We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

29 Jun - 8 Jul South Island itinerary

Sydney, Australia
2 posts
Save Topic
29 Jun - 8 Jul South Island itinerary

Hi all,

My partner and I decided to travel the South Island on 29 Jun - 8 Jul. I have already booked a campervan as our major accommodation during the time and I would like to seek some advise for my itinerary below.


Arrive CHC @ 1355 - pick up campervan from rental company and go straight to Lake Tekapo

Stay at Lake Tekapo Motel & Holiday Park

30 Jun @ Lake Tekapo

- Church of the Good Shepherd

- Tekapo Springs - Hot pools and spa

Stay at Lake Tekapo Motel & Holiday Park

1 Jul - Lake Tekapo to Mt Cook to Wanaka

Drive up to Mt Cook from Lake Tekapo and hike the Hooker Valley Track

Come back down in the afternoon to Lake Pukaki while on the way to Wanaka

Stay at Aspring Holiday Park

2 Jul Wanaka to Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown

- Visit Franz Josef Glacier and join the Glacier Valley Walk

- Drive to Queenstown from Franz josef Glacier

stay at Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park

3 Jul @ Queenstown

- Skyline Gondola Buffet Dinner

- Nevis Bungy Jump

- Fergburger

- Glenorchy

stay at Distinct Nugget Point Boutique Hotel

4 Jul Queenstown to Milford Sound to Te Anau

- Join Milford Sound Cruise

- Return to Te Anau

Stay at Te Anau Lakeview Kiwi Holiday Park

5 Jul Te Anau to Wanaka via Arrowtown

- Stuart Landsborough's Puzzling World

stay at Aspring Holiday Park

6-7 Jul Wanaka to Christchurch

(need suggestions of place to visit)

Stay at Amber Kiwi Holiday Park Christchurch

Return campervan on 7 Jul and stay at Airport Gateway Motor Lodge

8 Jul Depart at 0630

Suggestions are very welcome and if details can be given will be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance


Fiordland National Park, Milford...
349 Reviews
from US$162.30*
Te Anau Glow Worm Caves Tour
245 Reviews
from US$68.60*
Likely To Sell Out
Franz Josef Helicopter Flight and...
253 Reviews
from US$338.70*
5-Day South Island Tour from...
51 Reviews
from US$1,250.80*
Level Contributor
9,578 posts
73 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 29 Jun - 8 Jul South Island itinerary

Oh dear.

I'm unsure how to answer because I don't want to sound mean.

A campervan in the dead of winter on South Island is simply something I would not recommend. At least you have plans to stay in Holiday Parks. I hope you have extra blankets and your campervan has a loo because you don't want to be making a mad dash across frozen grass to use the public facilities in the middle of the night. Keep in mind that daylight hours are very limited at that time, and being confined to the campervan is going to get old. You'll probably end up taking advantage of the lounge/kitchen facilities so check those out. If you aren't going to lose a substantial deposit, you may want to reconsider and rent a car and stay in motels. Besides, a car is a whole lot easier to drive and moves faster as well.

As to the itinerary..2 nights at Lake Tekapo is overkill. So the good news is that you've gained a day and you are going to need it. Your plans for 2 July are impossible. Self driving on Milford Road in winter is not advised due to icy roads. Take a coach tour from Queenstown and let someone else do the driving. If the budget allows, do a coach-cruise-fly trip.

Perhaps one of the better itinerary makers will come and give you an itinerary for a loop that will include Franz Josef Glacier. Here's my stab at it:

Hokitika - 1 night

Franz Josef - 2 nights

Wanaka - 1 night

Queenstown - 3 nights (do Milford coach trip on one of your days)

Mount Cook - 1 night

Christchurch - 1 night (you can stop at Lake Tekapo for lunch between Mt Cook and CHC)

If it were me, I'd save FJG for another trip, rent a car one-way and fly back home from Queenstown so you aren't backtracking and can have a leisurely trip.

Lake Tekapo - 1 night

Mount Cook - 1 night

Wanaka - 3 nights

Queenstown 4 nights

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,988 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 29 Jun - 8 Jul South Island itinerary

Welcome to the forum Alfred :)

Just as well you posted on TA before you attemp your visit!

