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Itinerary January 14 days South Island

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Itinerary January 14 days South Island

Another itinerary question, sorry about that, but I have some specific questions not yet asked or answered. Here is the itinerary we are thinking about, arriving from North Island in Picton and departing from Christchurch: Also, we'll be travelling by camper van, and are an active couple in our late 20s.

1) Arrive PIcton, drive to Abel Tasman

2) Abel Tasman

3) Drive to and sleep around Blenheim

3) Kaikoura, on the way to Punakaiki, sleep around Hammer Springs or a bit further

4) Punakaiki

5) Franz Joseph Glacier

6) Queenstown

7) Queenstown

8) Drive to Milford Sound, sleep there

9) Milford Sound Cruise, sleep in Te Anau

10) Drive to and sleep in The Catlins

11) Dunedin

12) Christchurch

13) Leave Christchurch

So here are some questions:

A) Based on the itinerary, we are travelling south via Kaikoura, which of course will take more time than if we drove straight down from Abel Tasman on the West Coast - however we'd then miss Marlborough and Kaikoura. Any recommendations on the best way to go, given our time constraint but also the fact we are big wine fans and also like to see animals (whale watching)? Is the itinerary above doable?

B) Is it a total shame that we skip Wanaka (again, given our time constraint)?

C) For our cruise at Milford Sound, should we sleep the night before in Milford Sound itself, or should we sleep the night before and after both at Te Anau?

D) What would the best way to drive from Te Anau to The Catlins (balance between scenery and time)?

E) The itinerary above allows for one extra day - how/where would you use it?

Thanks a lot! Looking forward to some constructive criticism so we can fully appreciate New Zealand's beauty!

New Zealand
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1. Re: Itinerary January 14 days South Island

You have obviously put some thought into your trip :)

a - yep it is doable. Just remember a van travels about 20% slower than a car and distances in the South Island can be deceptive - you will be spending far longer on the road than anticipated. I would head down the West Coast - there are plenty of wineries to explore around Queenstown and all supermarkets and wine shops sell Marlborough wines. But going via Blenheim and Kaikoura isn't wrong - just decide what is more important to you. and yes, Franz to Queenstown is a seriously long drive, break it up with a night in Wanaka.

b - no need to skip it - you pass right through Wanaka enroute to Queenstown. Do yourselves a favour and stop the night :)

c - your planning is fine. Just remember Milford is sandfly central - use repellent!!

d - if the weather is fine head from Manapouri down route 99 to Riverton then continue along the Southern Scenic Route. If the weather is foul head down the main road te Anau to Invercargill then along the SSR to the Catlins.

e - Wanaka :)

Auckland
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2. Re: Itinerary January 14 days South Island

I would skip Kaikoura, see some animals (dolphins, seals, sealions, penguins) in The Catlins instead.

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3. Re: Itinerary January 14 days South Island

Thanks to you both for your interesting replies. I think we may indeed go south via the West Coast and skip Marlborough and Kaikoura.

4. Re: Itinerary January 14 days South Island

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Christchurch, New...
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5. Re: Itinerary January 14 days South Island

Better than the order given in #4, which has you backtracking, would be:

1. Arrive Picton, stay Blenheim

2. Drive to Abel Tasman

3. Explore ATNP

4. Drive to Punakaiki; detour via Cape Foulwind to the Tauranga Bay seal colony

5. Drive to glaciers....

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6. Re: Itinerary January 14 days South Island

That's some great advice, I think we'll do just that! Too bad for Kaikoura, but as mentioned by AntipodeanAnn, The Catlins will give us a good chance of seeing some animals.

Thanks again.

7. Re: Itinerary January 14 days South Island

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