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11 days Roadtrip around South. Possible?

Singapore, Singapore
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11 days Roadtrip around South. Possible?

Hi All!

I am planning a road trip with friends that consist of 4 adults and 1 kid (1 year old). We plan to travel from 8 December to 18 December 2013.

We are not into the extreme sport activities. At most, would be maybe paragliding or helicopter ride over the glacier. We hope to soak in the beautiful sceneries and landscapes over at New Zealand. The blue skies, glaciers and sorts.

Here is the itinerary that we have in mind. Appreciate if you could provide feedback.

1. Is the itinerary realistic?

2. Is the driving route feasible and the hours that I have estimated? I am a little stuck on how do I get myself from Franz Josef to Nelson. Is it really necessary for me to spend overnight at Greymouth? Or any recommendations?

3.Appreciate if there is any recommendations on areas that I should spend the night in.

Itinerary:

Date Description

8/Sun CC (10.35am)

Check in/Rest/Lunch till 2pm

Inner city tram/City mall/Botanic Garden/Gondola

(Done on the day or during the 2nd time back in CC)

Sleep at Christchurch

9/Mon Drive to Dunedin (1.5hrs)

Cadbury factory or Railway Station at Dunedin

Drive to Te-Anau (4hrs)

Gloworm cave (Either on the day or next morning)

Sleep at Te Anau

10/Tues Lake Te-Anau

Drive to Milford Sound-Queenstown (2.5hrs)

Kiwi Park/Skyline Gondola/The mall/Underwater world (Not necessary to cover all)

Sleep at Queenstown

11/Wed Drive to Franz Josef

Glacier/Helicopter ride

Sleep at Franz Josef

12/Thurs Drive to Greymouth (6 hours)

Sleep at Greymouth??

13/Fri Drive to Nelson (4.5 hours)

Sleep at Nelson

14/Sat Weekend Market

15/Sun Lake Tekapo/Southern Alps

Abel Tasman National Park

Llamas at Farmpark

Farewell Spit (sand dunes)/Puponga Farm park

Not necessary to cover all those above

Sleep 2 nights at Nelson

16/Mon Drive to CC (5 hours)

Sleep at Christchurch

17/Tues CC

Sleep at Christchurch

18/Wed Fly back home 11.45am

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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1. Re: 11 days Roadtrip around South. Possible?

Um no - what you plan is not a good idea. Your drive times are completely off the wall. take a look here for factual drive times and add longer for sightseeing, poor weather etc http://maps.aa.co.nz/#directions

You would need 3 weeks to cover the South Island top to bottom. In 10 days you can;

8 arrive Chch

9 drive 5 or 6 hours to Dunedin

10 drive to Te Anau, glow worm caves - the cave not suitable for your 1yo

11 bus to Milford, cruise, bus to Te Anau

12 drive to Queenstown

13 drive to Wanaka

14 drive 5 - 6 hours to Franz Josef

15 explore

16 drive to Hokitika or Punakaiki

17 drive to Chch

18 fly home

Singapore, Singapore
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2. Re: 11 days Roadtrip around South. Possible?

Thanks WLnz for your feedback! I will definitely look through your suggestion based on the link that you have given. And see how to tweak the itinerary.

It is good being able to hear it from others who have been there done that. :)

I got the driving route information based on this website: newzealand.com/travel/…print.html

Between Franz Josef and Nelson, which is a "should not miss" if you are going to New Zealand?

Singapore, Singapore
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3. Re: 11 days Roadtrip around South. Possible?

Also, to confirm with WLnz, when you said "11 bus to Milford, cruise, bus to Te Anau", does this mean to go to these places, we have to take the bus? Can we just use our rented car?

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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4. Re: 11 days Roadtrip around South. Possible?

The link you provided does not list Chch to Dunedin as 1.5 hours.

And yes I suggest you bus to Milford - the road has a high accident rate and your driver might enjoy a break from all the driving of this trip.

What vehicle do you plan to rent? I doubt all 5 of you plus luggage will fit into a regular car. You are best with an 8 seater. Your 1yo will need an approved baby seat which takes more space than an avarage sized adult.

Please note every person in the vehicle must wear their seat belt - including those in the rear seats. It is bad enought to read of visitors having a car accident, far worse to know that in most cases of fatal injuries the passangers weren't wearing seat belts.

