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Help, please! Will this itinerary work?

Beverley, United...
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Help, please! Will this itinerary work?

We are planning a trip to NZ for next March, 2015. For everyone who has done this or lives there, what does this itinerary sound like? We are a couple aged 60 and 58 (will be then) who love natural scenery, coastlines, sea, lakes, wine, walking and staying in nice places! We are happy to drive but 250 to 300 miles in a day is our limit. We also might like to do some internal flights to save on distances.

We will have flown from the UK with a 3 day stopover in Bangkok, arriving in Christchurch. Our flight will have come from there, either via Australia for a plane change with Emirates/Qantas or possibly straight from Singapore after a stopover there instead. So, here goes.

Arr Christchurch. Stay 2 nights.

Fly to Queenstown, pick up hire car and drive to Te Anau. Stay 1 night.

Drive to Milford Sound. Do the overnight boat trip.

Drive back to Queenstown. Stay 2 nights.

Drive to Franz Josef glacier. Stay 1 night. Do helicopter trip next morning. Then drive to Greymouth late pm.

Stay Greymouth 1 night.

Take train to Christchurch. Stay 1 night.

Drive to Kaikoura. Stay 1 night. Go whale watching.

Drive to Blenheim. Stay 4 nights to explore wineries and hopefully see my cousin from Nelson.

Take ferry to Wellington. Begin north island tour which I haven't even started planning yet!

All comments and advice very gratefully received!

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Queenstown, New...
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1. Re: Help, please! Will this itinerary work?

Your planned trip is fine.

Can I ask you why are you rushing one of the worlds prettiest countries . I take it you are retired?

Two weeks is a better length of time to see the South Island. Dunedin and Stewart Is are worth including, the Queenstown Arrowtown Wanaka area is worth at least 3 full days - 4 nights.

Rather than staying 3 nights in CH CH why not stay at Akaroa it's only 70 minutes away.

The Nelson area could be worth 3 days as well.

The South Island offers more in the way of scenery than the North!

Food for thought . Keep reading.

Christchurch, New...
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2. Re: Help, please! Will this itinerary work?

You must be very keen on wine to spend 4 N in Blenheim, at the expense of the more beautiful parts of NZ.

Rather than spend 3 N in Chch on 2 separate visits, why not see if you can fly directly to Queenstown the same day you arrive.

1. Arr CHC; fly to ZQN (3N)

2/3. relax; explore

4. Pick up rental car & drive to Te Anau in the PM (2N)

5. drive to Milford Sound & back to Te Anau (QTN is too far)

6. Drive to Wanaka (1N)

7. Drive to FJG (2N)

8. Drive to Chch or take train from Greymouth (2N)

9. Explore

10. Drive to Kaikoura

11. Drive to Blenheim (3N)

12/13. explore

14. Ferry to Wellington ....

Consider driving through Arthurs Pass rather than taking the train to save having to swap rental cars.

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3. Re: Help, please! Will this itinerary work?

I agree with Z , take the car over the Arthur's pass you will see more.

Beverley, United...
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4. Re: Help, please! Will this itinerary work?

Thanks for your replies and ideas. We will definitely look at going directly to Queenstown.

We are now also thinking we will add in a trip to Mount Cook. We are OK to add on another few days to the whole trip and had also decided to cut down the Blenheim stop by a day.

To answer the question about rushing the trip - we are then going on to north Island and then to Australia, plus a stopover on the way home. We do have time but not a bottomless purse! We also have a cat who will have to go in the cattery. Two months is a long time for him!

Christchurch, New...
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5. Re: Help, please! Will this itinerary work?

If you want to include Mt Cook, it doesn't work out so well if you fly to ZQN as I suggested earlier:

1. Arr CHC;

2. Drive to FJG Glacier via Arthurs Pass (2N);

3. Explore

4. Drive to Wanaka

5. Drive to Te Anau (2N)

6. Milford Sound day trip

7. Drive to QTN (2 N)

8. Explore

9. Drive to Mt Cook (1N)

10. Drive to Lake Tekapo or right through to somewhere near Chch

11. Drive to Kaikoura

12. Drive to Blenheim (2N)

13. Wine tour

14. Drive to Picton; ferry to WLG...

Beverley, United...
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6. Re: Help, please! Will this itinerary work?

Thanks again. We are going to spend longer on our whole trip.

Do you think 3 weeks for south island would do it justice? We want to be able to relax a bit more without having to get up each day and face a long drive so we will maybe stop on the journeys to break them up a bit. From talking to friends who have visited NZ they say we really should not miss Mount Cook, so that has to go on the itinerary!

Beverley, United...
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7. Re: Help, please! Will this itinerary work?

Just looking at the mileages between your suggested itinerary including Mount Cook.

If we stay at Lake Tekapo for a night it is then a very long drive to Kaikoura. Without going back to Christchurch (where we will probably now have had 2 nights when we arrive so we can visit my cousin) is there somewhere you recommend to stay near Chch to break our journey?

Thanks very much for all your help.

Christchurch, New...
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8. Re: Help, please! Will this itinerary work?

There is an inland route - called the Inland Scenic Route, that will take you through Methven & Rakaia Gorge to Darfield, Oxford, Rangiora, to join SH1 at Amberley, about 45 min north of Chch. AAmaps gives nearly 8 hours for the whole 2 day trip from Mt Cook to Kaikoura via this route.

Methven is 3:40 hr from Mt Cook. As it is a winter ski resort, there are quite a number of new motels there.

Near Rakaia Gorge there is an upmarket golf resort called Terrace Downs.

Darfield & Oxford are small rural service towns with limited motel accommodation & very limited evening eating options.

Edited: 06 March 2014, 22:15
Beverley, United...
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9. Re: Help, please! Will this itinerary work?

Thanks. We will look at the inland route. It sounds better than having to go back to Christchurch.

Beverley, United...
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10. Re: Help, please! Will this itinerary work?

We have had another think and come up with a revised itinerary. What does this sound like?

NZ and OZ 2015

Arr Christchurch 2nights

Train to Greymouth or drive to Hokitika. 1n

Franz Josef 1n

Wanaka 2n

Te Anau 2n

Milford Sound overnight boat trip

Queenstown 2n

Mount Cook 1n

Lake Tekapo 1n

Methven 1n

Kaikoura 1n

Blenheim 2n

Nelson 2n

Ferry to Wellington

Wellington 2n

Fly to Napier 1n (or miss out Napier)

Drive Taupo 1n

Rotorua 2n

Auckland airport fly to Kerikeri

Bay of Islands 3n

Fly back to Auckland 2n

Fly to Australia (Melbourne)

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