South Island Christmas Trip 2018

Old Jan 23rd, 2018, 03:41 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 3
South Island Christmas Trip 2018

I'm just getting started planning a trip to the South Island over the Christmas/New Year's Holiday (Yes, I know - busiest time but is the only time that we can make it work with our schedules). I'm really in need of some direction, because I'm completely overwhelmed at this point. I've read countless itineraries, and each one suggests something different.

Please let me know how this looks, and please let me know any issues that you see at this point.

Monday, 12/24 - Arrive in Christchurch and rent a vehicle - Stay overnight
Tuesday, 12/25 - Drive to Lake Tekapo/Mt. Cook
Wednesday, 12/26 - Spend Day in Mt. Cook
Thursday, 12/27 - Leave in morning for Te Anau - 5 hour drive (crazy??) - planned it this way so we could spend NYE in Queenstown - good idea?
Friday, 12/28 - Leave from Te Anau on day trip to Milford Sound
Saturday, 12/29 - Leave early AM for Queenstown
Sunday, 12/30 - Queenstown
Monday, 12/31 NYE - Queenstown
Tuesday, 1/1 - Leave early for Wanaka - Spend afternoon/evening there
Wednesday, 1/2 - Drive to Franz Joseph
Thursday, 1/3 - Franz Joseph - helicopter tour of glacier
Friday, 1/4 - Drive to Christchurch via Arthurs Pass
Saturday, 1/5 - Leave for home from Christchurch

I know I need to book accommodations soon because it is over the holidays, so I'm in a bit of a panic. Does this look feasible? Thank you in advance for your advice.

wkusz is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2018, 12:21 AM
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 631
It looks a real rush to me with some very long driving days. Roads here are very narrow and winding and the driving takes concentration. I would leave out the West Coast completely and concentrate on the Otago area.
Fly one way to maximise your time on the ground. Either fly straight to Queenstown, relax for a night then head to Te Anau for the Milford Sound thing. Then back to Queenstown/Wanaka then a couple of days at Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo finishing up in Christchurch. Or the other way would work as well.
NYE in Queenstown sounds pretty hectic but would be a lot of fun and it's a beautiful spot there. Book your accommodation now as it does get booked out.
tasmangirl is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2018, 03:44 PM
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Tasmangirl - thank you for your response! I felt the same way when we were planning the trip. Originally, I left the west coast off of our itinerary, but then I was conflicted with all the trip reports that said the Franz Josef glaciers were the highlight of their trip! Regardless, I think we'll be happy slowing down a bit. I've adjusted our itinerary to this. Thanks also for the suggestion to fly into Queenstown.

Monday, 12/24 Arrive in Queenstown - Stay in Queenstown
Tuesday, 12/25 Queenstown
Wednesday, 12/26 Queenstown - Central Ortago Wine Tour?
Thursday, 12/27 Leave Queenstown for Te Anau
Friday, 12/28 Te Anau - Milford Sound (day trip)
Saturday, 12/29 Te Anau to Wanaka
Sunday, 12/30 Wanaka
Monday, 12/31 NYE Wanaka
Tuesday, 1/1 Wanaka to Lake Tekapo/Mount Cook
Wednesday, 1/2 Mount Cook
Thursday, 1/3 Mount Cook
Friday, 1/4 To Christchurch
Saturday, 1/5 Flight home from Christchurch
wkusz is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2018, 10:34 PM
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 631
That looks much better! You can see the Tasman Glacier at Mt Cook so that might do if you want a glacier experience. The West Coast of New Zealand and somewhere in Patagonia are the only two places on earth where the rainforest/bush also has glaciers so it does make them unique. The thing I hear most is people planned the heli hike and then it was cancelled because of bad weather and they missed out!
You will enjoy a wine tour and all the fabulous food in Otago. Wanaka is a good choice for NYE but make sure you book your accommodation well in advance.
tasmangirl is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2018, 05:44 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 3
Good to know that we can still have the glacier experience at Mt Cook! We may look into a helicopter tour there. And yes - I booked accommodations immediately! Thank you for all of your help.
wkusz is offline  
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