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South in March/April with Seven Month Old - Revised Iteniary

South in March/April with Seven Month Old - Revised Iteniary

Old Mar 3rd, 2007, 08:30 AM
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South in March/April with Seven Month Old - Revised Iteniary

Came up with a revised itinerary (to follow up on my earlier post we are off to South Island for my sister in laws wedding. We have a week before the wedding to travel. My husband has done most of these places years and years ago, as he grew up in Wellington. I on the other hand have only been to North Island and Nelson twice before)

Need help with details and feasibility. Mostly hotel/motel/ B&B selections. First we are looking to spend only $75 to max $150/ night (NZ dollars) but if we could do most of the trip for less, we might splurge in one location. . . Second, we are traveling with our seven month old, so it needs to be a place that allows infants. Philip (our son) is very good and sleeps through the night with regular naps, but we do worry that his internal clock is going to be off after such a long flight and we may have a cranky boy on our hands!

I know its a bit jam packed, but if you can imagine, we were trying to squeeze in more and this is after we took stuff out! My husband is fine with the driving, as he is familiar with the terrain and the whole other side of the road thing. In past trips, we stopped a lot, did hikes and more adventurous activities. . . now with the baby, I dont know how much we will be able to do.

Which brings me to babysitting. I work outside of the home, so I leave Philip with a nanny all day, but I am a bit hesitant to leave him while we are on vacation with a stranger (first time mother neurosis). I realize though it would be nice for my husband and I do something fun one afternoon or go out to dinner without him. Any suggestions for locating a babysitter are appreciated!

Thursday March 29
5:30 am arrive Aukland from LAX

7:50 am Leave AUK on ANZ flight 513/2282 to Hokitika (via CHCH)
10:20am Arrive Hokitika
[Can we rent car in Hokitika?]

Drive to Franz Josef (1.75 hours)

Do light sightseeing/ hiking around Franz Josef/ Fox (another .5 hours)
See punakaiki pancacke rocks and blowholes [is that near here?]
Spend night in Franz Josef area

[Where to spend night? Glacier Country Motel looked good on the web]

Friday, March 30
Morning: Spend on glaciers; take easy walk around Lake Matheson

Afternoon: Drive to Wanaka (approx. 3.5hours)
Maybe stop at Salmon Farm (BillyJ do you recall where that was, or name?)

Spend night in Wanaka
[Where to spend night?]

Saturday, March 31

Morning tour around Wanaka, hang out in cafes

Drive through Queenstown (1.25 hours)
Try to have lunch in Queenstown (Skyline Gondola?); spend a few hours hanging about, if possible go to the Kiwi Birdlife Park

Continue drive to Te Anau (2.0 hours)

Arrive in Te Anau in evening

Hotel (for two nights) Need to email Campbell AutoLodge to see if available. If not, any other suggestions (remember needs to be baby friendly).

Sunday, April 1
Go to Milford Sound for the day
Take ferry trip
(Need to check out real journeys website)
Stop for look at Mirror Lakes

Walk around Te Anau; maybe light hike, glow worms? (We saw in north island, but understand these are different and cannot do a black water tour with the baby)
Sunday night spend at same hotel in Te Anau

Monday, April 2
Spend morning in Te Anau

Drive to Invercargil (2- 2.5 hours)

Southland Museum in the afternoon

Spend night in Bluff?

Tuesday, April 3
Drive to Dunedin (normally takes 3.5 hours, but may stop a bunch so four-five hours)

Walk around Dunedin in the afternoon/ evening. Maybe see the Albatross Center, but not a high priority

Spend night in Dunedin [Where?]

Wednesday, April 4

After Melissa5s report I am going to reach out to Robert Brown and see if we can do a tour of Otago peninsula with him.

Take an evening tour of Penguin Place

(BTW after reading Melissa5s report, I had to add Dunedin/ Invercargill to our itinerary!)

Thursday, April 4
See the Otago museum

Drive or fly up to Christchurch. . . I think we can only get a cheap flight in the morning, and if that is the case we will just drive. I have heard, without too many stops, it can be done in five hours. But if we fly its only an hour, and my husband will be well rested to party with his future brother in law on Thursday night. Is there a nice train ride from Dunedin to ChCh?

Friday Sunday
Wedding activities in Christchurch

Monday, April 9
Take day trip to Kaikoura via bus tour. We have been told that we cant go on the boat with the baby, but we could do a half an hour airplane ride for whale watching. Has anyone done this? Do you see anything? How about Gore Bay would that be better for us traveling with the baby?

Other alternative is to go to Hamner Springs Sunday night through Monday. My husband really wanted to do the thermal springs. If we do this overnight, can anyone recommend a babysitting service in Hamner?

