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Skipping Milford or Abel Tasman?

Three Oaks, Michigan
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Skipping Milford or Abel Tasman?

We have 14 days in a campervan and are plotting our south island journey. It's become clear to us that if we want to actually take some walks and get out into the air, we can't possibly do both Abel and Milford. If we went to Abel, we would likely continue past Whanganui Inlet to Te Hapu (a privately owned ranch which some friends of ours worked at and highly recommend).

Abel Tasman is appealing because we love to kayak, Golden Bay looks pretty remote and quirky, and Te Hapu looks beautiful and private.

Milford is appealing because it's ... Milford. :)

Either way we go, we'd catch some things in the middle (Okarito kiwi, Franz Joseph, Matukituki Valley, etc).

Thoughts? Besides that we need to start saving for our return trip??

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Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: Skipping Milford or Abel Tasman?

Knowing that you can't do everything, I'd be happy to advise you to skip Milford. I'm never quite sure why every visitor MUST see Milford, when other arts of the country are just as great. Interestingly you won't find Milford as high on any NZer's list either. It is nice to see someone who is prepared to get off the beaten track & explore Golden Bay etc. Enjoy your trip.

Three Oaks, Michigan
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2. Re: Skipping Milford or Abel Tasman?

Zhuhai, if we skip Milford, is there something you feel like we should make sure we get in that'd be on a more reasonable routing, something that would be high on a Kiwi's list? If we're not Milford-ing, I'm not really sure I feel any need to get into Queenstown; Wanaka and Matukituki seem like as far south as we might get ...

South Island
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3. Re: Skipping Milford or Abel Tasman?

In 2009 Milford Sound was voted the number 1 destination in the world by the travelers on Trip Advisor. No other part of New Zealand have ever come close to this type of recognition. The best way to see it is coach cruise fly from Queenstown.

Able Tasman is also a very special place and in my opinion is a must see.

Try and vist both.

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Three Oaks, Michigan
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4. Re: Skipping Milford or Abel Tasman?

I wish we could, but we do need to make a choice. Clear from the itineraries I've been experimenting with. Further opinions on which very welcome!

Iowa
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5. Re: Skipping Milford or Abel Tasman?

We visited both a year ago. Since your time is limited and you can't do both, my vote would be to skip Milford. But do save for that second trip and see both Milford and Doubtful Sound then.

Wellington, NZ
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6. Re: Skipping Milford or Abel Tasman?

Normally it would be a hard choice deciding what to skip. But as you know people in the area and love to kayak, I would also say do Abel Tasman. It is a great place to kayak by yourselves for a few days. Milford is more about organised tours.

Not many tourists make it all the way to Whanganui Inlet, so it would be a great place to get to.

Nelson, New Zealand
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7. Re: Skipping Milford or Abel Tasman?

Depends what time of the year you are coming. Abel Tasman is a beautiful area and the weather is pretty good year round. Having said that being coastal rain and wind can make for some interesting kayaking particularly in the winter. Although you will be blessed with sunny weather also.

Milford Sound is just as spectacular but as you can see alot of miles. If you were to get down to Queenstown then why not fly into Milford Sound and take one of the launch ferry rides out into the Sound then fly or bus back to Queenstown that would save you heaps of time.

Golden Bay is gorgeous and perfect for campervan type holiday although if you are travelling through out all of NZ your two weeks are going to fly....

Our roads here aren't freeways as you know it and from my experience with campers they don't get you from A to B very quickly. Where else are you planning to go?

Three Oaks, Michigan
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8. Re: Skipping Milford or Abel Tasman?

Hi, all -- this is very helpful. Please keep the opinions coming.

Kiwisolargal, we're actually going to be on the South Island soon -- Feb 3-15.

Given the tentative itineraries I'm drawing up, if we skip Milford I'm not sure we'll even make it to Queenstown. (Background: I used to be all about getting to as many places as I could on a trip, I live in the US and had a thing about getting to all 50 states :) ... but I've learned that it's kind of ridiculous to log the miles if you can't stop for a hike or to scope out a cool bird or something. Thus the less is more plan. )

I'm hoping to post a few possible itinerary plans over the weekend and I would love all of your input.

One immediate question ... is it worth driving all the way up to Karamea, or will that be a lot like the coastal area we'd spend time in if we make it around to Whanganui/Te Hapu (the ranch on the coast our friends know so well)? Several people highly recommended we consider Karamea on another TA topic I posted awhile back about "getting off the beaten path."

Edited: 13 January 2012, 20:26
Santiago, Chile
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9. Re: Skipping Milford or Abel Tasman?

Go to Te Hapu. It is absolutely stunning. A real hidden gem. I think they have a website.

New Zealand
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10. Re: Skipping Milford or Abel Tasman?

Karamea is a long drive for an already packed itinerary. I don't think the scenery, which is very similar to what you would already have driven through, warrants the time to get in and out.

Save it for your next trip :)