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8 Day - South Island Drive

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8 Day - South Island Drive

Hi All,

Me and my wife are planning a trip to the South Island during the first week of May, 2018. We have a limited time and put together this itinerary - we love driving and would like to try and see as much places as possible. Have done some online research on the places we would want to see. Do let me know if this seems doable.

Day 1 - Land in CHC at 1030am. Overnight at CHC

Day 2 - Drive to Mt.Cook via Tekapo / Lake Pukaki (5 hrs) - Overnight at Mt.Cook.

Day 3 - Drive to Dunedin via Oamaru / Moeraki (4 hrs)- Overnight at Dunedin

Day 4 - Drive to Te Anau via The Catlins & Invercargill (7 hrs)- Reach by evening to see the Glow Worm Caves. Overnight at Te Anau.

Day 5 - Drive to Milford Sound (2 hrs)- Take the cruise at 1045am. post lunch drive to Queenstown or Wanaka (4 Hours) (Overnight in QT or Wanaka?)

Day 6 - Drive to Franz Josef via Haast - Wild West Coast (5 hours) - Do the Glacier Valley Walk. Overnight at Franz Josef

Day 7 - Drive to Greymouth Station - 2 Hours. (Montieths Brewery?) Drop car at Greymouth. Catch the Tranz Alpine at 14.05. Arrive at CHC at 18:30. Overnight at CHC

Day 8 - Depart to CHC Airport.

Thanks for your inputs and help!

AJ

12 replies to this topic
California
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1. Re: 8 Day - South Island Drive

Planning 7 hour drives is not a vacation. I'm afraid you are underestimating how big South Island is and your intended itinerary will have you in the car all day. You'll have to eliminate some of your destinations so you have time for activities and to explore.

Are your flights already booked to Christchurch?

You could do the loop down to Dunedin and over to Te Anau (2 nights) to include Milford Sound. Then up the middle to include Queenstown, Wanaka, and Mt Cook.

If wanting to see Arthur's Pass and the West Coast, I suggest you head that way from Christchurch and fly out of Queenstown.

With 7 nights you just don't have time to see it all.

Christchurch, New...
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2. Re: 8 Day - South Island Drive

It takes 10 days to do a loop from CHC to Milford Sound & back, without Dunedin & the Catlins. This is simply not possible in the time available unless part of a car rally. Remember that day length is getting short in May. You need to drop several outlier destinations and/or add a domestic flight.

Following on from deSchenke's advice this is her Option 1 put into days:

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. (allow 6 hr, including a stop at Lake Tekapo).

To fit this into 8 days you'd need to drop the night in Oamaru & the 2nd night in QTN.

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3. Re: 8 Day - South Island Drive

You could be doing this trip virtually driving all day (and seeing everything through the windscreen of your car) to find accommodation for the night and then drive again,

If you have not booked your accommodation yet may I suggest you look at a more leasurely drive and perhaps do a one way trip in Christchurch and out Queenstown.

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4. Re: 8 Day - South Island Drive

Hi Everyone, thanks a lot for your suggestions. We got a good deal on flights from Mumbai, hence booked the same. Arriving on 29th April (Sunday) and departure on 6th May (Sunday) - both from CHC. We have not booked any internal hotels or travel yet. Wanted to finalise the itinerary before that.

Yes, I do agree the travel is a bit much. Given that Milford Sound is must see on our list. -

Option A - skip Franz Josef (West Coast) - We can do MtCook instead and Dunedin South Loop.

Option B - Skip Dunedin / Caitlins - South Loop and do Westcoast and franz Josef.

Any views on what would be better to do during the first week of may?

Many thanks!

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5. Re: 8 Day - South Island Drive

Amended Itinerary

29th Apr. Arr CHC

30th. Drive to Dunedin (2N)

1st May. Explore Otago Peninsula (seals, penguins, albatross)

2nd May Drive to QTN (2N)

3rd May. Coach / Cruise/ Coach to Milford Sound

4th May. Drive to Mt Cook

5th May. Drive to CHC via Lake Tekapo. and SH72 and Rakaia Gorge

6th May. Morning CHC then Fly out

Edited: 07 December 2017, 06:55
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6. Re: 8 Day - South Island Drive

Hi All, Thanks for your advice. We have added two more days to our plan - pls let us know if this is doable -

Day 1 - Land in CHC at 1030am. Overnight at CHC

Day 2 - Drive to Mt.Cook via Tekapo / Lake Pukaki (5 hrs) - Overnight at Mt.Cook.

