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Christchurch or Dunedin? Which is the better base?

Singapore, Singapore
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551 posts
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Christchurch or Dunedin? Which is the better base?

Hi all,

Excited to revisit NZ on April next year, and me and my travel companion are about to book our flights soon. We have the option to fly in to Christchurch or Dunedin (unfortunately Queenstown is not an option, because of some reasons). Where should we be based in? Would love to hear your opinions:

-We only have 6 days/5 nights,4 full days (arriving late and departing early)

-Priority is to drive to Queenstown (which from my brief research seems to be the best destination?)

-Dunedin: much closer to Queenstown, but all the car rental seems to be closed by 8pm, and the taxi is quite hefty.

-Christchurch: would love to see the city, but the drive seems a bit far. I get tired quite easy when driving. Also, I would prefer flat, easy, straight roads over scenic but curvy and uphill ones.

-Booking a Christchurch to Queenstown flight would be above budget, so must really go by land

-Which would be better as an overall base?

Too many things to see and too few days. I explored the North before (which I loved), and would like to see as much of the region as possible.

Thanks in advance! Cheers!

Colorado
Destination Expert
for Western Australia
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1. Re: Christchurch or Dunedin? Which is the better base?

Which is 'better' is a matter of opinion, but if your main goal is to see Queenstown, the drive from Dunedin to Queenstown is much shorter than the drive from Christchurch to Queenstown (286 km vs 484 km).

With so few days and an interest in QT, why not fly into Dunedin, spend a night, collect your rental car the next day and drive to QT for the duration? Have you considered the possibility of flying into Dunedin and out of Queenstown?

Dunedin, New Zealand
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2. Re: Christchurch or Dunedin? Which is the better base?

I am guessing you are flying from Singapore to Auckland and then connecting to a flight to the South Island. Queenstown airport is restricted to landing in daylight hours which is probably why you are unable to get a flight there the same day. There are shuttle buses from the airport to the city in Dunedin for 20 to 30 dollars and they can be booked online. You would not want to pick up a car and drive towards Queenstown the same night. I would suggest you either stay overnight in Auckland and get a flight the next morning to Queenstown or overnight in Dunedin and pick up a car the next morning. However the drive is more the scenic and curvy type and you are unlikely to do it in much under 4 hours.

Singapore, Singapore
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3. Re: Christchurch or Dunedin? Which is the better base?

Thanks for the replies!

Yes, it seems wiser to fly in the Dunedin, as it is closer to Queenstown. It would mean that I would miss Christchurch, but one has to make compromises... I guess it's either Dunedin-Queenstown, or Christchurch area.

Melnq8 - during the specific dates that I'm flying in, a connecting flight from Queenstown is not possible. Will have to fly in and out of Dunedin or Christchurch.

Brianr44 - yes, it's more of a flight schedule constraint, and I was thinking I would rather overnight in the South then travel to Queenstown, rather than overnight in Auckland. Make the most of the South, even if it's nighttime - will still be able to squeeze in a dinner and breakfast!

Seeing that Dunedin is more logical - a driving question: how are the roads to Queenstown? To be honest, although I'm fairly experienced, I have a limited endurance for driving, and not very comfortable with curves and cliffs. Is it a very easy drive, or should I expect the curves and cliffs? (which would tempt me to take the bus...)

Thanks again!

Edited: 24 November 2013, 06:42
Ballarat, Australia
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4. Re: Christchurch or Dunedin? Which is the better base?

You could do the Great Sights day tour from Christchurch to Queenstown, so you can see Mt Cook without having to drive. greatsights.co.nz/new-zealand-tour-destinati… Then hire your car once you get to Queenstown.

Otherwise best to go from Dunedin, it's much closer.

Singapore, Singapore
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551 posts
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5. Re: Christchurch or Dunedin? Which is the better base?

Jean - will look for that option. Thanks!

6. Re: Christchurch or Dunedin? Which is the better base?

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