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Queenstown to Christchurch, driving West Coast in 6 nights

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Queenstown to Christchurch, driving West Coast in 6 nights

My wife and i have 2 weeks in the South Island. We've got the first week arranged (Doubtful Sound overnight cruise, 1 night in Te Anau, 4 nights in Queenstown doing outdoors stuff and then a wedding), but we're kind of overwhelmed by the choices for the second week. We're planning to leave Queenstown on Sunday, February 9th, and fly out of Christchurch on Saturday, February 15th. We're thinking something like this:

Sunday: Wanaka.

Sunday night in Wanaka.

Monday: driving to Franz Josef

Monday night in Franz Josef

Tuesday: half day Franz Josef glacier hike, then check out Fox glacier briefly, then drive to Punakaiki

Tuesday night in Punakaiki

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: Abel Tasman? or the Marlborough region? or Kaikoura??

Friday night: Christchurch

Saturday: Christchurch, then 4pm flight out of Christchurch

So you can see that we have a few days that we haven't quite figured out how to use. Should we spend them in Abel Tasman? Marlborough? Kaikoura? Or Christchurch? Or are we rushing too much through Wanaka or the glaciers?

Another possibility is we could spend a day longer in Queenstown and go to Milford sound... we've already booked an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound; is it redundant to also go to Milford sound? Or is Milford very much worthwhile?

Do we need to book everything ahead for this time of year? Or would it be reasonable to, say, get to the glaciers and then decide how long to spend there?

About us: about 30 years old, from New York City. We really enjoy good food (though not particularly into wine). We like day hikes and outdoor activities, but we're not really beach people and probably(?) don't have the time/energy to organize an overnight hike. We like beautiful landscapes. If it's a landscape that shows up in the Lord of the Rings, even better. :)

Any advice or suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Thanks!

Daniel

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,297 posts
81 reviews
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1. Re: Queenstown to Christchurch, driving West Coast in 6 nights

Hi Daniel, you have planned well :)

- you pass through Fox to get to Franz and while the distance is short, the road is steep and very twisty - it isn't a road you want to drive 3 times in 2 days. Check out Fox on the way to Franz.

one possibility;

s drive to Wanaka

m drive Haast Pass to Fox - continue to Franz - allow all day for drive

t hike, drive to Punakaiki

w drive to Abel tasman

t explore

f drive Lewis Pass to Chch

s fly out

happy travels :)

2. Re: Queenstown to Christchurch, driving West Coast in 6 nights

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