South Island NZ 4 days- Are we Crazy :)

Dec 15th, 2003, 06:26 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 18
South Island NZ 4 days- Are we Crazy :)

I know this may be challenging but would like your thought on this.
We are planning a trip to NZ - 3 days in NI and 4 in NZ. sadly that's all we have
We are mostly interested in scenic beauty, landscapes , natural spendor.
If there are any budget hotels or places that are not worth missing in .around the route pl let us know / Thanks

Here's the thought--
16 night Chc- reach Te Anau- 17 Morning ( driving all night - take rest at camp site if need be )
maybe drive all way to Duniden take sourthern scenic route allthe way to Te Anau - Milford Sound

drive is around 8 -10 hrs in all

17 morning -Te Anau -Milford Sound - eve go to Queenstown - 17 night spend night at

Queenstown or nearby area

18- morning -- take Sourthern Heritage Route -- Arrortown,Wanaka,Lake wanaka,Omarama,Twizel

- Mt cook
stay night Mt cook or nearby

19 Take West Coast Touring route -Aoraki,Mt Cook,Fox Glacier, Franz JosefGlacier- maybe take

a tour ... Greymouth if time Arthur's pass - Hanmer springs back to CHC
stay Greymouth or nearby CHC

20 morning -Kaikoura and Akaroa
eve -chc spend night - morning leave for Sydney

NYExplorer is offline  
Dec 15th, 2003, 09:07 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,521
If you are not crazy now, you will be when you finish that trip! You could do it if you never actually get out of your car!

First of all, forget about Kaikoura, or anything north of CChurch. Second of all, forget about the east coast entirely (Dunedin). The best that you can do would be to drive straight to Mt. Cook, and then on to Te Anau/Milford. From there, pass through Queenstown on the way to the west coast and the Glaciers. Continue up the coast to Greymouth, over Arthurs Pass, and return to CChurch. Even this less ambitious trip will feel a bit rushed in 4 days.

ALF is offline  
Dec 16th, 2003, 10:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You might want to consider hiring a small campervan, so that you won't be spending precious time checking into and out of rooms. You can also save time and money fixing your own meals on the go. There are quite a few holiday parks along your route that you can pull into for the evening, and take advantage of communal dining areas and ablution blocks (restrooms/showers).
ALF is offline  
Dec 16th, 2003, 07:20 PM
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Many Thanks for your suggestions.
I'll change the itenary accordingly.
Getting a Campervan would be best as you mentioned.
NYExplorer is offline  
Dec 21st, 2003, 10:29 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 5
Last year we had a quick trip to NZ and did a similiar whirlwind trip starting in Wellington with a ferry ride to Picton then a train to Cchurch then a plane to Queenstown where we hired a car and drove up the west coast and back across to fly out of Christchurch.

It can be done! I found the South Island so remote that after driving for 8 hours seeing the same sort of scenery and 6,723 campervans... well, it got a bit monotonous in parts of the west coast drive.

Gorgeous nonetheless!! Keep in mind that the main roads of NZ are sometimes dirt tracks!

One night we thought we would try our luck at just finding accommodation on the fly -- and it turned out to be the greatest adventure of all when we showed up at a fishing lodge and accidentally busted in on an eclectic group of travellers only to find that we'd been sent to the wrong place.

Q'town reminded me somewhat of a Colorado resort town -- keep the visa card out! We splashed out on a balloon ride that included breakfast and it was every bit worth the $$ as we floated to a mile high from which you could hear cow bells below it was so quiet.

if you want to see some pictures, drop me an email at [email protected] and I'll point you to our family's website.

All the best,
stacy_lanae is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2003, 08:45 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 786
Obviously you have no idea or understanding of distances or driving times in our country. It is utter madness. My advice is to buy a few travel videos of our country, study those over the 7 days and then plan a manageable itinerary for another date.
KathyNZ is offline  
Dec 29th, 2003, 06:57 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 209
I agree with KathyNZ. What you have mentioned is impossible and even more so if driving a slow bulky motor home. I am speaking from recent experience since my husband and I returned from 24 days in New Zealand just two days ago. The driving times are much much longer than you would think because all the roads you plan to travel are one lane, very tight hairpin turns, up and down mountains. With this in mind, driving at night will be very dangerous especially since you don't know the area and there are not any streetlights.

The highlight of our trip was an overnight cruise on Doubltful Sound. This 24 hour trip included breathtaking scenery of the fiords and snowcapped mountains, sea kayaking, sightings of many bottlenose dolphins and seals. We also went to Milford Sound, which was a nice drive with beautiful fields of lupins and scots broom; however, Milford was far less spectacular IMO.

Perhaps you could fly to Queenstown, pick up a rental car and drive 2 hours to Manapouri. Do the overnight on Doubtful Sound which begins and ends at 12:30pm. Then take a long scenic drive towards the Glaciers via Wanaka and Haast. Try and get to Fox or Franz Joseph for the night, if possible. At this time of the year sunset is not until 9:30, so you should have plenty of daylight driving time. If weather permits, take the 9AM helicopter tour to the top of the glaciers the next morning. It was an incredible experience and only took 30 minutes total including 5-10 minutes landing on the top of the glacier. Finally either take the Transalpine train or drive back to Christchurch via Greymouth and Arthur's Pass.

You will be extremely exhausted, but will see much "scenic beauty, landscapes and natural splendor" of the South Island. The weather is unpredictable in New Zealand, especially on the west coast of the South Island. Bring raincoats, shorts and warm clothing like a fleece jacket. Our travel journal can be viewed at my husbands website We still have a day or so to add and will post photos within the next couple of weeks.

Anyway, I hope this helps.

Nicci is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2004, 02:00 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 29
We have just returned from a month trip to NZ (3wks of it in the south Island). We drove around the whole of the South Island in that time and in 3 weeks it was a push.

I would definitely not bother with a campervan - it will slow you down way too much on the driving and really is not needed.

We camped all the time and found campsites (especially the NZ Top Ten sites) to be excellent. If you don't want to sleep in a tent (site NZ$24) many of them have small cabins (NZ$50) you can hire with own basic (but sufficient) kitchen facilities and double bed (you will need bedding or sleeping bag). Howver it depends on time of year as to whether you would need to book. We just turned up at all sites and had no problems.

With your limited time I would say forget the east coast below Cch totally (we wish we had!)

A couple of other points
TeAnau - drive to Milford is lovely (try to avoid the coach tours which all reach Milford at the same time). There is alovely walk to Lake Marian on thw way if you like hiking and it is also fun to play in the snow for ten minutes by parking just before the Homer Tunnel and heading right of the tunnel along the path.

Queenstown - Jet boating on Dart River - fantsastic and well organised so would only take two hours max of your time. We stayed in Wanaka - much less commercialised.

Kaikora and Akaroa in the same day - no way.
Kaikoura whale trip excellent but needs to be booked a couple of days at least in advance.
Akaroa - an extremely long long winding road to get there. My boyfriend likened it to driving around the whole of a daisy and we almost gave up half way. Scenic but not worth it bearing in mind your timescales. It is pretty but the only thing french about it being the street and cafe names.

Christchurch - we stayed in a B&B called The Grange on Armagh St which was 5 mins walk from centre and very friendly. Also ate at an excellent restaurant called Alchemy in the new glass art gallery.

Don't spend all your time driving - you want a holiday of enjoyment not endurance.

Happy to help with any other questions.

Have a fantastic trip.

blueskies is offline  
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