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Any last minute itin advice for March visit?

Denver, CO
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Any last minute itin advice for March visit?

My trip is just around the corner & I can't wait! I thought I'd see if anyone has any last minute advice for me. Quick stats: 42 yr-old female from Colorado travelling solo; 15 days in NZ (Mar 8-23)

The first part of my trip is walking thru cities enjoying the architecture, hitting bookstores & coffee shops; and attempted penguin sightings. Not sure if I have allowed enough time in this 1st part of my visit for exploring and/or driving (and recovering from jet lag):

• Mar 8 & 9 - arrive Christchurch, explore city & surrounds (incl Akaroa);

• Mar 10 - rent a car (prob Apex) and head south stopping by wallaby rescue, elephant rocks, poss omarama (maybe try gliding; are the sheep dog trials during my visit), then overnight in Oamaru. Try to see penguins on own via public hides;

• Mar 11 - Moeraki boulders (lighthouse; penguins) on way to Dunedin; explore city & surrounds for 2 days; hoping to see more penguins;

This next part of my trip is dedicated to mountains & hiking, and it’s very unscheduled as I'm hoping to move on or spend more time depending on how each area resonates with me (I’m an accountant so a planner by nature & this is very new for me!)

• Mar 13 - head to Te Anau; explore area and find lodging, drive Milford Rd to end (between bus times of course!) then make stops on return drive for hiking, exploring

• Mar 14 - day hikes along the Kepler & Routeburn Tracks

• Mar 15 – poss need an extra day in Te Anau for more hiking? Poss kayaking

• Mar 16 & 17 – Queenstown– explore & hike, Q gardens @ dusk; road to Glenorchy supposed to be beautiful & hardly bothered by tourists – is there hiking off the road or is it just a pretty drive?

• Mar 18 & 19 - Wanaka/Mt Aspiring NP – explore & hike

• Mar 20 – poss extra day for boat tour of Doubtful or Milford sounds

I have not included a boat tour of either sound as I get motion sickness so boats & I usually don’t mix. But, are the sounds so overwhelming that I should pop a couple Dramamine & give it a try anyway? Or are the waters so well-protected that it won’t be rough anyway? If so, Doubtful or Milford considering it would definitely be a day trip (~ 4 hrs) vs an overnight?

Finally, the return to Christchurch: I’d like to go up thru the glaciers on the way back (vs Cook/Tekapo), but not sure how I should arrange where to stop along the way.

• Mar 21 – drive to Fox glacier, explore & hike, pictures @ lake Matheson near dusk

• Mar 22 – hike the glacier; start driving toward Chc, stopping somewhere overnight?

• Mar 23 – drive over Arthurs Pass & rest of way to Chc; drop rental & head to airport

One last item; I have lodging when I arrive in Chc but so far nowhere else. I plan to look for B&Bs along the way. Is there any destination on my itinerary where you suggest I must book ahead of time? And if I plan to treat myself to one luxury stay, do you have a suggestion in any city along my route?

Thank you SO MUCH for any help you can provide! I am so excited about this trip!!

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1. Re: Any last minute itin advice for March visit?

We've just returned from NZ. We're 20 years your senior and we shared driving. With your schedule, it's good that you're younger. The twisting, turning roads take longer than you might think, and it can get a little tiring. But it's worth it -- one picture postcard moment after the other. Just a few random suggestions/comments. We stayed at a combo of B&Bs, motels, and hostels. The YHA Hostel in TeAnau is very good and clean. If you want privacy, the private rooms with ensuite are nicer than you might expect and still relatively inexpensive. We enjoyed the Doubtful Sound cruise more than Milford. I'm prone to motion sickness, but I made it through our entire trip without having to take any motion sickness meds. My advice -- take your Dramamine or Bonine with you (just in case), take your jacket and stay out on the deck most of the time and enjoy the beauty. It depends on what you like, but we loved the St. Clair Resort at Dunedin. Beautiful, very modern, convenient rooms facing the water, restaurants nearby, easy drive into downtown area. Finally, Lake Matheson is just as beautiful in the morning as it is at dusk. Have a great time!

Greymouth, New...
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2. Re: Any last minute itin advice for March visit?

If you think seeing pemguins may be exciting, wait till you encounter the KEA.

they will entertain you for hours. i saw one complete a daylight robbery in the arthur's pass store the other day, simply walked into the shop went to shelf, selected a choclate bar off te shelf ad walked (skipped ) out again. i dont think you will see a penguin do that.


itineray looks great. should have little dificulty in accomodation, plenty of luxury accomodation in Franz Joseph to choose from.

wildernes lodge near arthur's pass may also suit you too

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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3. Re: Any last minute itin advice for March visit?

Welcome to my homeland. You have a lot of driving ahead. March 20 is an oddball - I assume you just mean that you have a free day to take earlier if you change your mind. You are visiting Milford on the 13th (and staying in Te Anau for a couple of days) That is when you need to do your cruise. I think a cruise is a must- esp if you want to see marine wildlife. Milford Sound is usually flat calm. It may get a little rough when you get out to the mouth, but the boats don't got out of the sound if it is rough.

On March 14th you'd be unlikely to fit in both the Routeburn & Kepler since htey are in opposite directions. You might be able to fit in the start of the Routeburn (Key Summit) on your way back from Milford.

On March 16/17 you can tramp the other end of the Routeburn from Glenorchy.

You have to choose between Mt Cook and the Glaciers for your drive north - either go west from Wanaka through Haast Pass or take the central inland route via Lindis Pass.

Denver, CO
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4. Re: Any last minute itin advice for March visit?

Thanks so much for your insights KauaiFan!

I think it makes sense for me to take another look at the hostels. Do the private rooms have locks? For at night and/or while I'm gone during the day? May sound rude or off-putting to some, but as a sinlge female travelling alone I'd rather ask questions.

I also feel better about trying the boat trips - What made the Doubtful tour better? And if you like the tour co can you tell me their name?

Denver, CO
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5. Re: Any last minute itin advice for March visit?

thanks coaster - I'll keep an eye out for these critters too - and keep my video handy!! =)

Denver, CO
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6. Re: Any last minute itin advice for March visit?

thanks for the message zhuhai2007!

Are you saying there's too much driving in my schedule?

And yes you were right about the 20th being just a placeholder - if i do a boat tour it'd be earlier when I'm already in the right area.

7. Re: Any last minute itin advice for March visit?

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