I echo DeS's oh dear.

On the 2nd - are you sure you mean Franz Josef? It takes 5 - 6 hours to drive Wanaka to Franz one way, then you require a day to do a walk, then another day to drive all the way back to Q'town. Even if you are a genetically modified super-human capable of driving 12 plus hours in one day on a narrow, twisty and steep road with about 40 (!!) one lane bridges round trip - well scrap that plan as the Haast Pass closes each evening at 4pm due to a major rockslide.

So to maximise your visit, why not ditch the campervan - are you comfortable camping with overnight frosts of -10C ? - and do the loop suggested by DeS;

29 arrive Chch, drive to Arthur's Pass

30 drive to Franz Josef

1 explore

2 drive Haast Pass to Wanaka - allow 6 hours for drive with brief stops

3 drive to Queenstown

4 explore

5 bus tour Milford Sound - 13 hour tour - don't even THINK of driving it

6 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

7 drive to Chch

8 depart

safe travels :)

Mentioned in this post
Haast Pass
Haast Pass
133 Reviews
South Island, New Zealand
Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
Level Contributor
37,606 posts
375 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: 29 Jun - 8 Jul South Island itinerary

I echo everything said by the two experts before. You need to plot your route on a good map - I recommend www.aamaps.co.nz/#directions

Do also remember that a 1:55 pm International arrival equates to about a 3-3:30 pm departure from CHC. Sunset will be close to 5 pm so you shouldn't plan to drive more than 1:30-2 hr max on day 1. 1st, setting up a newly acquired campervan in the dark is not much fun & 2nd - why drive through the fabulous scenery in the dark?

Sydney, Australia
2 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: 29 Jun - 8 Jul South Island itinerary

Thanks for your advice.

Already ditched the campervan for safety reason ;)

I am also taking DeS' suggestion to take FJG out of my schedule. Can you please recommend somewhere else as a replacement? Will Dunedin be a good place to visit? Then driving back to CHC via Timaru on the East Coast

Our aim is to get a relax trip with more on sight seeing than outdoor activities.

Your advice will be much appreciated

Wanaka, New Zealand
Level Contributor
3,186 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: 29 Jun - 8 Jul South Island itinerary

I wouldn't replace it with anywhere. Just enjoy the slightly more relaxed pace that gaining a day or two has bought you.

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
Level Contributor
37,606 posts
375 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 29 Jun - 8 Jul South Island itinerary

By taking FJG out of your itinerary you haven't gained any extra days as you didn't have the 3 days in the original itinerary. However in your original itiinerary you were driving SH 8 between Chch & Wanaka twice.

30 Jun Chch to Mt Cook

1Jul Mt Cook to Wanaka

2Jul could become Wanaka to Te Anau (2N)

3 Jul coach tour to Milford Sound

4 Jul Te Anau to Queenstown

5 Jul explore QTN

6 Jul QTN to Dunedin

7 Jul Dunedin to Chch

8. Jul Fly home

6 Jul drive to Dunedin

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,988 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: 29 Jun - 8 Jul South Island itinerary

And since the drive Dunedin to chch is so not scenic - it isn't even coastal - then do that first to get it over and done with.


29 arrive Chch

30 drive to Dunedin

1 afternoon drive to te Anau

2 bus tour Milford, stay te Anau

3 drive to Queenstown

4 explore

5 drive to Wanaka

6 drive Lindis pass to Aoraki/Mt Cook

7 drive to Chch

8 fly out

happy travels :)

Edited: 22 June 2014, 22:27
Dunedin, New Zealand
Level Contributor
681 posts
150 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: 29 Jun - 8 Jul South Island itinerary

If you luck out on good weather (sunny, clear, as opposed to grey and cloudy), then Dunedin will be scenic.

