We'd like to do a driving holiday in September/October, mainly to see some snow and scenery. We are not skiers.
We'd like to concentrate on the northern half as we had 2 weeks in Queenstown recently and saw quite a lot down there, but we haven't been further north than Christchurch so far.
What are the main points of interest north of Christchurch? Both of us are middle-aged Aussies, keen on photography, especially night skies, but we also like day cruises and are decent walkers albeit our knees are starting to go. Overnighting on a boat is a no go for me for personal reasons I won't bore you with.
Our plan is to arrive in Christchurch, hire a car and head north, basing ourselves somewhere whilst doing day trips around the region, and then heading southwards, staying at somewhere like Glentanner and seeing Mt Cook, before driving on to Wanaka and stopping there a while. From there we will probably go back to Christchurch via the east coast. We don't like to rush and generally stay a couple of nights at least at each spot as I hate having to unpack for only one night. Our main focus is photography, not food/wine or adventure, although we are happy to sample all these here and there.
Is there anything on the east coast we shouldn't miss out on if driving there from Wanaka back to Christchurch?
Final question: how much snow can we reasonably expect at this time of year and might it affect access to some spots like Mt Cook or Wanaka. I am assuming the Marlborough region etc is fairly accessible, but I may be dead wrong.