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Itinerary Advice - 10 Days South Island - Chch to Chch

Boston...
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Itinerary Advice - 10 Days South Island - Chch to Chch

Hi all,

My husband and I will be visiting the South Island for 10 days this December. We arrive in Christchurch at 4 am (from Melbourne) on Saturday, Dec 22, and leave from Christchurch at 1:30 pm on Tues, Jan 1. Trying to fit everything into 10 days is tricky (although we are pretty quick, get up and go-type vacationers rather than the slower/relaxed type), so looking for some suggestions of our draft itinerary below. Plan to rent a car for the full visit:

Dec 22: Arrive Christchurch at 4 am, check into hotel around 5/5:30 am, take long nap, pick up rental car, drive to Oamaru (3.25 hrs) then to DunedIn (1.5 hrs) (maybe should split this up? or stay in Christchurch and start next day?)

Dec 23: DunedIn to Te Anau (4 hrs)

Dec 24: Te Anau to Milford Sound (day trip w/ tour company)

Dec 24: Te Anau to Queenstown (2.25 hrs)

Dec 25: Queenstown to Franz Josef (5 hrs, stop in Wanaka)

Dec 26: Franz Josef to Greymouth (2.25 hrs)

Dec 27: Greymouth to Nelson (4.25 hrs)

Dec 28: Abel Tasman visit, then Nelson to Picton (1.5 hrs)

Dec 29: Picton to Kaikoura (2 hrs) to Christchurch (2.5 hrs)

Dec 30:

Dec 31: X to Christchurch

Jan 1: fly out of Christchurch at 1:30 pm

Thoughts? Not sure if need extra time in any places or if the above is sufficient? Also, any recs for a hotel (or other accommodation) near the Christchurch airport that would let us check in that early/late on day one? And, I'm assuming that because our timing is over Christmas/New Year's, that we will need to book everything in advance?

Many thanks!

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australia
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for New South Wales, Noosa
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1. Re: Itinerary Advice - 10 Days South Island - Chch to Chch

Both Dunedin and Queenstown are worthy or more than one night. Likewise Abel Tasman. I would consider just traveling one half of the South Is in 10 days and explore a lot more. Given Abel T/Nelson is extremely busy at Christmas/New Year, I would probably do the south.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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2. Re: Itinerary Advice - 10 Days South Island - Chch to Chch

We don't have the freeeways you will be used to driving. Our roads tend to be narrow, steep and twisty - think backroads Vermont. Driving here can be physically and mentally exhausting, plus your drive times are for non-stop travel by those experienced with the terrain. You will find you want to stop to enjoy viewpoints, short walks and even possibly lunch each day, so your 4 hour drive could actually take twice as long - best to reduce your radius and have time to enjoy the scenery.

Plus a shame to drive all the way to Dunedin - on NZ's least inspiring road - to then leave again the next day without exploring the fascinating Otago penunsula or other great Dundedin treats.

With 10 days explore either the upper half or the lower half of the island.

One possiblity;

22 arrive Chch

23 drive to Punakaiki or Hokitika

24 drive to Franz Josef

25 drive to Wanaka

26 drive to Queenstown

27 explore

28 bus to Milford, cruise, scenic flight back to Q'town

29 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

30 explore http://www.glacierexplorers.com/

31 drive to Chch

1 fly out

or... (and this is what I would do)...

22 arrive Chch, sleep, afternoon flight to Dunedin

23 explore Otago Peninsula

24 drive to Te Anau

25 explore Milford Sound - best to book now! stay Te Anau

26 drive to Queenstown

27 explore

28 drive to Wanaka

29 drive Lindis Pass to Aoraki/Mt Cook - stunning drive

30 explore http://www.glacierexplorers.com/

31 drive to Chch

1 fly out

Boston...
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3. Re: Itinerary Advice - 10 Days South Island - Chch to Chch

Thank you both! I agree, the first itinerary was a bit overambitious. : ) So we should stick to the Southern part and see more. WanakaLakes - thanks for your great suggestions for alternatives. Since the flight to DunedIn is so pricey, and the drive is dull, I've re-worked slightly your first suggestion, after reading some other "approved" itineraries here on TA:

22 arrive Chch, drive to Punakaiki via Arthur's Pass

23 drive to Franz Josef

24 drive to Wanaka

25 drive to Te Anau

26 drive to Milford Sound - cruise - drive back to Te Anau (thought driving might be better than the bus to make stops on the way back, though still need more research here)

27 drive to Queenstown

28 explore

29 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

30 explore http://www.glacierexplorers.com/ (after, we could stay or drive to Lake Tekapo?)

31 drive to Chch

I was also thinking of spending two nights in Franz Josef - which would mean one instead of two in Queenstown. If anyone has thoughts on this, please comment. Thanks!

New Zealand
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for South Island
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4. Re: Itinerary Advice - 10 Days South Island - Chch to Chch

Driving over a mountain pass to Punakaiki is not recommended after arriving in the country at 4am. You will see in the above itineraries I had you not driving till the 23rd.

Headlines in today's papers about the high number of accidents from driving fatigued. Please reconsider.

best to plan a day in Chch on arrival, or take a bus tour of Akaroa

on the 23rd drive Chch to Franz.

Or if wanting to consider Dunedin again then check discounted airfare on www.grabaseat.co.nz

5. Re: Itinerary Advice - 10 Days South Island - Chch to Chch

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