Hi all! My two friends and I (around 30 yrs old) will be spending some time in NZ in October and we're trying to figure out the first part of our trip. The biggest chunk will be based in Nelson, with quite a few day trips from there (we're there for a conference so most mornings will be taken up but then we're free).
We have a few days beforehand and after looking at all the areas in the South Island (that are feasible while still getting us to Nelson on time), we are the most drawn to:
* Lake Tekapo (see springs, lake, stars on our own, walk path but nothing major & no tours)
* Mount Cook/Hooker Valley Trail for a walk, again nothing major just stuff on our own
* Lake Tasman (for the glacier lake tour; http://www.glacierexplorers.com/glacier/glacier-trip/)
What I could really use help with is figuring out 1) if we can see all that in the time we have, 2) what route would make the most sense, and 3) rough times, details, etc. for doing it (where we should base ourselves overnight, etc.).
We'll be coming from Chch and will have a rental car. We have basically two and a half days to play with before needing to be in Nelson in the evening of that third day (so a half day Monday, all day Tuesday and Wednesday). As far as I can tell, there's no way to get up to Nelson from there that doesn't involve several hours of driving, and if that's true then we're fine with that taking up a lot of a day (and we'll need the rental car in Nelson, so doesn't really make sense to go back to Chch and fly). This isn't going to be a leisurely, take-your-time leg of the trip since we have so little time, so we'll be pushing ourselves a little more.
Any advice you can offer would be super helpful, I'm having a little trouble working out the best route & options. Thanks so much!