Tuesday, April 10
Fly to Aukland for 7:30pm flight back to states
Carolyne is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2007, 12:10 PM
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My Dear Carolyne: Some one my age, being a grampa and all, remembers a song that goes something like this:
"Slow down you move to fast
You've got to make the morning last."
(Can't remember who did that.)
That's what I want to tell you as I read through your post - slow down.
First thing I'd suggest is on arrival in Auckland, fly to Dunedin first, then work you way back up north to Chc. After time in Dunedin, you could drive via Invarcargil to Fiordland, thence to QT, thence glaciers, then over to Chc via Arthur's Pass by car or transalpine rail from Greymouth.
That saves a travel day and backtracking.
Your description of your first day is way off geographically. Pancake rocks are north of Hokitika, so going south to FJ then back up to the rocks is not going to work.
Your travel time assumptions are a bit hopeful in places. While not long distance wise, speeds are reduced by narrow winding roads in places, and a lot of temptations to stop and absorb the scenery.
I can't detail your itinerary for you, cause I don't know your interests. My only advise is to slow it all down so you can react to the needs of your little one and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.
The Salmon farm cafe is about 50 miles south of Fox Glacier, between Haast and Fox Glacier. It is a favorite stopping place for tour busses, bicycling clubs, locals, and travellers. There is a web site
It is a nice place to stop, with nice rest rooms, decent food (salmon oriented) and a gift shop. It says you can feed the fish, but I don't remember about that.
My take on baby sitting is that it is probably ok given this is New Zealand. Check with each hotel you are in and go with your instincts as to their recommendations. We felt more comfortable in New Zealand than we do in most US locales. When you book inquire about it. Also, the pharmacies in New Zealand are more like walk in clinics in USA. Don't hesitate to use pharmacies for medical needs for Phillip.
Hope this helps. I'll stay tuned.
BillJ is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2007, 12:40 PM
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Yes, yes, yes, slow down! Our biggest regret on our first trip to NZ with our 2-year-old is that we went way to fast for us, and way way way too fast for a 2-year-old. We never had enough time to do something as simple as stop at a playground for our 2-year-old! Now we barely remember what we did except for drive a lot. Mostly I remember only 2 stand-out sites from that entire trip: Milford Sound and Mt. Cook.

A few other points. The gondola in Queenstown is fun. But sometimes there is a big line of people who just got off the tour bus and are going up. Therefore you are trying to fit in way too much on just a day-stop in Queenstown. The Kiwibirdlife Park wasn't crowded, but it takes about 1 1/2 hours to enjoy the birds and maybe an hour to get your seat for the show and watch the show...that's about 2 1/2 hours total for the bird park. Add time for lunch and a baby's needs...the day is filling up fast.

I thought it was only me, but I notice from other people's trip reports that if you go too fast, you actually reach the saturation point for being awed by the South Island New Zealand scenery. You just can't take it any more...our bodies and souls aren't made to take in so much glory so fast! You end up too tired to feel another Wow. If you want to be always fresh-feeling and rested and ready to be Wowed again, you gotta slow down your itinerary!

Anyway it's your trip, plan it the way you know is best for your family. Enjoy it, every moment of it. What a wonderful opportunity!
Melissa5 is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2007, 12:42 PM
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Also one more point: Find out from Penguin Place what point in their life cycle the penguins will be during your visit. They will tell you honestly if no penguins will be visible. Sometimes they are out to sea...I would definitely find out. I knew that early February was end of summer and that we would see some adults with older babies that hadn't gone out to sea yet...I also knew that penguins starting molting in March and that's when they hide and don't move...
Melissa5 is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2007, 04:01 PM
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Carolyne, I totally understand your hesitancy to trust your precious baby with a total stranger. I wouldn't have done that. However I may have considered trusting someone I had gotten to know a bit...for example, we attended a wedding in Vermont where my cousin's family rented rooms at a family-run b&b. They had the baby with them and got to know the family running the b&b. So when the family offered to babysit, they already had built a sense of trust and had seen the family intereacting with the baby. that is not the same as handing your baby over to a nanny you have just met.

Once, when I was young and had my first baby, when he was a toddler, my husband and I stayed at a hotel which had a nursery for the children of guests. I met the nanny in the nursery and handed over my precious toddler to her...he wasn't old enough to talk yet...and I lasted about 1 hour dancing under the stars...then I had to go back and get my baby as that was all I could think about, probably the nanny was fine but I just wasn't comfortable handing my baby over to a stranger!

I suggest on a future trip you invite a willing babysitter along whom you know...maybe grandma would like a trip?? In return for the babysitting you could pay for the person's trip, with the understanding that they were agreeing to do some babysitting. If not a grandma, maybe a sister? Cousin?

Melissa5 is offline  
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