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South Island, New Zealand...need help with planning

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South Island, New Zealand...need help with planning

Hi Everyone,

My friend and I are planning to fly from Sydney, Australia into Queenstown, NZ in late November and plan to spend 8-9 nights in the South Island before flying to Auckland (staying 5 days there). Unfortunately my friend is doing all the driving as I don't know how to drive so as I am planning our itinerary, I need to be mindful of how much driving we do (my friend wants ideally MAX 3 hours each way). So Milford Sound is almost a 4 hour drive from Queenstown, would you guys recommend maybe a day tour instead so we will be picked up by a bus-- if so, what kinda tours will max the experience of visiting Milford Sound (I am okay with anything except for helicopter rides, maybe a combo of hiking/kayaking...cruise will be okay).

This is my preliminary itinerary in the South Island...I've left some blanks because I am clueless!

Day

1- arrive in Queenstown (explore the town)

2- Milford Sound (day tour so we do not need to drive; stay in Queenstown)

3- pick up car and day trip to Te Anau (overnight in Queenstown)

4- Wanaka and stay 1 night here

5*** any overnight stop between Wanaka to Franz Josef, suggestions please ***

6- Franz Josef (overnight stay)

7- ***overnight stay anywhere between Franz Josef to Christchurch***

8-***overnight stay anywhere between Franz Josef to Christchurch***

9 Christchurch (stay overnight and fly to Auckland the next day)

Thank you all in advance for your advice. If you guys have any other spots you think I should do instead, staying more than 1 night at a spot or anything else, please feel free to let me know! Thanks!!!

Edited: 21 August 2018, 14:27
6 replies to this topic
Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: South Island, New Zealand...need help with planning

Day 1- Arrive in Queenstown (explore the town)

Day 2- Pick up car and Drive to Te Anau Possible glow worm caves tour in the afternoon (2N)

Day 3- Drive or coach tour to Milford Sound and cruise return to Te Anau

Day 4 - Drive to Wanaka

Day 5 Drive Wanaka to Fox Glacier stopping regularly for attractions. possible lunch and comfort stop at Haast cafe. Fox Glacier (2N)

Day 6- Explore lake matheson early morning then Fox Glacier.

Day 7 Fox Glacier to Hokitika and detour to Hokitika Gorge. O/N Hokitika

Day 8 Drive Hokitika via Arthurs pass and Castle Hill to CHC (2N)

Day 9 Explore Christchurch (stay overnight and fly to Auckland the next day)

New Zealand
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2. Re: South Island, New Zealand...need help with planning

1 arrive Queenstown

2 bus tour Milford Sound, stay Queenstown

3 collect rental, explore

4 drive to Wanaka

5 explore

6 drive to Fox or Franz

7 explore

8 drive to Hokitika

9 drive to Chch

10 fly to Auckland

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: South Island, New Zealand...need help with planning

A days coach tour to Milford sound and cruise takes approx. 12-13 hrs with the time you have I think the short drive to Te Anau is well worth it reducing your time in the coach. The tour from Te Anau takes around 8 hrs which includes stops along the Milford Sound road and the cruise.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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4. Re: South Island, New Zealand...need help with planning

Driving 3 hr per day is not really practical or sensible. You end up changing hotels every day! Both itineraries offered have alternately longer days & days to explore & relax.

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5. Re: South Island, New Zealand...need help with planning

Thank you all so much for your suggestions! Briefly googled the driving times for both itenaries listed it is perfect. Seems like going to Milford Sound from Te Anau is the most practical way to maximize our time...and I should be more specific that it is not 3 hours total each day that we will be driving, rather 3 hours max straight driving each way. Thanks everyone, I feel less stress in planning now. :)

Edited: 22 August 2018, 00:48
Christchurch, New...
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6. Re: South Island, New Zealand...need help with planning

“Three hours max straight” - we do have towns & villages in NZ, as well as roadside picnic areas. The AA recommends a driver reviver every two hours. Do a short walk, take some photos, grab a coffee. You could even buy a $10 thermos from The Warehouse & stop for a cup of tea whenever you felt like it.

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