We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

South Island - 7 days

6 posts
1 review
Save Topic
South Island - 7 days

We fly into Queenstown on 8th March and want to end up in Nelson on 14th. Would like to go by car to Milford Sound, the Glaciers and Kaikouri - is this feasible in the time available ? I have no idea what the roads are like, and whether the distances are too great, we don't want to spend all our time driving - all advice welcome. Thanks.

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
12 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: South Island - 7 days


Driving around south island of NZ is pretty safe. Not quite sure on how long it takes from Queenstown to Milford Sound however, from Queenstown to Dunedin takes about 3 to 4 hours then from Dunedin to Christchurch takes about another 4 hours (that is with an average speed of 120km/h). I took a bus from Christchurch itself to Kaikoura, it takes about 3 hours to get there and a bus from Glaciers to Queenstown takes about half a day. Thus, you could actually average it out the time taken to drive. Hope this helps.

Level Contributor
427 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: South Island - 7 days

That sounds rather ambitious, to acheive that you would spend most of your time travelling and have little time to get out of the car and enjoy anything! You would probably need either to forgo the galciers, in order to travel by the inland route to CHC and Kaikoura, or forgo Kaikoura so that you have time to stop off at the glaciers and go the longer route north via the west coast.

Alternatively, you could save yourself about half a day by taking a sightseeing flight to Milford Sound from Queenstown - a spectacular way to see it! That would allow you to do the following:

8th - arrive Queenstown

9th - morning flight to Milford Sound, cruise the Sound, fly back to Queenstown and head up to Wanaka (1 hour drive) for the night.

10th - drive up to Fox (5-6 hrs), stopping off at various places of interest (overnight in Fox)

11th - most of day exploring the glaciers, drive to Greymouth (3-4 hrs) for the night

12th - drive Arthur's Pass to Christchurch, stopping off for short walks and viewpoints. Overnight in Christchurch

13th - drive to Kaikoura (~3 hrs), spend rest of day there

14th -drive to Nelson (~4 hrs)

Of course it depends what time on the 14th you need to arrive in Nelson, and also this itinerary does not allow for bad weather to postpone any activities!

Hope this helps

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,297 posts
81 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: South Island - 7 days

I suggest you save Kaikoura for your next visit. While the flight in/out of Milford is stunning it doesn't compare to taking the road which to me, is the true highlight of the Miford experience. The ultimate trip is to bus there, cruise, fly back - weather permitting.

You could;

8 arrive Queenstown

9 explore

10 bus/cruise Milford Sound, bus or fly back to Q'town

11 drive to Wanaka :)

12 drive to Franz, explore

13 drive to Punakaiki

14 drive to Nelson

hope this helps :)

4. Re: South Island - 7 days

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 24 January 2012, 07:27