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
5) Franz Joseph Glacier
8) Drive to Milford Sound, sleep there
9) Milford Sound Cruise, sleep in Te Anau
10) Drive to and sleep in The Catlins
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!