Day 3 - Drive to Dunedin via Oamaru / Moeraki (4 hrs)- Overnight at Dunedin

Day 4 - Drive to Invercargill via caitlins (4 hrs)- . Overnight at Invercargill (is it fine to stay here or any other place near by?

Day 5 - Drive to Te Anau- via SSR (3 hours) - Overnight at Te Anau.

Day 6 - Te Anau- Milford Sound - Te Anau- Overnight at Te Anau

Day 7 - Drive to Queenstown / Wanaka - Overnight at QT or Wanaka? To be decided

Day 8 - Drive to Franz Josef via Haast - Wild West Coast (5 hours) - Do the Glacier Valley Walk. Overnight at Franz Josef

Day 9 - Drive to Greymouth Station - Drop car at Greymouth. Catch the Tranz Alpine at 14.05. Arrive at CHC at 18:30. Overnight at CHC

Day 10 - Depart to CHC Airport.

Pls advise. is there any must see / do in Queenstown or Wanaka? We are not the adventure types. Hence not very keen on any adventure sports.

Regards

AJ

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7. Re: 8 Day - South Island Drive

You are back to a very similar itinerary to your OP. This is NOT a 10 day itinerary. It is 10 days PLUS Dunedin & Invercargill. What is the point of detouring all the way to Dunedin & Invercargill with no time to sightsee? Remember DLS ends in April so you will have sunset around 6pm or earlier.

In particular:

Day 7 will have to be Te Anau to Wanaka in order for day 8 to be doable - this means no more than 4-5 hours in QTN.

Day 8. Wanaka to FJG will take around 6 hr if the weather is OK for sightseeing. You will not have time for the Valley walk on arrival at FJG.

Day 9. You'll need a very early start to get to Greymouth in time to return your rental car & catch the train. No time for the Valley Walk, or the Monteiths Brewery.

You have 7 1-N stays & 2N in Te Anau when you'll still have a long drive on day 6 - so driving almost all day every day. Not a holiday!!

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8. Re: 8 Day - South Island Drive

Forget Dunedin and Invercargill you will have no time to enjoy the holiday.

Day 1 - Land in CHC at 1030am. Overnight at CHC

Day 2 - Drive to Mt.Cook via Tekapo / Lake Pukaki - Overnight at Mt.Cook.

Day 3 - Short walk in morning then drive to Queenstown - Overnight at QT.

Day 4 - Drive to Te Anau Overnight at Te Anau

Day 5 - Te Anau- Milford Sound - Te Anau- Overnight at Te Anau

Day 6 - Drive Te Anua to Wanaka Overnight Wanaka

Day 7 - Drive to Franz Josef via Haast 2 Nights Franz Josef

Day 8 - Do the Glacier Valley Walk Overnight Franz Josef

Day 9 - Drive to Greymouth Station - Drop car at Greymouth. Catch the Tranz Alpine at 14.05. Arrive at CHC at 18:30. Overnight at CHC

Day 10 - Depart to CHC Airport.

California
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9. Re: 8 Day - South Island Drive

I recommend the itinerary in post #8 done in reverse!

Day 1 - arrive CHC

Day 2 - TransAlpine train, drive to Franz Josef

Day 3 - explroe Franz Josef

Day 4 - drive to Wanaka

Day 5 - drive to Te Anau

Day 6 - Milford Sound coach tour, 2nd night Te Anau

Day 7 - drive to Queenstown

Day 8 - drive to Mt Cook via Lake Pukaki

Day 9 - drive to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo

Day 10 - fly out

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10. Re: 8 Day - South Island Drive

Good pick up deschenke ,yes, much better anticlockwise for mountain views etc.

No issue with getting the car back and onto the train either.

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