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Akaroa to Te Anau - 3 day drive, or fly?

Melbourne, Australia
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Akaroa to Te Anau - 3 day drive, or fly?
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Family of 4 with 2 teenagers, planning a trip for January 2025. We have 9 nights, we fly into Christchurch and can either have 2 nights Akaroa (seeing Hectors dolphins is important), then take 3 days/2 nights to drive to Te Anau, via Oamaru (1 night) and Cromwell (1 night), then 3 nights Te Anau ( 1 day Doubtful Sound, 1 day Milford Sound) then 2 nights Queenstown then fly home.

OR we can add a 3rd night in Akaroa and fly from Christchurch to Queenstown and add 4th night in Te Anau.

Is the scenery on the drive between Akaroa and Te Anau worth the time on the road (noting stroppy teenagers, what would appeal to them on that route?) or should we fly and have more time in Akaroa and Te Anau and less time on the road in between?

Many thanks for any suggestions.

8 replies to this topic
Auckland, New...
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1. Re: Akaroa to Te Anau - 3 day drive, or fly?
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I would go with the driving plan so you see more of the country. Akaroa is a one day kinda place and 3 nights in Te Anau is already plenty.

You could spend one night in Christchurch and one night in Akaroa. Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound are both going to be huge days, I would only do one of them. Doubtful Sound is better as an overnight cruise.

What is the reason you have chosen driving via Oamaru, rather than driving via Lake Tekapo and Mount Cook?

California
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for New Zealand
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2. Re: Akaroa to Te Anau - 3 day drive, or fly?
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Oamaru and Cromwell? What led to the option of those two locations?

I'd opt for Mount Cook and Wanaka. But it's not my vacation. And why 2 sounds? It seems redundant for such a short trip.

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Akaroa to Te Anau - 3 day drive, or fly?
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We thought our children would like to see the penguins at Oamaru but if there is a faster or better route we'd like to know. I'm concerned about 3 days in the car with teenagers unless there is a lot to stop and see/do along the way, with multiple different places to stay overnight, rather than staying more nights in fewer places.

Auckland, New...
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4. Re: Akaroa to Te Anau - 3 day drive, or fly?
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Going via Tekapo and Mount Cook is more scenic. The drive from Christchurch to Oamaru is really boring.

What do your teenagers want? Do they want to drive 3 hours to see tiny penguins? They may not care about scenery or walks but they might care that Lake Tekapo & Wanaka are very popular on Instagram and Tik Tok.

Edited: 24 February 2024, 18:02
Christchurch, New...
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for Christchurch, South Island, Akaroa
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5. Re: Akaroa to Te Anau - 3 day drive, or fly?
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Why not do the penguins at Pohatu, near Akaroa & then take the inland Scenic route via Lake Tekapo (side trip to Aoraki Mt Cook) and Wanaka, so at least you are seeing some of the more scenic countryside & not just 100s of Km of the Canterbury Plains & dairy cows!

Sydney, Australia
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for Fiji, New Zealand, Tasmania
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6. Re: Akaroa to Te Anau - 3 day drive, or fly?
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I would do a night in Christchurch

Then 1 night in Akaroa with a boat cruise

1 night in lake Tekapo

I night Mt Cook

2 nights Wanaka

2 nights Te Anau and do the Milford Sound day trip.

1 night in Queenstown

then fly out from Queenstown.

Christchurch, New...
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for South Island
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7. Re: Akaroa to Te Anau - 3 day drive, or fly?
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Christchurch to Oamaru is without doubt the most boring drive in the South Island. Taking the slightly less boring so called "scenic route" via Geraldine simply prolongs the agony.

Nelson-Tasman...
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for South Island, Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand, Tonga
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8. Re: Akaroa to Te Anau - 3 day drive, or fly?
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definitely recommend via mt cook national park, queenstown or wanaka to te anau. lake tekapo and lake pukaki are jaw dropping gorgeous.

there are penguins at akaroa so no need to go via oamaru

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