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Itinerary (Take 2)

Washington...
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Itinerary (Take 2)

Is this a reasonable itinerary? Too much?

19) Arrive in Christchurch (from Rotorua) at 1:30pm. Drive to Mt Cook. Stay there.

20) Explore Mt Cook in morning. Drive to Wanaka, stay in Wanaka.

21) Explore Wanaka in morning, drive to Queenstown, stay in Queenstown.

22) Explore Queenstown, drive to Te Anau, stay in Te Anau

23) Milford Sound fly-cruise-bus (stay in Q'town?)

24) Explore Fox or Franz (stay somewhere around there?)

25) TranzAlpine to Christchurch, explore, stay in Christchurch

26) 8am flight from Christchurch to Singapore

New Zealand
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for South Island
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1. Re: Itinerary (Take 2)

Nope, this isn't the best use of your time... and your geography would be aided greatly by looking at a map as you plan.

Wanaka is not on the drive Aoraki to Queenstown (you need to detour) but you pass through Wanaka enroute to Fox or Franx from Queenstown. So why not go Aoraki - Queenstown - Wanaka - Franz?

Doing the fly/cruise/bus option is the least expensive as it is merely a way for the bus company to fill seats when most of the savvy tourists fly back. The Milford Road is stunning with some great places to stop, explore, take pics - but all the buses stop on the way to Milford, none stop on the way out - you will be feeling trapped as you speed post all the highlights.

What time of the year are you planning to travel? - The Tranzalpine is not the most scenic option in the summer months.

I suggest you take another look at the itinerary I offered earlier.

Washington...
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2. Re: Itinerary (Take 2)

Re Mt Cook to Wanaka, I was looking at taking the freeway through Twizel, Omarama, and Tarras. On my map it doesn't look like much of a backtrack to go from Tarras to Wanaka, but you seem to be suggesting that it is, or at least that its a bad idea, so I'll definitely rethink that.

The info about Milford is very helpful. When I mentioned "fly/cruise/bus" I wasn't trying to imply the order in which these things would occur, just that I wanted to fly one way and bus the other. I wasn't precise. But it sounds like there is a clear benefit to flying out so that's what we'll do. We are also considering the overnight cruise, but doing both a day and night cruise seems excessive, and I'd like to see the sound during the day.

Re your question, we are planning to travel in mid-March. Would you consider this a good time for the glacier? Also, we have flexibility in where we fly into the South Island (e.g. Rotorua to ChCh or Rotorua to Q'town) but ultimately we must depart New Zealand from Christchurch. I did consider your proposed itineraries... I guess I was wanting to somehow incorporate both the glacier (and train) and Mt Cook. Perhaps its just not a good idea.

By way of background, NZ is the first leg of an around-the-world trip I am taking with my husband. It will be fantastic, but it is a lot of planning, and thus I am sometimes a little scattered/underinformed, and for that I apologize. Your input is quite helpful.

California
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3. Re: Itinerary (Take 2)

I don't think the extra mileage to veer to Wanaka between Mt Cook and Queenstown is the issue. Wanaka is a better "fit" between Te Anau and Fox Glacier because you'll eliminate two very long driving days doing it the way WanakaLakes has suggested. First, by only going as far as Te Anau when coming back from Milford Sound. Second, by having the drive through Haast Pass (the road to the West Coast) shortened as well. The way you have it broken up in Queenstown makes for very long driving days.

I also had a wee bit of a chuckle to see you refer to the road as a freeway. New Zealand roads are two lanes. They are not anything like the freeways we have in the states.

New Zealand
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4. Re: Itinerary (Take 2)

You won't find any multi-lane freeways in the South Island apart from a km or two entering Dunedin.

And no, Wanaka isn't much of a diversion from Aoraki - it will add an hour to your driving. But considering you drive RIGHT THROUGH Wanaka a few days later the diversion seems pointless to me. Plus as DEc mentions, most visitors take about 6 hours to drive Wanaka to Franz - it takes even longer of driving all the way from Queenstown.

Bus/cruise/fly is the ultimate Miford experience - bus/cruise/bus is the second best option, fly/cruise/fly is fine for those with no time though it misses the fabulous road which many regard as the true highlight of Milford and don't even think about fly/cruise/bus.

Washington...
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5. Re: Itinerary (Take 2)

Ha, the Lonely Planet pullout map definitely marks it as a "freeway"... maybe I need a new map!

So I guess based on this I'll do the following, maybe we'll skip the glaciers if we're feeling rushed, thx!

19) Arrive in Christchurch (from Rotorua) at 1:30pm. Drive to Mt Cook. Stay there.

20) Explore Mt Cook in morning. Drive to Qtown, stay in Qtown.

21) Explore Queenstown, drive to Te Anau, stay in Te Anau

23) Milford Sound bus-cruise-fly (stay in Q'town?)

24) Early a.m, drive to Fox or Franz, stay somewhere around there

25) TranzAlpine to Christchurch, explore, stay in Christchurch

26) 8am flight from Christchurch to Singapore

California
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6. Re: Itinerary (Take 2)

I'm asking this question for both the OP and myself, because I may be mis-informed. Is there an option to go from Te Anau to Milford and back by plane? I thought the bus-cruise-fly or fly-cruise-fly options were all Queenstown based.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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7. Re: Itinerary (Take 2)

As far as I know you can only bus/cruise/fly from Queenstown.

You can fly to/from Milford (and cruise if you wish) from Te Anau.

And also from Wanaka. I have flown to Milford by fixed wing and by helicopter from Wanaka - both highly recommended if short on time - the round trip including the cruise takes just 4 hours.

8. Re: Itinerary (Take 2)

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