south island for 15 days-first visit

Old Apr 29th, 2007, 06:32 AM
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south island for 15 days-first visit

we are travelling to south island around mid may (16 days/nights) .. may not be the best time to visit but this is the only time we have long holidays in India. never been to new zealand before. travelling with wife,kids ( 7 & 11) & parents..
dont wanna travel to too many places because of parents health..
at present we plan flying to christchurch . booked a van for 15 days from here. wish to drive around the south island - visit queenstown, fiordland, mt cook..
not aware of other "must see" places ?
would like advice on iternary to cover the above mentioned places alongwith any other interesting places to go to ...
advice on lodging at luxury cottage/ lodge etc.. is welcome.
only booked accomodation in christchurch as per now - hotel george..
booked to fly back from christchurch but can change that ..
any advice on any one place to visit in north island ? as mentioned earlier , cant do too many places...
please advise accordingly - our first time ..
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Old Apr 29th, 2007, 04:57 PM
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We visited in May one year and had great weather - it's the shoulder season, so there are fewer visitors and and there are some good deals on accommodation.

Suggest you take a look at this link for driving distances/times. It often takes much longer to get from point A to B in NZ than one might think:

http://www.accommodationz.co.nz/distances2.html

As far as "must see" places, many first time visitors make a point of seeing the places you've mentioned, plus at least pass through the glacier villages on the West Coast (Franz Josef and Fox Glacier). Other areas that can be incorporated into a South Island circuit include Lake Tekapo, Punakaiki, Kaikoura (whale watching), Lake Wanaka, etc.

With two weeks and six people, you might find it easier to stick to one island. There's plenty to keep you busy on the SI. I love the north of the SI, and if you have time, suggest you spend some time in the Nelson/Abel Tasman/Golden Bay area. Marlborough Sounds is also a great place to visit.

Perhaps if you tell us what specifically you're interested in (sights, hiking, food, wine, museums, adventure, etc) we Fodorites could be of more help.
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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 12:16 AM
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Thanks a ton for the advice..
We are mainly interested in enjoying the natural beauty ..
Not much of wine drinkers or foodies
(vegetarians)..
Not keen on museums/ shopping either .. Done enough in Europe.
The kids would love the adventure sports but not the harsh ones ... Keeping in mind , parents age & health , we would like to restrict ourselves to limited travel, avoid very cold weather... Enjoy the natural beauty..
Stay in comfortable/luxury accomodation...
Would really appreciate advice on travel (iternary) from christchurch to queenstown & back by car.. places we should spend a night or two on way .. we would also like to incoroporate the abel tasman park, one of the glaciers ..
We can do milford sound from queenstown . plan staying in queenstown for a week atleast.
Your advice is highly appreciated & very important to us...
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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 02:14 AM
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we are booked at hotel george in christchurch... & planning to book at millbrook resort near queenstown.. how are these places ? any other suggestions...
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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 05:39 AM
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Not familiar with the lodging you've mentioned, so can't help there.

If you're planning to stay a week in QT, you'll have plenty of time to see the area's sights. From QT it's easy to make day trips to Wanaka and Glenorchy - both beautiful areas worth exploring. Glenorchy is a feast for the eyes and you might enjoy the Dart River Safari. It's pretty tame compared to the Shotover jet in QT and it's really more about the incredible scenery with a few jet boat spins thrown in for good measure. Might check with the operator beforehand if you're worried about the parents. The kids would love it.

Milford is doable as a day trip from QT too, but it's a long day, so keep that in mind (3.5-4 hour drive each way from QT, so you'll need to get an early start.

As far as driving itinerary, you might consider something like this:

Christchurch - West Coast via Arthur's Pass - perhaps a night in Hokitika to break up the drive

Hokitika to Franz Josef or Fox Glacier

If you're looking for a special place to stay on the West Coast you might consider Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge - it's past the glaciers though

Glaciers to Wanaka or on to QT (about a six hour drive from glaciers to QT) with many pretty spots to stop, so can be a long day.

Queenstown - Mt Cook

Mt Cook to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo

The above doesn't include the north of the SI, but you're already looking at a lot of driving, and with a full week in QT, you're going to be limited elsewhere.

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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 02:04 PM
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Just got back from 17 days in NZ (Trip report in a couple of days) and spent 9 days in south island. In most cases, wish we had more time.

Day 1-4 Queenstown. included were day trips to Arrowtown, Wanaka, Glenorchy, full day trip to Millford Sound.

Day 5-drive to Fox Glacier (5.5 hours). Lots of beautiful

Day 6. Glacier hike. Drive to Punaiki (4 hrs)

Day 7. visit pancake rocks. Drive to Nelson (4 hrs)

Day 8. Nelson (visit Able Tasman and lots of beauiful artist shops).

Day 9 Drive to Blenheim (2 hrs) and visit wineries. Lodging - Una Piu a beautiful B&B. (don't know about kid policy)

Day 10. Picton and ferry to North Island.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 12:47 AM
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Thanks a ton for the advice...
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Old May 1st, 2007, 01:42 AM
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aditya -

Forgot to mention that NZ is a great place for vegetarians. I'm a quasi vegetarian myself and have never had a problem in NZ. Incidentially, our all time favorite NZ restaurant is Little India - they have outlets in Queenstown, Christchurch, Dunedin and Nelson. Great food and lots of veg options.

Even if you're not wine drinkers, winery restaurants generally serve excellent meals.

As far as luxury accommodation, you might want to take a look at these places - I haven't stayed at any of them, but I'd sure like to.

www.themudcastle.co.nz
www.grasmere.co.nz
www.blanketbay.com
www.wanakacottage.co.nz
www.weheka.co.nz

If you do make it up north, I highly recommend Bay of Many Coves - we have stayed there are are planning a return trip in August - very nice.

www.bayofmanycovesresort.co.nz/
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 01:28 AM
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Thanks for all your advice... Really appreciate the same.
Any website which lists hospitals/ medical centres in south island ?
Just wanna keep a few numbers handy , just incase ....
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 05:05 AM
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Let's just hope you won't need this:

http://www.healthpages.co.nz/
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Old May 4th, 2007, 12:43 AM
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Thanks ...
Need your advice on the following too..
We are also visiting a couple of places in Australia. The great barrier reef is highly recommended .. Should we go to Cairns or Hamilton island or ????
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Old May 4th, 2007, 01:44 AM
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Sorry, can't help you there. I'm most familiar with Tasmania and WA. Suggest you start a new thread for OZ -you'll no doubt gets lots of suggestions from our resident Aussies.
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