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Newbie July 2011 South Island Itinerary Help

Boston...
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Newbie July 2011 South Island Itinerary Help

Hello forum! The good news is that as part of a trip to Asia, we have managed to create a NZ stop for about 9 days at the last moment. The bad news is that it is the last moment, and NZ in July seems a little daunting between unpredictable driving conditions and less daylight. After having researched on several websites, including Trip Advisor, we have decided to limit ourselves to the South Island and tenatively come up with the following. Any suggested modifications and help would be GREATLY appreciated.

Day 1: Christ Church. We arrive at 2:30pm. By the time we collect our bags and rent a car, etc, it appears that there will not be a lot of day light left this time of year. But since the earthquake tragedy, there does not appear to be a compelling reason to spend much time in Christ Church itself. We plan on going to the glaciers via Arthur's Pass, but do not want to attempt it overnight. So the question: any suggested towns/places along the way from CC to the glaciers to spend night that gets us closer to the glaciers? Greymouth?

Day 2: Spend a day at Franz Joseph Glacier. We plan to try one heli-hike option either here or at Fox, and otherwise hike around the glacier. Overnight nearby.

Day 3: Spend a day at Fox Glacier. Ovenight near Fox.

Day 4: Drive to Wanaka/Albertown. Spend day nearby. We do not plan on skiing, but are hopeful that there will still be good nature/lake viewing here? We understand that accomodations are pricey and tight during ski season, so any suggested towns nearby would be appreciated as we plan on overnighting around here.

Day 5: Short drive to Queenstown or nearby. Originally, we had planned on staying in QT. But again, the same comment applies as we do not plan on skiing. Does staying here make sense or would an alternative town be better? Several posters nonetheless suggest using QT as a base.

Day 6. Excursion to Milford Sound or Te Anau. Again, any suggestions on whether this makes sense in July? We understand that we should allot a full day for this and perhaps overnight in Milford Sound.

Day 7. Back to Wanaka or QT. Spend rest of day and overnight here.

Day 8. Spend morning in Wanaka or QT. Leave afternoon toward Mt Cook. Overnight in Mt Cook..

Day 9. Explore Mt Cook. Leave in the afternoon to CC. Overnight in Christ Church to catch early morning flight out of CC in Day 10.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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1. Re: Newbie July 2011 South Island Itinerary Help

welcome to the forum Mike :)

When you fly into Chch on day one, where has the flight originated from? If further away than Oz then please don't drive after flying long-haul. There have been some ghastly accidents with jet-lagged drivers. Plus trying to drive to Geymouth late afternoon in July will have you arriving in the dark on potentially icy roads. Not smart.

My suggestion;

1 arrive Chch

2 drive to Franz

3 explore Franz and Fox (they are only only 30 mintes from each other)

4 drive to Wanaka :)

5 drive to Queenstown

6 explore

7 bus/cruise Milford Sound, bus or fly to Q'town

8 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

9 drive to Chch

10 fly out

hope this helps :)

Greymouth, New...
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2. Re: Newbie July 2011 South Island Itinerary Help

as WL has suggested above, you would not get organised with renatl car etc and on the road till 4 pm. Sometimes the emerites flight arrives late too like 3.15.

the sun is down or obscured by moutains by 4.30 so the roads can get icy very quickly.

Darfield which is only 30 min from the airport and has a beutiful motel http://darfieldmotel.co.nz/ , you can stil buy supplies before heading over the mountain passes in Darfield. dont pull out of Darfield untill 9.30 which still puts you on Porters pass at 10.00am. take note of any traffic warnings on the VMS signals just out of Springfield.

make sure you have chains included in your hire and that you have practiced fitting them, maybe a good activity when you first get up in Darfield it is so much easier when it it flat, sealed, dry and warm compared to un even surface, cold maybe wet and maybe dark

it is also possible that your plans to visit Milford sound may need to be flexible as the road can be severly affected by winter conditions so we recommend that you take a coach either from TeAnau or from Queenstown. check out the fly / drive option

have an awesome NZ experience

Boston...
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3. Re: Newbie July 2011 South Island Itinerary Help

Thank you for your advice! I understand that winter driving can be iffy, but does anyone know if it is materially worse than driving in New England or Colorado winters? We have plenty of experience with both (and snow chains are illegal in most parts of the USA).

Also, are there any "must dos" in the QT area during winter that we should not miss, other than skiing, as most of the other postings seems to refer to summer past times.

Many thanks.

New Zealand
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4. Re: Newbie July 2011 South Island Itinerary Help

New England, Colorado etc has high snowfall on the roads and cars have snow tyres for the winter. You have lots of traffic so the road is plowed more often, the snow melts faster. Here most towns and roads are at much lower elevations so the roads are seldom affected by snow and snow tyres are almost non-existant. If it snows here you stay home or use snow chains. You might be the only car on an unplowed road and if there is a problem you can't always expect phone coverage to call for help. There is no phone service on the Haast Pass from Haast to just before Wanaka and no coverage on the Lindis Pass.

Ice is the main concern as it freezes almost every night and if there is black ice you can't see it. And as you know, driving on snow is no problem, driving on ice can be a nightmare. The first indication of trouble could be you sliding sideways off the road or mountain. So best to keep daily driving distances shorter to allow for longer, slower drive times.

what else to do in Queenstown? Visit Milford Sound - take the bus from Te Anau or Q'town; visit Wanaka, Arrowtown, Glenorchy; do a wine tour, TSS Earnslaw, hike, bike, luge, jet boat, 4WD tour, LOTR tour, shop...

Boston...
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5. Re: Newbie July 2011 South Island Itinerary Help

Thank you both for your comments! So I am assuming that even though it is winter, there will be plenty of things to do in QT. We are very excited about our trip and will be sure to post a trip report afterwards.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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6. Re: Newbie July 2011 South Island Itinerary Help

Cheers, have a great trip :)

7. Re: Newbie July 2011 South Island Itinerary Help

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