Some scenic stops from Dunedin to Oamaru: Huriawa Pa walk in Karitane, Shag Point (where juvenile male fur seals haul out onto the offshore rocks in summer), Moeraki Boulders at Koekohe Beach (this popular beach is home to large round concretions that formed on the ocean floor 60 million years ago--similar boulders can be seen on the beach near Shag Point). Katiki Point Lighthouse (take the turn for Moeraki Village, then follow signs for the lighthouse--if you see wildlife, please respect their space and privacy, try to not let them see you). Fleur's Place in quaint Moeraki Village is a top eatery on its bay.



If you want to get off the main highway (SH1) and detour along a more scenic, quiet coastal side roads along the way, you can do so from Oamaru via Kakanui to Waianakarua and from Karitane to Warrington. Otherwise, SH1 from Oamaru to Dunedin passes beautiful Katiki Beach (bet' Moeraki and Shag Pt.) and Blueskin Bay (at the northern end of Dunedin). Oamaru's Old Victorian Precinct is also worth a look. Oamaru is also known for its Blue Penguin Colony, Yellow Eyed Penguin Colony at Bushy Beach, Botanical Gardens, and Riverstone Cafe (a little north of the actual city).




You won't have much time for Dunedin, bu If the weather is fine, here are outdoor suggestions:

OTAGO PENINSULA (wildlife attractions, beaches, walking tracks, gardens, Larnach Castle). I recommend an organized tour to see wildlife, such as Elm Wildlife, Penguin Place, Monarch Cruise. Royal Albatross Centre and Pukekura Blue Penguins at Taiaroa Head. If going to Penguin Place, it's best during the late afternoon.

Walking tracks include: the sand dunes and walk along the beach to the penguin viewing hide at Sandfly Bay; Lover's Leap--the Chasm-Sandymount Track; Allans Beach. The roads to Lover's Leap-the Chasm-top of Sandymount, Karetai Track, Allans Beach and Victory Beach are unpaved.

TUNNEL BEACH TRACK (a short, steep, wide gravel track with beautiful ocean views). One of Dunedin's most photogenic spots, but it's best on a sunny day. It's not on the Otago Peninsula, but at the southern end of Dunedin about 10 minutes drive from St. Clair Beach (just drive up the hill to Middleton Road/Blackhead Beach Road then turn at Tunnel Beach Road). When traveling from Dunedin to Te Anau, you can stop here, and afterwards, instead of making your way back to the freeway, continue along Blackhead Beach Road to Taeri Mouth, where you turn inland toward Lake Waihola to rejoin SH1. On a pretty day, it's a lovely coastal drive.

WEST HARBOR (between Blueskin Bay and the harbor, opposite the Otago Peninsula) is also beautiful, more wooded than the Otago Peninsula. This includes Port Chalmers; Aramoana Beach, Spit and Mole; and the pretty drive from Port Chalmers up to Orokunui Ecosanctuary and then down to Waitati/Doctor's Pt. Beach on Blueskin Bay, a wonderful beach to walk on at low tide (views, walk-through caves). Apart from Port Chalmers, which is the city's main port, the West Harbor remains off the beaten track for most tourists.

DUNEDIN BOTANICAL GARDEN & AVIARY. Baldwin Street, famed for bring the world's steepest street is close-by.

Rainy day/indoor activities:

Otago Museum (across from the university).

Toitu Settlers Museum and Railway Station (they're neighbors). There's a lively farmers market at the Railway Station on Saturday mornings.

City Art Gallery at the Octagon

Speight's Brewery

Cadbury Chocolate Factory

Olveston House (historic home)

Taeri Gorge Railway (but it's best when it's sunny). It's four-hours round trip from Dunedin to Pukerangi (Middlemarch is farther), and about 1.5 hours are not scenic (through industrial and residential areas).

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,988 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: 29 Jun - 8 Jul South Island itinerary

I love Dunedin - a very scenic and charming city. So much so that I always encourage everyone to have at least 2 nights there - sadly there isn't time in this trip.

if your flights aren't already booked it is so much easier to fly into Dunedin (connecting through Chch) then fly out of Chch.

May I suggest for your next travels - check on TA before booking anything :)

10. Re: 29 Jun - 8 Jul South Island itinerary

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 24 June 2015, 05:17