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14 Day Itinerary South Island New Zealand - Help!

Toronto, Canada
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14 Day Itinerary South Island New Zealand - Help!

This January my boyfriend and I will be renting a car in Christchurch to do a self-tour of NZ's South Island. We will be there for 14 days but really only have 12 traveling days as our flight lands in Chch late and leaves Chch early. We are 26 and love high adventure activities (i.e. we have already experimented with skydiving and canyoning) - we are open to any suggestions on lodging and sporting/nature activities.

We are looking for recommendations/opinions on our preliminary itinerary below. Specifically we want to know:

- Are we seeing/visiting the best locations? Can we fit Abel Tasman in?

- Are drive times okay (approximately 3-4hours per day)?

- Are we spending two nights where we should be?

- Do the driving routes make sense? Are they the best and most scenic ones? Are there better routes to travel?

-Can anyone recommend a reliable, but cheap rental car company? Right now we're looking at Economy Car Rentals.

-Recommendations on Hotels/lodging in the locations we mention we are staying would be great. We are NOT looking to spend a lot of money in lodging. We'd rather spend the money in activities.


1 arrive Chch

2 pick up car and drive Arthurs Pass to Punakaiki or Hokitika

3 drive Haast Pass to Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. Explore. Drive back and stay in Punakaiki or Hokitika

Activity: Glacier walk?

4 drive to Wanaka, stay and explore

- How long is this drive? does it make sense to stay two nights here?

5 explore

6 drive to Queenstown, stay

7 explore

8 drive to Te Anua, stay and explore

Night activity: glow worm caves evening tour at 7pm?

9 drive to Milford Sound early in the morning.

Activity: Morning Kayaking trip and then evening cruise?

– should we stay in Milford Sound over night so we can do one activity per day? or is one complete day enough and we should return to Te Anaua to sleep?

If two days:

• Day 1: Drive from Te Anua to Milford, do one activity, sleep in Milford?

• Day 2: Do early morning activity (kayak or cruise) and drive out that afternoon.

10 kayaking, stay in milford or Te Anua?

11 drive Lindis Pass to Aoraki/Mt Cook. Stay at Tekapo

12 explore (Mt Cook), Mirror Lake, etc.

What is good to see/do here? Any recommendations?

13 drive Tekapo to CHC - return car.

14 fly out

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New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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1. Re: 14 Day Itinerary South Island New Zealand - Help!

Welcome to the forum :)

You have the basics right, though a bit muddled in places. Currently on day 3 you plan to drive south to Fox (which does not go Haast Pass) then back north again followed by day 4 which has you driving down the same road you drove on twice yesterday to take Haast Pass to Wanaka.

Far simpler (and fer less driving) to;

1 arrive Chch

2 drive Arthur's Pass to Punakaiki or Hokitika

3 drive to Franz or Fox

4 drive Haast Pass to Wanaka

5 explore

6 drive to Te Anau, glow worm caves

7 explore Milford, stay Milford

8 drive to Queenstown

9 explore

10 more

11 drive Lindis Pass to Aoraki/mt Cook

12 explore

13 drive to Chch

14 fly out

Destination Expert
for New South Wales, Noosa
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2. Re: 14 Day Itinerary South Island New Zealand - Help!

Day 3 is wrong. Haast Pass is further south than the glaciers, you will travel through it on the drive to Wanaka. There is NO need to back track to previous nights accommodation. YHA and other hostels at glaciers if hotels too pricey.

Re Punakaiki or Hokitika for overnight, you will have time to see P in the afternoon and time to head south. H has (on sunny days) great beach sunset views. In between Greymouth brewery tours are pretty good (especially if pour

yourself quite a few drinks, and the meal

option with transport to chosen eatery are still


FJ to Wanaka by early afternoon allows few short walks and photo opportunities. One night would suffice, even if spend much of the 2nd

day in W.

Car rent options. Apex, Ace, Jucy all well thought of

Edited: 04 October 2012, 01:14
Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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3. Re: 14 Day Itinerary South Island New Zealand - Help!

At Mt Cook there is a Glacier Explorers Tour or you can do a short walk in the same area for free. There are several 2-3 hour walks which are spectacular. I don't kbow of a mirror lake in the area though. Perhaps you are confusing it with Lake Matheson near Fox Glacier which has mirror reflections of Mt Cook. Again it does not make sense to drive north to Lake Tekapo & return south to Mt Cook the next day.

4. Re: 14 Day Itinerary South Island New Zealand - Help!

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