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Advise on South Island road trip itinerary??

Sydney, Australia
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59 posts
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Advise on South Island road trip itinerary??

Hello Everyone,

I am planning a NZ trip this summer in late Dec' 13. It would be with family & friends with small kids as well (aged between 2 - 5).

At this stage I can think of SYD-CHC-SYD return flight. Idea would be to hire a car or a campervan and drive all the way to Queenstown down south and cover all possible major attractions.

It would be a 7-8 days trip. 6 adults and 2 kids. I need your advise on planning my itinerary for the complete trip including overnight stays. I am actually confused with few things.

1. Since we would be covering the complete south island via road. How would the overnight stay workout between our road trips?

2. I have never travelled or stayed in a campervan/motorhome. Since we would have two small kids, how suitable it would be to stay overnight in campervan?

3. Is it possible to base yourself to any particular city (may be QTN) and then do road trips daily. Its easy when you have don't have to pack/unpack & check-in/check-out again & again specially with kids.

I am sure there are many other posts re the itinerary planning but I guess they are all based on certain needs etc.

Would highly appreciate if you can spare few minutes and provide your valuable suggestions.

Many thanks in advance.

Cheers,

Amit

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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11. Re: Advise on South Island road trip itinerary??

I know Z - your intinerary makes the most sense. Actually the second-most sense.

The smartest plan for such a 'flying' visit is to fly into Queenstown, explore, fly out of Chch.

another option when flying in/out of Chch is to skip the south entirely

better time managemant from Chch is;

1 arrive Chch

2 drive Arthur's Pass to Punakaiki

3 drive to Abel Tasman National park

4 explore

5 drive to Nelson, explore

6 drive Lewis Pass to Hanmer Springs

7 drive to Chch, fly home

Sydney, Australia
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59 posts
5 reviews
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12. Re: Advise on South Island road trip itinerary??

Hi wLnz,

Thanks for your tips.

I still have not booked flight tickets due to one my friend not committed yet. But will be doing soon. It is gonna be 8 days from last week to Dec to First week of Jan.

It would most likely be SYD-CHC-SYD flights because flights out of QTN is way costly.

In your advised itinerary you mention 4/5 days of explore in QTN. Can you please elaborate that along along with overnight stays?

Cheers,

Amit

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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28,988 posts
85 reviews
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13. Re: Advise on South Island road trip itinerary??

Come come Amit, do some thinking for yourself. I shall not be telling you how to fill your days. If you can't plan 2 days of activities in Queenstown then wait until you are there and visit the i-SITE.

For accommodation look at www.wotif.com

Motels offer the best value for money.

Sydney, Australia
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59 posts
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14. Re: Advise on South Island road trip itinerary??

I understand mate!! Its just it has become little confusing after reading so many posts. None the less, this is what I think on the itinerary.

Day 1 - Land CHC - explore and stay overnight in CHC

Day 2 - Drive to Mt Cook - explore & stay someplace near overnight

Day 3 - Drive to QTN - (How long is this drive?)

Da 4 & 5 - Stay at QTN for 2-3 nights and explore (yet to find out what to explore)

Day 6 - Drive to Milford Sound (approx 3 hrs.) Stay overnight at Te Anau

Day 7 - Back to QTN - Stay overnight & relax

Day 8 - Drive to CHC (approx 5 hrs i guess) and fly out

Let me know your thoughts and valuable inputs.

Cheers.

California
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15. Re: Advise on South Island road trip itinerary??

Just for starters, explore Arrowtown and Glenorchy while based in Queenstown.

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Arrowtown
Arrowtown
Otago Region, New Zealand
Glenorchy
Glenorchy
Otago Region, New Zealand
Wanaka, New Zealand
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3,186 posts
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16. Re: Advise on South Island road trip itinerary??

Milford is not a 3 hour drive from Queenstown. Te Anau is 2 hours from QT. This is the gateway town for Milford Sound. It will take approx. another 2 hours to get to Milford Sound. Mt Cook to Queenstown is about 2.5-3 hours. Queenstown to Christchurch will take you 6+ hours. We do it in about 5, but we know all the shortcuts, know the road, and are used to driving in NZ.

My thoughts are that you have under estimated your driving times. You have the actual driving time, rather than the time it will actually take you.

Ballarat, Australia
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17. Re: Advise on South Island road trip itinerary??

Day 7, stay in Wanaka. Wanaka is lovely, and it's closer to Christchurch, making your next day easier. What time is your flight? It's still a long drive back - I would allow at least six hours with even the shortest of stops.

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Wanaka
Wanaka
Otago Region, New Zealand
Sydney, Australia
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18. Re: Advise on South Island road trip itinerary??

Thanks for your suggestions guys. I am still working on the final details. Will publish the revised itinerary soon. Also looking at the option to fly in QTN and fly out of CHC or vice versa (thus saving lot of road time).

What would you rate as the top 5-6 attractions of places to cover in the Dec-Jan (summer) period? Idea is to cover the best possible destinations in 7-8 days time. My motive is primarily scenic and discovering beauty.

Many thanks for your help.

Cheers.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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19. Re: Advise on South Island road trip itinerary??

Queenstown

Milford

Mt Cook

One of the glaciers on the West Coast

Wanaka

Drives between them

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Wanaka
Wanaka
Otago Region, New Zealand
Ballarat, Australia
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1,318 posts
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20. Re: Advise on South Island road trip itinerary??

My top five: Mt Cook (on a good day), Glenorchy area, Wanaka, Milford Sound, walking in the beech forest.

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Glenorchy
Glenorchy
Otago Region, New Zealand
Wanaka
Wanaka
Otago Region, New Zealand