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South Island - 3rd time

Singapore, Singapore
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South Island - 3rd time

Friends are saying I am crazy to be traveling back to the same country for 3 years in a row. But well, I just love the place so much. This time round, I plan to go from Christchurch towards kaikoura, picton, Nelson, then swing west towards hokitika. Just not sure if I should be visit franz Joseph glacier or should I go for fox glacier. I have been to Wanaka, queenstown last 2 year. Is there another place that I can visit after the glaciers? Ok btw, I have been to lake tekapo, te anau, Dunedin, timaru, oamaru, akaroa, Arthur's pass, Milford sound. :)

Hope to get some suggestion here. Like some nice towns with good sceneries.

Will be traveling around end Nov to Dec for about 14 days. Self drive and with a family of 5. My children are pretty young, so nothing too adventurous for us.

Thanks and look forward to your suggestion.

Blenheim, New...
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1. Re: South Island - 3rd time

Do both, its only a 30 minute drive between the two glaciers. I suggest you end your trip in Queenstown and fly back to Christchurch from there

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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2. Re: South Island - 3rd time

With 2 weeks I think you have time for the glaciers, but your children probably won't be able to go hiking on the ice. At that time of year you won't have to book far in advance so you might like to just "go-with-the-flow". You could easily spend several days west of Nelson, in Golden Bay before heading south to Punakaiki, and then decide whether the kids are up to another few days of driving. If you turn around at Fox Glacier & return north to Hokitika then Arthurs Pass back to Chch. Perhaps you will have time for a few days at the beach in Akaroa?

Edited: 06 May 2014, 01:46
Ballarat, Australia
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3. Re: South Island - 3rd time

I would just do a loop to Christchurch return, visiting Kaikoura, Nelson, Golden Bay, the West Coast and returning to Christchurch via Arthur's Pass. Yes I would go down to the glaciers unless the weather is so poor you won't see anything - they are close to Hokitika so certainly worth the side trip.

Golden Bay is a lovely place to relax for a longer stop in the middle of your trip.

Other places you could consider adding along the way: the Marlborough Sounds (take a boat trip or you could go out to one of the resorts for a night), Nelson Lakes (lovely alpine lakes, visit to nature recovery area), Karamea (interesting walks and caves), Westport (seal colony, and your kids might enjoy this mine tour for something different http://www.outwest.co.nz/tours.html if any of them are into big machines and they are all aged 5+), Nile River Caves http://www.caverafting.com/gloworm-cave-tour/ (between Westport and Punakaiki), Castle Hill (interesting rock formations on the way back to Christchurch).

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4. Re: South Island - 3rd time

Thanks for the info. Will definitely put the Golden Bay as one of the place to visit.

Is Cromwell a place that I should also consider?

Ballarat, Australia
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5. Re: South Island - 3rd time

Cromwell is well out of the way. With the time you have available, and the places you have already been to, I would stick with the upper South.

Blenheim, New...
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6. Re: South Island - 3rd time

Were you thinking of Collingwood rather then Cromwell?

If so, Collingwood is a small town in the northern part of Golden Bay, these not much there apart from the beach and river mouth... A restaurant, maybe a cafe, a petrol station, a motel or two and a Campground. Quite scenic, but can be seen in 10 minutes.

In land a bit from Collingwood is a quirky old shop called the Bainham General Store. Its famous for remaining mostly unchanged since it was opened in 1928.

You would also go through Collingwood to reach Farewell spit, and other nearby attractions. If you are feeling adventurous you can follow the gravel roads around to the Anatori RIver mouth, the landscape is quite impressive out there. Here are a few photos of the area …wordpress.com/whanganui-bay-drive-a8/ These also some impressive cliffs and a massive sand dune which were not photographed.

You also asked, whats south of the Glaciers...

After Fox glacier you would drive through farmland for a while, intersected with patches of native bush and the occasional river. After a half hour or so drive you would reach Bruce Bay which is a remote seaside community which has seen better days. Bruce Bay has a wild beauty to it with a very healthy population of sandflies, but for the non angler/hunter its only a 10 minute photo stop. I also think these a extremely expensive lodge there.

After Bruce Bay, the road enters bush again for a while. Quite scenic. These a Salmon farm and Cafe in the area where you can watch Salmon. The road passes a couple of Westcoast lakes, until it breaks out on the coast. These a couple of viewpoints, one gives quite a impressive view over Knights point. A bit further along these a short beach walk.

Soon you would reach the long Haast beach, and the small town of Haast. These a few motels, campgrounds and a couple of restaurants and DOC information centre. Can also go Jetboating on the Haast RIver or another river further south.

South of Haast is the scenic road to Jackson Bay, I really like how the native forests overhang the road in places. The road ends at Jackson Bay, where these not much other then a lovely view, a Caravan which sells overpriced Fished and Chips and other light meals on the beach (but I always buy some to eat while enjoying the vista). These also a couple of short hikes and a long wharf.

About halfway between Jackson Bay and Haast the road does split, the other road (gravel) crosses a mountain ridge while following a rather pleasant river, and it gives views of the southern half of the red hills (the other half of the red hills is up in Marlborough, separated by millions of years of tectonic drift). These also a spot or two which look out across the Cascade river.

From Haast the Main road goes over the scenic Haast Pass to central otago. The pass has several waterfalls (hundreds if its raining), and many nice vistas.

7. Re: South Island - 3rd time

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