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Queenstown/Te Anau/Milford Sound -- Drive? Bus?

Chicago, IL
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Queenstown/Te Anau/Milford Sound -- Drive? Bus?

Itinerary is coming together but some gaps still exist.

My wife and I arrive in Q'town on a Saturday in late March. On Sunday, we'd like to go to Te Anau and then be in Milford Sound on Sunday night as we'd like to do a kayak trip Monday morning before returning to Q'town Monday night.

Is this a reasonable itinerary?

Should we rent a car or take a bus?

Any thoughts on who we should do a kayak trip thru?

I thought about the overnight cruise w/kayak but that's pretty pricey.

Would appreciate your thoughts.

australia
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for New South Wales, Noosa
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1. Re: Queenstown/Te Anau/Milford Sound -- Drive? Bus?

Queenstown to Milford is a long drive.

I am not sure about the kayaking -

Driving gives you more freedom to stop along the way. Bus offers more views than you would see as a car driver, but no flexibility to stop if something interests enroute. Bus timetable if not doing a day tour ex Queenstown might not be as flexible for what you want either

Pricing of bus for 2 passengers might not be a lot cheaper than a compact rental car and fuel.

My only Milford trip, I went one morning Q'town to Te Anau and afternoon did lake cruise to glow worm caves and overnight Te Anau

Early next morning drive to Milford - left TA soon after 7am and in Milford for a cruise well ahead of day trippers from Queenstown.

Though some will tell you it isnt advised, I left Milford about 2pm for drive back to Queenstown. That is a long drive but do-able in same day, though by late March days will be a bit shorter.

So yes your itinery sounds feasible - have you looked at Milford accommodation options....Te Anau has much more.

Edited: 03 January 2010, 00:12
New Zealand
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for South Island
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2. Re: Queenstown/Te Anau/Milford Sound -- Drive? Bus?

Hi CT, I can't help with any kayaking advice. I have heard the trips are fabulous.

I think taking a car will offer greater flexibility for your trip. Allow 4.5 hours to drive Queenstown to Milford, longer if you stop anywhere enroute. Do take care on the Milford Road, it has many accidents caused mainly through driver fatigue and driver inattention.

As mentioned, Milford has very limited accommodation and dining options. The area is basically a carpark and wharf with one hostel/cafe.

Chicago, IL
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3. Re: Queenstown/Te Anau/Milford Sound -- Drive? Bus?

Thanks so much for the input. How long of a drive is it from Queenstown to Te Anau and how long from Te Anau to Milford Sound?

I believe the kayak trips in Milford Sound start early in the day which in essence requires us to spend the night there (few motel options) vs. Te Anau (many motel options.

Chicago, IL
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4. Re: Queenstown/Te Anau/Milford Sound -- Drive? Bus?

Maybe I'm thinking about this all wrong. Should I be considering both Te Anau and Milford Sound in the same 2 day trip? Should I be considering one instead of the other?

New Zealand
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5. Re: Queenstown/Te Anau/Milford Sound -- Drive? Bus?

www.aatravel.co.nz/main/td-calculator.php

Q'town to Te Anau allow 2 hours

Te Anau to Milford 2.5 hours (it takes less time but best not to rush that road)

Te Anau
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for South Island, Te Anau
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6. Re: Queenstown/Te Anau/Milford Sound -- Drive? Bus?

There are a few operators doing sea kayak tours from Milford. Rosco's is good http://www.roscosmilfordkayaks.com/

They provide transport from Te Anau. but it's an early start. Saves having to find accommodation in Milford though., and if you don't have a car you could get the coach from Qtn. TrackNet and Topline Tours leave Qtn for Te Anau at around 1pm each day. http://www.tracknet.net/ and www.toplinetours.co.nz/topline/default.asp

For accopmmodation in Milford, try Milford Sound Lodge. http://www.milfordlodge.com/

Hope this helps.

Chicago, IL
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7. Re: Queenstown/Te Anau/Milford Sound -- Drive? Bus?

Tremendous input! Thanks. Taking a bus from Qtn to Te Anau is an interesting option. Are the ones you recommended the "scenic" buses --- good windows for viewing? Do they stop along the way? I definitely like the idea of not having to rent a car.

For the bus carriers you recommended, does it matter when you purchase your tickets (a month ahead of time? two weeks? same day?).

Thanks

Te Anau
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for South Island, Te Anau
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8. Re: Queenstown/Te Anau/Milford Sound -- Drive? Bus?

Tracknet & Topline Tours are "Service "coaches, and do not have glass roofs. The scenery between Queenstown & Te Anau is not that spectacular, and apart from the first part of the trip when you arre skirting lake Wakatipu there are no mountains to speak of. The trip takes about 2-1/2 hours by coach. THere are no stops along the way except to pick up or drop off passengers.

There are no advance purchace discounts, but it would pay to book a little in advance,as they sometimes use a mini van if there are not many bookings. If more people book they put on a larger coach.

9. Re: Queenstown/Te Anau/Milford Sound -- Drive? Bus?

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