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Lower South Island road trip

Christchurch, New...
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Lower South Island road trip

Hi

We're planning a trip to Queenstown, Te Anau and Invercargill this summer. The last time we drove around was more than 10yrs ago so there're some things I'm not sure of and hope you can help.

Christchurch to Queenstown

2 main route plans. Either through Benmore power station (My kid wants to see the dam) or lake Tekapo. I've been through both places a few times but haven't been to lake Tekapo during summer. Are the lupins still flowering now? Tough choice b'cos I think it'll be quite tiring to detour to otematata from omarama.

If I were to go pass Benmore, do I take highway 1, 82 then join to 83 or should I just do 1 then 83?

If I were to go pass lake Tekapo, is it worth it to do a detour along highway 77 and 72 then go through Geraldine or should I just go straight to Geraldine through 1?

We won't be doing any walks on the way to Queenstown, just some reststops (either Fairlie or Timaru dep on route we take) and stopping by at 45degree parallel sign at Cromwell. We'll probably leave the house around 8:30am and we don't mind arriving queenstown around 5-6pm.

Te Anau to Milford

I'm thinking realistically, there's no way I can catch 9am cruise if we drive up from Te Anau in the morning. The last time we were there one July, we decided to just sleep in and enjoy Te Anau and skip Milford. But this time round, with a kid, I shouldn't set bad examples .

How do you find the afternoon cruises? I read that mid-day ones are usually packed with tour groups and I'm trying to avoid it. Will 11am cruise be packed with tour groups?

Are the temperatures quite cold at Milford and doubtful sounds in summer? Can I get away with a fleece jacket and a sweater?

Te Anau to Invercargill

We'll be driving along the southern scenic route. I've never driven that route before so keeping my fingers cross.

Invercargill

I was thinking of making day trips to Slope point and drive around Catlin area. Is it doable? I think it's too late for me to try and get accomodation at Catlin area.

Also, are there any places that might still sell oysters this time of the yr?

Invercargill to Christchurch

I was thinking of just driving straight w/o overnight stop.

We drove Te Anau-Dunedin-christchurch in a day before. That trip we wanted to stay overnight at Dunedin but changed our minds when we got there. We were 10yrs younger then and it was in July so weather was nice and cool.

Lately, the heat's been really killing and I'm not sure how the weather will be like. Would you able to suggest any place that I might stay overnight at late notice if we find it too tiring along the way?

Thanks and have a great week ahead

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: Lower South Island road trip

I think you are pushing yourselves to do all this at peak season. Chch to QTN is a very long drive without trying to add detours. I certainly wouldn't go as far south as Timaru. Far better to go through Geraldine & Fairlie - (a) less traffic; (b) more scenic - & I'm pretty sure quicker too. The alternative is to take 2 days & go via Oamaru & up the Waitaki Valley past all the dams.

Christchurch, New...
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2. Re: Lower South Island road trip

Thanks Zhuhai2007. 2 days probably is a good idea but I decide to drive to queenstown in one day b'cos I wanted to get to queenstown before Christmas holidays. Looks like he'll have wait for another trip to see Benmore.

Could you suggest a good night stop between invercargill and christchurch? I really don't want to stop a night at Dunedin but other than that we're pretty open. I thought may be Oamaru? This will be a 10-12 night trip, haven't finalized the last bits yet.

Take care

Edited: 15 December 2013, 04:59
Ballarat, Australia
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3. Re: Lower South Island road trip

I agree - Christchurch to Queenstown is a long drive, so if you must do it in one day, go the most direct route.

We once went Invercargill to Christchurch in one day with kids and regretted it - the last hour was really hard! Oamaru would make a good stop.

New Zealand
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4. Re: Lower South Island road trip

I can't help but ask - what have you done in Dunedin that makes you shy of it now?

It is a fabulous small city with outstanding wildlife possibilities and great character.

You are planning some exceptionally long drives. Driver fatigue is the common-most cause of NZ road accidents. Please take care, think of your family, and allow time to explore and stay overnight on your route.

The SSR is a great drive.

Enjoy :)

Christchurch, New...
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5. Re: Lower South Island road trip

Thanks Jean. Yeah driving with kids is always harder. Toilet stop, food stop and endless questions. :-) I'm just trying to do QT and Te Anau before Christmas but after that we're not really in a rush so I don't mind stopping one or 2 more nights if need be.

Christchurch, New...
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6. Re: Lower South Island road trip

Hi WLNZ,

I have nothing against Dunedin. I've been there twice. first time about 20yrs ago specifically to visit Dunedin. After we got there we got abit bored and drove back to chch without sleeping a night there. Second time was about 10yrs back. We wanted to stay a night on the way back from te Anau. But after lunch around Octagon, we decided to just drive on to chch. So, I thought history will repeat itself and I'll probably just drive on. My kid is more into adrenalin rush than wild life or he's happy enough building sand castles. So, I'm looking for alternative stop.

Is Catlin very far from invercargill for day trip?

Take care

New Zealand
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7. Re: Lower South Island road trip

Why not take a couple of days to drive through the Catlins on your way back to Chch?

Loook on a map - there is little point in driving back and forth, back and forth.

Auckland, New...
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8. Re: Lower South Island road trip

Here you go - have a look at this route http://goo.gl/6noi9C

Christchurch, New...
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9. Re: Lower South Island road trip

Thanks eating_eater. :-)

Christchurch, New...
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10. Re: Lower South Island road trip

Hi WLnz, yeah saw it on the map that it's 1:30-2hr drive but I was thinking b'cos I found suitable accomodation in Invercargill. I'll see if I can find something at kaka pt or curiso bay. Btw, is it too long a direct drive from catlins coast to christchurch?

Thanks