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13 Days South Island (Initial planning)

gk
Brisbane, Australia
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2,281 posts
55 reviews
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13 Days South Island (Initial planning)

Hi guys

I'm finally getting over to NZ for 2 weeks from the 24th April and have put together a bit of the "classic" itinerary after reading everything I could get my hands on! I'd really appreciate some feedback. :)

Day 1: Arrive Christchurch

2: CC -> Kaikoura -> Blenheim

3: Blenheim

4: Blenheim -> Punakaiki

5: Punakaiki -> Franz Josef

6: Franz Josef -> Lake Matheson -> Wanaka

7: Wanaka -> Milford Sound -> Te Anau

8: Te Anau -> Queenstown

9: QT

10: QT

11: QT

12: QT -> Dunedin

13: Dunedin -> Moeraki -> Mt Cook

14: Mt Cook -> Lake Tekapo Observatory -> CC

15: Fly home to Brisbane

We are a couple in our 30's, hiring a car and love to drive. Very into nature / scenery / wildlife / science / photography. A bit on the injured side, so no long walks. Travelling on a Jetstar budget, but able to fork out if it's a really great experience (thinking the heli onto the glacier might be one of those times). Not especially interested in the o/n cruises on the sounds either.

My questions:

1. Detouring through Dunedin and Moeraki before Mt Cook. Is it worth it to see Dunedin and the Moeraki Boulders or should be skip this and go from QT straight to Mt Cook and spend an extra day there or somewhere else?

2. Similar Q with Blenheim -- should be just spend 1 day here so we can add a day to somewhere else?

3. Is there something similar to the tubing experience of Waitomo glow worm caves on the SI? Maybe the Te Anau caves?

Thanks again for all the great advice you have given on the forums, and looking forward to finally getting there. :)

Edited: 31 January 2010, 01:14
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for South Island
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1. Re: 13 Days South Island (Initial planning)

Hello GK, welcome to the Kiwi forum :)

You've made a good start with your planning. I suggest you skip Blenheim or Dunedin or you will be rushing headlong with little time to explore. If you drive Dunedin to Mt Cook you will bypass one of the best drives in the South island, the Lindis Pass.

Your planned drive from Wanaka to Milford will take close to 5.5 hours, with another 2.5 hours back to Te Anau.

One possibility:

1 arrive Christchurch

2 drive to Blenheim

3 explore

4 drive to Punakaiki

5 drive to Franz

6 explore

7 drive to Wanaka

8 drive to Te Anau

9 explore Milford Sound, stay Te Anau

10 drive to Queenstown

11 explore

12 more

13 drive Lindis Pass to Aoraki/Mt Cook

14 explore Tasman glacier, drive to Chch

15 fly home

Or if wanting to visit Blenheim for the wine, you could instead enjoy the fine wines of Central Otago and go;

1 arrive Chch

2 drive Arthur's Pass to Punakaiki

3 drive to Franz

4 explore glaciers

5 drive to Wanaka

6 drive to Te Anau

7 explore Milford, stay Te Anau

8 drive to Dunedin

9 explore

10 drive to Queenstown (visit Gibbston Valley boutique wineries enroute)

11 explore

12 wine tour of Bannockburn

13 drive Lindis Pass to Aoraki/Mt Cook

14 explore Tasman glacier, drive to Chch

15 fly home

hope this helps :)

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gk
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
2,281 posts
55 reviews
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2. Re: 13 Days South Island (Initial planning)

That helps very much, WL. :) Thank you!

3. Re: 13 Days South Island (Initial planning)

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