I'm looking for some advice on planning our family trip in South island in November. We're a family of three, the youngest one being 18 months old. Nothing else, except from the flights is fixed yet. We're arriving in Christchurch on the 10th Oct in the afternoon and flying out from Christchurch early in the morning on the 28th Oct. We're hoping to travel on a budget and willing to see some spectacular scenery, visit some wineries and to do some outdoor activities. All this in a toddler friendly way.
I've seen some beautiful pictures on Abel Tasman's national park, is that worth going with a toddler? Is there other recommendable beach/nature options that could be recommended and would fit our possible travel-route better. We've done a lot of hiking at home in Finland with our son traveling in a kid carrier and we're happy to do some short day trips on foot while over in NZ.
Other places of interest/things to do on our list are Milford sound, Lake tekapo,Lake Pukaki,Te anau, Hooker Valley Track, Malborough.... We've got a friend living in Queenstown and we'd like to stay there for at least few nights, even though we'll have to skip all those adrenaline booster activities this time :) We do realize that we can not do everything and therefore we're looking for help to put the holiday plans together.
We've ditched the idea of hiring the camper van as so many people have said that it's not suitable for families with toddlers. I guess staying in 3 or so places and making day trips from there would be ideal. Our son travels quite well in a car, so driving isn't the biggest issue and we can consider staying in a new place almost every night if that is recommended. We will definitely hire a car at some point, but would it be best to have a car for the whole time or would you recommend the transalpine? We're traveling considerably heavy with a pram and a luggage for 7 weeks trip :)
What should we take into consideration? Is it easy to rest a car with a toddler car seat? What kind of car should we rent? What sort of accommodation is recommended? How to cut down the costs?
We welcome any comments and suggestions. Thank you so much for your help