South Island in 17days

Jan 3rd, 2005, 06:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 107
South Island in 17days

Hello guys. I was following xxxxx's itinerary and has somewhat a simiar plan to cover the South Island.

Day 1: Arr CHC afternoon, tour city centre
Day 2: Christchurch - Arthurs Pass - Franz Josef
Day 3: Frans Josef - Fox (shall I do the FJ half day hike or Fox full day?) - Lake Mathseon
Day 4: Fox - Haast - Wanaka
Day 5: Wanaka - Queenstown (some jetboating, rafting, gondola & luge) - Glenorchy
Day 6: Glenorchy - Queenstown - Kevin Heights - Te Anau
Day 7: Te Anau - Milford Sound (cruise) - Te Anau (glowworm cave)
Day 8: Te Anau - Dunedin (incl. Spreights Brewery and Olveston House guided tours)
Day 9: Dunedin - Otago Peninsula (Larnarch Castle, The Chasm/Lovers track) - Moeraki - Oamaru (penguins)
Day 10: Oamaru - Duntroon (via Vanished Trail route) - Omarama (new agrodome opening in Jan? gliding??)
Day 11: Omarama - Mt Cook (Hookers Valley Track)- Lake Tekapo (star gazing at night)
Day 12: Lale Tekapo - Geraldine - Akaroa
Day 13: Akaroa (how much time require to drive the winding rural road / Summit Road back to Lyttleton?) - Christchurch (Antartica Centre - Hanmer Springs
Day 14:
Hanmer Springs - Lewis Pass - Greymouth - Punakaiki - Westport, Cape Foulwind - Murchison
Day 15: Murchison (is Buller Gorge Swing Bridge worth the time?) - Motueka - Takaka (Hawkes Lookout, Pupu Springs. Ngarua Caves worth it?) - Farewell Spit, Cape Farewell & Whararika Beach - Nelson (enroute visit Harrington's Brewery & Hoglund Glass Blowing)
Day 16: Nelson - Havelock - Picton (via Charlotte drive) - Koromiko (Johannesdorf Cellars)- Blenheim
Day 17: Blenheim (more wineries) - Kaikoura (not going on whale watching trip, can see whales from shore?) - Christchurch

Any comments and other recommendations
Chenoa is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 07:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 262
I think I may have offered the same advice on xxxxx's itinerary-- it appears you are backtracking somewhat-- like you will be in Christchurch on 3 separate occassions-- I can see twice (fly in and out), but past that it seems like extra driving.
We were there in November, and spent 21 days on the South Island, and were able to spend 2-3 nights in most locations, and did it as one big loop around the island, though a few of the things you listed were not on our itinerary.
A few quick comments-- the Antartic Center is a lot of fun, allow 2-3 hours, but as it is right next to the airport, we did it as our last stop, and it worked out perfectly.
Day 15-- Buller Gorge Swing Bridge is just that-- a big, long swingbridge. Whether it is worth the stop depends on how much you like swingbridges-- we did the walk (didn't bother with the zip lines) and it takes about 15-20 minutes to enjoy. How about "not a major destination" but if you are driving by, not a bad stop?? You have also got a lot of driving that day-- once you get up past Moteuka, the roads are very winding, so it's a slow go. Plus, to get out to farwell spit, you will have to be part of a tour, you may want to check the times. We did not go that far, but if you are driving up to that area, I would recommend spending some time in Abel Tasman -- it's magnificent, and a wonderful place to kayak, if you are so inclined.
Day 17-- I don't think you can see whales from shore, but you will see seals, but I would also recommend a seal swim or dolphin swim-- we had a great time. Also know that the weather is unpredicatable-- we were not able to do the whale watch due to choppy weather, and most activities were cancelled.

I think you are hitting a lot of the highlights, but I fear you may be exhausted after 17 days!!! We moved at a fast pace, and I can't imagine not have at least 2 nights in one or two places, just to give yourself a chance to sleep in a little, or do some laundry!!!

Just my opinion, good luck with your plans!
jonesie is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 03:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,555
I agree with jonesie that you've got alot planned for your 17 day stay.

We took the tour of Farewill Spit in 2003 and throughly enjoyed it, but keep in mind you might want to book in advance, and the tour takes 7.5 hours and leaves from Collingwood.

If you haven't already done so, I suggest you take a look at the NZ travel distances before you commit to your plans. Here's a site that might help:

While NZ is relatively small, it's long and spread out. The roads are very winding, and it might take you longer to get from point A to point B than you'd expect.

Akaroa is 60-90 minutes from CH and Hamner Springs is 90 minutes from CH. They're in opposite directions, so you're probably looking at three hours from Akaroa to Hamner Springs.

Your current plans involve alot of driving and don't leave much time for sightseeing (except from the car) hiking, etc.

While I certainly understand the temptation to see as much as possible in the time allowed, I think you might enjoy yourself more if you slow down a bit and take the time to enjoy all that NZ has to offer.

Just a thought...

Melnq8 is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 06:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 110

Here are some thoughts for reducing the amount of driving you will be doing on the South Island:

Day 1 -- Christchurch
Day 2 -- Hanmer Springs/Kaikoura
Day 3 -- Blenheim
Day 4 -- Blenheim/Nelson
Day 5 -- Motueka/Takaka/Farewell Spit
Day 6 -- Murchison/part of West Coast
Day 7 -- glaciers
Day 8 -- Haast/Wanaka
Day 9 -- Queenstown
Day 10 --Queenstown; late drive to Te Anau
Day 11 -- Milford Sound/Te Anau
Day 12 -- drive to Dunedin
Day 13 -- Dunedin/Otago
Day 14 -- Omaru/Omarama
Day 15 -- Mt. Cook
Day 16 -- Tekapo/Akaroa
Day 17 -- Akaroa/Christchurch

This gets you just about everything except Arthur's Pass, with much less backtracking.
xxxxx is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 08:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 107
thanks guys....I feared my hubby will be more worn out than me cos he'll be doing most of the driving.

The reason why we sort of backtracked is because I have initially planned for 14 days to cover CHC-Arthurs Pass then the southern part-CHC. After we extended the trip by 3 days, I squueezed in Akaroa and the northen part.

We decided that due to time constraints and prevailing weather governs, we shall not go on the whale watching trip. Nor are we inclined to kayak or take long hikes in the Abel Tasman. So, that's almost as good as just driving pass and sightseeing.

Chenoa is offline  
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