more and drive less.

Have a great trip.
Melnq8 is online now  
Mar 19th, 2006, 03:34 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 137
Driving times in NZ really depend on the weather. We have always gone there in Winter for the skiing, and so the weather can make a big difference. For example, we have driven Queenstown to Franz Josef and I think it could be two of the times listed (don't think 3.75 would be close) - we were lucky the road opened when we had to go across and it was truly spectacular. But the previous day people were stranded certain parts along the way. It was beautiful and really worth it but I think you need to allow the day for looking at the wonderful scenery and for the weather.
lorikeet is offline  
Mar 19th, 2006, 03:43 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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It took us 6 hours to drive from FJ to Queenstown, with stops in Haast for lunch, Thunder Creek Falls, and the Kawarau bungy bridge.
I would try and leave the driving days wide open so you aren't rushed. The roads are very slow (very curvy and narrow) and you do not want to rush. The scenery is gorgeous and you'll want to pull over for photos or just to gaze.
When we drove from FJ to Queenstown, we had enough time to have dinner at Little India, make dinner reservations at Wai for the following night, make TSS Earnslaw reservations for the following day, and to take the gondola up to Bob's Peak, do the luge, and have drinks during sunset at their bar. It was a great night.
If you only have 8 days, you might want to cut out one of those stops-- probably either Christchurch or Dunedin. We didn't stop in Christchurch at all (outside of the airport) and have no regrets. You can fly from CHC to Dunedin or Queenstown to cut out one of the drives.
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Mar 19th, 2006, 05:54 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,523
I love the web site Melnq8 has given you. I used it quite a bit and found it to be great.
It gives you the km too, so you can judge for yourself as well.

Have a great time.
kodi is offline  
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