Melbourne, Sydney & South Island

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1. Posted by vikramd (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Your valuable comments and suggestions.

Melbourne, Sydney & South Island in Jan 2011

Hey All, This is my 1st post ever on a travel forum. I'm from India and I was bitten by the travel bug in 2005 after my first International visit to Dubai. I have traveled to Western Europe a couple of times for a month each and did a grand trip to the US for 2 months. But that was just with my girlfriend.

This trip however is different because we will be traveling with my son who will be 13 months in January. Also I just have 17 days to do both Australia and New Zealand. After some research I came up with this. Please advice if certain places or activities are not suitable for a baby.

10th - Singapore to Darwin
11th - Darwin to Sydney (morning flight)
12th - Sydney
13th - Sydney/ Blue Mountain
14th - Sydney
15th - Sydney to Christchurch (morning flight)
16th - Christchurch/ Kaikoura
17th - Franz Josef and Fox glacier
18th - Lake Tekapo
19th - Mt.Cook
20th - Queenstown
21st - Queenstown/ Milford sound
22nd - Queenstown to Melbourne (evening Flight)
23rd - Melbourne/ St Kilda's
24th - Melbourne/ Great ocean road
25th - Melbourne
26th - Melbourne to Singapore

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

[ Edit: Edited on 18-Jun-2010, at 05:54 by vikramd ]

Posts 2 & 3 were removed by moderators
4. Posted by rabudman (Inactive 31 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

An Admirable and ambitious plan but absolutely positively no way is this enough time to do what you would like. You will spend 2/3 of your time in transit.

The two countries are vastly, vastly different.

Advice - Cut the itinerary in half or take one of the countries off the list and plan to come back later. I spent a week traveling the south island and felt rushed. You could easily spend the 17 days in New Zealand and still leave things unseen but you wouldn't be so rushed. Australia is a huge country and you could dedicate the entire 17 days to it as well. Whichever you decide, slow down and take the time to enjoy the location and not worry about the cab/train/plane ride to the next location.

Have fun and enjoy.

5. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5338 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Quoting vikramd

17th - Franz Josef and Fox glacier
18th - Lake Tekapo
19th - Mt.Cook
20th - Queenstown

Besides rabudman's comments, which I agree with completely, this part of your itinerary is not really possible in this order (except by really being on the road all day). Although Lake Tekapo and Mt. Cook are really close to the glaciers on a map, they have the "great divide" between them, and the only way to get from one to the other is via Arthur's Pass (which you crossed to the glaciers from Christchurch), or via Wanaka, far to the south (closer to Queenstown than to anywhere else). You can do a loop Christchurch - glaciers - Queenstown - Mt. Cook - Lake Tekapo - Christchurch in a week (though taking 8-9 days is better), and then fly out from Christchurch again, rather than from Queenstown.

Based on this itinerary, I'd probably drop either Sydney or Melbourne (Sydney is nicer than Melbourne as a city to just see for a few days, but the Great Ocean Road is nicer than the Blue Mountains, so it's a tough choice). The days you save by that should be marked as travel days between the other destinations, which you'll then get to actually [i]see/i].

6. Posted by groverkiwi (Budding Member 15 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I concur with the above two posts, Fitting the glaciers in would just not work. The day/ overnight trip to Kaikoura would be worth dropping. If you want to visit both countries I would look at flying into Sydney direct from Singapore, Spend half your trip in the Sydney area, Blue mountains and maybe the Hunter. Fly to Christchurch and plan a Southern loop, You would still get to see glaciers at Mt Cook plus you might consider Dunedin or the Catlins area. Remember road distances are deceptive in New Zealand. You prpbably do not want to spend 8-10 hours in a car with a 13 month old.

Have fun and I hope you enjoy your Holiday


7. Posted by seafarmer (Budding Member 9 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hear hear to all the above. You'll just see airports and highways. I know it's so tempting, trying to do everything. I once spent four weeks in Darwin area and there was still plenty more to do.

The drive from Christchurch to Queenstown is really superb, through the middle of South Island. Big, big country, glacier-fed lakes, Mt Cook in the distance.. You can take a flight over Mt Cook from Tekapo or Twizel and a glider trip from Omarama.. maybe you could each do one of those while t'other babysits!

