Umpteenth revision for NZ, help please.

Sep 11th, 2005, 06:28 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 654
Umpteenth revision for NZ, help please.

OK, here I go again. 18 days on the ground in NZ. What do you think of this plan.
Flights booked in and out of Aukland so that's the only thing that is firm.
1 arrive Aukland, fly to Taupo. Stay at Huka Lodge. (This is a place we've heard about for years.)
2. Huka
3. Fly to Christ Church will get there around 10:00 AM; drive to Arthur's Pass
Question; Is this a destination in itself or should we enjoy the drive and push on farther? And if so, where?
4. Drive to Franz Josef;overnight FJ
5. Drive to Wilderness Lodge at Lake Moeraki
6. another night at Wilderness Lodge
7. Drive to Queenstown Area
8. Second night in area (considering Glenorchy or Wanaka)
9. Drive to Te Anua
10 Second night in Te Anua (maybe overnight cruise)
11. Not sure where to stay on way up to Akaro. Had hoped to see Lake Tekapo; but, is that too much of a drive? Have thought about driving back to Q'town or to Invercargill and flying to Christchurch. Opinions on this!!!
12. Akaro
13. Akaro
14. Kaikoura
15. Kaikoura
16-18 Nelson area. (Maybe Matueka)

Pawleys is offline  
Sep 11th, 2005, 07:12 PM
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Pawleys -

I won't comment on the North Island portion, as that's not my area, but I'm sure someone will chime in.

IMO Arthur's Pass is only a destination if you plan to stay in the nice lodge there (owned by the same people who own Moeraki I believe) and/or do some hiking. If you're just passing through on your way elsewhere, I'd suggest spending that night in Greymouth or Hokitika (CH to Greymouth is 160 miles - 3:15, and Hoki isn't much further).

If memory serves, it's only about a two hour drive from Franz (or Fox can't remember) to Lake Moeraki. That will give you more time to spend in Franz the day you leave and allow a more leisurely drive to Moeraki.

Glenorchy is a 40 minute drive from Queenstown, and it's a beautiful place to spend a few days. It's very small however, so instead of spending the night there, you might want to base yourself in QT and just go for the day. Less packing and unpacking anyway.

Te Anau to Lake Tekapo will take you about 5:20 - 266 milies. Lake Tekapo is definitely worth a stop, or even an overnight. Most people just pass through, but we spent three nights there and had a great time hiking and exploring the surrounding area. It's also a reasonable drive to Mt Cook from Lake Tekapo, so you can make a side trip there if you're so inclined.

Lake Tekapo to Akarora is 193 miles - about four hours, so Tekapo would be a good choice for a stopover on your way to Akaroa.

I wouldn't backtrack to QT - there's really no need to. You might consider heading towards Nelson before Akaroa, and making Akaroa your last stop, then driving from Akaroa to the CH airport on your day of departure (about a 90 minute drive). This will make for a shorter drive to the airport on your day of departure. It's a long drive from Nelson back to CH

Moteuka is a short drive from Nelson and it's a pretty drive along Ruby Bay and through wine country. You can easily spend several days in this area and find plenty to do (well I can anyway). If you have time, I'd suggest pushing on to Takaka, which is on the other side of Takaka Hill past Motueka - nice little town and near an entrance to Abel Tasman - one of my personal favorites.

NOTE: All distances taken from this site, which I've found to be pretty accurate:

Have fun!
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 03:36 PM
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Posts: 654
Thanks Melnq8, I think I will fly to the Nelson area from the North Island as you suggested. (Although I think I could have flown out of Nelson to Aukland as well.) Then we'll do Kaikoura and cross Arthur's Pass to the west coast.
The days I'm most concerned about are:11 and 12. That seems like a lot of driving 2 days back to back and not too much time to see Tekapo.
Are there interesting things along those routes we should see? Or is it a particularly scenic route?
If not, as much as I want to see the Tekapo area, it might be smarter to fly to the Christchurch area and drive to Akaro.
Pawleys is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 05:10 PM
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Pawleys -

I didn't mean to suggest any flying although it's an ideal way to begin your SI trip at the top of the SI.

Keep in mind flights in and out of Nelson are on small planes. This has always deterred me, so I don't have any first hand experience.

I see what you mean about days 11 & 12. Te Anau to Tekapo is over five hours, and Tekapo to Akaroa is close to 10 - yikes!

