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4 weeks in New Zealand and need your help on whats best ?

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6 posts
9 reviews
10 helpful votes
4 weeks in New Zealand and need your help on whats best ?

Hi My husband and I are travelling to NZ for the first time and I am going to be the solo driver. We have temporarily planned an itinerary for the South Island and would like to hear your ideas or suggestions regarding it. We arrive in Christchurch airport at 23.45 on Feb 5th from Sydney.

: Christchurch 3 nights Feb 5th - Feb 7th to explore area. Leave for long drive to Dunedin.

: Dunedin for 2 nights Fri 8th Feb -Feb 9th . Leave and drive to Te Anau.

: Te Anau for 2 nights Sun Feb 10th -11th Leave to drive to Queenstown.

: Queenstown for 2 nights Feb 12th -13th . Leave to drive to Fox Glacier.

: Fox Glacier 1 night Thurs Feb14th. Leave to drive Hokitaka

:Hokitaka 1 night Friday Feb 15th . Lave to drive to Nelson

: Nelso 3 nights Feb16th . Leave !8th for ferry from Picton.

We are willing to change if we hear of better routes and also are any of the roads we travel on tricky mountainous ones? Grateful of all advice Thank you

10 replies to this topic
California
Level Contributor
12,082 posts
72 reviews
33 helpful votes
1. Re: 4 weeks in New Zealand and need your help on whats best ?

Cut one night from Christchurch and add a stop in Wanaka. The drive from Queentown to Fox Glacier is too far. If it were my trip, I'd cut a night from Nelson as well and make it 2 nights in Wanaka (but I'm confused because you say you have 3 nights Nelson, but you drive after the 2nd night to the ferry). For that matter, I wouldn't stay in Nelson because I would want to explore Abel Tasman when in the area and would stay at Kaiteriteri instead. And I would stay at Punakaiki instead of Hokitika (makes the next day's drive shorter).

Feb 5 - Arrive CHC (2N)

Feb 7 - Drive to Dunedin (2N)

Feb 9 - Drive to Te Anau (2N)

Feb 11 - Drive to Queenstown (2N)

Feb 13 - Drive to Wanaka (2N)

Feb 15 - Drive to Fox Glacier

Feb 16 - Drive to Punakaiki

Feb 17 - Drive to Kaiteriteri (2N)

Feb 19 - Drive to Picton, ferry to Wellington

Edited: 13 October 2018, 16:32
California
Level Contributor
12,082 posts
72 reviews
33 helpful votes
2. Re: 4 weeks in New Zealand and need your help on whats best ?

Are the other 2 weeks for North Island? Usually people do the split 2/3s South Island, 1/3 North Island.

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
Level Contributor
41,590 posts
454 reviews
195 helpful votes
3. Re: 4 weeks in New Zealand and need your help on whats best ?

As per deSchenke - the SI is bigger and I would recommend adding a couple of nights to the SI. It seems a pity to skip Aoraki Mt Cook; however you haven't mentioned your interests and your profile doesn't show where you come from. Maybe you come from a mountainous country and don't want to see more mountains!!

I would recommend taking the inland route south from Chch as SH1 between Chch & Dunedin is widely believed to be the most boring road in the SI!!

5-7 Chch

8. Drive to Aoraki Mt Cook (1-2N)

10. Drive to QTN (2N)

12. Drive to Te Anau

13. Milford Sound

14. Drive to Dunedin (2N)

16. Drive to Wanaka (1-2N)

17. Drive to FG ...

Level Contributor
1 post
75 reviews
16 helpful votes
4. Re: 4 weeks in New Zealand and need your help on whats best ?

I would cut a night from Christchurch and drive to tekapo instead of dunedin. Stay there for a night to see the stars (it's a dark sky reserve) and then head to wanaka and queenstown from there. That drive is amazing. You can skip dunedin completely.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
30,931 posts
93 reviews
126 helpful votes
5. Re: 4 weeks in New Zealand and need your help on whats best ?

Most visitors with 4 weeks spend 20 days South Island, 10 days North Island. The South Island distances are greater, the driving more rugged, the scenery more spectacular.

Level Contributor
6 posts
9 reviews
10 helpful votes
6. Re: 4 weeks in New Zealand and need your help on whats best ?

Thank you for your wonderful suggestions. We have now changed our itinerary to:

* Christchurch 2 days

* Twize 1 day

* Queenstown 2 days

* Te Anau 3 days

* Wanaka 2 days

* Franz-Josef 2 days

* Punakiki 2 days

* Motueka 2 days

* Picton 2 days

How does this look ? Any suggestions We realise that we cant see everything. We are now sorting out the North Itinerary giving oursleves 8 days in the North. Feb 5th - 28th

Thank you again everyone

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
Level Contributor
41,590 posts
454 reviews
195 helpful votes
7. Re: 4 weeks in New Zealand and need your help on whats best ?

Do your "days" mean nights? If so 1N in Twizel adds a complication because you really should allow some time for Aoraki Mt Cook. 2N in Twizel (possibly the last interesting place in your itinerary on its own) allows you to spend a full day at Mt Cook. However you still haven't told us your interests!

Your original 4 weeks seems to have become only 24 days ;-(

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Fiji
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8,120 posts
298 reviews
191 helpful votes
8. Re: 4 weeks in New Zealand and need your help on whats best ?

Add a 2nd night to Twizel and take one night off Te anau.

This will allow you to drive the scenic route through Rakaia gorge have a look in the town of Geraldine maybe stop at the Fairlie Bakery have a look at Lake takepo and then onto Twizel. The next day have a full day at Mt cook before an overnight again at Twizel.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
30,931 posts
93 reviews
126 helpful votes
9. Re: 4 weeks in New Zealand and need your help on whats best ?

You don't need 3 days (or is it 3 nights?) Te Anau.

Motueka isn't an overly exciting location for Abel Tasman. Take a look at Kaiteriteri or Little Kaiteriteri.

Wandin North...
Level Contributor
1 post
3 reviews
10. Re: 4 weeks in New Zealand and need your help on whats best ?

We are in South Island now , 15 oct -3 nov .

We’ve been in Lake Tekapo for the last 2 nights , no stars or visiting mount Cooke , weather has. Been to bad .

Wanaka is stunning , had 2 nights , wish we had 4 ,

Queenstown is very interesting had 4 nights and wished we had more

Franz Joseph 2 nights which was PLENTY ,

Dunedin 2 nights and wished for 3-4 . also did the railway trip through the gorge , and botanic gardens are amazing , also worlds steepest street . well worth it , Lanarche castle and gardens .

Te Anau 2 nights , only good for Milford sound .

Manopauri , don’t waste the petrol .

Transalpine from Christchurch to greymouth , lovely trip .

Last 4 days just going to stay in Christchurch and do day trips .

Hope this helps a bit .

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