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15D South Island Itinerary - which route to take?

Singapore
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15D South Island Itinerary - which route to take?

My husband and myself together with 3 kids (age 1, 5 and 7) are planning a self-drive trip to NZ South Island in Nov 2014.

Air tickets have been booked (Arrive Wellington. Depart Queenstown).

We have 2 routes in mind and would greatly appreciate your feedback which of the following itineraries are more advisable:

OPTION 1:

Day 1- Arrive in Wellington

Day 2- Explore Wellington

Day 3- Take Interislander Ferry from Wellington to Picton (3h). Picton to Kaikoura (2h)

Day 4- Explore Kaikoura

Day 5- Kaikoura to Akaroa (3.5h)

Day 6- Akaroa to Lake Tekapo (3.5h)

Day 7- Explore Lake Tekapo

Day 8- Lake Tekapo to Wanaka (2.5h)

Day 9- Wanaka to Fox/Franz Josef Glaciers (3h)

Day 10- Explore Glaciers

Day 11- Explore Glaciers

Day 12- Glaciers to Queenstown (4h)

Day 13- Explore Queenstown

Day 14- Explore Queenstown

Day 15- Fly Home

OPTION 2

Day 1- Arrive in Wellington

Day 2- Explore Wellington

Day 3- Take Interislander Ferry from Wellington to Picton (3h). Picton to Kaikoura (2h)

Day 4- Explore Kaikoura

Day 5- Kaikoura to Hokitika (4.5h)

Day 6- Hokitika to Fox/Franz Josef Glaciers (2h)

Day 7- Explore Glaciers

Day 8- Explore Glaciers

Day 9- Fox/Franz Josef Glaciers to Wanaka (3h)

Day 10- Wanaka to Lake Tekapo (2.5h)

Day 11- Explore Lake Tekapo

Day 12- Lake Tekapo to Queenstown (3h)

Day 13- Explore Queenstown

Day 14- Explore Queenstown

Day 15- Fly Home

Lake Tekapo may appear to be an awkward detour but we would really want to give it a visit. Hope you can advise. TIA!

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: 15D South Island Itinerary - which route to take?

Welcome to the NZ Forum. Both itineraries have grossly underestimated the travel times and have far too much driving for my liking.

What is it about Tekapo that appeals? Most people would consider 20-30 minutes is long enough to take a photo or two & move on & yet you are driving miles out of your way to spend 2 nights there! And you are not giving Mt Cook more than a passing glance, and barely spending any time in Wanaka & Akaroa where there are multiple activities for all the family!

If you think the kids can handle long drives (remember they must all be in approved booster seats at all times), then Itinerary 2 could be modified, perhaps by adding a stop at Hanmer Springs (N 5) and a full day at Wanaka (D 11). Do note that most people take about 6 hr to drive from FJG to Wanaka and you certainly don't want to drive that road twice as in itineray 1.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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2. Re: 15D South Island Itinerary - which route to take?

What are you planning to do at the glaciers? Your kids are not old enough to go on the ice. All they can do is walk to the view points. This will take about one hour, not three days.

Plus the West Coast is a lot of driving - since you want to visit Tekapo, why not go;

1 arrive Wellington

2 explore

3 4 hour ferry to Picton, drive to Kaikoura

4 explore

5 drive to Christchurch or drive to Hanmer Springs

6 drive to Akaroa

7 explore

8 drive to Tekapo

9 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

10 drive to Wanaka

11 explore

12 drive to Queenstown....

This is a more relaxed, family oriented tour.

Singapore
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14 posts
8 reviews
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3. Re: 15D South Island Itinerary - which route to take?

Thank you both for your valuable advice!

We are planning to stay over at Lake Tekapo for the Twilight Tour - Earth and Sky at Mt John Observatory and perhaps a helicopter ride up to Mt Cook.

Would likely to include additional nights stay over at Wanaka & Akaroa as per your suggestion.

We felt regretful for not having a slight glance of the glaciers during our last visit to NZ thus are hoping to pay it a visit this round. Will probably reduce it to 2 nights.

Btw, are the trekking routes in Aoraki/Mt Cook suitable for young children? Read that the easiest trek to Kea Point may take up to an hour.

Thanks loads!

Edited: 01 July 2014, 17:04
Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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4. Re: 15D South Island Itinerary - which route to take?

How will your youngest do the walks? If in a backpack, then yes Kea Point would be easy. It is definitely not a "trek", but it will take around 1 hour each way. The terrain is fairly level, ie little gain in altitude, but not even, so not suitable for a stroller IMO. The kids should also be able to manage the Hooker Valley track as far as the first swingbridge (under 30 min from the Whitehorse Hill carpark).

Singapore
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5. Re: 15D South Island Itinerary - which route to take?

Yes, will be putting her in a backpack. Roger your info on Mt Cook trekking. First swingbridge along Hooker Valley track sounds manageable. Will plan accordingly. :)

6. Re: 15D South Island Itinerary - which route to take?

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