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12 Days South Island Self-Drive

Kuching, Malaysia
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2 posts
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12 Days South Island Self-Drive

Hi, we are a family of 2 adults and 2 kids(9 & 7 yrs old), currently planning for a 12 days self-drive adventure in South Island (November 27-Dec 9). Would appreciate feedback and advises on our itinerary. Here goes:

Day 1: Arrive Christchurch - Stay 1 night

2: Drive to Lake Tekapo - Stay 1 night

3-4: Drive to Queenstown - Stay 2 nights (plan to visit Glenorchy and Paradise)

5: Drive to Lake Te Anau - Stay 1 night

6: Drive to Milford Sound for the cruise - Stay 1 night

7: Drive to Wanaka - Stay 1 night

8-9: Drive to Fox Glacier + Franz Josep - Stay 2 nights

10: Drive to Arthur's Pass - Stay 1 night

11: Drive to Christchurch

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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362 reviews
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1. Re: 12 Days South Island Self-Drive

Welcome to TA. This looks relaxed & doable. I have only 1 comment - are you planning to do the overnight cruise on Milford Sound? If not, it is better to return to Te Anau for a second night as there is limited accommodation & nothing to do in MS. If you do stay on the boat overnight, you have a rather long drive on day 7 (5:20 hr).

Do also reconsider N2. Mt Cook is far more scenic & has more activities than Lake Tekapo.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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28,536 posts
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2. Re: 12 Days South Island Self-Drive

Welcome to the forum Simon :)

yep, everything Zhuhai says, this would make your trip -

1 arrive Christchurch

2 drive to Tekapo for lunch, continue to Aoraki/Mt Cook - far more scenic

3 drive to Queenstown

4 explore

5 afternoon drive to te Anau - glow worm caves?

6 explore, cruise Milford, stay te Anau

7 drive to Wanaka - Puzzling World?

8 drive to Fox or Franz

9 explore

10 drive to Arthur's Pass

11 drive to Chch

happy travels :)

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3. Re: 12 Days South Island Self-Drive


I agree with the advice of the others.

However with children of that age I would give serious consideration to skipping the west coast and spending the additional time at Wanaka or Queenstown where there is far more to do that doesn't rely on the weather. The west coast is a looooong drive between centres that probably won't interest the children anyway. "Are we there yet"?

You can visit a glacier with a flight from Aoraki/Mt Cook or Wanaka or Queenstown if the weather allows. If it doesn't there are plenty of alternative activities.

Aoraki/mt Cook is an amazingly scenic destination to spend a few nights. Lake Tekapo is a scenic fuel stop.


Kuching, Malaysia
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4. Re: 12 Days South Island Self-Drive

Thanks guys...these are all very good suggestions. Appreciate it.

Will tweak the itinerary a bit..

5. Re: 12 Days South Island Self-Drive

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