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9 day motorhome trip: Christchurch-?-Christchurch

kuala lumpur
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9 day motorhome trip: Christchurch-?-Christchurch

This will be our 4th trip to New Zealand, 3rd to South Island but 1st in motorhome. On our 1st trip to South island in February 2000, we drove Christchurch-Arthr Pass-Punakaiki-Greymouth-Fox Glacier-Wanaka-Queenstown-Milford Sound (coach-cruise-fly day tour) then flew back to Christchurch. It rained most of the time so we didn’t see much of Arthur Pass and West Coast. During our April 2011 trip we went Christchurch-Akaroa-Lake Tekapo-Mt Cook-Wanaka-Arrowtown-Queenstown, again flew back to Christchurch. This time the weather was gorgeous. We did the Hooker Valley Walk, Glacier Explorers Tour, Lake Diamond Walk, Upper Clutha River Walk and Lake Hayes Walk, went up to Mt John too. Saw the best scenery in our life and had unforgettable moments at The Gables, The Giant’s House, Riversong and Trelawn especially. We wanted to come back for more.

This time we plan to travel from 10 Feb to 19 Feb. Summertime again. The debate starts at whether to go north to Malborough and Abel Tasman or go south to The Catlins. Our interests: great scenery, gardens, rustic charm, farmers’ markets, food (especially seafood), easy to moderate outdoor activities e.g. short walks, horse riding and kayaking. We prefer isolation to crowds. We read somewhere that the north especially Abel Tasman is rather crowded in summer, hence now we are more incline towards the south, though weather wise we believe the north would more likely to be better.

We will pick up the motorhome around noon 10/2 and need to return early morning 19/2. With 9 days we can’t really go very far if we want to keep at leisurely pace. Please pour in some ideas for the itinerary. I’ve made a few drafts, please advice:

OPTION 1: Christchurch-Catlins-Queenstown-Christchurch

Day 1(Sun) Christchurch to Oamaru

 Stop by Timaru to visit Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden. Dinner at Riverstone Kitchen. If possible, fit in penguin watching at dusk. Stay in Native Parks Campsite.

Day 2(Mon) Otago Peninsula

 Browse Oamaru’s second hand shops. Stop by Moeraki Boulders, visit Fleur Sullivan (her restaurant is closed but she offers to help us get some fresh fish or her famous seafood chowder). Take high road to the peninsula; visit Larnach Castle Garden, Sandfly Bay. Stay at Portobello Domain Overnight Campervan Parking.

Day 3(Tue) Dunedin

 Albatross viewing at Taiaroa Head car park. Back to Dunedin city, visit botanical garden etc. Lunch and dinner at the best café/restaurant (which one?) Stock up groceries. Stay in the qualmarked Leigh Valley Touring Park or again try the free overnight parking at The Oval or Market Reserve or even further down at Brighton Domain.

Day 4(Wed) Catlins

 Visit Nugget Points, Cannibal Bay, Matai Falls, Jacks Blowhole. Stay at Purakaunui Bay DOC Camping Ground or Jacks Bay overnight parking.

Day 5(Thu) Catlins

 Visit Purakaunui Falls, Cathedral Caves, lunch at Whistling Frog. See the Petrified Forest. Stay at Curio Bay Camping Ground or The Garden House at Fortrose or move on to Lignite-Pit Scenic Stop if weather is not good.

Day 6(Fri) Queenstown

 We’d love to drive the southern scenic route via Riverton to Queenstown but it seems too far and time consuming for us. We may have to settle with Highway no. 6 via Winton. Will we miss out a lot? Brunch/Lunch in Invercargill (please recommend a good seafood restaurant). Dinner in Queenstown (we’ve been to VKnow, where shall we go this time?) Stay in Moke Lake DOC Camping Ground. If we arrive early, may go horse riding with Ben Lomond Station Horse Trekking Company.

Day 7(Sat) Queenstown/Cromwell

 Go to Remarkables Park Market or the one in Cromwell next day. Scenic drive to Glenorchy. Horse riding with Dart Stables (The River Wild option) or/and Ben Lomond Station Horse Trekking Company. If we only have time with one of them, which one is a better choice? Wine tasting and late lunch in Gibbston Valley. Dinner in Cromwell. (again we need your recommendation for the winery and restaurant) Stay with Aurum Wines or Gibbston Tavern. Alternatively we may join a half/full day tour like the Ultimate Nature Experience by Guided Nature Walks, Unforgettable Skipper Canyon Tour or Dart River Jet Safari. We may not be able to book far in advance and this being a Saturday, we’ll see how lucky we are. May still stay in Queenstown.

Day 8(Sun) Somewhere between Queenstown and Christchurch

 Visit farmers’ market in Cromwell. Drive the scenic route via Lindis Pass (we love this route, don’t mind driving another time in reverse direction. Hope to see some lupines left) to Lake Ruataniwha Reserve/Lake Pukaki Overnight Parking/Pattersons Ponds Camping Groud near Lake Tekapo, depends on how far we could go; will pick up a salmon (High Country/Mt Cook Salmon Farm) enroute to cook.

