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14 day trip planning on South Island

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14 day trip planning on South Island

Hi there,

My husband and I are travelling to New Zealand for our first time at the end of February. We are flying into Queenstown and out of Christchurch. We love to hike/tramp and enjoy nature, and plan to rent a car and perhaps camp a couple of nights in Mt Cook. Here's our plan so far. Would love to hear your thoughts. Specifically, trying to decide if we should keep in the 2 nights in the Catlins, or instead add an extra night each into Te Anau and Wanaka. We'd love to see and enjoy things, but also not be exhausted.

Day 1: arrive into QTN at 12:30pm (from SFO via Aukland). Overnight in QTN

Day 2: explore Glenorchy, overnight in QTN

Day 3: Drive to Routeburn shelter and start 3-day walk on Routeburn track. Overnight at DOC hut (booked)

Day 4: Tramp. DOC hut (booked)

Day 5: finish our tramp, pick up our re-located car and drive to Te Anau to overnight. (I assumed that if we finished our tramp ~1pm at the Divide, we would be too tired and it would be too late to drive the short distance to Milford Sound, take a cruise, then safely drive back to Te Anau to overnight--- does that sound like a correct assumption?)

Day 6: Day trip to Milford Sound (based on above, or around TA), boat cruise, Walking, overnight in Te Anau

Day 7: Walking, Manapouri, drive to Fortrose to see Catlins. Overnight in Fortrose

Day 8: Catlins. Overnight in Kaka Point

Day 9: Drive to Wakaka, stop in Arrowtown along the way (necessary?). Overnight in Wanaka

Day 10: Wanaka

Day 11: Drive to Aoraki Mt Cook. Set up Camp at Whitehorse Hill.

Day 12: Hooker Valley walk. Overnight in campground.

Day 13: Drive to Chch, see Lakes Pukaki and Tekapo along the way. Overnight in Chch

Day 14: Fly out of Chch

Does this sound reasonable? Would any of you suggest taking out the Catlins on days 7 & 8, replacing with additional days at Te Anau and Wanaka?

Thanks so much, appreciate all your advice while scouring the forums and putting together our plans!

7 replies to this topic
Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: 14 day trip planning on South Island

Yes Day 5 would be better spent at Te Anua then you could go for a early morning cruise (before the buses come from QTN on day 6. You could even do a possible Glow worm caves tour late in the afternoon if interested at Te Anua.

I would definitely leave the 2 nights in the Catlins in as there is lots to see along the way with an overnight at Kata point.

.Mclean Falls, Cathedral cave (must be low Tide),Florence Lookout, Matai falls, Horseshoe Falls, Purakaunui falls(one of the best in NZ) Nugget Point lighthouse,

The rest of the itinerary looks gook as long as you have bookings where possible.

Edited: 18 November 2017, 23:55
California
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2. Re: 14 day trip planning on South Island

Instead of Fortrose, consider spending the night at Curio Bay or Waikawa.

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3. Re: 14 day trip planning on South Island

Good call deSchenke. I thought the OP might have booked Fortrose already if not of course Curio Bay will get you seeing the penguins come in at night.

Christchurch, New...
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4. Re: 14 day trip planning on South Island

Looks very well thought out. Your question regarding day 5 hinges on which hut you have booked for N4?? Assuming N3 is Routeburn Falls & N4 is Lake McKenzie, you will have a 5-6 hr walk to The Divide. An early start could leave you time to get to MS for the last cruise of the day & since you will be carrying camping gear you could return to camp at Cascade creek!! A total of 1:30 hr driving & 2 hr on the cruise.

However by rushing the 3rd day you miss the opportunity to hike Key Summit which is a lovely diversion near the end of the RT, so perhaps your two alternatives are #1 camp at Cascade Creek on N6 and stay in Te Anau on N6, or #2 2N at the Anau as in your OP.

Ayrshire
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5. Re: 14 day trip planning on South Island

I'm in Curio Bay at the moment and would highly recommend it. Bay itself is stunning and the Catlins are amazing

So glad we decided to come down here for couple of nights.

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6. Re: 14 day trip planning on South Island

Great news aqua76 hope you get to see the penguins there too.

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7. Re: 14 day trip planning on South Island

Thanks all for your advice and suggestions!

Sounds like seeing the Catlins would be wonderful, and glad to hear you all think so as well, and that you think our schedule isn't too hectic (relatively anyways, since the whole trip is rather short). No we have not booked at Fortrose yet. I was trying to figure out how to squeeze in a Catlins trip and just figured out how to re-organize to include it, so I will look in Curio Bay instead. Would love to see penguins.

Zhuhai- about Cascade Creek, I was considering that option, but had read that it fills quickly during peak season. We'll be there early March-- do you think there's too much risk of not getting a tent site if we were to arrive there so late in the day (after finishing our tramp and *possibly* also taking a boat ride at MS)? And yes, we're staying at Routeburn Falls Hut and Lake McKensie.

Thanks again!

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