Vote for one of these NZ itineraries

Old Jun 27th, 2002, 12:17 PM
  #1  
lisa
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Vote for one of these NZ itineraries

We have our plane tickets, and hotel reservations for Sydney & the Great Barrier Reef, but are having trouble deciding on an itinerary for our 7 days on the south island of New Zealand. This will be in late November. We arrive in Christchurch at 9:30 pm on Sunday and are renting a car, flying out of Queenstown the following Sunday at 12:30 pm -- so we have 7 nights. We love dramatic scenery and seeing wildlife, and are particularly interested in seeing Milford/Doubtful/Dusky Sounds above all else. We've done a lot of research, but it all sounds so wonderful that we already realize we need to plan a second trip. On our "want to see" list are Christchurch, Akaroa, Kaikoura, Arthur's Pass, Franz Joseph Glacier, Haast Pass, Lake Wanaka, Mount Cook, Dunedin, the penguins & albatross colony on the Otago Peninsula, Invercargill, Te Anau, Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound, and Queenstown -- obviously way too much for one week! So please help us narrow it down & decide on one of the following itineraries:

ITINERARY 1
1 night Christchurch
3 nights Te Anau
3 nights Queenstown

ITINERARY 2
2 nights Christchurch
1 night Mt. Cook
2 nights Te Anau
2 nights Queenstown

ITINERARY 3
1 night Christchurch
1 night Mt. Cook
3 nights Te Anau
2 nights Queenstown

ITINERARY 4
1 night Christchurch
1 night Mt. Cook
1 night Dunedin/Otago Peninsula
2 nights Te Anau
2 nights Queenstown

ITINERARY 5
1 night Christchurch
1 night Franz Joseph
1 night Wanaka
2 nights Te Anau
2 nights Queenstown

ITINERARY 6
1 night Christchurch
1 nights Franz Joseph
1 night Wanaka
1 night Dunedin
2 nights Te Anau
1 night Queenstown

ITINERARY 7
2 nights Christchurch
1 night Dunedin/Otago Peninsula
2 nights Te Anau
2 nights Queenstown

Right now I'm leaning toward #2, 3, or 4.
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 02:46 PM
  #2  
sonia
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I like 5 or 6!

Wanaka si my favourite place in NZ, and i have found that many who make it there fall in love with it. I wouldnt bother with more than 1 night in Christchurch...in fact if you are not going to be jet lagged, i would head straight off..but that may be ambitious.

Dont worry about missing out on Akaroa - this is a place to go when you have several weeks in NZ. The Haast pass is simply tghe road down from the Glaciers to Wanaka, so you will see this no matter what. I would also say that Lake Hawea is the most spectacular lake in NZ. It is just above Lake Wanaka, so make sure you take a side trip to the head of Hawea in Hawea township (you will see signs as you are driving from Glaciers or it is about 15 mins from Wanaka).

Fjordland is stunning but 2 days will be OK there. Take a trip on Milford sound, go and see the Glow worm caves at Te Anau one evening. I took an overnight cruise from Manapuri to Doubtful which was great. It only runs at certain times of year though - so check brochures.

If you would like any further advice...just post here!

sonia
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 05:58 PM
  #3  
Kerry
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Hi Lisa
I think you are well onyour way to planning your South island, NZ holiday.

The crunch issue is whether you go to the West Coast or to Mt Cook. If you had been arriving and and departing from Christchurch you could have done both but the Christchurch/Queenstown flights makes this much more difficult. Hence I recommend that people arrive and leave through Christchurch.

The West Coast Itinerary - I would recommend is what you have in number 5
Sunday arrive Christchurch - you will be too late by the time you clear Customs to go anywhere so overnight in Christchurch
Monday - Take SH 73, Arthur's Pass and SH6 to Franz Josef
Tuesday - take SH6 to Haast Pass and on the Wanaka
Wednesday - SH 6 to Lumsden then SH 94 to Te Anau
Thursday - Milford Sound and stay at Te Anau
Friday - SH 94/6 to Queenstown
Saturday - Queenstown
Sunday - depart Queenstown

I personally enjoy Mt Cook and the drive through the MacKenzie Basin but you will miss out on the West Coast.

