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Best Route.

Edmonton, Canada
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99 posts
72 reviews
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Best Route.

ln Feb/2011 we will be on the south lsland for 9 days, arriving by ferry at Picton and departing by plane from Christchurch.To best use my time l would like some input on routes to take. l would like to visit Milford sound so should l go route #1 from Picton to Nelson and down the west coast past Franz Josefe and onto Queenstown. From there on to Te Anau and MS before heading to Christchurch. #2 from Picton to Christchurch, then onto Dunedin. From there to Te Anau and MS, then Queenstown and eventually Christchurch. #3 Picton to Christchurch, onto Queentown, Te Anau and MS and back to Christchurch. l know l dont have enough time for everything and dont want to be driving non stop. Some ideas please on how to put my time to good use and also any recomendation on hotels/motels/B&B's would help. Thanks Steve.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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28,297 posts
74 reviews
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1. Re: Best Route.

Hello Steve :)

Your trip will be very much a road trip with little time to explore. Probably the quickest way is;

1 ferry to Picton, drive to Chch

2 drive to Queenstown - 7 hour drive

3 explore

4 drive to Te Anau

5 explore Milford, stay Te Anau

6 drive to Wanaka

7 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

8 drive to Chch

9 fly out

or via the West Coast;

1 arrive Picton, drive to Hokitika

2 drive to Franz Josef, explore

3 drive to Wanaka

4 drive to Queenstown

5 explore

6 bus/cruise/bus Milford Sound

7 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

8 drive to Chch

9 fly out

The drive down the coast to Dunedin is less scenic so shall pass on that one.

www.newzealand.com and www.wotif.com have good accommodation listings.

Hope this helps :)

Edmonton, Canada
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99 posts
72 reviews
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2. Re: Best Route.

Thanks for the imfo, still in a quandry though, which route is the most scenic and is there accomadation to be had on the route down the west side of the island. Steve.

Madison
Destination Expert
for Madison
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930 posts
23 reviews
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3. Re: Best Route.

Everywhere on the South Island is scenic! Since you live in the mountains, you'd probably prefer lots of beach access, right? I'd recommend Wanaka Lakes' suggested route.

On the east coast, you can get right down to the sand and rock beaches, walk around and even swim, should you be so inclined. There are lots of lodging options.

On the upper west coast, not as much. It depends on whether you want luxury accommodation, too. If that's your style, you will do better in Christchurch and environs. You'll have to do a lot more driving to find it on the West Coast.

And yes, 7 days is not nearly enough time to go everywhere. We took 3 weeks, and never made it to Dunedin or the Catlins.

Have fun with the planning. Wherever you go, it will be tremendous. There are no disappointing choices on the South Island that we found, anyway.

South Island
Destination Expert
for South Island
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1,398 posts
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4. Re: Best Route.

The most scenic drive is to go down the west coast of the South Island. After leaving Nelson drive through the Buller gorge to Westport and follow the coast road south. Don't book ahead as this will give you the flexibility of exploring this amazing landscape at your own pace. Accommodation options can vary in different places along the West Coast but at that time of the year there is always lots of options.

If you arrive in Queenstown and want to take a break from driving Coach, Cruise ,Fly Milfod Sound from Queenstown. On the return journey to Christchurch drive up the middle and if the weather is clear on the day go into Mount Cook and explore.

Enjoy the South Island.

5. Re: Best Route.

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