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New Zealand South Island Itinerary

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1. Posted by Sophia_1990 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

Hi Fellow Travelers,

I am writing to obtain some advice on our upcoming self drive holiday for our honeymoon! (Yes i know why are we not sitting on a beach some where relaxing). Me being an aspiring nature photographer and Mr being an adventure seeker, NZ is the perfect destination for us.

So we have 10 day in which to travel the South Island, I have chosen some must see destinations and I have not gone nuts from what i have calculated in terms of driving ( Mr will be the only one driving, I am just there to get us lost). Below is a very brief itinerary i have drafted. Your reviews and input on time and things we must see and do are very much appreciated!

March 25 - Arrive 3:00 PM NZ time in Queenstown - We will be spending a total of 2 nights in Queenstown

March 26 - Milford Sounds Coach and Cruise Trip - Late return

March 27 - Queenstown explore for half of the day (Lake Wakatipu) Wanaka via Arrowtow (Wanaka late arrival)

March 28 - Wanaka - Explore Town and National Park

March 29- Early Departure Wanaka to Glacier Country - Fox Glacier (Arrival time 11:00am approx )

March 30 - Glacier Country

March 31 -Depart early to Greymouth

April 1 - Depart Greymouth to Hanmer Springs

April 2 - Explore Hanmer Springs - Late departure to Christchurch

April 3 - Christchurch

April 4 - Home to Australia

Please let me know what your thought are on this brief outline. I am really after information on where we should spend less time or other locations we should spend more time in and if you consider it to be a little to rushed or about right?.

For us Milford Sounds, glacier and Wanaka are a must, although I would love to travel to Mt Cook, in our time span it is just too much back tracking :(.

Also, a very vague topic on the internet is spending money in New Zealand we are budgeting AU $130 per person per day, this is on top of car hire, fuel, accommodation and major tours and activity expenses which will have their own budget allocation, will this be enough or are we way off? . We want to travel comfortably!

Thank you so much for reading and I look forward to your advice!


2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5087 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

The pacing of the trip is very good. Don't change a thing for Queenstown, Milford Sound and the glaciers. Perfect time of the year, too - with a bit of luck the trees will just starting to turn color when you're in Queenstown/Arrowtown, which always looks lovely there. (And then you drive over the great divide, and arrive in rainforest land around the glaciers, and wonder what happened to the seasons.) :)

As for Greymouth and Hanmer Springs: I like them, but they're not that interesting/spectacular. You already mention Mt. Cook yourself, and near to there is Lake Tekapo, my absolute favorite place in New Zealand, and an utter delight for photography, with the sunset light always being amazing. Christchurch used to be amazing, but after the earthquake it's still mostly in ruins. Might be that by the time of your trip next year it'll be better, but might be not. In which case, how's this for the end of the trip:

March 31 -Depart early to Arthur's Pass

April 1 - Depart Arthur's Pass to Lake Tekapo

April 2 - Stay at Lake Tekapo; eye the clouds, and if they're light, head over to Mt. Cook (1 hour drive; after 30 minutes you're at Lake Pukaki and can see if you can see Mt. Cook itself at the far end of the lake; if not, just turn back), otherwise explore around Lake Tekapo

April 3 - idem (so with a bit of luck you have one day at Mt. Cook, and one day at Lake Tekapo itself); late departure to Christchurch (or Queenstown; you're about halfway between the two, so flights could go from either)

April 4 - Home to Australia

I'm running out of time for writing, but see this thread for a bit more about Lake Tekapo, or these photos.

[ Edit: Edited on 31-Jul-2013, at 01:25 by Sander ]

3. Posted by Andyf (Moderator 823 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

I'll echo Sander - Hanmer Springs isn't a wow when you're tight on time.

You may end up spending less time at the glaciers than you're planning - they 're great but a three hour heli hike or a walk up to the snout and you may be done.