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South Island for young teenagers

Kolkata (Calcutta...
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South Island for young teenagers

Hello,

We are travelling to South Island in a couple of weeks and request help on towns to cover, itinerary and suggestions on activities.

Background: we are a mixed group of seniors and youngsters but would like to orient the trip to the liking of a couple of teenagers who prefer adventure activities and animal interactions to merely taking in scenc beauty. And yes, they are fans of Lord of the Rings.

Due to to limited options we enter/exit NZ from Auckland. From there we fly into South Island and fly back a day before our departure from Auckland. Flight prices are favouring us to fly into Queenstown and exit from Chritchurch- however if there is a compelling reason to do otherwise, we would like to hear that.

17-Apr fly into Queenstown

18-Apr Activities in Queenstown

19-Apr Activities in Queenstown

20-Apr Activities in Queenstown

21-Apr Activities in Queenstown

22-Apr Day trip to Milford Sound

23-Apr Activities in Queenstown

24-Apr Activities in Queenstown

25-Apr drive to Wanaka, activities, stay overnight

26-Apr drive to Lake Tekapo, stay overnight (to avoid too long a drive to CC)

27-Apr drive to Christchurch, activities, stay

28-Apr Day trip to Kaikoura

29-Apr fly to Auckland

Thank you for your help.

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1. Re: South Island for young teenagers

It sounds very reasonable. I'd substitute Mt Cook for Lake Tekapo though.

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2. Re: South Island for young teenagers

dec2259:

Thanks for the feedback. 2 questions:

1. What is the case for Mt Cook as compared to lake Tekapo for the teenagers (given that it is an overnigh halt for us and as I believe Mt Cook is in the wilderness)?

2. Would you have any suggestions to offer on specific activities (across any or all of the places)?

Thanks again.

Norman

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3. Re: South Island for young teenagers

not sure what you mean by wilderness? Aoraki/Mt Cook is surrounded by national park and offers a full range of accommodation options (expensive to moderate to budget) and has great hiking plus the unique Tasman glacier terminal lake with icebergs http://www.glacierexplorers.com/ how cool is that!!

The scenery at Aoraki is unsurpassed and they filmed some of The Hobbit there.

- Tekapo is almost surrounded by national park and offers a full range of accommodation options with some so-so dining choices. Tekapo is my second choice after Aoraki.

Edited: 07 April 2013, 04:50
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4. Re: South Island for young teenagers

Mt Cook Village is located within the stunningly beautiful Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park - yes it is wilderness, which is why people come to NZ. There are lots of short walks, to the edge of glaciers (Kea Point at the edge of the Mueller Glacier & Blue Lake, Tasman Lake at the end of the Tasman Glacier). There is also the exciting Glacier Explorers boat trip on Lake Tasman to view icebergs at close range.

Lake Tekapo itself is also very beautiful but the village is located astride a main highway and is little more than a truck/bus stop - good place to stop for lunch- you can drive to the top of Mt John and enjoy the views from the cafe there.

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5. Re: South Island for young teenagers

If the kids want adventure, maybe slice a day off Queenstown to add two nights at Mount Cook, and then do the Mueller Hut hike on the full day in Mount Cook. Of course, only if you have an adult able to hike up 1000+ meters with them on it.

If animal sightings are a main priority, you might consider Dunedin or Oamaru for the penguins. You might get lucky and see a Fiordland Penguin in Milford Sound, but you gotta go to the Southeast Coast of the South Island for the Yellow-Eyed Penguins and the Little Blue Penguins. Both Dunedin and Oamaru are great for checking sea lions too, but the downside of going to those places will be a long drive (for instance, driving between Oamaru and Kaikoura took me about 8 hours even though I kept just at or slightly above the speed limit for the most part, though I got a bit turned around in Christchurch and made a detour to Cathedral Gully on the way).

For kiwis there is a bird park near the gondola in Queenstown, but it costs something like $30-$38 to get in I believe. You're pretty unlikely to see the kiwi birds in the wild.

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6. Re: South Island for young teenagers

Of course another great adventure is hiking on the glaciers, but that would add a lot of driving too. Scenic driving with some great stops on the way, but it would still take most of a day between Queenstown/Wanaka and Fox Glacier/Franz Josef. If interested in that check the webpages for Fox Glacier Guiding and Franz Josef Glacier Guides to see what their policies are like for young teens.

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7. Re: South Island for young teenagers

In the Queenstown area (actually more the Glenorchy area, about an hour away), if the kids are adventurous hikers, there is the spectacular Routeburn Track. I managed to run into a kaka parrot while hiking it, and if you guys make it up to Harris Saddle you'd have a decent chance at keas too (though I'd be surprised if you didn't run into some hilarious keas at Mount Cook).

Check Bear Grylls' Air New Zealand commercial on youtube for a preview. Of course jetboats in the area should be a good option too.

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8. Re: South Island for young teenagers

Tasman Glacier boat tripnat Mt cook is highly recommended for young teenagers.

great movie on the area at the hermitage. Mt cook has much more to offer young adventurous teenagers than Lake Tekapo Id suggest. At least for my adventurous teenagers. They loved staying at Mt Cook and beingnsurrounded by mountains and the sounds and sights.

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9. Re: South Island for young teenagers

Thank you all for your feedback and suggestions. I will definitely consider these.

Norman

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10. Re: South Island for young teenagers

Norman, I see you got your questions answered. I really don't have anything to add that hasn't been said. Just wanted you to know I wasn't ignoring you - I'm on the other side of the world from the Kiwi's.