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Driving times

Edinburgh, United...
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Driving times

I've just been reading some of the posts and I'm now starting to freak out about driving times.

We are planning our trip for either June or October next year, I know June will be more likely to have snow and October more likely to have avalances, and I'm a keen photographer so likely to be stopping a lot, and the time to take a bit longer than stated. So far I've done driving times based on google route planner, how accurate is this?

Christchurch - Nelson = 5 hours

Nelson - Fox Glacier = 6 hours

Fox Glacier - Queenstown = 4 hours

Queenstown - Te Anau = 2 hours

Te Anau - Christchurch = 7.5 hours

We will be on South Island for 19 nights so we have some days exploring each place, most of the time split between Queenstown and Te Anau (6 nights each), so there'll be plenty time to explore the areas. But are we being too ambicious about our journey times?

Thanks in advance.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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1. Re: Driving times

Fox Glacier to Queenstown will take 6-7+ hours. None of those roads are avalanche prone; that is just the Milford Road. Nelson to Fox would be about right.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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2. Re: Driving times

I prefer to rely on aamaps.co.nz for driving times. Chch to Nelson is more like 5:40hr. Don't forget that you need to stop for a rest at least every 2 hours & will probably want to stop for food, fuel, photos to say nothing of one way bridges, sheep on the road etc. So this will take around 7hr. I often take 50% more than minimum if I am in a new area or have visitors with me.

Do not plan to drive any more than 5-6 hr in a day, esp in June, when drivable day length is barely 6-7 hours in the SI. Te Anau to Chch needs to be spread over 3 days.

Edited: 24 June 2014, 11:06
New Zealand
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for South Island
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3. Re: Driving times

Your itinerary spread over 20 days with intermediate stops added will be fine.

What on earth do you plan to do in Te Anau for 6 nights?

You could/should go Chch - Nelson - Punakaiki - Fox - Wanaka - te Anau - Queenstown - Aoraki/Mt Cook - Chch

Edinburgh, United...
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4. Re: Driving times

Planning on doing lots of walking and exploring, a boat trip in the fiords, a day up in milford sound and a helicopter trip. Is 6 nights too many?? We are planning to visit Wanika and Mount Cook whilst staying in Queenstown, and having a quick stop in Punakiki en route, I didn't feel it was worth an overnight, am I wrong? Should we maybe have a few extra nights in Queenstown and less in Te Anau.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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5. Re: Driving times

Driving through Wanaka in a rush to get from Fox to Qtn & then returning to visit as a day trip is as daft as doing a day trip to Mt Cook (2 x on the same road) and then driving SH 8 again in a rush (3 x on the same road)! Do plot your route on a map to see how to save time.

Unpacking a few more times is not that inconvenient, when you think that it will save hours of travel & many litres of fuel!

Wanaka, New Zealand
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6. Re: Driving times

You will regret not spending a couple of nights in Wanaka.

New Zealand
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7. Re: Driving times

all those places I mentioned - Chch - Nelson - Punakaiki - Fox - Wanaka - te Anau - Queenstown - Aoraki/Mt Cook - Chch

that are all places you stop the car, unpack, and spend the night.

As Zhuhai suggests - plot your course on the AA map - you have some seriously overlong drives - then you plan to turn around to do the places just passed through as day trips! It really is inefficient use of time, money, petrol.

8. Re: Driving times

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