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NZ advice please??

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific NZ advice please??

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11. Posted by Araluen (Respected Member 346 posts) 6y

Sander at #6 said:

"July 2: Drive to Lake Tekapo (~3 hours). Hike up Mt. John for hot chocolate at the observatory cafe and 360 degree views of the Southern Alps and infinity. Stay the night, gazing over the beauty of the lake.
July 3: Drive to Queenstown with lunch at Mt. Cook. (~5 hours) Explore Queenstown."

To drive from Lake Tekapo to Aoraki/Mt. Cook then Aoraki/Mt. Cook to Queenstown will take longer than 5 hours, more like 5 hours 50 minutes, and that is not allowing for any stops. If you wish to have lunch at Aoraki/Mt. Cook, then I'd suggest you stay overnight there. You'll still have plenty of time to explore Lake Tekapo - it's lovely there by the lake but it's not all that big a place. A couple of hours to see the collie (statue) and the Church of the Good Shepherd, a bit of a wander around the shops (the take away there does great fish'n'chips) then head up to Aoraki/Mt. Cook. It's roughly 75 minutes drive.

Instead of driving from Aoraki/Mt. Cook to Queenstown, you could drive to Te Anau (same amount of driving), stay the night do the Milford Sound trip next morning then drive on to Queenstown. There's a very good YHA at Te Anau. If you decide to do a bus trip to Milford, the BBQ Bus is a good one. The Minus 5 Bar in Queenstown is a real treat - everything is made of ice, the tables, the seats, even your driking glasses. Great fun.

I always advice people to check the Distance Calculator

You should also be aware that the road(s) may be closed due to the weather (people have been known to be trapped for a couple of days).

Also, watch out for black ice on the roads. You shouldn't drive before 8.30/9.00am or after 5.30pm as it will be dark and the highways aren't lit. Also, the road between Queenstown and Franz Josef is narrow and very winding in parts so you won't be driving at 100kms.

Kia Ora.

12. Posted by Araluen (Respected Member 346 posts) 6y

Quoting Araluen

Sander at #6 said:

"July 2: Drive to Lake Tekapo (~3 hours). Hike up Mt. John for hot chocolate at the observatory cafe and 360 degree views of the Southern Alps and infinity. Stay the night, gazing over the beauty of the lake.
July 3: Drive to Queenstown with lunch at Mt. Cook. (~5 hours) Explore Queenstown."

To drive from Lake Tekapo to Aoraki/Mt. Cook then Aoraki/Mt. Cook to Queenstown will take longer than 5 hours, more like 5 hours 50 minutes, and that is not allowing for any stops. If you wish to have lunch at Aoraki/Mt. Cook, then I'd suggest you stay overnight there. You'll still have plenty of time to explore Lake Tekapo - it's lovely there by the lake but it's not all that big a place. A couple of hours to see the collie (statue) and the Church of the Good Shepherd, a bit of a wander around the shops (the take away there does great fish'n'chips) then head up to Aoraki/Mt. Cook. It's roughly 75 minutes drive.

Instead of driving from Aoraki/Mt. Cook to Queenstown, you could drive to Te Anau (same amount of driving), stay the night do the Milford Sound trip next morning then drive on to Queenstown. There's a very good YHA at Te Anau. If you decide to do a bus trip to Milford, the BBQ Bus is a good one. The Minus 5 Bar in Queenstown is a real treat - everything is made of ice, the tables, the seats, even your drinking glasses. Great fun.

I always advice people to check the Distance Calculator

You should also be aware that the road(s) may be closed due to the weather (people have been known to be trapped for a couple of days).

Also, watch out for black ice on the roads. You shouldn't drive before 8.30/9.00am or after 5.30pm as it will be dark and the highways aren't lit. Also, the road between Queenstown and Franz Josef is narrow and very winding in parts so you won't be driving at 100kms.

Kia Ora.

Edited to fix typos

13. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4834 posts) 6y

Quoting Araluen

To drive from Lake Tekapo to Aoraki/Mt. Cook then Aoraki/Mt. Cook to Queenstown will take longer than 5 hours, more like 5 hours 50 minutes, and that is not allowing for any stops.

Really that long? I remember doing Queenstown to Tekapo in just under four hours, including many stops. (Have only ever visited Mt. Cook as an overnight destination, or on a bus, but a detour there for lunch would seem to me to be totally doable.) Google maps agrees with me and claims four and a half hours for Lake Tekapo to Mt. Cook to Queenstown. (Of course, any drive in New Zealand can balloon in time with stops added, but that depends on the individual habits and interests of people.)

If you wish to have lunch at Aoraki/Mt. Cook, then I'd suggest you stay overnight there. You'll still have plenty of time to explore Lake Tekapo - it's lovely there by the lake but it's not all that big a place. A couple of hours to see the collie (statue) and the Church of the Good Shepherd, a bit of a wander around the shops (the take away there does great fish'n'chips) then head up to Aoraki/Mt. Cook.

