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South Island 12 days want it all!

North Hollywood CA
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South Island 12 days want it all!

We are active, experienced travelers ages 63 and 70. He loves fishing and I love anything I can take a good picture of. We have 12 days from Nov. 22nd to explore South Island. Your postings helped create this draft of an itinerary. Can you see where I might cut down the driving and/or stay in one place for more than a day? It will be our first, and probably last, trip there and I want it to be grand. (Oh, we have a limited budget for the extras)

Possible

1st day : Arrive at Christchurch in PM /Stay overnight nearby

2nd day: Afternoon Drive thru Arthur’s pass/Stay at Hokitika (3 ½ hrs)

3nd day: Drive to Franz Josef (2 ½ hours) in AM guided glacier walk in PM/Stay one night

4th day: Sunrise Lake Matheson leave for Haast Pass and Wanaka (5 hours+)Stay Wanaka tonight and tomorrow

5th day: WanakaLakes- fishing? overnight

6th day: Drive to Te Anau/ Glowworm caves Stay two nights

7TH day: MilFord Drive and Doubtful cruise. Stay Te Anau

8th day: Drive to Queenstown via the Crown Range Road (2 hours or less) Stay Queenstown 2 nights.

9th day: Queenstown Arrowtown rain forest

10th day: Go to Dunedin (2 ½ hrs)- Gibbston Valley, Cromwell, Stay 1night

11th day Dunedin to Oamaru (90 minutes) - Moeraki Boulders Stop for afternoon in Oamaru. Drive to Ashburton aviation museum in PM. Stay Ashburton

12th day: Ashburton to Christchurch (80 minutes.) Need to be in Christchurch before noon to pack for return

New Zealand
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for South Island
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1. Re: South Island 12 days want it all!

You have a good trip planned :)

A few comments -

- you don't have time in one day to drive the Milford Road (allow 5 hours for the return trip with extra time needed to cruise, hike or sightsee) and for Doubtful Sound which is a full day tour.

- you drive the Crown Range when going Wanaka to Te Anau, not Te Anau to Queenstown

- Queenstown to Te Anau is 3.5 to 4 hours drive, far longer if stopping to eat or sightsee

- great lake and river fishing in Wanaka. You will want a guide who will provide the gear and the license etc.

Hope this helps, happy travels :)

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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2. Re: South Island 12 days want it all!

Queenstown to Dunedin takes at least 3:30 not 2:30 hr!!).

Personally, since you have no time to explore Dunedin and you are not over-nighting in Oamaru to see the penguins, I'd take the scenic route from Queenstown to Aoraki/Mt Cook & then to Ashburton. Most NZers consider the stretch of SH 1 from Dunedin to Chch to be to least interesting road in NZ!!

North Hollywood CA
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3. Re: South Island 12 days want it all!

Thank you both for steering me in a better direction. I have revised my itinerary and found that I have an extra day. Could you review my plans and let me know where I can use that extra day to the best advantage? Reducing driving times, staying longer in one place etc. We must be in Christchurch by the end of day 12. Other than that...

Coming in from Los Angeles in the AM. Customs etc. That night in Sydney. Leave for Christchurch the next AM

Day 1: arrive Christchurch 2:30 pm. Stay overnight

Day 2: Travel through Arthur’s Pass to Hokitika (3 ½ hr)

Stay overnight

Day 3: Drive to Franz Josef in the AM. (2 ½ hr) Guided glacier

walk. Stay overnight.

Day 4: From FJ catch sunrise Lake Matheson, go over Haas Pass to Wanaka. (3 ½ hr) Stay two nights.

Day 5: 2nd day in Wanaka. Fishing?

Day 6: Drive to Te Anau in AM (3 hours) Overnight on Doubtful

Sound cruise

Day 7: Back to Te Anau. In the afternoon, drive to Queenstown (2 ½ hr) Stay 2 nights

Day 8. Queenstown sights and Arrowtown. Stay 2nd night.

Day 9. Drive to Mt Cook (3 hours) Afternoon glacier hike. Stay

2 nights

Day 10: 2nd day Mt. Cook. Tasman glacier cruise. Stay 2nd night

Day 11: Mt. Cook to Christchurch (4 hours)

Day 12: ??

THANK YOU

New Zealand
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for South Island
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4. Re: South Island 12 days want it all!

An extra day is always a bonus :)

If driving at maximum speed you might just get Franz to Wanaka in 4 hours but probably not. The road is twisty, steep and narrow, plus you have about 20 one-lane bridges to negotiate. Most visitors take about 6 hours for the drive, some considerably longer if stopping to eat, sightsee and enjoy some of the numerous short walks.

where to spend your extra night? You could stay Te Anau day 7 and drive to Queenstown (an easy 2 hours) on day 8. Day 10 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook. What to do in Te Anau? - visit the glow worm caves, see the stunning short film Ata Whenua, walk one of the many trails.

Safe travels :)

Christchurch, New...
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5. Re: South Island 12 days want it all!

You could use the extra day at Te Anau to include a day trip to Milford Sound. The road has some spectacular sights & short walks, you wouldn't even need to take the extra cruise.

Are you sure there is a glacier walk at Mt Cook for novices? I know about the glacier explorers, which is a short walk followed by a boat ride, but AFAIK the glaciers have retreated to such an extent that you'd need a skiplane to access them. The Kea Point track is a very easy 1 hour walk (each way) to a lookout over the terminus of the Mueller Glacier, with spectacular views of Mt Sefton. In November you are highly likely to see or hear avalanches from this lookout.

Colorado
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for Western Australia
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6. Re: South Island 12 days want it all!

<Most NZers consider the stretch of SH 1 from Dunedin to Chch to be to least interesting road in NZ!!>

Most visitors do too.

Wellington, NZ
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7. Re: South Island 12 days want it all!

I did Wanaka to Franz Josef a couple of weeks ago. It is truly a most magnificent stretch of road. Took us 7 hours, stopping for coffee, lunch, walk at the blue pools, Fox Glacier and Lake Matheson. And we were knackered at the end of it.

Perhaps look at a guided walk on Fox instead of Franz Josef. Franz Josef has retreated a lot in the last couple of years.

8. Re: South Island 12 days want it all!

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