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Finalizing itinerary South Island Nov/Dec two choices

Pennsylvania
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Finalizing itinerary South Island Nov/Dec two choices

Hello All,

I am would like your advice on two itineraries for the South Island in Nov/Dec. I have decided on two options. I want to do some day hikes, wine tasting, maybe hot springs, \ and explore some beautiful scenery. I will be arriving from Tahiti where I spent three days recovering from the trip from the US. Here are my two options.

Option 1

1 - Arrive in Blenheim in the evening

2 - Blenheim (wine tasting)

3 - Drive via Kaikoura - night in Christchurch

4 - Drive to Franz via Arthurs pass

5 - Stay in Franz. Trip to Lake Matheson. Hot springs. Walk to lookout. Will not do a Heli since I do not like helicopters.

6 - Drive to Wanaka and stay in Wanaka. I would like to see the Blue Pools via Haast

7 - Drive to Queenstown

8 - Queenstown - Explore Glenorchy.

9 - Fly back to AKL

10 - AKL - Wahieke Island.

11 - Home

Option 2

1 - Arrive in Blenheim in the evening

2 - Blenheim (wine tasting)

3 - Drive via Kaikoura - night in Christchurch

4 - Christchurch to Mt. Cook via Lake Taupo

5 - Mt. Cook to Lake Wanaka

6 - Explore Lake Wanaka

7 - Queenstown

8 - Queenstown - Glenorchy

9 - Fly back to AKL

10 - AKL - Wahieke Island.

11 - Home

I am going to spend the last two nights in AKL before I head back home. I want to see as much as I can without spending all my time in the car. I know I will be missing the Fiordland but I am going to save that for another trip. I love day hikes to waterfalls and beautiful scenery. I am trying not to rush and would like to enjoy the cities/towns in which I am staying. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you very much.

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Ballarat, Australia
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1. Re: Finalizing itinerary South Island Nov/Dec two choices

Your second option will be more relaxing, and given what you said about your interests and the short time available it would probably suit you better. I agree you don't have time for Fiordland if you want a relaxed trip. The day hikes around Wanaka are gorgeous! You might want to do a wine tour from Wanaka or Queenstown, too. Your route goes via Lake Tekapo, not Lake Taupo. :)

Oz
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2. Re: Finalizing itinerary South Island Nov/Dec two choices

Hi,

Given your stated interests why are you going to Blenheim, Kaikoura and Christchurch?

Here is a draft to confuse you even more:

Day 1. Arrive Christchurch and explore.

Day 2. CHC to Fox Glacier via Arthurs Pass

Day 3. Fox Trot or similar at Fox Glacier

Day 4. Fox to Wanaka explore

Day 5. Wanaka explore/hikes

Day 6. Wanaka to Queenstown adventure activities/ explore

Day 7. Queenstown fly cruise fly Fiordland excursion

Day 8. Wine and cheese tour Otago/Cromwell area.

Day 9: Queenstown to Mt Cook

Day 10. Mt Cook explore/hikes.

Day 11. Mt Cook to CHC and fly home

Cheers,

Pennsylvania
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3. Re: Finalizing itinerary South Island Nov/Dec two choices

Hello Oz,

I apologize for not being more clear. I going to Blenheim since I am a huge fan of Sav Blanc and IMO the Marlborough Sav Blanc's are the best in the world. I am also flying home from Auckland and that is why I would like to spend that last two night in AKL. My flights back to the US are already booked. Thanks for your recommendations. Much appreciated.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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4. Re: Finalizing itinerary South Island Nov/Dec two choices

have you considered flipping your trip - flying into Queenstown, out of Blenheim up to Auckland?

I think the Lindis Pass for more stunning when driving Wanaka to Aoraki/Mt Cook rather than driving Aoraki to Wanaka - not that you will be disappointed with the drive, either way.

Pennsylvania
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5. Re: Finalizing itinerary South Island Nov/Dec two choices

Thanks WLnz. I checked in to flipping the trip. My problem is there are no good flights to QTN. I am getting into AKL at 12:50pm and the only direct flight to QTN is at 2:15pm. I feel that might be cutting it to close. There is a 3:20pm going to Blenheim. Do you think going through Mt. Cook (option number 2) is a better option?? Also is there any other place you would recommend staying between Blenheim and Mt. Cook? I picked Christchurch since it is about half way, but I am not committed to going to CHC. Can you get in and out of Christchurch easy?? I do like cities but I know it can be challenging driving in and out of center city (I drive to Philadelphia often and traffic is awful :( ). If there are any other recommendations it would be much appreciated. Thanks again for all of you help.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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6. Re: Finalizing itinerary South Island Nov/Dec two choices

I love Aoraki/Mt Cook and the Lindis Pass, so yes, that would be my choice.

I think you will find Chch quite an interesting visit. It isn't often one can view a city in such a huge state of rebuild and while I haven't been to the reSTART mall, it sounds inovative and fun http://www.restart.org.nz/

I always get lost when driving in Chch as it is so flat with no landmarks and since the earthquake is is even more flat with less landmarks, but with the rebuild I think they might have simplified the roads somewhat. But it is nowhere near the size of Philly so you can't get majorly lost!

enjoy :)

Oz
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7. Re: Finalizing itinerary South Island Nov/Dec two choices

Hi passiontravellers,

Now Blenheim makes sense. I agree there are some fabulous Sauvignon blancs from that area. However, isn’t there always a however, I think that a visit to the South Island without visiting and sampling the wines from Central Otago would be a great waste.

IMHO this region produces some of the best Pinots and the Pinot Ice wine from the Akarua winery just out of Cromwell is “to die for” if you like dessert wines. Hopefully soon back in stock.

http://www.nzwine.com/wineries/central-otago/

http://www.akarua.com/wines/

Sounds like a great holiday,

Cheers,

Pennsylvania
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8. Re: Finalizing itinerary South Island Nov/Dec two choices

Thank you WLnz. Christchurch it is. I am going to start my accommodation research. If you have any recommendations it would be much appreciated. It is only a few months away and I am getting really excited. Thanks again for all your help.

Pennsylvania
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9. Re: Finalizing itinerary South Island Nov/Dec two choices

Thanks OZ. Wine tasting in Central Otago is on my list. Thanks for the website information. I am hoping with four nights in the Wanaka and Queenstown area I will be able to hit a few wineries. If you have any more recommendations they would be much appreciated. Thanks again.

10. Re: Finalizing itinerary South Island Nov/Dec two choices

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