You don't have time to drive all the way to Nelson.

California
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5. Re: 11 days Roadtrip around South. Possible?

With 10 days, you have to be satisfied with either seeing the top half of South Island, or the bottom half. Since most of what you have planned is the bottom half, stick with that. However, Dunedin really requires 2 nights and you don't have time. Why not go down through the middle and stay overnight at Mt Cook instead? I can't guarantee blue skies, but it certainly has a glacier!

Brisbane
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6. Re: 11 days Roadtrip around South. Possible?

Wow WLnz... that's the exact itinerary that my husband and I did last year, and I didn't have your help! I totally agree about not driving to Milford Sound. The road is much too dangerous. There are various day tours that operate out of Te Anau, and they include commentary and Milford cruise. I can highly recommend "Treks and Tramps" which is a smaller coach and has a more personalised experience.

Singapore, Singapore
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7. Re: 11 days Roadtrip around South. Possible?

Thank you ALL for the feedback. It helps us a lot in planning our trip. We have 3 drivers in our group that can take turn to drive. We plan to rent a Toyota Highlander.

We have decided to skip Milford Sound as some of us can't stand the bus/coach ride.

We have skipped Nelson as suggested.

As we really want to enjoy the glaciers, we decided to go both Franz Josef and Mount Cook.

We also don't want to miss the Arthur's Pass drive.

Here's our revised itinerary, after collecting feedback from you all.

December

8 Arrive Christchurch

9 Drive 5 or 6 hours to Dunedin

10 Drive to Te Anau, glow worm caves (Only for 2 adults. The other 2 will explore other parts with the kid)

11 Drive to Queenstown

12 Drive to Wanaka

13 Drive 5 - 6 hours to Franz Josef

14 Explore

15 Drive to Mt Cook

*Should we just stay all throughout from 13-15 at Franz Josef or Mt Cook better? Is it possible for us to drive over to the other for a visit? I was thinking by doing so, it helps in reducing the hussle of moving from 1 place to stay to another.*

16 Drive to Hokitika

17 Drive to Christchurch

18 Fly home

Appreciate the feedback if this is feasible and anything else that can build on.

Thank you soo much!

Singapore, Singapore
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8. Re: 11 days Roadtrip around South. Possible?

Please refer to this updated itinerary to provide feedback. We have revised it with some changes after researching further. Driving times is by estimation.

After researching further, we would prefer going from Christchurch to Queenstown via Lake Ketapo and skip Dunedin. Because we prefer the more landscape views along the way.

December

8 Arrive Christchurch

9 Drive to Lake Ketapo (4h)

10 Drive to Queenstown (4h)

11 Drive to Te Anau (2h) - Tentative plan to Te Anau. We will decide along the way.

Drive back to Queenstown (2h)

Sleep at Queenstown

* 2nights at Queenstown*

12 Drive to Wanaka (2h)

13 Drive to Franz Josef (5-6h)

14 Explore

Sleep at Franz Josef

15 Drive to Mt Cook and back to Franz Josef?

Sleep at Franz Josef

*3 nights at Franz Josef*

16 Drive to Hokitika

17 Drive to Christchurch via Arthur's Pass

18 Fly home

With this itinerary, it will mean less shuffling around on our accommodation. More manageable especially with a 1 yo kid with us.

Appreciate the feedback.

1. Is this driving route feasible with the driving times estimation?

2. Should we just stay all throughout from 13-15 at Franz Josef or Mt Cook better? Is it possible for us to drive over to the other for a visit? By doing so, it helps in reducing the hussle of moving from 1 place to stay to another.

3. Is it possible for us to drive from Franz Josef straight to Christchurch? By doing so, we get 2 nights at Christchurch.

This is our first trip together with a small kid. We are looking forward to a nice and memorable trip together of New Zealand. Thank you soo much for the help! :)

Ballarat, Australia
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9. Re: 11 days Roadtrip around South. Possible?

Franz Josef and Mt Cook Village are many hours drive apart by road.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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10. Re: 11 days Roadtrip around South. Possible?

It is not practical to drive from Franz Josef to MT Cook. At Wanaka, you need to make a choice to go to Mt Cook, or via the West Coast to Franz Josef. You are doing a huge amount of driving if you attempt to go from FJ to Mt Cook (or vice versa). They look close on a map, but there is a mountain range in between.