Ah, that would be such a shame, in my humble opinion. :) I always make a point of it to stay at Lake Tekapo for 3-7 days, and every day watch the busloads stop by for their quick church and statue snapshots and then move on again, oblivious to what they're missing. I always love sunset colors at Lake Tekapo, and really, that climb up Mt. John is worth it for the hot chocolate alone, let alone the 360 degree views over the MacKenzie country and the Southern Alps. And there really is nothing better for relaxing than to sit behind the huge windows in the lounge of the Takepo YHA, gazing out over the lake while sipping a cup of tea. (Or carbonara pizza at Pepe's! Mmmmm... *g*)

Instead of driving from Aoraki/Mt. Cook to Queenstown, you could drive to Te Anau (same amount of driving), stay the night do the Milford Sound trip next morning then drive on to Queenstown. There's a very good YHA at Te Anau.

Agreed on that YHA being excellent, but I found Te Anau to be an unexciting dive. (Yeah... I know, this from the guy who spends weeks at a time at Lake Tekapo. ;) But still!) And if you're in Te Anau, then there's the temptation to stay a day longer and walk the first part of the Kepler track and back (highly recommended!) which doesn't really fit in the two weeks.

[ Edit: Edited on 28-Apr-2010, at 10:28 by Sander ]

14. Posted by Araluen (Respected Member 346 posts) 6y

Sander - Can't get that quoting thing to work without having to go through the whole post. Re #13 -

The problem with google maps is it can be misleading as it assumes a clear run and doesn't take into consideration road conditions, traffic or weather conditions. Yes you can drive from Queenstown to Lake Tekapo in around 4 hours as we did - on a bright summer day, but do that in the middle of winter under very different conditions and the driving time won't be the same. Factor in black ice, heavy snowfall...
(An example, to drive from my place to a friend's across Medlbourne, google maps says "about 1 hour 12 mins" - do that trip at 7.30pm on a Sunday night and it's about right (took me 1 hour 15 mins), but do the sam trip during the day and it takes much longer, especially if you start out around 2.30pm. Takes you over 2 hours.)

I liked Tekapo too (you can see Aoraki/Mt. Cook from your car window anyway along the way) and you're right about the YHA - beautiful view from the lounge room and kitchen windows. Remember this? Naturally I had to sit on the best seat in the house so to speak.

My suggestion of the alternative overnight stay was based mainly on the time of year (middle of winter, snow, ice etc) and the OP's tight schedule. A pity he couldn't do it the other way (which in my opinion is better) - across the Southern Alps to Arthur's Pass, then down the west coast to Franz etc.

Post 15 was removed by a moderator
16. Posted by karis_e (First Time Poster 1 posts) 6y

hi there, im travelling to NZ in jan for bout 5 weeks flying into christchurch and out of aukland am travelling alone and you guys seemed to know lots of good ideas and i really dnt have clue and was a bit worried bout getting from one place to the other is this easily dooable??help much appriciated :)

17. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4834 posts) 6y

Quoting karis_e

hi there, im travelling to NZ in jan for bout 5 weeks flying into christchurch and out of aukland am travelling alone and you guys seemed to know lots of good ideas and i really dnt have clue and was a bit worried bout getting from one place to the other is this easily dooable??help much appriciated :)

Better to start a new thread for a new question. Now, if the original poster has email notifications turned on, there'll be several unnecessary emails going out. But anyway, it's really easy to get around in New Zealand. InterCity busses go everywhere you'd want to go daily (several times a day for popular routes). Do note that January is absolute peak season, and you should book hostels as much as a week in advance (at least on the South Island), more if you're picky about which one, or what type of room, you want to stay in.

18. Posted by wanderer82 (Full Member 111 posts) 6y

As stunning as Mt Cook is, I wouldn't stay there overnight.

My girlfriend and I did the Glacier Exploring trip which was fabulous and were due to stay at Glentanner Park (which is literally the only civilsation for hours).

In the end we decided to bypass Glentanner because it was just too isolated and drive straight to Timaru instead (not that Timaru had much to offer but there were some facilities at least and it was a lot closer to our next stop in Christchurch).

I was literally blown away by the scenery of Lake Pukaki and Mt Cook but until you get there you won't realise just how isolated it is.

There is an expensive hotel, some houses where the locals live (apparently you have to work in Mt Cook to be able to live there) and literally zero in terms of anything else. (In fact the village only has one petrol pump which you have to ring and get someone from the hotel to operate)

There's nothing wrong with any of this and it is some people's idea of paradise (perhaps it's my fault for not doing my research on the area before leaving but be warned there are no shops, restaurants, pubs or any facilities at all)

Cheers

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