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Itinerary Review-- leaving Monday!!

Upstate, NY
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Itinerary Review-- leaving Monday!!

Hi All, if you wouldn't mind taking a look at my itinerary and sending some feedback! Please let me know if I am missing any must sees, suggestions of routes to take, or if something just seem's silly!

Arriving Wednesday, April 23rd:

Day 1: Arrive CHC @ 2:30, pick up car, stop at grocery store for a few necessities for the road trip, explore Christchurch, spend night in Christchurch

Day 2: 8am Depart Christchurch for Buller Gorge for Buller Gorge Jet Boat ride @ 3pm

Drive rt 73-- see Otra Viaduct, Castle Hill Boulders, Possibly hike to Devils punchbowl (1hr roundtrip?) Will 6 1/2 hours be enough for the trip?

Should we drive to Westport or Punakaiki after boat ride to spend the night?

Day 3: Depart either Westport or Punakaiki for Franz Josef Glacier (3-4 hour drive?)

Stop in or check our Punakaiki for Pancake Rocks

Possibly stop to see Hokitika Gorge

If arrive in Franz Josef Glacier early enough, check out the area, do a hike or any must sees?

Day 4: Schedule heli-hike-- any recommendations for tour group?

Day 5: Open day for possibility of bad weather and need to reschedule tour / if done the day before-- Depart for Wanaka (5hr drive?)

-Possible stops: Lake Matheson, just enjoy scenery and day drive to Wanaka

Day 6: Day in Wanaka

-Skydive- any company recommendations?

-Rob Roy Valley Track

Day 7: Wanaka to Queenstown (2 hours?) via Crowne Range Road

Possible in the morning: Skydive/ Rob Roy Valley Track

Day 8: Queenstown

-Shot Over Canyon Swing

-Nomad Safaris LOTR tour

-White water rafting

-Bikes to winery

Day 9: Queenstown

-Shot Over Canyon Swing

-Nomad Safaris LOTR tour

-White water rafting

-Bikes to winery

Day 10: Queenstown to Fiordland Lodge (2 1/2 hours)

Queenstown in AM:

-Shot Over Canyon Swing

-Nomad Safaris LOTR tour

-White water rafting

Te Anu in afternoon-- check into lodge-- possibly glow worms in the evening?

Day 11: Fiordland Lodge / Doubtful & Dusky Sounds helicopter tour

Day 12: Fiordland Lodge / Milford Sound

Day 13: Depart Fiordland Lodge for Gibston Valley (3 hour drive)

Possibly stop stay the night visiting wineries in Gibston Valley? Biking tour?

Should I spend this day doing something else? Any must do wineries?

Day 14: Depart Gibston Valley for Lake Pukai / Mt. Cook / Aoraki (4hrs drive time?)

I know this area is beautiful but what are the must do's here?

Day 15: Spend morning Mt. Cook area or depart immediately for Lake Tekapo / Mt. John-- (1 1/2 hour trip)

Day 16: Lake Tekapo / Mt. John

-Observatory

-Church of Good Shepherd

Day 17: Depart Lake Tekapo to Akaroa (4 1/2 hr drive)

Spend afternoon in Akaroa, drive into Christchurch and spend night near hotel

Day 18: Depart CHC 6am for Australia

How does this look for an itinerary? Any feedback would be appreciated. Really flexible so if you can suggest a better way to spend the days please, please send a suggestion!

Thanks everyone!

Christchurch, New...
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1. Re: Itinerary Review-- leaving Monday!!

On day 2 I recommend you stay at Punakaiki rather than Westport.

Day 16 is unnecessarily long and yet you have almost nothing to do on Day 15. Tekapo is only worth 1 hour for lunch or an overnight for the star-gazing or to break a journey. I suggest you head for Akaroa on day 15 & stay the night there.

Do be aware that day 3 (25th) is a public holiday (ANZAC Day) and there will be nothing open in the morning - fill up with petrol the night before. Being a long weekend in the middle of the school holidays tourist areas such as the glaciers, Wanaka & Queenstown will be very busy. I hope you have secured accommodation.

California
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2. Re: Itinerary Review-- leaving Monday!!

I'm not sure what's booked and what isn't. But it would make more sense to travel from Wanaka to Te Anau (Fiordland Lodge) and lump all your Queenstown/Gibbston Valley days together after that.

California
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3. Re: Itinerary Review-- leaving Monday!!

I meant to mention this in my last post - Day 2 is incredibly long and there are many other (and better) Jetboat options in other areas - Queenstown and Wanaka. I suggest you cancel the Buller Gorge Jetboat. Day two would consist of crossing Arthur's Pass and having plenty of time to do all the things you want to do there. Spend the night in Punakaiki (or Westport).

Upstate, NY
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4. Re: Itinerary Review-- leaving Monday!!

I would be open to switching the jet boat tour if there are better ones in Queenstown / Wanaka... I had read that the Buller Gorge was the best so I thought I could work it in.

Anyone have thoughts on biking to Gibston Valley wineries? Is this ideal? Not sure if it will be too cold and not enjoyable?

Upstate, NY
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5. Re: Itinerary Review-- leaving Monday!!

