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Is this 6 day trip in South Island doable?

Kuching, Malaysia
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Is this 6 day trip in South Island doable?

Hi! My friends and I will be making it to South Island in this October! While we are here, we're just mainly for picture taking of the many scenery and nothing much of everything else. We;re planning to rent a car to drive around.

Day 1 - Fly to Dunedin. Half day tour of the city.

Day 2 - Drive to Te Anau and spend night there. Someone suggested using the southern scenic route or something.

Day 3 - Milford Sound tour. Spend night in Queenstown.

Day 4 - Full day tour of Queenstown.

Day 5 - Drive to Christchurch.

Day 6 - Fly home.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: Is this 6 day trip in South Island doable?

Welcome to the NZ Forum! This is really too ambitious for only 5 days. You will see nothing but the road in front of you for most of the time!

Why fly into Dunedin when you have only half a day there? Better to fly into Queenstown (ZQN).

The SSR (Southern Scenic Route) needs a minimum of 2 days/1N, which you don't have.

Te Anau to Milford Sound to Queenstown is too far to self-drive in one day (around 10 hours travelling, including the cruise). Do note that October is still considered avalanche season on the Milford Rd.

QTN to Chch is another very long day. Locals can do it in 6-7 hours driving time (plus a minimum of 2hours for lunch, coffee, photos etc) but this does not do justice to this beautiful piece of NZ. Ideally you will allow 2days!

So my take on your trip becomes:

1. Fly into ZQN, explore

2. Coach tour to Milford Sound - let a professional driver handle the road & you can sleep on the way back!

3. Pick up rental car & explore beyond QTN, eg Glenorchy

4. Drive to Mt Cook

5. drive to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo

6. Fly home.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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2. Re: Is this 6 day trip in South Island doable?

Zhuhai has given you a much more sensible itinerary. The drive from Dunedin to Te Anau isn't that special. You are better off using QT as an entry point for Te Anau/Milford.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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3. Re: Is this 6 day trip in South Island doable?

Welcome to the forum RE :)

Zhuhai has offered a smart itinerary to make best use of your limited time.

Enjoy :)

Kuching, Malaysia
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4. Re: Is this 6 day trip in South Island doable?

Thanks peeps! We do badly want to have a glimpse of the penguins and at Dunedin, so that's why we considered flying into Dunedin in the first place... :(

Yeah, we are definitely not driving to Milford Sound since we are planning on to take the tour bus instead.

I hope to squeeze on some short activity on Day 6, as I just noticed our flight back is late in the evening. Any suggestions on that?

Wanaka, New Zealand
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5. Re: Is this 6 day trip in South Island doable?

Antarctic Centre? If you have missed penguins in the wild elsewhere, you could at least see them here. There are also many other interesting exhibits re polar exploration.

Kuching, Malaysia
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6. Re: Is this 6 day trip in South Island doable?

Cheers to that suggestion, Telly! I realized we have to sacrifice bits here and there, but that's a great alternative to watch and learn about penguins :)

By the way, thank you Zhuhai for the itinerary. As for day 3 you've suggested Glenorchy, I think that is a good idea. Would you guys recommend the Routeburn guided walk on the day? I saw that it's roughly 45 mins to 1 hour drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy.

Ballarat, Australia
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7. Re: Is this 6 day trip in South Island doable?

If your flight back is late, you could consider driving Mt Cook to Oamaru on day 5 and seeing the penguins there. You can see yellow-eyed penguins from hides at Bushy Beach and then go see the little blue penguin show. You will miss seeing Lake Tekapo, which is pretty, but if penguins are a big thing for you it might be worth it. Oamaru is a small but attractive old town with lots of Victorian buildings.

It would be a straightforward drive to Christchurch along the main highway on day 6, so you could easily be in Christchurch by lunchtime, or mid afternoon with some stops along the way.

The Antarctic Centre is worth seeing and convenient to the airport.

Ballarat, Australia
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8. Re: Is this 6 day trip in South Island doable?

There are lots of options at Glenorchy. You could just drive, explore, picnic and do some of the great day walks around the area, eg Invincible Gold Mine, Lake Sylvan, Chinaman's Bluff. …govt.nz/Documents/…head-of-lake-wakatipu.pdf This is a great day out and free! :)

Dart River Safari takes in some amazing scenery, with or without the Funyak option: http://www.dartriver.co.nz/

There are two places doing horse trekking in the area: http://www.high-country-horses.co.nz/ or http://www.dartstables.com/

There is also kayaking on the lake, fishing guides, heli tours, etc.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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9. Re: Is this 6 day trip in South Island doable?

You could easily do some of the Routeburn Track without a guide. The first 6km (to Routeburn Flats Hut) is VERY easy. The track is well made, with little mud, and it would be (virtually) impossible to lose the track. In this section of the track you would be walking in native forest beside the Routeburn River (more of a big stream). There is one impressive waterfall en route. If you made it as far as the Flats Hut, you can walk onto the river shore beside the hut and see mountains around you. If you had the time/energy, you could just as easily walk up to the Falls Hut (I think about another hour but I'm not sure as I've only run it the other way recently). Even part way along the Routeburn will give you some of the experience in beautiful forest, and you are likely to see some birdlife. There is a toilet about half way, and another place with a track down to the river (most of this section is above the river). Lake Sylvan is also a nice walk - if you go as far as the lake, but the Routeburn River and potential for mountain views after 6km makes the Routeburn nicer.

Kuching, Malaysia
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10. Re: Is this 6 day trip in South Island doable?

Thank you Jean W, I'm glad you people recommended to include Glenorchy. The dart river jet is very nice indeed. I think this will be an incredible journey, albeit a short one. We'll have to be contempt with watching penguins from the Antarctic centre, when there are more beautiful things to explore. I think a second NZ holiday trip should be in order soon! :D