If you want that option then:
Sunday - Christchurch
Monday - SH 77 (The inland and more scenic route) then SH 79 from Geraldine, SH8 then SH 80 to Mt Cook - youwill do this drive in about 4 to5 hours plus photo stops.
Tuesday - Mt Cook - ski plane flight on the glacier etc
Wednesday - Down SH 8 to Cromwell and then SH6 and SH 94 to Te Anau.
Thursday - back on the above itinerary.

It is a bit like your Itinerary #3 but I would have 2 nights at Mt Cook as you have reasonably long drives either sider of the Tuesday plus you will need a day to enjoy Mt Cook which in a scenic, rather than tourist sense, has more to offer than wonderful Queenstown.

Happy to help if you need more advise and on your next trip come and see the equally beautiful but different North Island.
Kerry
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 06:44 PM
  #4  
Martha
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Sonia or Kerry -
I'm planning a 2-week trip to the South Island, primarily in March 2003. Would you recommend a few days in Dunedin? I'm thinking about going from Christchurch to Dunedin to Te Anau to Queenstown with trips to the glaciers, Milford, maybe Doubtful Sound, Mt. Cook, and Greymouth as well.
Thanks for any help.
Martha
 
Old Jul 1st, 2002, 03:39 PM
  #5  
carolyn
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Lisa,
If you are going for rugged scenery with an emphasis on the sounds, then I suggest Itinerary #3. Itinerary #4 is the best one, I believe, but it is not practical to include Mt. Cook and Dunedin in a 7 day adventure that begins in CCH and ends in Queenstown, you would never get out of the car. You will need a full day to do justice to each of the sounds. Milford has many side trips along the road, which you should try to include. We especially enjoyed the Chasm. Doubtful is awesome, so allow as much time as you can. We stayed on the overnight boat offered by Fiorland Travel, it was our trip highlight. I didn't get to Dusky, so no advice there. The Haast Pass is the one you take from CCH to Queenstown, I think. Anyway, that road also has many good detours. The road up to Mt. Cook is 1.5 hours each way. I did not think much of Mt. Cook Village, it is nothing more than a steel and glass hotel that looks out of place in the beautiful mountain-scape. But, you really must invest the time to get up to Cook at least once in your lifetime.
 
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 02:34 AM
  #6  
Kerry
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Hi Martha
To visit Dunedin or not? I have to be a bit careful as I will be down there next month! Dunedin is an interesting city with strong Scottish links however a lot of the main city buildings have that grey look of Edinburgh. A wonderful university city with loads of students "scarfies". The Otago Peninsula has a lot of wildlife attractions. It is a place I could miss if I only had a few days to spend in teh South island however it is likely to on your route and you have 14 days so you could afford at least one day. I guess that it is a question of piorities - do you want to look round historical buildings and museums, or tramp over mountains, or look at scenery, or indulge in drink fine wines and eating cafe food? Or all of the above? From the places suggested you sound more like the outdoors/scenic type.

Kerry
 
Old Jul 10th, 2002, 03:41 PM
  #7  
lisa
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Thanks so much to everybody who has taken the time to respond so far. Kerry, you are exactly right: the crux of the question is whether to do Mt. Cook or the west coast route. Thanks to all of your input, I'm now inclined to stay only one night in Christchurch (skip Akaroa) and skip Dunedin/Otago this time (will have to go back another time for all the places we'll miss this time). However, I'm still undecided as to whether to do Mt. Cook or the west coast. As the Franz Joseph route seems to require more driving, I'm inclined toward:
1 night Christchurch
2 nights Mt. Cook
2 nights Te Anau
2 nights Queenstown.

This seems moderately more relaxing than my #5 itinerary of 1 night Christchurch, 1 night Franz Joseph, 1 night Wanaka, 2 nights Te Anau, 2 nights Queenstown -- although that option is still in play too.

If anyone else cares to weigh in, that would be great!
 
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