South Island NZ

Old Oct 29th, 2007, 07:56 PM
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South Island NZ

We are first time visitors to NZ. Arriving in Christchurch first week in Feb 2008. Our trip will be from 3 to 4 weeks. Need some help on itinerary.

Would it be better to travel south from CC to Queenstown then north west up the West Coast or to go north to Nelson then south by West Coast. We do want to spend a bit more of our time in the north part of the South Island.

Husband is interested in fly fishing, is this a good time of year for that and any suggestions on a great guide? Other interest are hiking, wine tasting and great food.

If you have suggestions about lodging and eateries along the way would appreciate information.

Of course, as anyone on holiday we want to see it all.

Thanks for your help.


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Old Oct 29th, 2007, 08:43 PM
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Hi Kat -

Let me first applaud you for taking 3-4 weeks to see the SI. You'll be able to cover a lot of ground at a leisurely pace.

It doesn't really matter which direction you choose to go first, as you can essentially cover the same area regardless of direction.

We tend to travel off season, so we plan our route based on anticipated weather - for example, we go north first when traveling in winter, south first when traveling in spring. The assumption being that it's colder the further south you get, so the closer to winter the colder it will be. This is far from foolproof though!

For your purposes - traveling in February - I doubt there's much difference.

There's a lot of NZ information on this board including many detailed trip reports that might help get you started. I recently posted a trip report covering three weeks on the SI - we did lots of hiking and wine drinking - you can find it here:

Sorry, can't help with fly fishing, but I'm sure someone with local knowledge will chime in.
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Old Oct 30th, 2007, 02:19 PM
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If you're serious about Christchurch you would do well to refer to it as CHC.
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Old Oct 31st, 2007, 02:06 AM
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katnwill, we had beautiful weather in New Zealand for our 25th anniversary trip to the south island in February 2007. I posted a trip report if you click on my name or search down the list. We concentrated on the southern half of the south island as we only had 2 weeks.

It's wonderful that you have 3 or 4 weeks as you'll see lots of the gorgeous south island!

I think you can also go from Christchurch to Mt. Cook, spend the night, then drive down to Queenstown. We were fortunate to have gorgeous clear weather with unforgettable mountain views. We liked the casual and friendly Aoraki/Mt. Cook Alpine Lodge, which is next to the Hermitage but a lot cheaper!

We liked our lakefront apartment at Villa Del Lago right outside the bustle of Queenstown, and it was a good price. Even has a little washer and little dryer in your apartment.

Melnq8 and Mlgb gave me lots of good advice that made our trip special! Lots of good fodorites on this website to help you out. They are great!

If you decide to stop in Dunedin, we liked The Brothers Boutique hotel...we had their most romantic room, the Chapel. It's a cozy, friendly size with a healthy continental breakfast and great coffee.

I hope you are doing either Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound? A couple nights in Te Anau is great for that, plus if you stay in Te Anau you can have more time to explore many beautiful spots right off the Milford Rd.

The southwest coast of the south island of New Zealand is wild and beautiful. You must pre-book accomodations there as they are fewer and further between than in some other places, and they fill up.

I always pre-book all our accomodations anyway, but I know some people don't always do that.

Sorry we dont fish, but we love eating fish! Have a wonderful trip.
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Old Nov 1st, 2007, 09:03 PM
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Kat -

While researching my own return trip to the SI, I ran across this info on fishing in Temuka, which is on the east coast near Timaru (between Christchurch and Dunedin)

"While the main attraction is the magnificent quinnat salmon, whose spawning run lasts from November through to April, the whole area is also famous for its excellent trout fishing and variety of nearby waterways.

Sea-run trout and salmon are caught in season, while Temuka is also an ideal central base for those wishing to fish the mighty Waitaki river to the south, the Rakaia to the North, or the fabled lakes of the Mackenzie Country and the Waitaki Basin.

The required licences are readily available, as are experienced guides."

Taken from the following site:

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Old Nov 5th, 2007, 07:42 PM
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Thanks Melnq8 and Melissa5.....I really appreciate all the great suggestions. I think I will include Dunedin in our route.

Melnq8, I did read your trip report and looked at your pictures, the Blue Pools look amazing as did all the areas you featured.

We enjoy hiking here in the great Pacific Northwest (no strangers to rain here) and are so looking forward to hiking in NZ.

The one hang up I am having is the West Coast...I need to make sure that where we end up for the night has a cafe/restaurant near by, is it as remote as the book implies? The distance itself does not seem that great, but from experience we know some roads take a long time for a short distance of travel.
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Old Nov 5th, 2007, 08:02 PM
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Kat -

Where specifically are you considering along the West Coast?

Restaurants can be hard to come by in some areas, but generally where there's a motel, there's a cafe of some sort, even if it's just a pub.

Self-catering is also an option, but you'll need to be prepared if you plan to cook for yourselves.

Here's a general rundown of West Coast options - Westport has many restaurants, Punakaiki has a few cafes, a tavern and a hotel restaurant or two, Greymouth is a town with many food options, Hokikita has several restaurants (some suprisingly good), Franz Josef and Fox Glacier have many places to eat as does Hokitika, Haast has a couple of places (most associated with motels), and Makarora is basically a spot on the road with a cafe.
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