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11 nights South Island

Bundaberg, Australia
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10 posts
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11 nights South Island

Would appreciate some feedback on my plans for making the most of the South Island. My husband, 15yr old daughter and I will arrive in Queenstown on 22 Sept 2013 and depart 3rd October. My itinerary at this stage is as follows:

Day 1 - Arrive QT

Day 2 - QT - possibly visit Remarkables Ski Resort and the luge

Day 3 - Coach-cruise-coach to Milford Sound from QT

Day 4 - Pick up rental car and travel to Wanaka

Day 5 - Drive to Fox Glacier

Day 6 - Fox Glacier

Day 7 - Fox Glacier to Greymouth. Leave hire car here and catch Tranzalpine Express to Christchurch.

Day 8 - Christchurch

Day 9 - Pick up rental car and drive to either Lake Tekapo or Mt Cook Village???

Day 10 - Lake Tekapo or Mt Cook Village?????

Day 11 - Queenstown

I have tried to allow 2 nights at each destination so we are able to relax, enjoy and explore. Am I doing too much driving? Should I book accommodation ahead at this time of year. I have already booking the first 3 nights in Queenstown but am not sure whether to bother with the rest of the trip as we will be more flexible in our travels, however I don't want to waste valuable time looking for accommodation if its hard to find. Am I able to easily get on the Tranzalpine Express when I get over there. I read that when booking from Australia we only get offered the more expensive fares.

Help would be much appreciated.

Christchurch...
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1. Re: 11 nights South Island

The NZ school hols start on 26 September. Just bear that in mind when booking accommodation as Qtown will be busy and ski season not finished.

Tranzalpine Express has winter prices if book online at NZ$99 per adult. Needs to be booked in NZ but maybe someone can do this for you??

You could do Lake Tekapo, and Mt Cook, just stay at 1 and drive to the other...2 nights in either is perhaps too long. Lake Tekapo has more variety of things to do.hot pools, walking,outdoor ice rink whereas Cook has walking...and a small exhibit centre.

I would be inclind to book accommodation ahead of trip....given season and school hollies.

Bundaberg, Australia
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2. Re: 11 nights South Island

Thanks so much for help. Will go ahead and book accommodation. I have e-mailed Tranzalpine Express and have been offered $99NZ for one way trip, so might go with that, but am concerned its not on a secured website only via e-mail.

Singapore
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41 posts
48 reviews
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3. Re: 11 nights South Island

@keeley, Debbie...

Surprised to learn that if you book online from NZ, you get better rates for TransApline train?

I am planning for Dec'13 and etting a rate online of NZ$198 per adult. Do you mean if I book this online through someone in NZ, i could get better rate?

Bundaberg, Australia
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10 posts
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4. Re: 11 nights South Island

From what I've read on different forums, a better rate for TransApline is offered when booking from NZ. I've also e-mailed Kiwirail Scenic Bookings to enquire about rates and they have offered me a rate of $99NZ however this is with no cancellation and no name change. They also require payment with a credit card via an e-mail which I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with although they are probably very reputable.

Oz
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13,092 posts
51 reviews
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5. Re: 11 nights South Island

Hi,

Looks good but I can't help advising that the road or rail trip via Arthurs Pass is more spectacular when travelling from east to west.

With the above in mind I would fly into Christchurch and out of Queenstown undertaking the exact reverse order of your trip.

Cheers,

Bundaberg, Australia
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6. Re: 11 nights South Island

Thanks for your suggestion OZ, but my flights arrive and depart from Queenstown. I realised after having booked flights that I would have been much better off flying into Christchurch and departing Queenstown. I will have a look at my current itinerary and possibly do in reverse order.

Singapore
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41 posts
48 reviews
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7. Re: 11 nights South Island

@OzRCFlyer,

Thanks. I still have my itinerary 'open' enough to consider your suggestion. Let me re-work on this.

Regards,

Singapore
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41 posts
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8. Re: 11 nights South Island

@OZRCFlyer,

Just want to understand your comment better when you say road trip via Arthur's pass is spectacular when travelling from east to west. I guess it must be the same from west to east, correct ?

My current itinerary is go from CCH to Queenstown, Te Anau (Milford Sounds, Doubtful Sounds), Wanaka, FJG and then reach Greymouth. I am thinking to scrap train ride and just go with road trip if that is what you would recommend.

Please advise.

Oz
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13,092 posts
51 reviews
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9. Re: 11 nights South Island

Hi,

The views are better when travelling from east to west, that's in a westerly direction towards Oz.

Travelling the opposite direction the "best" views are in your rear view mirror, which in many cases is the best view of a city IMHO.

Cheers,

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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10. Re: 11 nights South Island

Queenstown to Tekapo is far more scenic than driving Tekapo to Q'town - direction really does matter. You might consider going Chch Hokitika Franz Wanaka Queenstown Aoraki/Mt Cook Chch - it is the most scenic direction.