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17 day self-drive itinerary

Perth
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17 day self-drive itinerary

Hi,

Here's my itinerary after searching around this forum and reading some of the recommendations and adapting them for my own. This would be our first trip to New Zealand for my wife and I and we would prefer to take it slow and easy. So I just want to check with the experts here to see if there for any changes or any parts of our itinerary that are not reasonable.

Also since we are travelling over the Christmas and New Year periods, are the places we stay over the public holidays ok? Meaning there will be at least some restaurants that will remain open and activities to keep us occupied? For example, are we able to go on a Milford Sound cruise on Christmas from Te Anau? If this is not possible, any changes we can make to the itinerary to fit in the cruise?

20-Dec 13 Christchurch (arrive around 2pm)

21-Dec 13 Christchurch to Mt Cook

22-Dec 13 Mt Cook to Dunedin

23-Dec 13 Dunedin

24-Dec 13 Dunedin to Te Anau

25-Dec 13 Te Anau

26-Dec 13 Te Anau to Queenstown

27-Dec 13 Queenstown

28-Dec 13 Queenstown to Wanaka

29-Dec 13 Wanaka to Franz Josef

30-Dec 13 Franz Josef to Hokitika

31-Dec 13 Hokitika to Nelson

1-Jan 14 Nelson

2-Jan 14 Nelson to Christchurch

3-Jan 14 Christchurch

4-Jan 14 Christchurch

5-Jan 14 Depart for Perth around 7am

Any other advice?

Thanks.

California
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1. Re: 17 day self-drive itinerary

My only comment is 3 nights in Christchurch at the end of the trip is excessive. It would free up another night at one of the other locations.

S c
San Jose, California
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2. Re: 17 day self-drive itinerary

Thanks for sharing, this is kinda similar to my 14 Day Itineary posting and we are leaving this month (yikes!)

except we are traveling

from Mt Cook (1N)

to Queenstown (3N)

to Te Anau (2N)

to DunedIn (2N)

to Wanaka (1N)

to Franz Joseph (2N)

<<snipped rest of itinerary out>>

I believe the drive from Mt Cook to Queenstown is suppose to be more scenic than driving to DunedIn. I realize we are kinda looping back over the same area when we drive from DunedIn to Wanaka. I’m curious to hear from the experts whether driving from Mt Cook to Dunedin is better and makes more sense or Mt Cook to Queenstown first instead? Any suggestions which to choose?

Also, I read that Christchurch sounds like it’s still a mess from the earthquake so we trimmed down to 2N only for that reason. I’m considering maybe down to 1N since there is just too much to see! You could maybe add more time to one of the other areas?

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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3. Re: 17 day self-drive itinerary

HAW, welcome to the forum, you have planned well :)

just a few little tweaks to suggest

- the drive Aoraki/Mt cook to Dunedin is okay, but it misses the fabulous Lindis pass

- Punakaiki is more scenic than Hokitika

- and yes, too much time spent in Chch

20 arrive Chch

21 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

22 drive Lindis Pass to Queenstown

23 explore

24 drive to Te Anau

25 explore Milford, stay Te Anau

26 drive to Dunedin

27 explore

28 drive to Wanaka

29 explore

30 drive to Franz Josef

31 explore

1 drive to Punakaiki

2 drive to Nelson

3 explore

4 drive to Chch

5 fly home

Nelson is a great city and perhaps you would prefer to spend NYE there, but Nelson can be manic with all the young ones (teens) celebrating, my preference would be Franz for NYE.

hope this helps :)

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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4. Re: 17 day self-drive itinerary

SC, take a look at a road map - you are not 'kinda looping back over the same area' nor are you retracing any roads when doing the itinerary I suggested. It was merely a recommendation - it won't bother me if you stick to the more mundane route ;)

S c
San Jose, California
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5. Re: 17 day self-drive itinerary

Thanks WanakaLakes, I see, you're right. I just wanted to chime in on the changes we made to our itinerary based on my other postings and your suggestions. We will plan to stick with Mt Cook to Queenstown so we don't miss the nice drive.

I'm looking at the same thing and wondering if we should go to Punakaiki instead of staying in Greymouth. I choose Greymouth so we could drive a little less and check out the local brewery and maybe do dunebuggy ride. I'm thinking we should move further north so less driving to Nelson later.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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6. Re: 17 day self-drive itinerary

I would also recommend Punakaiki, both for the scenery and to shorten the drive to Nelson next day ( perhaps allowing time to detour to Cape Foulwind & the seal colony). Nelson to Chch is a long day so I suggest an overnight in Hanmer Springs instead of 3 nights in Chch. I'd be tempted to stay the night of the 3rd in Akaroa but if you want to minimise changes of motel then 2N in Chch with a day trip to Akaroa would work.

Perth
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7. Re: 17 day self-drive itinerary

Thank you everyone for all the suggestions, we'll cut the number of nights in Christchurch then and will take the suggested route by WanakaLakes.

Seattle
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8. Re: 17 day self-drive itinerary

Hello all,

What if one had about 17 days and wanted to see both N. and S. Islands? What would one recommend?

Lastly, is one better off flying into Aukland or Christchurch coming from the Pacific NW? I am thinking of April as a time frame.

Seattle
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9. Re: 17 day self-drive itinerary

17 day self drive recommended itinerary of both N and S Islands for 2 adults. I forgot to mention this.

Thanks

Vancouver...
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10. Re: 17 day self-drive itinerary

We also just returned from a self-drive trip to New Zealand -lucky enough to stay an entire month! My advice is to work with a travel consultant - we used First Light Travel based out of Auckland -you can see their website &/or look at their FaceBook page. Like you, we had a general idea of what we wanted to see, but Cam (the travel consultant) called us at home (we live in the Pacific Northwest), spoke to us for a long time, and after that we handled all the details by e-mail. He knew how long the drives were from place to place; he recommended motels, hotels, home-stays & B&B's based on our budget; he was flexible when I wanted to change something (I looked up all his recos on Trip Advisor - most I liked but a few I did not). He handled the tours we wanted; flights in NZ; the ferry from South to North Island; and gave us an incredibly detailed itinerary! There was no pressure. We had a great time. You have to pre-pay, which is a good idea during peak travel season, so we did get travel insurance ourselves- as he only used one agency which was too expensive). It gave us peace of mind not to have to figure out accommodations each time we moved.