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Drive or Bus through the Catlins?

Brooklyn, New York
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Drive or Bus through the Catlins?

We are starting to plan our 2 week trip through new zealand for xmas/new years. We are a married couple in our late 20's. We would like to visit the Catlins and the area around it. We are deciding between renting a car and doing a bus trip like the bottom bus. What would we be missing if we did the following:

www.kiwiexperience.com/Default.aspx…

any other suggestions for that area?

we would like spend 3 days in the bay of islands, and than head to the south island. perhaps fly into Dunedin and start our trip from there. Aside from the Catlins we would like to visit Doubtful/Milford Sound, Queenstown, Franz Joseph or Fox, Mount Cook. and if time permits, Abel Tesman. any suggestions?

thanks

New Zealand
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for South Island
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1. Re: Drive or Bus through the Catlins?

Hi

I haven't taken the Kiwi Experience bus through the Catlins, but imagine it's akin to taking a Greyhound bus across the States. Yes you've been there, but what have you actually seen? A rental car is highly recommended as there are so many wonderful places to stop and explore.

You've pretty much got an itinerary mapped out.

Fly into Dunedin (lots of lovely wildlife there), travel to Kaka Point to see the lighthouse/yellow-eyed penguins, on to Te Anau for Milford/Doubtful Sound, Queenstown, Fox/Franz, Panakaiki, Abel Tasman.

Or, if you want to see Aoraki/Mt Cook, then fly into Chch, Aoraki/Mt Cook, Wanaka, Kaka Point, Te Anau, Queenstown, Fox/Franz, Panakaiki, Abel Tasman... or Panakaiki, Arthur's Pass to Chch to fly out.

Te Anau
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2. Re: Drive or Bus through the Catlins?

Really depends on whether you are bus people or car people. Personally I prefer to do my own thing, and a car suits me best. Many people though, like the company they find on a coach tour.

Kiwi experiance is a good company, as is the Bottom Bus, and I am sure you would not be dissapointed. You should probably allow two nights to see the Catlins. THere are motels at Kaka Point, Owaka, and Papotowai, and B&B's & home stays all along the route.

I think you might find it difficult co-ordinating your travel and sight seeing with the coach schedules.

Brooklyn, New York
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3. Re: Drive or Bus through the Catlins?

thank you very much for your suggestions. The reason we want to visit the Catlins/Dunedin is to see wildlife. How does it compare to other parts of New Zealand. Should we stick with it, or perhaps consider another area?

How does the Bay of Islands compare to Abel Tesmen. I think I read somewhere that if you're doing Abel Tesman, you can skip the Bay of Islands. Is this true? We do want a little bit of relax/beach time. I would obviously love to see everything. But we have only 2 weeks.

thanks again

New Zealand
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for South Island
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4. Re: Drive or Bus through the Catlins?

I highly recommend both the Catlins and Dunedin, they're equally wonderful for wildlife viewing.

I can't comment on BOI (never been there) but you'll love Abel Tasman.

Once you have your itinerary arranged I suggest you book all your accommodation as you'll be here at a busy time. But it's also a great time for traveling as the daylight hours are so long. The further south you go, the longer the days; it will be light from 5:30am to past 10pm.

Brooklyn, New York
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5. Re: Drive or Bus through the Catlins?

i think we are going to start our trip in Abel Tasman. spend 3 days there and than proceed south. Unfortunatly there arent any direct flights between Nelson and Dunedin. so what do we do? do we drive down the coast to Franz Joseph/Fox and do the loop around (mt cook, the sounds, queenstown, catlins, dunedin). or do we fly to christchurch, rent a car, and drive to Franz Joseph from there. any other suggestions?

thanks

New Zealand
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for South Island
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6. Re: Drive or Bus through the Catlins?

you could possibly do this itinerary, just reverse the order... Chch, Aoraki/Mt Cook, Wanaka, Kaka Point, Te Anau, Queenstown, Fox/Franz, Panakaiki, Abel Tasman...

arrive Abel Tasman, fly out of Chch.

Brooklyn, New York
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7. Re: Drive or Bus through the Catlins?

is that too much in 2 weeks? how long is the drive from queenstown to franz joseph?

New Zealand
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for South Island
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8. Re: Drive or Bus through the Catlins?

Queenstown to Franz is just over 5 hours.

You can check travel times here... www.aatravel.co.nz/main/td-calculator.php

9. Re: Drive or Bus through the Catlins?

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