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South Island Options

Surprise, Arizona
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64 posts
109 reviews
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South Island Options

We are active retirees and will be in NZ in October. We definitely don't have time to "see it all," but this is our "once in a lifetime" trip to NZ, so want to see and experience as much as possible in this unique and beautiful country. I would appreciate some input on our 9/10 days on the South Island. Original plan was to travel by coach/train/plane.

Arrive Queenstown 3 nights (day trip to Milford)

Night 4 Wanaka

Nights 5/6 Fox Glacier

Night 7 B&B no of Greymouth

Nights 8/9 Christchurch (via TranzAlpine, day trip to Akaroa)

Flight to Rotoura Nights 10/11

to Auckland Nights 12-14 ( day trip to Bay of Islands)

I have ridden out a number of earthquakes/aftershocks in California, and have to say they really bother me. Such that I am considering changing our route to

Nights 8/9 Nelson (rental car from Greymouth)

Night 10 Wellington

Fly to Rotoura late, Nights 11/12

Auckland (via Waitomo caves) Nights 13/14

or

Day 7 Tranzalpine to CC, and plane to Wellington Nights 7/8

Fly to Rotoura, nights 9/10

Wellington (via Waitomo caves), nights 11/12/13/14 (day trip to BOI)

Husband loves mountains, I love the ocean. We both are history buffs. Don't want to drive more than necessary, but the route from Greymouth to Picton/Blenheim is just ~260 miles, and we would have several days to explore.

Thanks for any suggestions.

1. Re: South Island Options

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St Albans
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2. Re: South Island Options

Hi,

If you have 2 weeks you could easily cover the south island. I would suggest you rent a car and book b&bs as you go or rent a camper van, this way you are not fixed by an itinary. The scenery is amazing and the roads are good with little traffic, plus if you like somewhere you can stay a bit longer or vice versa. The kiwis are very accommodating and there are lots of places to stay on all routes.

Why don't you fly to Christchurch (as you would have to fly there before flying to queenstown) have a day or two then rent a car and circle the island and return to Christchurch?

If you had four weeks you could cover both islands by flying into Auckland and out of Christchurch or vice versa and driving.

Enjoy yourselves, the place is magical.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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3. Re: South Island Options

Hi :)

You've made it difficult for yourselves as you have made three great itineraries. If wanting to avoid Chch then option two is the best.

I would describe the road from Greymouth to Nelson as hilly rather than mountainous. Lots of ups and downs but nothing major. From Nelson you have two options from Havelock over to Picton. You can take the coastal road - Queen Charlotte Drive - which is hilly and twisty and steep in places with some lovely views. Or take the much flatter and easier driving via Blenheim - this routes only hazard is all the lovely vineyards you pass through where it is tempting to stop for a great lunch and/or some tastings.

The drive via Queen Charlotte is less mileage but due to the more challenging driving both routes take the same amount of time.

With one full day in Nelson you could enjoy a day exploring the magical Abel Tasman National Park. You can walk the beaches and bush tracks, kayak, catch a water taxi to a secluded bay...

hope this helps :)

Surprise, Arizona
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64 posts
109 reviews
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4. Re: South Island Options

Thanks everyone for your input. We are going To spend a leisurely day driving to Nelson then spend 3 nights at the Ambleside B&B. That way we can spend a day at Abel Tasman and another at some wineries/breweries. Will fly to Rotorua for 2 nights then have 2 nights in Auckland. Ten days in the SI and 4 in the NI seems a good mix.

As the plan comes together I am really getting excited about our trip!

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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5. Re: South Island Options

That's a great plan :)

I met the owner of Ambleside B&B recently, I'm sure you will be well looked after.

Happy travels :)

Surprise, Arizona
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6. Re: South Island Options

Thanks WL! Are you located in Wanaka? We will be there Oct 3--if you'll be around, would love to buy you a beer/wine. Appreciate all of your great input here.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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7. Re: South Island Options

Cheers, happy to help.

I'm now living in sunny Nelson, I'll pm you :)

8. Re: South Island Options

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Removed on: 09 July 2013, 23:47