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22 full day trip to South Island- any suggestions itinerary?

Sheffield, United...
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22 full day trip to South Island- any suggestions itinerary?

October 7th arrive 4pm find hotel go to sleep!

October 8th pick up camper then Christchurch to Picton in MS 4-5 hours arrive 3pm ish

9 Marlborough sounds

10 Marlborough sounds (kayak?)

11 Marlborough sounds day, evening leave to (Collingwood area), Abel Tasman 3-4 hours drive

12 golden bay / Abel Tasman

13 golden bay / Abel Tasman (kayak?)

14 golden bay / Abel Tasman

15 punakaiki

16 punakaiki- west coast wildlife centre

17 drive to Wanaka 7 hours

18 explore around Wanaka

19 drive to Te anau 3-3.5 hours explore

20 explore Te anau

21 explore fiordland

22 explore fiordland

23 explore fiordland

24 lake wakatipu (horse riding?)

25 drive to Lindis Pass/ walk

26 mt cook/ lake pukaki

27 driving/ exploring

28 Arthur's pass / walk

29 driving exploring

30th drop off campervan leave Christchurch

Sorry for any place name spelling mistakes. We are a couple travelling this year. We're not really city people, so are avoiding built up areas. Suggestions on a better route would be welcomed. Also, recommendations about whether to do the south or north of the island first. If estimated journey times are wrong please let me know!

co. donegal
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1. Re: 22 full day trip to South Island- any suggestions itinerary?

I would spend a few nights in queenstown I ve been there a few times and while it is built up and quite touristy its very very nice, I would sacrifice a some of the fjordland time as its near always wet there and I wasn't that impressed. im not sure if you mentioned lake tekapo for its amazing and well worth a stop if only for a few hours, another place I really liked all be it a bit touristy again is akaroa out on the peninsula beside Christchurch which in itself is an often overlooked lovely city oh and if your interested in horse riding there used to be a wonderful place in southland that did it on a real working farm called beaumount station Struan and his wife lynn minty do it and I cant recommend it enough

Edited: 23 June 2013, 15:52
California
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2. Re: 22 full day trip to South Island- any suggestions itinerary?

I'm not a DE, but a few things hit me.

On the 11th, don't start out too late for Collingwood. You'll have Queen Charlotte Dr, the pass from Peloris to Nelson, and Takaka Hill to maneuver - it's going to be a tiring drive.

Punakaiki to Wanaka? Yikes! Why are you whizzing by Fox/Franz Josef Glaciers with nary a look? I'd spend at least one night there to break up the trip, two if you want to explore the glaciers at all.

What are you planning with all the days in Fiordland? There are few roads. So unless you have a multi-day hike or overnight cruises to fill the days/nights, I'd nip off a few days from that part of the itinerary.

Where are you planning to stay on the 25th? Lindis Pass is a road, not a destination.

The last 4 days seem a bit vague to me, I'm not sure where you are spending the nights. But maybe you want it that way.

Even though you don't want cities, I think you are missing too much by not staying near Queenstown for a few days. It's not a big city, but more like a busy town. And there's so much to see and do in the area.

Sheffield, United...
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3. Re: 22 full day trip to South Island- any suggestions itinerary?

Thanks, agree with all your points deSchenke! I wasn't planning on exploring glaciers, just because I can see them nearer home in Scandinavia if I wanted. This may be a mistake, however.

I thought there might be walking around Lindis Pass with perhaps some free parking (as we will have a wilderness campervan with toilet and shower). Any suggestions for places to stay/ walk in this area or an alternative plan?

Not sure what to do in fiordland. We could do some hiking (worried about weather in Oct in that area as Stuart says ). Maybe we could fit in Queenstown instead.

The last few days are vague because Im still not clear about this part of the trip. I need to find a good way to break up the driving and find some good spots for hiking.

California
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4. Re: 22 full day trip to South Island- any suggestions itinerary?

WLnz and Zhuhua are great with day by day itineraries and I hope they come around to help you in that regard. It might help if you mention any interests you have, like wineries, wildlife, hiking?

In the meantime, have a look at motorcamps.com/content/activities-adventures for some ideas of what to do (most everything listed is free). It's a site highly associated with Scott Cook's books, New Zealand Frenzy (North Island, South Island). All the entries are out of the books. We used those guides almost exclusively for our travels in a campervan.

If you want to skip the glaciers themselves, I understand. But be sure to take the short walk around Lake Matheson (near Fox Glacier) in the morning for gorgeous mirror reflections of Mount Cook.

Sheffield, United...
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5. Re: 22 full day trip to South Island- any suggestions itinerary?

