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Need Advice From Others who have done a road trip in So NZL.

San Jose...
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Need Advice From Others who have done a road trip in So NZL.

Hello Travelers:

I am trying to plan out a road trip for 8 days (7 nights) in the Southern Island of New Zealand.

In coming up with an itinerary that works and would be best of the best since we have limited time, I have come up with a proposed itinerary. I need some expert tips and advice on if this makes good sense or is it just an overkill in terms of driving distances or if any of these places should be skipped in place of something more popular - Any advice will help.

Here is what we are planning:

Day 1 - Arrive into Christchurch - spend the day sight seeing in and around Christchurch

Day 2 - Christchurch to Franz Josef Glacier (is this a really long boring drive or is there lots to see along the way?). Is this doable in 5 hours or so?

Day 3 - Franz Josef Glacier to Wanaka

Day 4 - Wanaka to Te Anau

Day 5 - Te Anau to Milford Sound and then onto Queenstown (is this over ambitious or can this be done comfortably?)

Day 6 - Sight seeing in Queenstown

Day 7 - Queenstown to Tekapo

Day 8 - Lake Tekapo to Christchurch to arrive by noon and fly back to San Francisco

Looking for some advice on people who have done a road trip like this or similar?

Your time to respond will be much appreciated.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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1. Re: Need Advice From Others who have done a road trip in So NZL.

My first thought would be that you haven't given yourself any time to actually see and experience the places you are visiting. This is particularly true for Franz Josef and Wanaka. I would cut something out, or fly one way so that you have time to see the places you are going to.

New Zealand
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2. Re: Need Advice From Others who have done a road trip in So NZL.

Welcome to the forum Rupin :)

You missed the one vital bit of info - what time of year do you plan to visit? Best to write the full month rather than 11/08/13 which in NZ is 11th Aug.

plus you might be interested to know the Southern Island of NZ is Stewart Island.

You will actually be visiting the South Island - also known as the Mainland, though that is really just to annoy the North Islanders ;)

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3. Re: Need Advice From Others who have done a road trip in So NZL.

South Island highways are two-lane roads. Am I right to assume you are in San Jose, California? Then picture driving to the summit of the Santa Cruz mountains on Old Santa Cruz Hwy or Hwy 9. That's how a lot of the roads are in New Zealand. Even the flat bits wind around farmland and natural contours.

I think Telly has it right in that you should book a flight in or out of Queenstown. My suggestion:

Day 1: Arr Christchurch

Day 2: Drive to FJG

Day 3: Explore

Day 4: Drive to Wanaka

Day 5: Explore

Day 6: Drive to Queenstown

Day 7: Coach - Cruise - Coach (or Fly) Milford Sound

Day 8: Fly out

If Wanaka is too laid back for you, then omit the day there and tack it onto Queenstown. But you'll have time in Queenstown to explore on Day 6, since it's only an hour drive Wanaka/Queenstown.

Christchurch, New...
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4. Re: Need Advice From Others who have done a road trip in So NZL.

DeSchenke has hit the nail on the head. Your original itinerary was doable as a driving test with 3-10 hours driving per day (day 5 being the worst), but allowing no time to see anything other than through the car window. NZ is about bush walks, waterfalls, wild beaches etc.

You are on holiday so relax and enjoy! Domestic flights can be obtained quite cheaply on www.grabaseat.co.nz

If travelling in winter I would reverse her itinerary so that the flight is on day 1 just in case of delays.

Edited: 02 July 2013, 00:01
5. Re: Need Advice From Others who have done a road trip in So NZL.

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