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Franz Josef glacier and Tongariro NP in July

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Franz Josef glacier and Tongariro NP in July

1. Posted by melwurmus (Budding Member 22 posts) 7y

melwurmus has indicated that this thread is about New Zealand

I'm planning to spend around 4 weeks in NZ as part of my RTW next year.

The simplified route so far is Christchurch - Kaikoura - Picton - Wellington - Napier - Taupo - Rotorua - Coromandel Peninsula - Auckland - Pahia.

This will be my first time and I should arrive around mid July 2010, getting around by public transport.

Is it worth the effort to visit Franz Josef Glacier, after all it would take 3 days?

The Tongariro Crossing would be right up my sleeve outside the winter months, but I haven't found any info so far what I could do if I stop there. I'm not into winter sports at all.
Does anybody have some suggestions?

I don't have the need anymore to see as much as possible, but rather explore interesting areas in more detail.

Thanks for your input.

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4809 posts) 7y

I'd say the glaciers are totally worth the time for a detour. The vibrant green surroundings of the rain forest there is really amazing (hike the Roberts Point track for the most gorgeous scenery ever). In fact, I'd say all of the southern half of the South Island is worth the time for a detour; it's the most gorgeous part of New Zealand, especially in winter, when the Southern Alps are all gloriously covered by fresh snow. Take a week and do a short 'loop' Christchurch - Lake Tekapo - Mt Cook - Queenstown - glaciers - Kaikoura as the start of your trip. (Hell, take two and skip boring places like Taupo and Rotorua.) :)

Tongariro National Park has some shorter hikes which are quite doable in winter, too, with most starting in and around Whakapapa. I can recommend the Taranaki Falls track, and the hike to the silicon rapids. Not nearly as impressive as the crossing, but good all the same.

3. Posted by melwurmus (Budding Member 22 posts) 7y

Your pictures certainly wet my appetite.

The main reason for not considering anything South of Christchurch so far is the winter season. Busservice will be cut down and I'm not so fond of icy conditions.

Thanks for your ideas, I can see myself already extending the NZ part and cutting a bit off for Australia.

4. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4809 posts) 7y

Quoting melwurmus

The main reason for not considering anything South of Christchurch so far is the winter season. Busservice will be cut down and I'm not so fond of icy conditions.

The "icy" conditions won't be that bad. If you're lucky it'll snow up around the Lake Tekapo-Queenstown stretch, but there's a far larger chance that it won't. (In the 2.5 winter weeks I've spent there total, I lucked out with two days of snow, had eight completely gorgeous sunny days, and the rest was cloudy.) Daytime temperatures could be anywhere between 10 degrees below freezing and ten degrees above freezing. There's a minute chance that snow is heavy enough to disrupt bus service, but this happens very rarely, and since you're at the start of your time in New Zealand, you should easily be able to recover the lost time. Other than that, although the winter schedule is "reduced" compared to summer, this just means that there's only one bus a day from Christchurch to Queenstown, rather than two. You can still get anywhere you're wanting to go every single day of the week.

Thanks for your ideas, I can see myself already extending the NZ part and cutting a bit off for Australia.

*grins* That's an excellent idea. Australia is a wonderful country, but beauty-wise, New Zealand just packs way more of it in a far smaller area, and makes it all a whole lot more accessible, too. :)

5. Posted by melwurmus (Budding Member 22 posts) 7y

Well no more convincing required. :)

So what would you suggest to see for a first timer to Australia in 3 to 4 weeks around June?

My first thought of a route was like Brisbane - Sydney - Canberra - Melbourne - Adelaide - Alice Springs.
Yes, I'm aware of distances, so that route would be pushing the limit.

It's hard to drop a place because they all have something I'd like to see. :(
Maybe I should keep in mind that I never expected to travel to Australia in my life and be glad for what I can see.

Thanks for your input.

6. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4809 posts) 7y

Quoting melwurmus

So what would you suggest to see for a first timer to Australia in 3 to 4 weeks around June?

My first thought of a route was like Brisbane - Sydney - Canberra - Melbourne - Adelaide - Alice Springs.
Yes, I'm aware of distances, so that route would be pushing the limit.

It's hard to drop a place because they all have something I'd like to see. :(

First places to drop would be Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane and Alice Springs; they're all rather nice, but they're just cities (as opposed to Melbourne and Sydney, which are two of the nicest cities anywhere in the world).
What I'd do is spend 10 days in Melbourne and around (Great Ocean Road, the Grampians, maybe Wilson's Promontory or Philip Island), fly or train to Sydney and spend a week seeing the city and the Blue Mountains, then fly directly to Uluru to spend 2 days there, then fly to Cairns and spend the remaining week there (Great Barrier Reef, Cape Tribulation, maybe a jaunt down to Magnetic Island). It's a lot of internal flights in a short time, but realistically, 3-4 weeks is too short a time to want to "waste" time on really experiencing the endless distances of Australia; that's more something for when you have 6-12 months to roam around without a set plan.

7. Posted by melwurmus (Budding Member 22 posts) 7y

Thank you, I really appreciate your advice.

8. Posted by WebGuy (Full Member 106 posts) 7y

Great info here Sander!! Convinced me to detour my route to the Glacier and Tongariro!

Good stuff!! :rawk: - wish we had that smiley!! ;)