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Mt Cook or Westland?

Eilat, Israel
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224 posts
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Mt Cook or Westland?

Hi

My wife and I are flying to/from Fiji and Samoa in mid-January '14 through Christchurch and decided to stay over for 3 days to see something in NZ as it will be our first time there. So from the internet I've gathered that we want to drive either to the Westland NP area and one of the glaciers, or to the Mt. Cook NP area with the Tasman glacier and lakes, etc. We're mostly into walking/hiking from short up to half-day, maybe a little paddling with a view if that's a possibility. I don't think helicopters is our thing, and we've been on a glacier before (Icefields Parkway in CA). So which way should we go? I'd really appreciate hearing people's opinions.

thanks!

Binyamin

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Fiji
Fiji
South Pacific
Samoa
Samoa
South Pacific
New Zealand
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for South Island
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1. Re: Mt Cook or Westland?

Welcome to the Kiwi forum :)

with 3 days you could;

1 arrive Chch

2 day tour by bus to Aoraki/Mt Cook

3 fly out

if you have 3 days actually in NZ you could;

1 arrive Chch

2 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

3 explore

4 drive to Chch

5 fly out

Christchurch, New...
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2. Re: Mt Cook or Westland?

Although both Mt Cook and Franz Josef Glacier are 5 hours from Chch, the drive to Mt Cook is easier, so WLnz's itinerary would be my choice if you have 3 full days, ie 2 nights at Mt Cook.

If you only have 3 days including arrival time, consider just going to Arthurs Pass for some short hikes.

Eilat, Israel
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3. Re: Mt Cook or Westland?

Thanks very much for the suggestions.

The way it looks now, it will be 3 nights and two-and-a-half days. We'll land in Chch at 10:30 in the morning of Day 1, then Days 2 and 3 are free, and we fly out on Day 4 from CHC in the a.m. If it's as much as 5 hours' drive it sounds like we'd probably want to return to the Chch area on the evening of Day 3 and stay overnight closer to the airport. Fortunately it's the time of year when days are long.

We started planning this far in advance because the long-haul flights are on UA miles, and a couple of months ago I managed to snag two R/T business class tickets for 135,000 miles each all the way from Tel Aviv to Christchurch.

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Tel Aviv
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Tel Aviv District, Israel
Christchurch, New...
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4. Re: Mt Cook or Westland?

If you are landing in CHC direct from Israel, do not try to drive anywhere on day 1, which limits you to 1 night at Mt Cook. If however you are having a stopover in somewhere like SYD or AKL before reaching CHC consider night 1 at Lake Tekapo & 2 at Mt Cook.

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Israel
Israel
Middle East
Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Mt Cook or Westland?

If you're into hikes, I would highly recommend Mt Cook being one of your destinations. The place has many walks and the scenery up there is amazing. I've only been there just before winter, so I wouldn't be able to tell you how it's like during summer, but judging from the reviews and pictures people have uploaded, it's nothing short of spectacular.

I'm also planning to visit Mt Cook during Dec/Jan this year, looking forward to a warmer NZ experience this time.

Ballarat, Australia
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6. Re: Mt Cook or Westland?

Mt Cook is wonderful. If you're fit, the walk up to Sealy Tarns is a good one to do in January - it's at a significantly higher elevation so the alpine flowers are still blooming up there. (But it's like climbing oversized stairs for over an hour to reach there - it took me two hours up in a less-than-fit state and I couldn't walk the next day!) There are several easier walks to do that are lovely, too.

There is an outfit that does kayaking on the Tasman Glacier terminal lake. http://www.mtcook.com/glacier-sea-kayaking/

Western Victoria
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7. Re: Mt Cook or Westland?

My vote would be for Mt Cook over the Glaciers.

Why not catch a bus which allows you to sit back and not worry about jetlag.

Christchurch, New...
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8. Re: Mt Cook or Westland?

Yes, you could take the bus down on the morning of Day 2, having the afternoon to walk & then the bus would come back in the afternoon of day 3 so you'd have another half day to walk or do the Glacier Explorers tour, by boat on Tasman Lake. With the bus you won't have the flexibility to stop & take photos but it wlIll be more relaxing.

9. Re: Mt Cook or Westland?

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