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Is this too much driving?

Sydney, Australia
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Is this too much driving?

Hi there

My husband and I are hiring a motorhome in May for 9 nights on the south island arriving and leaving from Christchurch.

We are struggling at the moment with the vast amount of information that is available to help us to plan our trip.

We have never been to New Zealand but have been told it is much slower dirivng that in Australia and we will want to stop more to take it all in.

Our rough plan at the moment is to drive from Christchurch to Dunedin via Lake Tekapo using the itinery on the New zealand.com website

then drive from Dunedin to Queenstown

Queenstown to Milford sound and the national park there.

Milford sound to Dunedin then up the coast line to Christchurch. (not too sure about the route to take for this section.)

is this too much driving? will we be too rushed? we are fit and in our early 30s so we dont mind a fast pace but we dont want to miss things because we are rushing.

Thanks for your help

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: Is this too much driving?

A few points -

1. Since you are from SYD you can come back another time easily so don't feel you need to see everything in 9 days.

2. Nights will be COLD in a campervan in May - make sure you have plenty of warm bedding!!

3. Why are you going to Dunedin twice!! SH 1 from Dunedin to Chch does not follow the coast and is generally considered to be the least interesting road in the SI.

However given your short time and the slower moving campervan here is one option

1. Arr CHC

2. Drive to Mt Cook via Lake Tekapo

3. Drive to Queenstown

4/5/6 explore QTN; take tour bus to Milford Sound

7. Drive to Dunedin

8. Explore Dunedin/Otago Peninsula

9. Drive Dunedin to Chch.

A more aggressive itinerary would be

2. Drive Chch to Hokitika via Arthurs Pass

3. Drive to Franz Josef or Fox Glacier

4. Drive Glaciers to Wanaka

5. Wanaka to QTN

6/7 explore QTN& Milford Sound

8. Drive to Mt Cook

9. Drive to Chch

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Is this too much driving?

Thanks for your advice its much appreciated :)

We would love love love to see franz josef glacier but thought it was too much driving. I am loving the sound of the 2nd itinery you had there. I will do some more research :)

We are working off a very basic map so we thought we would need to go back through dunedin to get back to christchurch without doing too mcuh doubling up.

Is what you have suggested doable with a motorhome?

I really appreciate your feedback thanks again

Edited: 09 April 2013, 02:53
Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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3. Re: Is this too much driving?

The longest day on my #2 itinerary is glaciers to Wanaka. Aamaps gives the driving time from Fox to Wanaka as 3:25 (for a car, so say 4 hr for a camper). DE, Wanaka Lakes suggests up to 6 hours total, including lots of short walks & photo opps.

I've just realised you said 9 NIGHTS, does this mean 10 days or 8 days...?

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Is this too much driving?

Hi sorry I meant 9 days & 8 nights and the day we pick up the motorhome at 8am is the first day and the final day is returning the motorhome at 4pm

Thanks again for your help

Edited: 09 April 2013, 03:15
New Zealand
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for South Island
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5. Re: Is this too much driving?

1 arrive Chch, drive Arthur's Pass to Hokitika

2 drive to Franz Josef

3 drive Haast Pass to Wanaka

4 drive Crown Range to Queenstown

5 explore

6 bus/cruise/bus Milford Sound

7 drive Lindis Pass to Aoraki/Mt Cook

8 drive to Chch

9 fly home

expect overnight frosts and so the roads will be slippery morning and after dark. Best start driving out of towns after 10am. And yes, ask for extra bedding - Wanaka/Queenstown has an early winter this year and temps have dropped.

Hope this helps :)

San Antonio, Texas
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6. Re: Is this too much driving?

Not really sure what's the point of going to Franz Josef if you're not going to spend a full day there to go see the glaciers. I would definitely cut a day off of Queenstown to have a full day to do a glacier tour on Franz Josef Glacier or Fox Glacier. For fit people in their early 30s it sounds like lunacy to me to skip that experience, unless you have already hiked on large glaciers elsewhere. I mean, what a highlight it is to walk through such a huge river of ice.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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7. Re: Is this too much driving?

relax Spurs, the drive Hokitika to Franz is under 2 hours - that leaves them all day to explore the glacier.

Ballina, Australia
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8. Re: Is this too much driving?

I noticed you mentioned motorhome and not campervan. That means you will have an in built fan forced heater that will heat your small house in no time

Oz
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9. Re: Is this too much driving?

Hi vegemitefamily,

You may have to change your avitar's name as my Kiwi friends only eat marmite since the factory has re-opened post earthquake.

The experts Wl and zhuhai2007 have provided a couple of excellent choices IMHO. We only visit in August so I will be guided by their weather advice and urge you not to drive in the am prior to say 1000hrs and beware in shaded areas and on timber bridges. Black ice is impossible to spot and unless you have a sophisticated car (I doubt that many Motor Homes have this facility but I may be corrected), that will warn you the first sign may be when you slide into a guard rail or onto the wrong side of the road.

For some time I have been replying to those seeking information on a motor home holiday in OZ and NZ. I’ve taken the time to prepare my thoughts, beliefs and feelings on the subject. So here goes.

Motor home “holidays” are for those who enjoy the experience, in the same vein as there are those who enjoy self flagellation, solo round the world yachting and competing in ultra marathons. To each their own I say so long as they don’t interfere with me. Unfortunately driving a motor home does interfere with me if I’m amongst the unfortunates stuck behind one on a narrow twisty road and obviously their increased carbon footprint affects us all. The saving grace is when you see one stuck in the entry to a multilevel car park, broken down at the side of the road, broken into by the local crims when parked in a “free parking area”, or filling up at the servo.

Motor homes are more expensive than a rental car holiday and accommodation in motels/B&Bs/Hotels/on site cabins/hotels and even some resorts in Australia and NZ once the true costs are taken into account.

These direct costs include but are not limited to:

1. Rental.

2. Insurance.

3. Fuel (remember this is a truck with the aerodynamics of a house brick).

4. Site Fees.

5. Possible divorce proceeding for married or de-facto couples.

The human costs include but are not limited to:

1. The joy of truck driving, often in a foreign land on the “wrong side of the road”.

2. The wonders of living, travelling and sleeping in a space smaller than most kitchens.

3. The amenity of carrying your excrement with you.

4. The challenge of emptying the cassette containing the excrement.

5. The lottery of renting a motor home where not only the mechanicals are working (the bits that let you go, stop and steer) but also the peripherals such as heating, toilets, showers, cookers, fridges etc. The probability of having all of these disparate bits working at the same time fly in the face of both Murphy’s and Sod’s laws.

6. Point 5. from direct costs above.

7. The triumph of measuring the success of your trip by the length of the caterpillar train of happy motorists held up behind the mobile chicane you are driving.

8. In Alpine conditions fitting snow chains to dual wheels if you have a real behemoth.

Cheers,

P.S. Glenn only if it works ;-)

Queenstown, New...
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10. Re: Is this too much driving?

Is it possible for you to drop the Mobile home off at Queenstown?

And fly home from there

This would take the pressure off you a little with the driving.