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Need best driving route

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
255 posts
142 reviews
Need best driving route

I am trying to plan a 9 day driving loop trip from Christchurch.

Trip is for March 2018

We are interesting in scenic views and doing some easy hikes, don't want to see much of the same thing .

I have an area planned but don't know what route to take on the return to CC..it won't matter if it isn't as scenic...

Places of interest starting in CC, then Mt Cook, Lake Tepako, Wanaka (is Wanaka too much of a detour ? ) , Queenstown , Te Anu, & Milford Sound...

Thinking of 2 nts in CC, 1 in Mt Cook , maybe 1 in wanaka , 2-3 nts in QT

1 in Te Anu...so 2 days/nts for the drive back.... maybe Dunedin?

Ideas are gladly welcome..

5 replies to this topic
Preston, United...
Level Contributor
5,235 posts
6 reviews
1. Re: Need best driving route

The classic circular route from Christchurch takes you over Arthur's Pass to the west coast and the glacier towns, then to Wanaka and Queenstown. To drive to Milford Sound yourselves you really need two nights in Te Anau as a base but you can save some time by taking an all day coach tour from Queenstown, or even fly back if you can afford it.

If you don't fancy the west coast then your outline is fine but do it the other way round. Christchurch to Dunedin is regarded as the most boring road in the south island, so get it out of the way first and then come back from Queenstown via Mt Cook.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Fiji
Level Contributor
6,116 posts
282 reviews
2. Re: Need best driving route

CHC (1) /Aoraki-Mt Cook (1) /Wanaka (1)Te Anua (2) / Queenstown (2) /(SH85 to) Oamaru (1) /CHC (1)

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
Level Contributor
39,755 posts
443 reviews
3. Re: Need best driving route

Your original itinerary doesn't get you back to Chch and the 2 days you have allowed adds up to 9 or 10 - which is it?

If the West Coast isn't of interest I would reverse GTS's offering:

1. Arr Chch

2. Drive to Oamaru (penguins)

3. Drive to Dunedin (2N)

4. Explore Otago Peninsula (seals, penguins, albatross)

5 Drive to Te Anau (2N)

6. Drive or tour to Milford Sound

7. Drive to QTN (2N)

8. Explore

9. Drive to Mt Cook

10. Drive to Chch via Lake Tekapo.

This is 9 N/10 days but you could drop Oamaru & go straight to Dunedin on day 2, or drop the 2nd N in Dunedin & visit Otago Pen on the afternoon of day 3.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
255 posts
142 reviews
4. Re: Need best driving route

If need be i can easily add a day to make it 10 as yet still trying to work out the route then go from there...

Tnx to all for your replies, it gives me an idea of what to do as long as l don't backtrack....

zhuhai: does this mean Wanaka is out; or can l go there on the way to Mt Cook?

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Fiji
Level Contributor
6,116 posts
282 reviews
5. Re: Need best driving route

On day 8 you could do a round trip QTN /Arrowtown/ Over Crown Ranges to Wanaka/Cromwell and back to QTN via Kawarau Gorge SH 6 Total trip time without stops is about 3 hrs and approx. 200klms.

Alternatively you could call into Wanaka on the way to Mt Cook which would be about a 30min detour.

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