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Is this itinerary too busy?

Southern California
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Is this itinerary too busy?

Day 1: Arrive in CHC at noon after a flight from the USA. Explore a little of CHC/eat/sleep.

Day 2: Drive to Otago Peninsula (5 hours). Explore area. Overnight in Otago area.

Day 3: Drive to Te Anau (4 hours). Explore sights along the way. Overnight in Te Anau.

Day 4: Milfordsound. Overnight in Te Anau

Day 5: Drive to Queenstown (2:30 hours). Explore area. Hike.

Day 6: Drive to Twizel area (3 hours). Explore/see Mt Cook and the local area.

Day 7: Continue to stay in Twizel/Mt Cook area.

Day 8: Drive to Kaiorkia (long drive 7 hours). Overnight in area.

Day 9: Drive to Abel Tasman (5:30 hours). Overnight in area.

Day 10: Overnight in Abel area and do a Kayak trip.

Day 11: Drive back to Marlborough area and explore/more kayaking

Day 12: Continue staying in Marlborough area.

Day 13: Early AM ferry to N.Island.

Day 13-16 Drive towards Auckland for a 11pm flight back home on Day 16. See sights along the way.

Questions:

1) We are skipping the glaciers since we have seen impressive glaciers in Alaska/Canadian Rockies/Glacier NP. We are also too scarred to fly on a helicopter.

2) I am taking the East coast back to the North part of the island. Is this the best way or should I cut across at Aurthur pass and head up to Abel? My husband loves seafood so I was hoping to give him some time in Kaikoura/Marbourgh area.

3) We are skipping most of the N.Island since we don't have enough time for both and we are more into mountains/nature.

Thanks!

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New Zealand
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1. Re: Is this itinerary too busy?

Hi K :)

I think you will find most driving times considerably slower than anticipated. It will take you about 5 hours to drive Chch to Dunedin, another hour to stop for a meal, another hour to drive out to the Otago Peninsula - so a minimum of 7 hours on the road - that doesn't leave much time to explore.

So just be aware that many of your days will mainly be spent in the car, but at least you have some great landscapes to enjoy.

Going Dunedin to Te Anau, you can choose to go via Gore- about 4 hours - or the longer and far more scenic option through the Catlins. If the weather is good I would go via the Catlins. Head to Balclutha then Kaka Point to Riverton then up to Manapouri and Te Anau.

I would stay at Aoraki/Mt Cook (or Tekapo) before Twizel.

Enjoy :)

Southern California
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2. Re: Is this itinerary too busy?

Thank you for your reply. I have been using the AA New Zeland web page for most driving time.

Is it a better idea to head from the Mt Cook area to Abel Tasman via the east or West coast? We do have an interest in Kaiorkia but if there are interesting things to see along the West coast we could change.

Amy

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3. Re: Is this itinerary too busy?

AA drive times are fairly accurate.

I am merely pointing out that while Chch to Dunedin is indeed 5 hours it will take another hour to drive Dunedin to the end of Otago Peninsula if looking to visit albatross or penguins and you should also allow an hour for lunch. So even without stopping to view say the Moeraki boulders or other sightseeing enroute, your 5 hour drive is actually over 7.

There is no direct road access from Aoraki/Mt Cook to the West Coast due to the mountains being in the way. The quickest route to the West Coast from Aoraki is 3 hours to Wanaka and another 4 hours to Franz. or 4.5 hours to Chch and 3.5 hours to Greymouth.

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Auckland Central...
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4. Re: Is this itinerary too busy?

I think you will be dissapointed when you realise you have not left enough time to really see Dunedin or Queenstown.

I would stay 2 nights Dunedin

Drive to te Anau via the Caitlins as suggested, 2 nights

2 nights Queenstown

Drive thru Wanaka onto the Westcoast, staying Glaciers or Greymouth

Continue onto Able Tasman

When travelling the North Island I would spend a day in each Lake Taupo and Rotorua then heading onto Auckland. As you know there is so much more to do and see in the North Island than 3 days will allow.

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Christchurch, New...
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5. Re: Is this itinerary too busy?

For me , this is way too much driving for too little time to sightsee.

Chch to Dunedin is not an exciting road, but it will take you most of the day. You will rushed to get to the Otago Penisnsula before the activities finish for the day. (not sure when this trip takes place). Personally I would skip either Dunedin or Abel Tasman in order to slow down & enjoy your holiday.

Southern California
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6. Re: Is this itinerary too busy?

Thank you for the comments as they are all very helpful to provide insight.

I was considering removing Dunedin but to get from CHC to Te Anau it is the same drive time via Dunedin or Mt.Cook/Queenstown. I figured this way we didn't drive the same road twice.

Curious why people think I need two nights in Queenstown? We will be in Te Anau for two nights and in the Mt.Cook area for two nights. Is Qtown that much better than Mt.Cook area?

Amy

Sydney Australia
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7. Re: Is this itinerary too busy?

It certainly is full on. How many drivers have you got? We always go at a cracking pace. I don't think we went at it as fast as your plan though. We had three drivers... we shared the driving but were very tired at the end of our three weeks. I really tend to agree with Zhuhai. I think you need to slow it down.

If you're not fussed about the glaciers, then I'm wondering why the extra full day in the Twizel / Mt Cook area? Unless I've missed something I would have thought your time would be better allocated elsewhere?? It's stunning scenery up around the area with Lake Tekapo etc of course, but it's alpine and I should have thought that other than looking at the stunning alpine lakes and scenery which doesn't take that long, one of the main things to do in the area is to hike in the hooker valley... to the glacier terminal lake or do other glacier type stuff. The West Coast, despite the glaciers ending there, is actually sub tropical and has wonderful scenery.. and an excellent kiwi spotting tour ;o)

Your hubby is sure to love the blue cod....mmmm yummy blue cod - channelling my daughter there for a moment! haha..

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8. Re: Is this itinerary too busy?

I've done the Candian Rockies - but trust me Franz Josef is spectacular. Arthur's Pass is also great. The west coast drive is very famous. It's a lot like the Big Sur area in California. If you like hiking, a hike to Lake Marian (very steep) on Milford Road is a must. Since you like seafood - Fishbone Grill in Queenstown is really good - better than the lakefront fancier restaurants.

9. Re: Is this itinerary too busy?

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