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Feedback on 12 night itinerary

Houston, Texas
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Feedback on 12 night itinerary

I've been trying to plan this upcoming trip (that's fastly approaching) and not sure if I need to change some things around. My husband and I will be flying into Queenstown Sept 11 and flying out of Queenstown Sept 23.

Queenstown hiking, biking : 9/11 - 9/13

Picking up rental car and driving to Christchurch for the night: 9/14

Leave in the morning for trek to Nelson

Nelson hiking, city, nat. park: 9/15-9/17

Drive along West coast towards Te Anau (no idea where to ideally stop for 1 night- Franz Joseph?)

Arrive in Te Anau: 9/19?

A few days hike of lake and nat. park: 9/19 - 9/22

Drive back to Queenstown for last night: 9/22

We are use to long car trips (11 hrs won't even take me out of my US state). Is this plan feasible? Am I grossly overlooking something? Any suggestions for how to break up the West coast drive? Will there be any danger 2-3 of us driving this trek in a rental car at this time of year (concern about Fiordland area mostly)

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

1. Re: Feedback on 12 night itinerary

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Removed on: 20 August 2014, 23:16
Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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2. Re: Feedback on 12 night itinerary

Welcome to TA. I'm sorry to say you are making the classic mistake of visitors from "large" countries like Aus, USA & Canada of saying you can happily drive for 11 hours without stopping.... The question in NZ is "Why would you". The scenery in NZ changes every 100 Km; the roads are narrow & twisty. We recommend no more than 300-400 Km per day and ideally staying 2 nights every few days to explore/hike/kayak etc.

14/9. QTN to CHC can be driven in one day - 7-8 hours driving. Locals do it all the time, but it means whistling past Aoraki/Mt Cook NP; lunch in Lake Tekapo & on. Sept 21st is the Spring Equinox so you do at least have the advantage of 12 hours of daylight.

15/9. I assume you don't mean to WALK ("trek") to Nelson - this is a 5:40hr drive; usually visitors would detour to Hanmer Springs for lunch.

16/9-17/9. Hiking/water taxi etc in ATNP

Here is where your problem begins. It is 1048 Km to Te Anau - not one bit of motorway; no straight stretches; lots of 35 kph bends ; a number of 50 kph small towns - really a minimum of 2.5D/2N required, without sightseeing along the way -

18/9 Nelson to FJG 459 Km - 6:24hr driving

19/9. FJG to Wanaka - 285 Km - 5-6 hr driving

20/9. Wanaka to Te Anau - 227Km - 3:20hr

21/9. Sightseeing Fiordland - MS or DS?

September is high danger avalanche season on the Milford Road so please seek local advice before driving a rental car to Milford Sound. If the car gets trapped you have to pay to get it out!

New Zealand
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3. Re: Feedback on 12 night itinerary

Welcome to the forum :)

While you might drive long distances at home - you are best to curb all long distance marathons here. Rental car - different side of the road, different road contions all combine to keeping driving to a max of 4 - 5 hours per day. You won't find any freeways or divided highways here - think narrow, twisty and steep roads - and you will be averaging about 70k (46m) per hour for much of the way.

And to plan to drive Nelson to Te Anau over 2 days is a tad misguided.

Best bet - fly Queenstown to Nelson and back or drive one way - stopping at Aoraki/Mt Cook and Chch one night each, then fly back to Queenstown.

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Removed on: 22 August 2015, 06:16