Day 9(Mon) Christchurch

 Drive back to Christchurch via Rakaia Gorge and Darfield (had never travelled on this route, anything not to be missed?) Stay in Amber Holiday Park or Addington Accommodation Park.

We have an eye for Wilderness Motorhomes’ Escape 4 which boasts a double size bathroom and permanent beds. Hope the two of us will be able to stay comfortably self-contained even in camp ground with no facility. We are allowed to drive the Skipper Canyon Road but we do not have the guts to go with this extra wide (2.3m width) motorhome!

OPTION 2: Christchurch-Catlins-Stewart Island(day trip)-Queenstown-Christchurch

Day 1(Sun) Christchurch to Oamaru

Day 2(Mon) Otago Peninsula

Day 3(Tue) Dunedin

Day 4(Wed) Catlins

Day 5(Thu) Catlins

Day 6(Fri) Day trip to Stewart Island, stay in Bluff/Invercargill

Day 7(Sat) Queenstown

Day 8(Sun) Somewhere between Queenstown and Christchurch

Day 9(Mon) Christchurch

OPTION 3: Christchurch-Catlins-Stewart Island(overnight)-Queenstown-Christchurch

Day 1(Sun) Christchurch to Oamaru

Day 2(Mon) Dunedin/Otago Peninsula

Day 3(Tue) Catlins

Day 4(Wed) Catlins

Day 5(Thu) Stewart Island

 Where to park our motorhome in Bluff? Worry that the accommodation is full on the island during summer. Wouldn’t want to book too early. May not want to go if weather is bad.

Day 6(Fri) Invercargill

Day 7(Sat) Queenstown

Day 8(Sun) Somewhere between Queenstown and Christchurch

Day 9(Mon) Christchurch

OPTION 4: Christchurch-Catlins-Stewart Island -Christchurch

Day 1(Sun) Christchurch to Oamaru

Day 2(Mon) Otago Peninsula

Day 3(Tue) Dunedin

Day 4(Wed) Catlins

Day 5(Thu) Catlins

Day 6(Fri) Stewart Island

Day 7(Sat) Ivercargill

Day 8(Sun) somewhere between Invercargill and Christchurch

Day 9(Mon) Christchurch

OPTION 5: Christchurch-Malborough-Nelson-Christchurch

Day 1(Sun) Christchurch to Kaikoura

Day 2(Mon) Blenheim/Picton

Day 3(Tue) Malborough Sounds

Day 4(Wed) Malborough Sounds

Day 5(Thu) Abel Tasman

Day 6(Fri) Golden Bay

Day 7(Sat) Motueka

Day 8(Sun) Hanmer Spring

Day 9(Mon) Christchurch

This is really a lengthy post, my sincere thanks to those of you who have the patience to finish reading it and put in efforts to reply.

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11. Re: 9 day motorhome trip: Christchurch-?-Christchurch

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Edited: 30 September 2012, 15:01
kuala lumpur
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12. Re: 9 day motorhome trip: Christchurch-?-Christchurch

WanakaLakes, I couldn't agree more with you! We come with good intentions. It's just like visiting an old friend who had fallen sick unfortunately - want to see how she's doing, want to give a helping hand if possible i.e. spending money in tourism!

Nelson, New Zealand
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13. Re: 9 day motorhome trip: Christchurch-?-Christchurch

Joan,

if you think about what you said about vouyerism being in a place you dont need to be looking at something you dont need to be looking at that pretty much means you shouldn't be anywhere or look at anything.

Whats the difference between looking at the cathedral when it was whole and looking at it now?

The same as the Avon before and after or the roads or the CBD or the sumner cliffs or anything? Or do we just stay away and put our heads in the sand?

And dont think that the people of Canterbury haven't driven the streets and looked at the destruction or those of us who have lived in Canterbury I say the more people who come the better.

We aren't in control of the insurance companys but we in control in what and where we spend our money.

Edited: 27 September 2012, 09:00
Nelson, New Zealand
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14. Re: 9 day motorhome trip: Christchurch-?-Christchurch

I dont know about horse trekking up Blackbird Valley me and horses are not a good combination!

Nelson lakes is really nice with lovely walks around the lake take plenty of insect repellant !

I love the Saturday market but it is quite touristy has a lot of arts and crafts veges and food. nothings cheap either.

As Joan said the Wednesday market is more of a farmers market with emphasis on food and veges rather than arts and crafts

australia
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15. Re: 9 day motorhome trip: Christchurch-?-Christchurch

I think previous posters have made some fair points re tourists visiting Christchurch.

If I drove my car into a ditch, yes I would appreciate someone coming to help me get it back on the road, but i'd be very annoyed if all they stopped and did was to point out to each other that the axle was bent or the guard damaged and i wouldnt be driving it again in a hurry.

