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2 weeks on South Island in Summer

Kuala Lumpur...
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2 weeks on South Island in Summer

Hello Everyone!

Been reading many of the threads here especially the ones on "2 weeks in South Island" and it's been very helpful in planning my trip.

Would appreciate your foresight / advice on my tentative plans below.

We are a family of four (2 adults and 2 young teens)

We have 15 days in South Island this December.

Day 1: Arrive Queenstown mid-afternoon, pick up car.

Day 15: Depart Queenstown on morning flight.

So we have 13 full days on the ground (not counting arrival & departure days).

On our "must" do list:

Heli-hike a glacier

Milford Sound Cruise

See Mt Cook

Travel Arthur's Pass

Horse back tour (kids keen on it)

Also want to see:

Penguins

Sea Lions / Seals (if possible)

Dolphins

Might pick some adrenaline activities in Queenstown, Wanaka or anywhere else.

I'm wondering if our itinerary has too many places i.e. should we cover less ground and have more time in each place?

Day 1 Arr Queenstown evening

Day 2 Explore Queenstown / relax

Day 3 via Cromwell to Dunedin

Day 4 Explore Dunedin

Day 5 via Omaru to Mt Cook

Day 6 Mt Cook to Tekapo to Christchurch

Day 7 Christchurch / Akaroa?

Day 8 Arthur's pass to Punakaiki

Day 9 Punakaiki to FJ

Day 10 Heli-Hike FJ

Day 11 FJ to Haast to Wanaka

Day 12 Explore Wanaka

Day 13 Queenstown

Day 14 Queenstown to Milford bus-cruise-bus return.

Day 15 Depart Queenstown on morning flight

Questions:

1. Are we trying to do too much?

2. Any suggestions to reduce the number of towns but still achieve what we want to do and see (as listed at the beginning of the post)? To avoid spending too much time rushing from place to place.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Thanks

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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83 reviews
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1. Re: 2 weeks on South Island in Summer

Another option which maximises the best scenic drives (I would drop Oamaru and Akaroa)

1 arrive Queenstown

2 explore

3 collect rental car, drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook, cruise Tasman lake with icebergs

4 drive to Chch

5 drive Arthur's Pass to Punakaiki

6 drive to Franz Josef or Fox

7 heli-hike

8 drive to Wanaka

9 explore

10 drive to Dunedin

11 explore

12 drive to Te Anau, glow worm caves

13 bus/cruise Milford Sound, stay te Anau

14 drive to Queenstown - horse riding Dart Stables?

15 fly out

hope this helps :)

Kuala Lumpur...
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2. Re: 2 weeks on South Island in Summer

Thanks Wanaka Lakes!

Definitely prefer a more scenic drive. Also didn't like having a 13 hour Milford bus tour the day before departure!

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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3. Re: 2 weeks on South Island in Summer

Spening your last day in the Dart River area is a stunning way to end your visit.

Have a wonderful trip :)

Kuala Lumpur...
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4. Re: 2 weeks on South Island in Summer

Hi WLnz,

I'm finalising my route / itinerary.

Would you say the following itinerary is relaxed, OK or rather rushed?

I plotted it out in Google Maps and it's 2,385km of driving over 9 driving days (approx. 260km per day)

The route in Google Maps

http://bit.ly/1tVFrnz

1 arrive Queenstown

2 explore

3 collect rental car, drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook, cruise Tasman lake with icebergs

4 drive to Chch

5 drive Arthur's Pass to Punakaiki

6 drive to Franz Josef or Fox

7 heli-hike

8 drive to Wanaka

9 explore

10 drive to Dunedin

11 explore

12 drive to Te Anau, glow worm caves

13 bus/cruise Milford Sound, stay te Anau

14 drive to Queenstown - horse riding Dart Stables?

15 fly out

Thanks!

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
28,315 posts
83 reviews
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5. Re: 2 weeks on South Island in Summer

You are asking me to comment on the itinerary I suggested back in June?

I recommend you do Dart Stables day 2 - have them collect you from Q'town for the drive to Glenorchy. This will be a relaxing way to begin your touring.

safe travels :)

Kuala Lumpur...
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6. Re: 2 weeks on South Island in Summer

Hi WLnz,

No I didn't mean to ask you to comment on an itinerary that was your suggestion. Sorry if I came across that way.

What I was trying to say was:

For that itinerary, would you rate it e.g. as:

- generally relaxed; or

- active pace but should be OK; or

- almost over the top but that's already optimal if you want to cover all of that in 2 weeks.

Thanks much

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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28,315 posts
83 reviews
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7. Re: 2 weeks on South Island in Summer

The itinerary covers most of your wish list in the time available and maximises the scenic drives. Of course it would be great to have an extra day here and there to make it a bit less busy. But the majority of places you have two nights which is a nice way to travel. So yes, active pace is a great description.

If wanting to slow even further you could skip Dunedin - just go Wanaka to Te Anau - however then you also skip penguins... and Dunedin is a lovely city to explore.

My verdict - I would do this tour very happily.

Enjoy :)

Edited: 03 September 2014, 04:27
Kuala Lumpur...
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8. Re: 2 weeks on South Island in Summer

Thanks WLnz!

Really appreciate your help and insight.

We've confirmed this itinerary and beginning to book accommodation now.

Looking forward to the trip!

Thanks again

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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28,315 posts
83 reviews
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9. Re: 2 weeks on South Island in Summer

for accommodation discounts - www.wotif.co.nz

10. Re: 2 weeks on South Island in Summer

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