If you plan to begin in Nelson, you might want to consider something like this:

Arrive Nelson
Drive Nelson to Kaikoura - 3:00
Drive Kaikoura to Akaroa - 3:30
Drive Akaroa via Arthur's Pass to Greymouth or Hoki - 4-5 hours
Drive Greymouth or Hoki to Franz - 2-3 hours
Drive Franz to Moeraki - 2 hours
Drive Moeraki to Te Anau - approx 5 hours
Drive Te Anau to QT - 2 hours
Fly from QT to CH and on to Auckland on day of departure

This route doesn't include Tekapo, but does include all the stops in your original plan, and prevents any backtracking.

Hope this helps, and doesn't add confusion.
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 05:16 PM
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BIG OOPS - Tekapo to Akaroa is NOT 10 hours - it's only four. I was looking at the travel time for Te Anau to Akaroa - sorry!
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 12:47 AM
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Posts: 49
I'm glad to see you have dropped the Invercargill/Stewart Island leg of your trip, but I was going to suggest you add Dunedin and surrounding areas. Having spent a few days there for the first time last year, I would highly recommend it.

I would suggest the following
Day 1 & 2 - Taupo - Huka Lodge
Day 3 - Fly to ChCh - drive to Hokitika via Arthers Pass
Day 4 - FJ - overnight
Day 5 & 6 Lake Moeraki-Wilderness Lodge
Day 7 & 8 Queenstown area
Day 9 & 10 Te Anau area - one night overnight cruise
Day 11 Dunedin
Day 12 Tekapo area
Day 13 & 14 Akaroa
Day 15 Kaikoura
Day 16-18 Nelson area

This cuts your time at Akaroa down from 3 nights to 2, but the travel would be heaps more relaxing and you would see so much more. Of course it depends on whether there is a specific reason you had planned so much of your limited time at Akaroa.

Kiwis2 is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 05:24 AM
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Kiwis2, Thank you and Melnq8 for your imput. I had not planned 3 nights in Akaro and was trying to decided the best route from Te Anua or Q'town. I'd love to see Tekapo; but, it looks like such a long stretch and I'm also trying to avoid so many 1 night stays. With this last itinerary there are lots of those. Considering the rest of my trip if you had to choose between seeing the Tekapo area or the Dunedin area which would you choose?
Pawleys is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 10:05 AM
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Lake Tekapo ,Nelson ,Able Tasmin a must yust wounderful
caroltwin is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 05:54 PM
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Personally, I'd choose Tekapo, but that's just me. I'm not into cities, and Dunedin is a city - granted a nice one, but a city just the same. I'm more into natural beauty and the great outdoors, but again, that's just me. An added bonus to Tekapo, is it's proximity to Mt Cook, which is another gorgeous area well worth a visit.

Many people stop by Tekapo, take a look at the lake and move on. If you like hiking, there are some good hikes in the area.

The village of Tekapo is basically a few motels, hotels, restaurants and commerical ventures situated right on the highway, spitting distance from the lake. Busses swarm the area during the day, but the place is deserted at night.

Dunedin has many activites to offer as well, such as:

Penguin and albatross viewing, the castle, the Cadbury chocolate factory tours, brewery tours, the old train station, a museum or two, etc. IMO to really see all that Dunedin has to offer, you'll need several days. If you're just passing through, you won't be able to do much.

No matter what you decide, you really can't go wrong, because after all, it's NZ!
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 11:37 PM
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Posts: 49
Tekapo is scenic but unless you have time to hike, there isn't that much to do. Whereas there is heaps to see and do in Dunedin as mentioned by Melnq8. So my vote would still be for Dunedin.
A couple of years ago, we overnighted at Twizel, drove to Mt Cook the next day and - did a 3hr casual hike, then headed up to Christchurch for the night, stopping at Lake Tekapo to take in the view.
I know what you mean by not wanting to have too many one night stops. But I have found that you need so much time to be able to stay at least two nights at each place.

Ten years ago, we visited the States and had 5-days free - I really wanted to see the Grand canyon, Bryce and Yosemite. It was hectic, but we did it and I never regretted it. We left LA at midday on Friday, drove as far as Williams, went to the GC the next day until about 2pm, when we had to leave to drive as close as we could to Bryce. Saw Bryce the next day, left at 2pm to drive to Las Vagas - had the one night there and drove to Fresno the next day - visited Yosemite the next day - back to Fresno for the night and drove back to LA the next day.
Crazy?- yes. Frantic? Yes. Loved it - Yes! Some We did it and didn't regret it. Last year we went back and did it properly.
Kiwis2 is offline  

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