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Revised itinerary for 2 wks in South Island

Tucson, Arizona
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Revised itinerary for 2 wks in South Island

After much consideration and reviewing other posts and have put together another attempt at planning our trip at the beginning of Nov. We will be flying into AKL on day 1 and will fly to Wellington later that day so we can take the ferry to South Island the next afternoon. I wanted to take the train but the train doesn't run that route on Fridays.

Day 1 Arrive AKL - fly to Wellington

Day 2 Leave Wellington to Picton to Kaikoura

Day 3 Kaikoura to Christchurch

Day 4 Christchurch

Day 5 Christchurch to Hokitika

Day 6 Hokitika to Franz Josef

Day 7 Franz Josef to Queenstown

Day 8 Queenstown Coach-Cruise-Coach to Milford Sound back to Queenstown

Day 9 Queenstown

Day10 Queenstown to Mt Cook

Day11 Mt Cook to Lake Tekapo

Day12 Lake Tekapo to Christchurch

Day13 ??

Day14 Christchurch to AKL (fly)

Day15 Leave AKL

I have at least a day and a half to play with as we can fly out of Christchurch in the morning before we leave AKL (we are going to Tahiti). We also have considered going to Dunedin and the Catlins instead of going the Mt Cook route to Christchurch. If that's what we decide, we will need all four days, I think. Any input would once again be so appreciated - wish I could meet up with all who have replied and buy you a pint or a glass of wine!

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: Revised itinerary for 2 wks in South Island

You have planned well, remember this is a holiday not a race to tick off as many locations as possible. You only have two places where you stay more than 1 night, which is tiring.

Option 1: keeping to your current itinerary - day 12. Tekapo to Akaroa; day 13. Akaroa; 14. Return to CHc; fly to AKL. This adds one extra detsination but it is a relaxign one before your long flight. You could do a dolphin tour there if not already done in Kaikoura.

Option 2: personally I would skip the 2 nights in Chch in the middle and keep it for the end.

Day 3 becomes Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs to Punakaiki

4. Punakaiki to FJG (2N)

5. Explore

6. FJG to Wanaka

7. Wanaka to Queenstown

8-12 as per your plan

13 explore Chch ....

Ballarat, Australia
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2. Re: Revised itinerary for 2 wks in South Island

I would also skip the 2 nights in Christchurch in the middle. Kaikoura to Punakaiki is a good alternative.

Mt Cook and Tekapo are very close - I would suggest staying two nights Mt Cook, and stopping to explore Tekapo on the way to Christchurch will be more relaxing. The only reason a night at Tekapo would be preferable would be if can do a night tour at the observatory, IMO.

Catlins and Dunedin are lovely for a longer trip but I would not skip Mt Cook for that route, personally.

If you want to keep up the pace, I would agree with Akaroa. Personally I prefer a slower trip, so my choice would be to add extra nights to Franz Joseph, Queenstown or Kaikoura.

New Zealand
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3. Re: Revised itinerary for 2 wks in South Island

Why skip Wanaka?

Visitors average 6 hours to drive Franz to Wanaka - it's an extra 1 - 2 hours to Queenstown.

And why 4 nights in Chch?

Oz
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4. Re: Revised itinerary for 2 wks in South Island

Hi,

I think you could make better use of your time by staying both at Wanaka and Queenstown. Giving yourselves extra time to enjoy Mt Cook is great, as much as I like Dunedin and the peninsula I think this is the "right" choice.

Chrictchurch is recovering from the earthquake. The CBD looks like a war zone with buildings demolished or being demolished. I understand that some are fascinated by the process and wish to help by supporting the economy, very welcome I'm sure. IMHO 4 nights in Christchurch is at least two too many. A visit to the museum which has excellent interps of the disaster plus a look around should be enough for most.

Cheers,

San Antonio, Texas
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5. Re: Revised itinerary for 2 wks in South Island

Milford Sound is awesome in early November, especially if you get rain; the waterfalls are just unreal on a rainy day. But if it's a clear day you'll have great views of snowcapped peaks, so you can't lose either way.

I'd stay 2 nights in the Franz Josef / Fox Glacier area to give some time to do one of the glacier hike tours. Fox Glacier is cheaper since you don't have to take a heli, but for helihike I think Franz Josef Glacier is cheaper. If you guys enjoy somewhat long walks at a relaxed pace, I would highly recommend the Nimble Fox tour from Fox Glacier Guides. I did it last November and it was a pretty amazing sight walking through crevasses in the ice falls section of the glacier.

San Antonio, Texas
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6. Re: Revised itinerary for 2 wks in South Island

And yeah, Christchurch was a mess last November. Maybe it has improved since then, but I ran into quite a few closed roads, streets with traffic allowed in one direction.. stuff like that when I accidentally passed through there on the drive between Oamaru and Kaikoura (I meant to bypass the city completely, but missed a turn).

San Antonio, Texas
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7. Re: Revised itinerary for 2 wks in South Island

Another option instead of your Christchurch time in the middle is to stay a night in Arthur's Pass between travelling from Kaikoura to Franz Josef. There are some awesome walks there, though they are pretty steep. Still, it's at such low altitude (I wanna say 3000 feet?) you don't get tired as quickly like you would at 9000-10000 feet in the US to get comparable subalpine scenery. Plus the keas are hilarious to see there. I loved waking up to them right outside my door at the Bealey Hotel in Arthur's Pass (try to get cabin #1 if you stay there; amazing view from there).

Dunedin is awesome, but that would be a huge amount of driving since you can't make the speeds nor times we're used to on our interstate highways in the US. Maybe save Dunedin, the Catlins, and Stewart Island for your next trip.

Forgot to mention you're going at a great time. Everything is green, the mountains are snowcapped, and everyone told me it was the lowest part of the low season. I didn't pre-book a single hotel and Glenorchy (great daytrip if you're staying Queenstown) was the only place I found a hotel without a vacancy (but the one a block away had open rooms, so I stayed there instead).

Edited: 20 July 2013, 23:50
Tucson, Arizona
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8. Re: Revised itinerary for 2 wks in South Island

Wow! Thanks again for all the wonderful input. I guess I really wasn't planning on spending four nights in Christchurch but that's the way the schedule ended up as I didn't know what else to put in there! So I am adding a night in either Kaikoura or Arthur's Pass (thanks SpursFan) and have taken Zhuhai recommendation to put extra nights in Franz Josef and a night in Wanaka (thanks WLnz) and an extra night in Mt Cook (thanks JeanW and OzrcFlyer). I think this is a much better schedule and will allow us more time to relax - and not spend our time packing and unpacking! Now onward to figuring out our accommodations...

Oz
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9. Re: Revised itinerary for 2 wks in South Island

Hi,

Thismay help with the accommodation.

If you use wotif as a "search engine" to short list places to stay then approach them directly you will usually obtain a "better' deal.

wotif.com/hotels/new-zealand-south-island-ho…

Renting a house or an appartment is often the way to go when you want to self cater. We use this site just put in where you wish to search.

www.holidayhouses.co.nz/Browse/List.aspx…

Cheers,

10. Re: Revised itinerary for 2 wks in South Island

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