We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

10 days self drive south island (early Nov '13)

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
37 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
10 days self drive south island (early Nov '13)

Hi

This is the inital plan for the trip

3-Nov Christchurch-Lake Tekapo

4-Nov Lake Tekapo-Mount Cook-Queenstown

5-Nov Queenstown free and easy

6-Nov Queenstown-Te Anau-Millford Sound-Te Anau - Millford Sound

7-Nov Queenstown-Wanaka- Franz Josef

8-Nov Franz Josef-Greymouth

9-Nov Greymouth-Nelson

10-Nov Nelson-Abel Tasman

11-Nov Nelson-Blenheim-Kaikoura

12-Nov Kaikoura-Christchurch

13-Nov Christchurch

do you guys think it is too much to cover?

Given the choice above, if we need to skip one or two of the places, is it nelson-able tasman to be skipped? what is the most special things that you can find from this place, beside kayaking and tracking (which i assume should be great but required a lot of hours to spend)?

comparing nelson-able tasman to dunedin, which one is better? in term of scenic view, the west coast journey should covered it right?

hope to get some insight here so I can enjoy south island as much as I can grab within this short time frame of 10 days..

thank you =)

Western Victoria
Level Contributor
347 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
11. Re: 10 days self drive south island (early Nov '13)

I also think you are trying to see too much. I have driven around the South a few times and would suggest a few more days than you have planned. You will go through a lot of small towns that are worth a stop and look see, many have small museums or attractions, check the local I-sites.

Make a list of "must see" locations. Cull those that are "nice" but not vital.

Consider getting the bus from Queesntown to Milford, saves on changing accomodation and gives you more time to explore The Remarkables, Glenorchy etc. You have also considered Doubtful sound, to do this you would have to drive as it leaves about 0800, stay at either Manapouri or Te Anau in that case.

As mentioned, spend a day in Chch to recover, make this your Chch day and take it easy.

IMVHO, the Glaciers are not that amazing though you plan a flight which is the best way of seeing them.

I would suggest Akaroa over Kaikoura, choose FJ or Fox, not both, plenty of lakes like Lake Matheson,

Have plenty of Plan B available, heavy rain could "dampen" the allure of many places & drives.

Gore, New Zealand
Level Contributor
324 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
12. Re: 10 days self drive south island (early Nov '13)

Glad to hear you are not driving. .....and you will enjoy your trip so much more I believe.

Personally I love the glaciers and would not miss them. I also would not miss Lake Matheson. Beautiful photo ops and all within a half hour walk.

I also believe the route suggested by others would be a better use of your time and views are much nicer.

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
37 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
13. Re: 10 days self drive south island (early Nov '13)

Hi all,

thank you for the advise so far.. yeah has been thinking to change the route as per suggested...

I will post it later once finalized... still touching up here and there..

as for kaikoura, i guess the seal or pup seal is the main things that convincing us to travel to that park of NZ.. btw are they easy to find during our time of visit?

yeah we will chose a coach tour milford sound from queenstown, as a part of recovery as well after long hour drive..

during the traveling from CHC to hokitika, we are planning through arthur pass, so the question is on the arthur pass, what are the attraction beside rubicon valley? on that same note, if we plan for a horse riding, which one is better on the rubicon valley or on FJ?

yeah we have plan for the heli ride on either Fox or FJ. Hope it worth the money *finger crossed... on the side note, this Franz Josef - Helicopter Mt Cook Snow Landing - 40 Minutes attraction only provide heli ride and no hiking right? and also does anyone know where it land as the final stop?

as for the jetride, do you guys think that dart river jet is better than shotover jet? in term of the whole experience of New Zealand.. not only thrilling ride.. btw on the dart river jet, anyone know any good deals to look for?

Singapore, Singapore
3 posts
Save Reply
14. Re: 10 days self drive south island (early Nov '13)

Hi, I going to NZ for 10 days self drive also but I did not include so many destinations

mine is like below:

day 1: CHC to kaikoura for discovery walk and whale watching then travel down to Hanmer Spring for hot pool and stay the night

day 2: drive to Franz Josef via Arthur pass, then rest the day

day 3: Glacier walk then drive down to Arrowtown

day 4 & 5: sky diving, white water rafting and horse riding

day 6: drive to te anua for milford sound and stay the night there

day 7: drive to Dunedin and stay the night

day 8: drive to CHC and relax there

day 9: home

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
Level Contributor
33,680 posts
331 reviews
Save Reply
15. Re: 10 days self drive south island (early Nov '13)

Ramesses, you have absolutely no time to do a glacier walk or see Milford Sound, or see Dunedin so why go to all tese places?

Day 2 is more than 6 hours driving, so about 8 hr counting stops.

Day 3. If going onto the glacier, the guided walk may not get you back to your car until around 1-2 pm and then it is a 6 hour + drive to Arrowtown.