Thanks for replying, I really appreciate it. We are interested in wildlife and hiking and other outdoors stuff but not extreme sports. We'd like to drink the wine but not go on wine trips if that makes sense :).. We're late 20s/ early 30s in age (if that's relevant).

I was thinking this afternoon about doing an overnight Doubtful Sound trip for our stay in fiordland. I'd LOVE to do a great walk but the weather really puts me off.

With all the great advice so far our trip looks like this. the last few days are still a bit messy.

October 7th arrive 4pm find hotel go to sleep!

October 8th pick up camper then Christchurch to Picton in MS 4-5 hours arrive 3pm ish

9 Marlborough sounds

10 Marlborough sounds (kayak?)

11 Marlborough sounds day, evening leave to Collingwood Abel Tasman 3-4 hours drive

12 golden bay / Abel Tasman

13 golden bay / Abel Tasman (kayak?)

14 golden bay / Abel Tasman

15 punakaiki

16 punakaiki west coast wildlife centre

17 drive to Wanaka 7 hours - (or leave punakaiki earlier and see glaciers)

18 explore around Wanaka

19 drive to Te anau 3-3.5 hours. explore Te Anau. nighttime caves.

20 Doubtful Sound overnight cruise (Real Adventures?)

21 Arrive bk Te Anau @ 13:00. Drive to Queenstown.

22 Explore Queenstown.

23 explore somewhere like skippers canyon.

24 lake wakatipu horse riding

25 drive past lindis pass stay mt cook region

26 mt cook/ lake pukaki

27 driving/ exploring - lake Tekapo en route to Arthur's pass

28 Arthur's pass / walk

29 driving exploring on way bk to CC

30th drop off campervan/leave

California
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6. Re: 22 full day trip to South Island- any suggestions itinerary?

I had to look up West Coast Wildlife Center and it's at Franz Josef township. So I would suggest you spend the night there on the 16th. When I said I understood about you skipping the glaciers, I meant exploring them. I still think it's crucial to spend a night in that area to break up the journey. Haast pass over to Wanaka is a long and tiring haul - twisty roads and numerous one-lane bridges.

So if you would be interested in visiting a winery yourself, and not on a tour, that can easily be done. The largest winery region is in Marlborough, just south of the sounds - famous for its Sauvignon Blanc. Great Pinot Noirs are just east of Queenstown in the Gibbston Valley.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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7. Re: 22 full day trip to South Island- any suggestions itinerary?

There is a lovely valley near the Lindis - about 10-20 km on north side of pass called the Ahuriri. This is conservation land and you would be able to freedom camp. It is accessed by a gravel road but is not very visited and has lovely walks.

…govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/…

There are also lots of lovely walks along the West Coast and places to camp

Not sure why you are so worried about the weather and oding a great walk. It's not high summer but should be ok. The alpine tracks ahve opened again for the season. There's also several lower ones: Hollyford (even going in as far as the second hut) is really beautiful forest and quite doable at any time of the year.

…govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/…

Obviously, you don't have time to do the whole track, but you can do two days in to Alabastar Hut, then one long day out. Track is excellent condition, not difficult walking (we have done it with a 3 year old and two 6 year olds!).

New Zealand
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for South Island
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8. Re: 22 full day trip to South Island- any suggestions itinerary?

day 11 - please don't plan evening driving - especially such a long jaunt. The drive non-stop will take you over 5 hours - allow considerably longer if stopping for food, sightseeing etc. It is a drive you begin mid-morning, not the evening.

day 17 - yikes! vistiors average 6 hours to drive Franz to Wanaka if stopping a couple of times for food/sightseeing. Punakaiki to Wanaka is an exhasuting trip to consider. The road is narrow, steep and twisty plus has about 20 one lane bridges to negotiate. On top of that a van travels about 20% slower than a car - best overnight Franz or Fox and enjoy a couple of the lovely walks along Haast Pass the next day to Wanaka.

Driver fatigue is the number one cause of NZ road accidents. Please plan wisely and travel safe.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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9. Re: 22 full day trip to South Island- any suggestions itinerary?

You don't have to visit the glaciers if you don't want to, but you do need an overnight break between Punakaiki & Wanaka. There is a very nice DoC campsite at Lake Mapourika, just north of FJG if you don't want to stay in town. Do be aware of sunset and try to avoid driving at night - why miss all the stunning scenery you are travelling halfway round the world to see?

Sheffield, United...
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10. Re: 22 full day trip to South Island- any suggestions itinerary?

Thanks everyone! We'll do an overnight stop on the way south to Wanaka and try to do day time travelling. Both me and partner will be driving and both confident of us are confident and know our limits, so not worried about fatigue issues.

Thanks again!