The only way you could fit in the Fox/Franz Josef glaciers would be by plane.

It's a very long day to see Milford Sound from Queenstown - about 13 hours, so you might need a rest day after that!

If I was advising a friend who only had a week:

15th Chch
16th Kaikoura day trip
17th drive to Tekapo, fly (joyride) that day or next morning weather dependent, visit Mt John Observatory at night for amazing stars (also worth a drive up in daytime for views, just off the main road) at Tekapo.
18 stay Q'town, if weather and finances allow take a glider ride en route at Omarama, a world centre for gliding
19 enjoy Q'town surrounds, Arrowtown, Lake Hayes, a trip on the Earnslaw, the gondola, Kelvin Heights drive if open.
20 day trip to Milford Sound, either back to Q town or sleep at Te Anau.
21 lots to do and scenery to admire in Te Anau/Manapouri or just enjoy Q'town.
22 Back to Q'town or drive to Glenorchy.

This gives a looser itinerary with an opportunity to do a bit extra as you drive along and discover things.
If it's January you may want to book most things ahead.
Happy travelling!

8. Posted by Kelvin Ang (Budding Member 49 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

With eight days in NZ, including arrival and departure days, may I propose the following...

15th - Sydney to Christchurch (morning flight), sort out rental car at airport and head straight to Franz Josef/Fox Glacier for the night (6 hours drive)
16th - Do the half-day glacier walk/helicopter ride, then head to Queenstown for the night (5.5 hours drive)
17th - Queenstown-->Milford Sound -->Queenstown (get the packaged tour, saves you driving for hours and getting stuck behind buses)
18th - Queenstown itself
19th - Queenstown --> Lake Tekapo for the night (3.5 hours)
20th - Lake Tekapo --> Christchurch for the night (3.5 hours)
21st - Christchurch --> Akaroa --> Christchurch (1.5 hours each way)
22nd - Christchurch to Melbourne (evening Flight)

  • Flying out from Christchurch is likely to be cheaper than flying out from Queenstown.
  • 21st (Akaroa Day) is also a buffer day - in the event you get delayed for whatever reason, you can just skip Akaroa.

This site gives the estimated time of driving between two places.

(ps. I spent an entire month on the South Island when I did a similar trip in 2006, of which I spent 4 days in Tekapo, and still think I didn't have enough time in NZ!)

9. Posted by vikramd (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I would like to thank you guys for the rapid response and all the suggestions.

@sander: I took your suggestion and have decided to drop Melbourne of the itinerary. It was a tough choice.....

@groverkiwi: I definitely don't want to spend 8-10 hrs of driving with my son.

@Kelvin Ang: I have a better idea about the driving distances now. i am definitely going to take the packaged tour to milford Sound.

Revised itinerary:

10th - Singapore to Darwin
11th - Darwin to Sydney (morning flight)
12th - Sydney
13th - Sydney/ Blue Mountain
14th - Sydney
15th - Sydney to Christchurch (morning flight)
16th - Daytrip up to Kaikoura.
17th - Drive to Franz Josef/Fox Glacier for the night.
18th - Quote Sander "explore Franz Josef Glacier, walk the glacier or fly over it in a helicopter if the weather is nice. Be certain to also view Peter's Pool, and if the weather isn't nice to take the time for a hike up to Robert's Point for awesome rainforest scenery. Maybe drive on to Fox glacier (30 minutes)."
19th - Drive to Queenstown.
20th - Queenstown
21st - Packaged tour to Milfod Sound.
22nd - Queenstown
23rd - Drive to Lake Tekapo.
24th - Lake Tekapo
25th - Drive to Christchurch flight to Melbourne (evening flight)
26th - Melbourne to Singapore

What do you guys think?

10. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5338 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

This is a great itinerary. Much more manageable and allowing yourself to have a nice relaxing time while still seeing a fair bit of the two countries.
What you might consider is to drop one day from Queenstown, and instead spend it driving to Mt. Cook and doing some hiking there. As a city, I found Queenstown to be not quite that inspiring. On the other hand, you'll probably be tired from a long day in the bus to Milford Sound and back, so just spending the day relaxing in Queenstown is not at all a bad choice either.