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Advice on Settling into 3-4 locations for 1 week each

New Haven...
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Advice on Settling into 3-4 locations for 1 week each

Hi fellow travelers and destination experts,

I'm arriving in Christchurch the last week of January and staying on the island for 4 weeks. I've read many posts on this forum, read some guidebooks and reviewed the info on NewZealand.com. I'm a reasonably fit 60 year old and travel extensively. I will be renting a car.

I have noted from others' itineraries that there is often only one or two nights at a destination and considerable driving each day. My preference when traveling is to try to settle into a location for a week or so and then move on to another place for a week or so, etc. I like getting to know an area and I don't like packing and unpacking every day. Essentially, I like to find great spots and chill out. This can include day trips for sightseeing, hiking, excursions etc. I don't feel the need to cover the whole island on this trip.

So, with this in mind, can you suggest 3-4 locations where this would best work for me on the South Island. My short list is (not necessarily in this order):

Abel Tasman area (which town for home base?)

Milford Sound (which town for home base?)


Caitlins (which town for home base?)



I'm wary of Queenstown because I get the sense that the feel might be very touristic.

I really appreciate your input on this.

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1. Re: Advice on Settling into 3-4 locations for 1 week each


IME the only towns which fit your criteria for extended stays are:



Queenstown/Arrowtown/Glenorchy (they are close together and there are far more options to stay, eat and join tours/undertake activities in Queenstown/Arrowtown).

Aoraki/Mt Cook (if you really enjoy bush walking).

to answer your specific questions IME:

Able Tasman = Nelson

Milford Sound = Queenstown (Te Anau is closer but not for a week)

Glenorchy = Queentown


New Zealand
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2. Re: Advice on Settling into 3-4 locations for 1 week each

Hello and welcome to the Kiwi forum :)

One advantage to a NZ road trip - the scenery between destinations is often the highlight of the trip. In many areas of the US you can drive for hours through a landscape which never varies. Here in NZ you hit a new scenic wonder around most corners - and you have many corners as our roads can be very twisty.

So you are actually limiting yourself by flying in and out of just a few locations.

My picks (in no particular order) Wanaka - Nelson - Te Anau - Dunedin - Aoraki/Mt Cook.

And yes, I do suggest you leave the jet at home and drive between locations :)

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3. Re: Advice on Settling into 3-4 locations for 1 week each

I wouldn't discount Queenstown. It is a hub for many of the places on your wish list. From Queenstown you can spend a day in Glenorchy. From Queenstown you can spend a day driving to Wanaka and back. From Queenstown, you can do a coach tour (or better, a coach-cruise-fly tour) to Milford Sound. And my suggestion, from Queenstown, have a bicycle rental company pick you up and take you to Arrowtown, rent a bike along Arrowtown River, and tour wineries along Gibbston Valley.

If Abel Tasman is the goal, I would spend that time closer to the park than Nelson. Motueka or Kaiteriteri perhaps. Or break up the time to spend a portion on the Golden Bay side (Takaka). http://www.goldenbaynz.co.nz

Dunedin and the Catlins might be able to lump together, but a single location would be difficult. You either would have long drives to see the Catlins, or long drives for Dunedin. Owaka or Papatowai would be central to the Catlins. See whistlingfrogcafe.com/images/…202014.pdf

4. Re: Advice on Settling into 3-4 locations for 1 week each

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