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Driving in South Island

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Auckland
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Driving in South Island

I am planning to travel to South Island in December. We will be 7 adults and 2 children. I have couple of questions and would appreciate your suggestions.

1. In case we drive from Nelson all the way to Haast and then to Queens town , are the roads very narrow at certain places? Is it too winding a drive over mountains?

2. Do you suggest that we drive from Nelson to Christchurch and Queens town. I have heard there is a route to Christchurch which is supposed to be very very beautiful, scenery wise.

Greymouth, New...
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1. Re: Driving in South Island

I am sure if you can drive around Auclkland, you can drive almost anywhere.

The road from Nelson to Quenstown down the westcoast is one of New Zealands' most scenic. There are a large number of single lane bridges, just remeberhow to read the signs that require you to give way or for the other vehicle approaching to give way.

you may think that there are many speed bumps on the roa, but they will be dead possums.

there are many beutiful lakes for picnics etc and you may have the pleasureto meet the odd sandfly who are always on the lok out for fresh blood. (they dont like our blood anymore)

The road via Muchison, Lewis pass, hanmer Springs to christchurch to tekapo, to MtCook to Wanaka and the Queenstown is available, but in my humble opinion, nothing compares to the west Coast highway 6 drive via the Glaciers.

have fun and plan plenty of rest breaks

London UK
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2. Re: Driving in South Island

Outside the SI towns, if you see more than about three cars in as many minutes, then it must be rush hour. Yes, the roads are narrow and most to the bridges are single track, but the low density of traffic means you will be seldom delayed.

Edited: 15 February 2010, 17:32
New Zealand
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3. Re: Driving in South Island

When you say drive from Nelson all the way to Haast, I hope you don't mean in one day? It would take you over 8 hours of non-stop driving.

Christchurch, New...
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4. Re: Driving in South Island

Coaster, you have made my day with worse spelling than me! I can only asume that Westlondoner has not actually been here!

While there are some single lane bridges on the West Coast (always asume you need to stop) most are not and there are hardly any on the east coast, none on HW1. The scenic drive out of Christchurch is Arthuirs Pass, it is world class. Christchurch to Ashburton has so many passing lanes now it's almost 4 lane. A lot of NI's think our roads are better than the North Island.

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5. Re: Driving in South Island

There are 11 one way bridges between Haast and Wanaka (there are no double laned ones) and possibly another 9 or so to Fox and Franz . So yep, care must be taken.

Christchurch, New...
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6. Re: Driving in South Island

At least there is now only 1 where you need to watch out for trains! (on way into Greymouth) I think there are 3 one way bridges on the Arthurs Pass road.

London UK
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7. Re: Driving in South Island

Actually, NZMike57, I was in SI in October / November 2009, and thoroughly enjoyed driving around the island. This was then followed by a week in NI.

Auckland
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8. Re: Driving in South Island

Hi Coaster2

Thanks a ton for such a detailed reply.Regarding narrow lanes I meant is it dangerous to drive on those narrow lanes? Is it winding and mountaneous?

Regarding one lane bridges, are the bridges very long, can we not see the other end of the bridges?

Auckland
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9. Re: Driving in South Island

Thanks for the reply. No definately not in one day. Can you suggest a site where the route from Nelson to Haast can be seen with the pictures of the route and scenery?

Auckland
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10. Re: Driving in South Island

Thanks for the information. It is not the delay I am worried about as to the danger of driving on narrow lanes. Is it very narrow and winding, that is it that the road is mountaneous and dangerous?