I visited Chch earlier this year, and my 'inpsection' was confined to the CBD and close by areas, places i had previously visited, and even then I was aware of where I pointed my camera. I even felt a little uneasy about it - what if that building in ruins I am looking at was where some one walking along the street now, had worked or lost a loved one. For me it was looking at ruins of places in a city i knew and loved before they disappeared forever. But also I put in some perspective, whole villages get wiped off mountainsides in Sth America and parts Asia every year. Do they have the resources of the insurance money to rebuild - is there even anyone left to do it. A disaster makes us think, in many varied directions.

But for intending visitors I would say, do go to Christchurch, see the damage, and spend some $$$'s, but also take away some good memories of the things you do there (or nearby). Its still a very nice city for a stay. And hopefully return to see something amazing in a few years time.

If venturing into predominanatly residential areas then be really sensitive about what you do and say (even to each other), and think twice before the need to point a camera.

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Johor Bahru...
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16. Re: 9 day motorhome trip: Christchurch-?-Christchurch

Ok, I will try my best not to simply point my camera at some places that I should not be to. Btw, is there any place that I can visit that probably displaying some photos of the earthquake scenes, like a museum or whatever they called it? Is there any donation box or charity sales for the purpose of helping the victims? I really hope I didn't asked sensitive questions. If yes, then I apologise.

Dunedin, New Zealand
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17. Re: 9 day motorhome trip: Christchurch-?-Christchurch

The Canterbury Museum currently has an excellent display on this topic but it closes 1st October. The museum is located beside the Botanical Gardens near the CBD.

www.canterburymuseum.com/

There are several recent photo books and one documentary (When a City Falls) recording the periods of the multiple earthquakes and aftershocks. (still happening by the way) All these are readily available for purchase. The documentary was actually shot between the major quakes and is quite emotional.

The term 'victim' is kinda redundant because of the scale and ongoing effects which will last for many more years. The greatest contribution anyone can make (isn't money) is to join in with the ongoing celebration of life and future which paints the optimism of this amazing place.

By way of memorials, perhaps visit the 185 Chairs exposition which includes remembrances of baby victims.

stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/columnists/jan…

Particularly poignant when viewed floodlit at night.

Edited: 27 September 2012, 13:23
kuala lumpur
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18. Re: 9 day motorhome trip: Christchurch-?-Christchurch

Joan, bravo to your saying 'The greatest contribution anyone can make (isn't money) is to join in with the ongoing celebration of life and future which paints the optimism of this amazing place'. It's exactly the optimism that made us decide to visit the CBD. We are not going there to see the wounds only but to pay tribute to those who stood up from the ruins and stay on. However I would like to add a 'just' between (isn't money) to become (isn't just money). I do think money is equally important, without boosting up the economy you can go nowhere. But as you say it's not the greatest and the only. I would say it's the attitude that makes the difference when you visit. Be emphathetic rather than symphathetic; be sensible rather than indifferent; and respect the locals....

One more thing Joan, thank you so much on your very useful info regarding the Wed & Sat markets in Nelson. I think we will definitely go to the Wed market to pick up some stock. The time is just right, we will reach Nelson in the afternoon. As for the Saturday market we'll see whether we have time to backtrack since we are going to the lakes. Frazzled you are right, there are so many things to do and so many good places to stay in this area, I'm now cracking my head on how to arrange the itinerary. Already on our to do list are: Wilsons Kayak-cruise-walk day trip to Abel Tasman(from Kaiteri), Wharariki Beach (there is Cape Farewell Horse Treks nearby :-) horse riding on the beach, so enticing), Harwoods Hole & Gorge Creek Lookout, Te Waikoropupu Springs, Lake Rotoiti, Nelson city and market, a short visit to wineries, and yes, we want to stay one night in/around Mapua. Read about the Mapua Leisure Park with 'clothes option', any comment on this place? There's no review onTrip Advisor yet.

Dunedin, New Zealand
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19. Re: 9 day motorhome trip: Christchurch-?-Christchurch

Mapua's clothes optional is a historical residual from previous years and more liberal owners. The entire park used to be clothing optional. When the latest owners took control, they discontinued that.

There was such an uproar from families which had been going there for years, that a brief annual period of clothing optional was reinstated. It is only for a few weeks of the year and fairly limiting in how and where in the park it is acceptable. Few naturists go there any more. The beach area isn't very nice there anyway.

Public naturism is not illegal in NZ, though many authorities don't fully realise that. It is lewd or menacing behaviour while unclothed which is illegal. If you are discrete about where and when, many NZ'ders are accepting. There is an active Free Beach network in NZ.

The better option is to visit one of the numerous naturist clubs scattered throughout NZ. Near Mapua you have the Nelson Sun Club in the Upper Moutere area and Wai-natur near Blenheim. There are also several beach areas around Marlborough and Golden Bay where clothing optional is not uncommon.

Johor Bahru...
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20. Re: 9 day motorhome trip: Christchurch-?-Christchurch

Joan M, thanks alot for your advice in post #17.