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Help on Sth Island itinerary for March with young children

Adelaide, Australia
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Help on Sth Island itinerary for March with young children

Hi there

We are currently planning a trip to the South Island from Australia in late March next year for 2 weeks. We are flying in to Christchurch and have decided we would most like to do the 'south of Christchurch' areas rather than Nelson, etc. We are travelling with our 2 young children who will be 4 and 2 at the time. We obviously want to enjoy as much as we can but are very wary of overdoing it with young kids and just ending up exhausted. I would like to limit driving time to 3-4 hours/day. We are planning on ending in the Queenstown area and flying back from Queenstown to ChCh to save travel time. We definitely want to include Wanaka, Queenstown and Milford Sound. Not too fussed about Dunedin (although open to suggestions) and not interested in the glaciers this trip as the kids are too young.

So! I have a couple of general queries:

1. Is it worth trying to include just north of Christchurch, ie. Kaikoura and/or Hanmer Springs, as they seem really nice and good for young kids?

2. I am fairly keen to get over to the West Coast via Arthur's Pass as I have heard it is beautiful, but is not what we had originally planned. (Had originally thought we would go down via Lake Tekapo, Pukaki, etc) Would this add too much time to our trip? Also where would be a good stop over between Hokitika and ChCh? Is there one? I think ChCh to Hokitika in one day might be too much.

3. Is Mt Cook worth doing if the children are so little? We won't be able to do much walking with them other than short-ish ones so I am not sure if it would be worth the travel.

4. If we do the Arthur's Pass/Hokitika route then we will forsake Lake Tekapo/Pukaki/Mt Cook. (Given we are flying back from Qtn to ChCh) Does anyone have suggestions as to which way would be better to go?

I will probably have more questions but wanted to get some feedback on this initially.

Any help from those more knowledgable than me would be appreciated!

Cheers

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: Help on Sth Island itinerary for March with young children

Flying back from ZQN, does limit you to EITHER the WEST Coast or the inland route. There is no wrong decision, although the West Coast does require more driving, and has the possibiliy or more rain.

You could start with Hanmer Springs, then Lewis Pass to Punakaiki; Glaciers (you don't have to hike); Wanaka; Te Anau; Queenstown.

Option 2 would be Chch to Lake Tekapo; Mt Cook (plenty of short walks such as Governors Bush); Wanaka, Te Anau, Queenstown.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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2. Re: Help on Sth Island itinerary for March with young children

In Wanaka the children will enjoy the playground on the lakefront (the Dinosaur Park as it's known locally). They might also like clip n' climb at Basecamp if the weather isn't great and you need an inside activity. There's a good (and fenced) playground in Greymouth with toilets nearby. We used to stop there when our children were small to let them burn off some energy.

Oz
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3. Re: Help on Sth Island itinerary for March with young children

Hi,

We have done numerous similar trips with our adult children and grand children, albeit in winter. You know your children best but I would suggest that flying CHC to Queenstown and doing day trips and activities from there and/or Wanaka would be less stressful on all.

FWIW we have just returned and are planning our August 2014 ski trip with our grandson who will be nearly five at that time. We have decided to fly to Queenstown, pick up the rental and drive to Wanaka for four days, return to Queenstown for another four days and then fly back to Oz.

To answer your specifics:

1. I wouldn't do this with young children and many of the pools at Hanmer Springs are for adults only.

2. The Glaciers on the west coast are amazing but there isn't anything much for little ones. Arthurs Pass would be a logical stop.

3. Mt Cook is amazing but IMHO not for little people.

4. My advice is to fly.

I second Telly N's advice re Puzzling World and I'm looking forward to taking our grandson there almost as much as introducing him to skiing.

Cheers,

Ballarat, Australia
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4. Re: Help on Sth Island itinerary for March with young children

I would go through the middle - less driving and likely better weather, and yes the glaciers will be better to visit when the kids are older.

Mt Cook doesn't have a lot of activities for youngsters but the scenery is magnificent and there are good short walks to enjoy, so I would go and relax there for two nights/one day. Allow plenty of time in Wanaka - the best place in the alpine region with young kids IMO. Then Te Anau for two or three nights and finish in Queenstown. This will make a good pace with young ones, hitting some major sights but without having to be on long drives every other day - you only have four real driving days out of two weeks, and none of them are too hard.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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5. Re: Help on Sth Island itinerary for March with young children

The children will enjoy the bird park in Te Anau.

Adelaide, Australia
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6. Re: Help on Sth Island itinerary for March with young children

Great advice! Thanks so much.

7. Re: Help on Sth Island itinerary for March with young children

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