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11 Nights in South Island of NZ - What to do and see?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific 11 Nights in South Island of NZ - What to do and see?

1. Posted by webs (Budding Member 9 posts) 8y

Hey all. I'm from Brisbane, Australia and am planning to spend 11 nights in the New Zealand in January 2009. Half my extended family are from Auckland and I'm not to concerned about seeing the North Island (I've been to Auckland, Rotorua etc etc) so my focus will definitely be the South.

Essentially what I'm thinking of doing is flying into Wellington on the night of 9 January, getting the ferry across to Picton and working my way all the way down to Queenstown, before coming back around to Christchurch to fly out on 20 January. All of this would be done using a car that we will hire at Picton.

I am wondering what are the absolute must-see sights and perhaps what a good itenary could be for a trip this size. We would be prepared to pay to do a couple of more expensive activities but the priority would certainly be on natural sights and some fun nightlife spent at hostels and out and about.

Can anyone give me some help? Cheers in advance.

2. Posted by rwright (Budding Member 20 posts) 8y

You should definitely go to the abel tasman national park in golden bay, near neslon(top of south island). heaps of beautiful beaches and walking tracks and you can get to deserted beaches by going on a kayak trip.
You should also go to the Catlins, not far out of Queenstown, for amazing scenery, beaches, and wildlife (www.catlins.org.nz) and also go to Wanaka which isn't too far out of Queenstown.
If you're looking for some expensive activities to do, then Queenstown has heaps of things like bungy jumping, jet boating etc.
Have a great trip :)

3. Posted by kinethomas (Full Member 6 posts) 8y

Quoting rwright

You should definitely go to the abel tasman national park in golden bay, near neslon(top of south island). heaps of beautiful beaches and walking tracks and you can get to deserted beaches by going on a kayak trip.
You should also go to the Catlins, not far out of Queenstown, for amazing scenery, beaches, and wildlife (www.catlins.org.nz) and also go to Wanaka which isn't too far out of Queenstown.
If you're looking for some expensive activities to do, then Queenstown has heaps of things like bungy jumping, jet boating etc.
Have a great trip :)

Further to this, I would suggest making time for Mt Cook (really LOTR-like landscape), Milford Sound, driving down the West Coast and hiking the Glaciers. No NZ trip is complete without some extreme sports, even though I agree Queenstown does seem to strain the wallet somewhat ;-)

Good thing you're doing it in summer though, I was there in the winter of 2004 and it was freezing! But still amazing.
Have a great trip!

4. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 8y

Kaikoura - you can go whale watching should the weather allow, there's the wineries around Malbourough, Abel Tasman National Park is stunning as long as the clouds dont envelop you like they did with me and you cant see anything!

I enjoyed Hamner Springs also - the thermal spas is a pretty relaxing way to spend an afternoon and it doesnt smell that bad!

Its not been said and but there's also Milford Sound which is do able as a day trip from Queenstown, but you are limited in your time.

5. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3713 posts) 8y

Te Anau is pretty, and also Doubtful Sound - prettier and less touristy than Milford I thought. Abel Tasman National Park was my favourite place on the South Island.

6. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 8y

I really like Glenorchy, which is just a bit South of Queenstown. There are some great mountains around there, and it's the start of the Routeburn track which is a top walk.

A nice way to see Milford Sound is by Kayak.

7. Posted by hmclehto (Full Member 142 posts) 8y

Add to the others Arrowtown near Queenstown, drive through Arthur's Pass and also Otago Peninsula. Went for a drive from Dunedin, cause to be honest we were a little disappointed with Dunedin and the Peninsula ended up being a great suprise. Amazing scenery...