South Island Itinerary for 4 weeks

Old Jan 30th, 2009, 12:57 AM
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South Island Itinerary for 4 weeks

Two couples, early 50ís, planning a 4 week trip to South Island, New Zealand for April 2010. I know itís a long way off but we will have to factor Easter in so will need to get some bookings done at some stage in the future. Therefore I want to make a start on our itinerary and hope that the kind folks on here will share their wisdom.

We like walking, nature, being in the wide open spaces, photography, food and wine, not so big on ďtouristyĒ hot spots. We donít feel the need to bungy jump.
We will hire a car and have been thinking of using some of the Kiwi Holiday parks, Bella Vista motels and maybe a chalet here and there. We are happy to self cater to save some money but will certainly treat ourselves often.

So here goes:

Sun 28 March - Arrive Christchurch early am, 2 nights explore town and
Akaroa. Bella Vista Motel

Twizel-2 nts via Rakaia Gorge and Lake Tekapo. Mtn Chalets

Otago Peninsula- 2 nts, explore area & Dunedin *Easter*. Portobello Village Park

Catlins- 2 nts, explore area and do some walks *Easter*. McLean Falls Park

Te Anau- 4 nts, easy to fill these days up. Holiday Park?

Doubtful Sound overnight

Queenstown- 2 nts, maybe Arrowtown? Bella Vista or Holiday Park

Wanaka-2 nts, sounds like there are plenty of nice walks. Lakeview Park

Franz Joseph-2 nts. Rain Forest Park

Arthurís Pass-2nts. ?

Mouteka-5nts, explore Abel Tasman, Marlborough Sound etc. Ocean View Chalets?

Fly out from Nelson.

Not sure wether we should combine Queenstown area and Wanaka. Not sure if we will even like Queenstown! Sounds very touristy. Your advice on tweaking the itinerary and accommodation suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks
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Old Jan 30th, 2009, 01:20 AM
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Hey, I know you!

That looks like a great itinerary Maudie, you're covering lots of ground, but at a reasonable pace.

That's the first time I've seen anyone mention Rakaia Gorge (other than myself). It's really pretty through there, I think you'll like it. Be sure to leave enough time for the Rakaia Gorge Walking Track and you might want to check out the jet boating from there as well (cheaper than in QT and hardly any tourists).

QT and Wanaka are about 90 minutes apart, so it's hard to combine the two. We're not into the touristy things, but the spouse really likes QT for some reason. Arrowtown is a good compromise - close to QT, but quiet, sedate, country living. We like Wanaka too, but other than the great walks we found there I don't really have a desire to go back. Wanaka is just an up and coming QT if you ask me, but that's just a personal opinion.

The Catlins are wonderful, particularly because not many tourists find their way down there and it's incredibly unspoiled. Oops, guess I should say unspoilt as I live in OZ now.

Lots to see and do in the Catlins, and because it's so spread out, it helps to have plenty of time.

The Bella Vista in QT is a good choice, as it's in a quiet location, yet within walking distance to town.

You won't regret four nights in Te Anau - loads to do there, and it's often overlooked by the casual tourist.
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Old Jan 30th, 2009, 01:37 AM
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Hi Mel,
You sure do! I was hoping you would reply, where do you think I got the idea of Rakaia Gorge? See, I have been doing my research.

How about an extra night in the Catlins and just one night in Wanaka then? We could be there by mid morning and have the rest of the day to walk then set off for FJ in the morning.

I believe you are in Perth now, so when you want to see some native orchids and wildflowers come spring let me know and I can give you some nice places to visit. I think you have my email.
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Old Jan 30th, 2009, 01:56 AM
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Maudie -

I probably shouldn't discourage you from Wanaka, because there really are some nice walks there, and most aren't that close, so you'll need some time to reach them.

My comment about needing more time in the Catlins probably stems from where we stayed - halfway between Fortrose and Tokanui. We absolutely loved the cottage and would stay there again in a heartbeat, but it was difficult to thoroughly visit both the North and the South Catlins from there with only two full days. I could have easily filled another full day in the North Catlins, but hey, now I have a good excuse to go back.

For me it's all about the great walks and the wide open spaces, and the joy I feel being one of only two people on the beach or the track, so for me the Catlins fits the bill nicely.

I think your e-mail address got lost on that long Europe thread, so please send me a note so I have it for future reference.

billmelk at hotmail dot com
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Old Feb 1st, 2009, 12:46 AM
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Trouble is there are just too many places that capture our interest.

Expect an email soon, Mel.

Anyone else have anything to add?
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