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South Island NZ--off the beaten path...

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Feb 14th, 2011, 06:53 PM
  #1
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South Island NZ--off the beaten path...

Considering summer trip plans with 2 weeks in NZ and then 1 week in OZ with friends. I have been through NZ for a month years ago but will return with my husband and 11 and 9 year olds. Husband would love to do Queenstown and ski if possible--is it cold enough the beginning of June? Also, if we plan about 8 days on the south island and rent a car in Queenstown, does anyone recommend going east and not doing Milford Sound? I would like to plan something different, maybe toward Dunedin and then south and then back toward Queenstown? Has anyone done that? I would like to plan different than what is expected the first go around for them if possible, and we"ll have seen some key spots of the north island before arriving. Thanks!
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Feb 14th, 2011, 07:28 PM
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Ski season in QT generally begins in mid to late June. This year's Winter Festival runs from June 24-July 3.

It seems a shame not to do Milford Sound (unless you've done it before), although the road does ocasionally close for short periods in the winter months to allow for avalanche blasting, etc.

Dunedin is hardly off-the-beaten path, it's a good sized city, but it's a popular option for tourists and I'm sure you'll find plenty to keep yourself busy there.

The Catlins is more off-the-beaten path, and a place many visitors never get to see, but it can get pretty cold down there during the winter months, and that icy wind will cut right through you. The Catlins is all about outdoor pursuits, which is why the weather is worth mentioning. Lots to see through there though, sea lions, penguins, and some lovely natural features.

With eight days, you could easily visit QT, then do a circuit down along the Catlins and up to Dunedin (or vice versa), then back to QT.
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Feb 14th, 2011, 11:09 PM
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It is really hard to advise you regarding the likelihood of snow at that time of year, desertchick. We have had years where there has been heavy snow in May, and others where there was concern about the lack of snow for the start of the Winter Festival. If skiing is a must, the beginning of June would be very risky.
Rob.
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Feb 16th, 2011, 07:42 AM
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Thanks for the quick replies. I am afraid that June is our only option, and I am happy that my husband can take the time. I have been to Milford Sound and considered skipping it simply because of the drive and also after someone wrote that if you've been through Alaska, which we've seen alot of, it won't be as awe inspiring, though I am not sure yet. Therefore, I am looking for different things, and wondered if you could both share more about the Catlins-Dunedin route, or another route from QT that would be scenic, interesting for kids, adventurous/light hikes with kids, yet not too crazy. I guess we will have to hope for the best with the skiing as this is the time we have. 3 years ago, we went to OZ and I think the highlight was a side trip to Kangaroo Island, a place most don't choose and yet one of the most spectacular few days of traveling we had....which is probably why I am searching for something different in NZ, thanks!!
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Feb 16th, 2011, 12:35 PM
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Try the official NZ Tourism Board activities website, you can sort by location and interest. I've not been to NZ in winter to offer any specific suggestions. I do like Dunedin, but it can be bitterly cold, so be sure you select a lodging with good heat!

http://www.newzealand.com/travel/sig...-home-page.cfm
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Feb 16th, 2011, 03:50 PM
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desertchick -

The following is my trip report which outlines what we did in the Catlins. It links to a photo site, and I have more Catlins photos on my NZ Slide Show, South Island, which is further down on this page. They might give you an idea of what there is to see and do.

http://www.fodors.com/community/aust...rip-report.cfm

I found this site invaluable in planning our time in the Catlins:

http://www.catlins-nz.com/scenery.html

Interesting comment about KI, as it's been my experience that many visitors make a point of going there, yet most of them bypass the rest of SA completely.
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Feb 16th, 2011, 03:50 PM
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desertchick -

The following is my trip report which outlines what we did in the Catlins. It links to a photo site, and I have more Catlins photos on my NZ Slide Show, South Island, which is further down on this page. They might give you an idea of what there is to see and do.

http://www.fodors.com/community/aust...rip-report.cfm

I found this site invaluable in planning our time in the Catlins:

http://www.catlins-nz.com/scenery.html

Interesting comment about KI, as it's been my experience that many visitors make a point of going there, yet most of them bypass the rest of SA completely.
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Feb 19th, 2011, 10:25 AM
  #8
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Melnq8...if you should see this: Thanks so much for the trip report. I read the entire thing and it got my mind spinning! I started to remember the weather I encountered the July I spent in NZ and how the rain sporadically started and stopped. I also remember, more than anything, how I could be anywhere in the open, and stand still and appreciate beauty, and serenity....My head is spinning because I am now inclined to wonder if we should consider other options with the kids in mind. Easy hikes they will enjoy, even fairly long ones, but we will need more and I am wondering if I should look into a route from north island to Christchurch, then pick up a car there and meander down to QT and fly out from there. We can make the most of our time that way, get a bit of city life at the start of the SI, before hitting the great outdoors and then getting to QT which will offer us plenty? Any thoughts? Anyone?
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