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Coming to South Island for Christmas!

Airlie Beach
7 posts
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Coming to South Island for Christmas!

Hi All,

Would love your help.... have looked through the forums and they have been a great source of info! We are coming to the South Island for 8 nights. There will be 4 adults and one 5 year old. We are still debating whether to get a large camper or to get 2 bedroom apartments along the way. We are looking at flying in and out of Queenstown. So far we are thinking 3 nights in Queenstown first up as it will be Christmas etc. We would like to visit Milford Sound and Lake Te Anau, Mt Cook, Franz Josef and then back to Queenstown to fly out. How does this sound and how should we orchestrate it? Whether we hire a camper or a large car, either way, we wouldn't like to drive more than 4-5 hours per day. I appreciate your help.

United Kingdom
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296 posts
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1. Re: Coming to South Island for Christmas!

We hired a car and stayed in cabins and huts at holiday parks. We preferred this as it gave us greater mobility - we could unpack into our room and head out for the day in the car.

Can't comment on your route sorry as our route covered a different part of South Island.

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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34,162 posts
340 reviews
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2. Re: Coming to South Island for Christmas!

Are you talking about Christmas 2011 and you haven't booked yet? This is the absolute peak season. IMO camper vans are totally overpriced at this time of year. I also feel that with only 8 days you don't have time to complete a circuit back to Queenstown, ESP as you want to visit Te Anau too. Suggest you fly in ZQN/out CHC or vv. This means leaving out either glaciers or Mt Cook.

Airlie Beach
7 posts
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3. Re: Coming to South Island for Christmas!


Yes we only just decided yesterday. Family are flying from Korea to meet us and spend Christmas. Just the way things work sometimes...

I have done a rough itinerary and would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks for your help.

Day 1- 24/12

arrive Queenstown and pick up car and drive to Te Anau

Drive Time- 2 h 32 m

Afternoon- Glow Worm Caves

Day 2 25/12

Milford Sound

Drive Time 1 h 41 m (return to Te anau)

Night Dinner out

Day 3 26/12

Te Anau to Queenstown

Drive time- 2 h 32 m

Stay in Queenstown

Day 4 27/12

All Day in Queenstown- stay another night

Day 5 28/12

Drive from Queenstown to Mt Cook

Drive time 3 h 48 min

Afternoon in Mount Cook and stay night

Day 6 29/12

Mount Cook

Day 7- 30/12

in Morning- drive to Christchurch

Drive time-4 h 50 min

Afternoon and night in Christchurch

Day 8 31/12

fly out

What do you think?

South Island
Destination Expert
for South Island
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1,406 posts
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4. Re: Coming to South Island for Christmas!

If you go to Milford Sound on Xmas day there may only be one boat operating and that will be Real Journeys. I would check this the day before for timetable etc.

Consider spending a night in Wanaka if you can find accommodation. This is the main holiday period so add a little time to the drive times as the roads may be busy. Your timetable/ itinerary may not be ideal but its doable so go for it.

Have a good trip.

Airlie Beach
7 posts
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5. Re: Coming to South Island for Christmas!


thanks for your advice. You mention that the timetable isn't ideal, what would you do if you only had that time period? We could fly in and out of the same city or different depending on what was best.

Thanks so much

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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28,390 posts
84 reviews
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6. Re: Coming to South Island for Christmas!

My suggestion;

1 arrive Queenstown, drive 2 hours to Te Anau

2 drive 2.5 hours to Milford, cruise, stay Te Anau

3 drive to Queenstown

4 explore

5 drive to Wanaka :)

6 drive Lindis Pass to Aoraki/Mt Cook http://www.glacierexplorers.com/

7 afternoon drive to Chch

8 fly home

hope this helps :)

7. Re: Coming to South Island for Christmas!

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