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South Island - New Zealand

Old Dec 26th, 2001, 06:38 PM
  #1  
Patti
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South Island - New Zealand

My husband and I will be spend a week during the middle of March on the South Island touring from Christchurch to Queenstown - Milford Sound - Franz Josef. Would you advise us to pick up a tour for this or would you feel renting a car would be better? In addition, please advise clothing to pack and if you think it better to drive, how about some nice, readsonable places to stay. I'd appreciate your advice.
 
Old Dec 27th, 2001, 07:20 AM
  #2  
KieranB
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Hi, I was just in NZ in November, so I can't advise on clothins as I don't know what the weather is going to be like in March. I rented a car & toured all over the South Island, I'd recommend it as it gives you more flexibility than tours I think. I stayed in YHA hostels most of the time, don't know if that's what you had in mind as regards places to stay. If you only have a week you'll be doing lots of driving to fit in all the places you mention. Personally I'd consider breaking up the journey a little & maybe go to Mt. Cook instead of Franz Josef to stay on one side of the Alps. See http://discovernz.co.nz/driving/smlcalc.html for distances and http://www.nzencounters.com/tips.shtml for some good driving tips
 
Old Dec 28th, 2001, 09:37 AM
  #3  
Fred Judson
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Patti,

My Wife and I rented a camper van and stayed in motor parks for our 24 days. It gave us great flexibility to go and stay where we wanted since there are motor parks just about everywhere. There are typically about $10NZ a night so by sleeping in your van you will save money as well as time. Also the previous post had a good idea. Substitute Mt Cook for Franz Josef since it will cut out a lot of driving time since you are there for only a week.. Not that the West Coast isn't great, it was wonderful but you are looking at a very, very long day of driving just to get to Franz Josef which is only about 30 miles Straight line from Mt. Cook. The views from Mt Cook are somewhat better than FJ too but both areas can be socked in by weather. Take a helicopter tour! If you do go with a camper van get one with a big enough bed, we were on our honeymoon but the bed was too skinny!

You will fall in love with NZ

Fred Judson
 
Old Dec 29th, 2001, 12:15 PM
  #4  
AA
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Patti,
We drove all over the South Island. You really don't have to book places to stay in advanc. NZ is full of lovely motels. Most of the motel units consisit of living room, bedroom, bath and fully equipped kitchen. We never paid more than 35 dollars! There also many B+Bs and they are lovely! No problem at all!
I second all the others concerning Franz Joseph. It is a long drive going there. When we arrived, the mountain was foggy and windy! We could not see anything. It is easier to reach Mt. Cook.
Remember that you CANNOT stay overnight in Milford Sound! There are simply no motels, hotels or B+Bs there. And it is a LONG drive from Queenstown, since you have to drive around to reach it. We did stay there overnight by booking an afternoon sailing trip and staying overnight on the boat. It was lovely and much easier.
1 week is a very short time for the South Island. Dunedin is nice, we loved Omaru and the tiny blue penguins that come out of the water at night, Queenstown is lovely and so is Christchurch. I doubt if you'll have time for Nelson in the north of the Island.
Have a great time!
AA
 
Old Dec 29th, 2001, 02:52 PM
  #5  
David
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Patti,
Renting is fine. It is easy to get around and reasonably priced accomodation is not hard to find. Having said that the England cricket team is in Queenstown in mid March for a three day match. Given that about 5000 English fans will be with them I would suggest you steer claer of Queenstown those three days. Other than that it is not ski season and does not coincide with any NZ holidays so you should be right. If you can ever experience hot waether here it will be in February or March, so dress for warm weather but.....this is New Zealand, always have wet weather gear!!!!

David
 
Old Dec 30th, 2001, 07:11 AM
  #6  
Patti
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Thanks a lot for all the helpful tips. I didn't realize that it took so long to drive from one location to another. But your recommendations are good!! I think I'll pass on Franz Josef and stay on the Mt Cook side of the Alps.
The two sites you offered Kiernan were excellent and all of this is the type of info I need (I just hope I'm not scheduled for Queenstown when the English cricket team is there - AAAAGHHH - I probably would have loved hostels a FEW years back and my college kids would love them now but for me, I better take the motels. We're packing raincoats, shorts, tops, walking shoes and I guess if I need a sweater I'll buy it. Thank you again - you've been great. We're so looking forward to this trip.
 

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