I would be open to switching the jet boat tour if there are better ones in Queenstown / Wanaka... I had read that the Buller Gorge was the best so I thought I could work it in.

Anyone have thoughts on biking to Gibston Valley wineries? Is this ideal? Not sure if it will be too cold and not enjoyable?

California
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6. Re: Itinerary Review-- leaving Monday!!

I posted about our bicycling trip, done at the end of February, on this thread:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g255122-i730-k7311…

You probably could wait and see how the weather is closer to the time you want to bike to the wineries.

As far as Queenstown Jetboats: Shotover Jetboat is a short thrill ride, Dart River Jetboat is in a supremely scenic area and they throw in some 360 degree turns just for fun, and Skipper's Canyon Jetboat is kind of in-between thrill and scenic and the journey to it is half the adventure. I've not read much about the jet boat in Wanaka but the area is gorgeous (and you should have some awesome Autumn color!).

Oh, and a comment about your Wanaka plans, the Rob Roy Valley track is awesome, but plan on 5-6 hours. It's an hour each way to get there from Wanaka, 3 hours return tramp, and you'll probably spend a bit of time at the end admiring the glacier and falls.

Upstate, NY
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7. Re: Itinerary Review-- leaving Monday!!

deSchenke, thanks for the information. I think we will cancel the Buller Gorge jet boat and schedule one for Queenstown. This will allow us more time to explore on the first day as well as get used to driving! The breakdown of Queenstown jet boats is appreciated too. The link is great... we will play that by the weather.

zhuhai2007, thanks for your input... I'm still a bit uneducated about Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo...

How many days should I spend in the Mount Cook/ Aoraki area? This seems like an area to dedicate a few days. Some things we may be interested in are Glacier Exploring by Boat, Star Gazing, or some hiking (Hooker Valley Track?). Is the star gazing much different between areas? Would we be missing out if we did this in the Mount Cook area versus Mt. John Observatory?

I would rather do it in the Mount Cook area and breeze through Tekapo and just stop for a few photos, lunch and spend the night in Akroa. Thoughts?

Is the Rob Roy Valley Track in Wanaka and the Hooker Valley Track in Mount Cook area two good choices for tracks along my route? Is there any other suggest track? Looking for day hikes... a few hours max.

Christchurch, New...
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8. Re: Itinerary Review-- leaving Monday!!

Those two tracks are very different. Rob Roy is uphill through beech forest with a specific dastination. Also quite a challenge to get to, whereas Hooker Valley is a level track in a spectacular river valley - no trees - & you can actually turn round wheneve you like eg after 1 or 2 hr. The track begins right in the village.

Dunedin, New Zealand
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9. Re: Itinerary Review-- leaving Monday!!

Even if you won't be stargazing at night from Mt. John Observatory, drive up there to look at the view during the day (especially if it's a clear day). You can also walk from the lake to Mt. John (if you have time, if the weather is fine, and if you would rather walk). This website gives great details.

newzealandtravelinsider.com/day-walks/mt-joh…

…govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/…

On a clear night, stargazing from Tekapo is great. You have the option of viewing the stars from Mt. John or Cowan Observatory. We opted for the cheaper Cowan Observatory tour, and were happy with what we saw (we figured we'd be looking at the same stars).

If you enjoy soaking in hot pools, you can do this at Tekapo Springs.

Accommodation for Lake Tekapo and Aoraki Mt. Cook Village is limited, so you should book ahead (meaning now).

You wouldn't need to spend two days in Aoraki Mt. Cook Village. You can do the Hooker Valley walk from the White Horse Hill Campground (3 hours return) and then drive out Tasman Valley Road and then walk to the view over Tasman Glacier terminal lake all in one day. Here's a link to the DOC brochure:

…govt.nz/Documents/parks-and-recreation/trac…

There aren't that many wineries in the Gibbston Valley and most are close to one another--though Chard Farm is little out of the way on it own road (the road is beautiful but a bit scary). Amisfield is often considered a Gibbston Valley winery, but it is closer to Queenstown on the road to Lake Hayes. Amisfield has a top restaurant.

newzealand.com/int/…

centralotagopinot.co.nz/downloads/maps/5_Gib…

Beyond Gibbston Valley pass Kawarau Gorge are the wineries of Cromwell and nearby Bannockburn.

I posted this reply for someone who was interested in Central Otago wineries. Some of it might be useful for you.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g255122-i730-k7253…

Dunedin, New Zealand
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10. Re: Itinerary Review-- leaving Monday!!

Forgot to mention an interesting wine tasting room worth stopping at if you're driving (not if you're cycling). Wild Earth Wines has a tasting room and restaurant at the end of a small footbridge across the Kawarau River on Kawarau Gorge Road (part of SH6).

http://wildearthwines.co.nz/

Other wineries with especially scenic locations in Central Otago include Rippon in Wanaka, Mt. Difficulty in Bannockburn, and the aforementioned Chard Farm on Chard Farm Road in Gibbston Valley (across from Kawarau Bridge Bungy Jump).

http://www.rippon.co.nz/

http://www.mtdifficulty.co.nz/index.html

http://www.chardfarm.co.nz/