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24 day North to South

London, United...
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104 reviews
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24 day North to South

I have finally worked out 24 day trip North to South (thanks for help on my previous post)

I have a couple of important questions.

I will make the ferry crossing on Christmas Eve and want to be somewhere nice for Christmas. Currently, we will arrive at terminal and drive via Q. Charlotte straight on to Kaikoura. I could instead put in two nights in after the ferry in Abel Tasman and then carry on to Kaikoura as planned. I could possibly put in a stop near Christchurch en route to Mt Cook.

If we do drive straight from Kaikoura to Mt Cook as planned, I would take out 1 night Kaka Point and 1 night Queenstown. (this would be my preferred option).

If we add the CHC stop, I assume the most obvious removal is 2 nights Dunedin and 1 night Kaka Point, OR 1 night Kaka Point and 2 nights Queenstown, OR please give an alternative suggestion.

Urgent help please, as I need to get somewhere for Xmas Day, N. Year Day, etc.

Day 1, Arrival day 12:10pm AKL

Drive to Hahei Coromandel Peninsula, 100 miles, 2 ½ hours

Overnight Hahei

Day 2, Coromandel Peninsula

Relax and recover – Hahei Beach to Cathedral Cove Walk

Overnight Hahei

Day 3, Coromandel Peninsula

(Kayak at Cathedral Cove)

Overnight Hahei

Day 4, Coromandel Peninsula - Matamata – Rotorua 150 miles 3 ½ hrs

Visit Hobbiton (106 miles, 2 ¼ hr drive, 2 hr min visit), Hobbiton -Roturua (46 miles, 1 hr)

Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest

Overnight Roturua

Day 5, Rotorua

Visit Waimangu volcanic valley and/or Wai O Tapu (any advice best option and other Roturua things to do)

Overnight Rotura

Day 6, Roturua - Taupo – Napier 140 miles 3 hours

(Roturua – Taupo approx 50 miles, 1 hr drive) (Taupo to Napier approx 90 miles, 2 hr drive)

En route, visit lake and Hukka Falls (poss Orakei Korako)

Overnight Napier

Day 7, Napier

Cape Kidnappers gannets (3 hr min) and half day Deco tour

Overnight Napier

Day 8, Napier – Martinborough 180 miles 4 hours

Via stop at Greytown

Overnight Martinborough

Day 9, Martinborough

Wine tour (any recommendations?)

Overnight Martinborough

Day 10, Martinborough to Kaikoura (total travel 176 miles, 8 hr)

Martinborough (to ferry terminal) 50 miles 1 ½ hr

Picton to Kaikoura 126 miles 3 hrs

Blueridge Cook Strait Ferry to Picton 13:30 arr 17:00 (3 ½ hr)

(could get 8.45 interislander, or 8am Blueridge)

Picton – Kaikoura, (direct route 100 miles 2hr, via Q Charlotte Drive & Ohau Waterfall to see seal pups 126 miles, ~3 hrs)

Overnight Kaikoura

Day 11, (Xmas day) whale watching in Kaikoura

Overnight Kaikoura

Day 12, Kaikoura

swim with dolphins / seals

Overnight Kaikoura

Day 13, Kaikoura - Mt Cook Village (Long drive – 328 miles, ~8 hours)

I realise this is not ideal – could break journey at Geraldine – but loses out elsewhere & my husband is used to driving long periods on difficult roads.

Either hwy 1 or take hwy 72 at Amberley, via Lake Tekapo

Overnight Mt Cook Village

Day 14, Mt Cook Village

Tasman glacier cruise or glacier explorer, Hooker Valley Walk

Overnight Mt Cook Village

Day 15, Mt Cook Village to Wanaka 143 miles 3 hr

Via lake Pukaki and Lindis Pass

Wanaka - afternoon Aspiring helicopter scenic flight with 2 landings

Overnight Wanaka

Day 16, Wanaka

Puzzling World (recommendations for Wanaka things to do)

Overnight Wanaka

Day 17, Wanaka – Dunedin 171 miles 3 ½ hr

Olveston House

Evening penguins?

Overnight Dunedin

Day 18, Dunedin

Botanic Gardens / Railway Station

Monarch ½ day wildlife tour

Overnight Dunedin

Day 19, Dunedin - Catlins Coast 62 miles 2 hr

Overnight Kaka Point

Day 20, Catlins Coast - Te Anau 180 miles 4 hrs

Via Manapouri?

Overnight Te Anau

Day 21, Te Anau

Drive 2 hours to Milford Sound, take Milford Sound nature Cruise

Overnight Te Anau

Day 22, Te Anau to Queenstown 110 miles 2 ½ hrs

Visit Arrowtown and Gibbston Valley wineries

Overnight Queenstown

Day 23, Queenstown

Explore Glenorchy (recommendations other things in Queenstown)

Overnight Queenstown

Day 24, Queenstown airport – Int. flight mid afternoon

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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74 reviews
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1. Re: 24 day North to South

You have a number of very long days planned.

On day 1 - where have you been before Auckland? driving while jet lagged is a killer.

Driver fatigue is the number one cause of NZ road accidents. Best not plan any day over 5 hours driving. Once you add stops for lunch, loo and sightseeing the 5 hour drive can take all day.

Please reconsider.

London, United...
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42 posts
104 reviews
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2. Re: 24 day North to South

Thank WLnz

I realise there are a couple of long drives, hence my question about my suggestions to rearrange.

By stopping in Nelson, the drive to Kaikoura is greatly reduced and no longer includes the ferry.

By stopping near CHCH the drive to Mt Cook is greatly reduced.

Which of my suggestions work for replacing the 3 lost nights?

What are the other very long days do you think we should change?

I should add that we are both used to driving on left (so not a single driver for fatigue) and my husband is used to long distance driving in very odd and difficult places, it used to be his job.

3. Re: 24 day North to South

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