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Dunedin/Queenstown/Christchurch triangle

Aberdeen, Scotland
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1,033 posts
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Dunedin/Queenstown/Christchurch triangle

Hi all

I'm still at the very early stages of planning my condensed trip to the South Island (I have about 9/10 days to play with) and know I want to visit these 3 cities in particular, plus Milford Sound when in Queenstown as a day trip, but I'm just not sure which one to start at/which way to go round. So time to ask for the help of the locals who know more than I do! I’ve got the option to fly into/out of any of them as we’ll also be doing Northland and Australia on this trip too.

As we're going to be doing this holiday around mid-June to mid-July I am not too sure if hiring a car for the full mini-trip is the best way to go. I don't really fancy paying for a hire car if it’s going to sit in our hotel/motel doing nothing especially if I have to pay for parking on top! Most of the things I have got on my ‘to visit/do’ list are within each city (Milford Sound aside but we’ll take an organised trip for that). Again, even though I come from Scotland and can drive in the snow/ice, I'm not too sure what like it would be crossing some of the mountains. Would it be better just to drive between Christchurch/Dunedin since it’s coastal and hopefully less affected by bad weather? We were very lucky with the weather last year in the North Island (July time) and roads were perfect to drive on (albeit some a bit twisty/hilly) so driving itself doesn't put me off.

Any advice on which order we should go? Is it a case of having to drive between them or is flying between each one really extravagant? I have checked out the prices on the Air NZ website and it doesn't seem too bad for the both of us when compared to the cost of a hire car/fuel/the car potentially sitting doing nothing for 2 whole days. I don't think there is any other transport method bar the intercity bus?

TIA :)

Edited: 15 August 2014, 14:47
Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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1. Re: Dunedin/Queenstown/Christchurch triangle

Welcome back to NZ! I did a price comparison yesterday out of curiosity and the cheapest airfare between CHC & ZQN was $69. Assuming you took 2 days to drive that distance you'd be looking at about $50 pd plus $100 in fuel - ie $200, so flying can work out cheaper.

However you need to think about the scenery. We always say NZ is not about cities. Snow is not likely to be an issue in June / early July unless there is an early dump, so driving between towns should be pleasant and give you more opportunity to see the scenery.

The exception is SH 1 between Chch & Dunedin which is not very scenic. Perhaps you could fly into Dunedin (2N) and drive to QTN (3-4 N) then drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook (1-2N) and on to Chch (1-2N).

Dunedin, New Zealand
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2. Re: Dunedin/Queenstown/Christchurch triangle

You might enjoy reading about the Scottish settlers in Otago.

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/scots/page-3

…govt.nz/your-council/…scottish-heritage

3. Re: Dunedin/Queenstown/Christchurch triangle

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