Day 6. I don't quite follow - are you staying the night at Te Anau AFTER driving to Milford Sound (about 7 hours + the cruise)?

I suggest you drop Te Anau & Dunedin and add the time saved to FJG & Mt Cook. Take a coach tour to Milford Sound.

Singapore, Singapore
3 posts
Save Reply
16. Re: 10 days self drive south island (early Nov '13)

Hi Zhuhai, thanks for the reply.

for day 2, we might change the route to via Lewis Pass to save time.

for the glacier walk, I booked 9.30am, so hopefully by 1.30pm, everything will be done and starting driving down.

we are staying at Te anau after the cruise, coz it is really late (nearly 6pm) after that to drive to anywhere else. the cruise starts around 10am+, so we're driving from Arrowtown to te anau in the morning.. the distance was around 178km from the web.

Wanaka, New Zealand
Level Contributor
3,081 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
17. Re: 10 days self drive south island (early Nov '13)

You will have to leave Arrowtown extremely early to arrive in Milford Sound by 10am. The drive may only be 178km but that is going to take you 3-4 hours+ driving. It will be extremely slow going around the lake between QT and Kingston. Then there will be another slow stretch from the Divide to Milford Sound - plus fantastic scenery that you won't have time to stop and admire.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,369 posts
84 reviews
Save Reply
18. Re: 10 days self drive south island (early Nov '13)

Yikes, you need to allow a minimum of 4.5 hours to reach Milford in time for a cruise. This is madness!!

Get the bus tour from Queenstown - it is the far easier and far far safer plan.

The Milford Road has a high number of road accidents, many due to visitors who have no idea about NZ roads.

and yikes, driving to Arrowtown after a hike at Franz? this is a demanding drive of over 6 hours requiring a fully alert driver.

Please plan wisely and travel safe :)

Singapore, Singapore
3 posts
Save Reply
19. Re: 10 days self drive south island (early Nov '13)

ok thks, actually I meant to drive to te anua for the coach to Milford Sound, so that we can enjoy, coz I read that the roads to Milford Sounds is tricky. sorry for not clarifying it earlier. I've 2 drivers with me for the trip, so at least we can rotate between the long drive.

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
37 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
20. Re: 10 days self drive south island (early Nov '13)

Hi all,

just finished the trip around south island for 10 days.. and it was great and awesome..

3-Nov Singapore-Christchurch-Kaikoura; Note: the black rabbit pizza is delicious and the crayfish (lobster) is nice as well. We met around a dozen of seal pup at ohau stream..

4-Nov Kaikoura - Arthur's Pass --> Explore the castle hill and arthur's pass (scenic driving route)..

5-Nov Arthur's pass - hokitika --> day trip to punakaiki, lake kaniere, hokitika george, and night time visit the glow worm dell.. the cafe de' french is quite nice for dinner..

6-Nov Hokitika - Fox --> scenic flight, fox glacier half day hiking, lake matheson.. The scenic flight was awesome since it is very sunny that day and glacier hiking is cool experience as well if you done it for the first time..

7-Nov Fox - Wanaka --> skydiving, haast pass.. The skydiving maybe one of the highlight of the trip since it is totally different experience.. Haast pass -- the short walk is very nice and easy such as: roaring billy, thunder creek, etc.. Lake wanaka is one of the best town since the lake is calm and not so crowded..

8-Nov Wanaka - QT via cromwell and arrow town --> visited Mrs jones stall, the golden kiwi was very nice and sweet.. as for arrow town, I would like to recommend La Rumbla for a lunch/dinner stop as the food is awesome (try the short rib beef if you can eat beef/meat).. The skygondola ride at QT is a must if you want to have a great view of QT as overall..

9-Nov Queenstown-Te Anau-Millford Sound-Te Anau - Millford Sound --> Milford sound, Fiordland Nat Park via day tour.. the Fiordland nat park is nice offering great view, as for the cruise, we were lucky to have few dolphins swimming around our boat..

10-Nov QT --> Kjet boat ride and horse riding at glenorchy.. Driving to glenorchy will reward you with scenic view and some rainbow...

11-Nov QT - lake tekapo detour to mount cook --> at mount cook, i will recommend a drive to lake tasman to view the tasman glacier and iceberg at lake tasman, it is a 25 minutes walk.. the view at lake tekapo is great.. note: try to stop at salmon farm along your driving to mount cook, the smoked salmon is nice..

12-Nov lake tekapo - CHC --> the aftermath of the earthquake is a sad view.. hope CHC can recover soon..

13-Nov Christchurch - Singapore..

Overall comment: A great and awesome country to visit, everywhere you go will be reward with scenic view due to the southern alps mountain with snowy peak on top of it, couple with lake and greenery make it a very picturesque.. The driving experience will make you love to drive due to a very well maintain road; no traffic; no overtaking.. And the people there are friendly and helpful.. Hope next time can do a trip from north to south..