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Te Anau to Invercargill

CK
3 posts
1 review
Te Anau to Invercargill

I'm planning a trip for this upcoming February to the South Island. I was wondering if anybody knows of transportation options between Te Anau and Invercargill. I'd like to spend a few days on Stewart Island, and flights/ferries are all from Bluff or Invercargill. If I take InterCity buses, I'd have to go back to Queenstown then to Invercargill which is over 10h. I found this bus company (https://www.catchabussouth.com/teanautoinvercargill.html) which does the trip, but I've emailed them and they say their bus arrives at 4:30 in Invercargill which would NOT be enough time for a 5pm flight or to get to Bluff for a 5:15pm ferry. It seems like most people rent a car, but I'd very much prefer not to. I only have a week to spend, so I'm searching for options that would allow me to get from Te Anau to Stewart Island in one day.

11 replies to this topic
New Zealand
Level Contributor
4,087 posts
6 reviews
2 helpful votes
1. Re: Te Anau to Invercargill

I have searched and can only find Catch a bus south servicing this route. It would not be a very popular route.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Fiji, New Zealand, Tasmania
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27,848 posts
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2. Re: Te Anau to Invercargill

Why not do a day coach tour to Milford Sound and then go from QTN that would shorten your distance and time to travel.

I would have to agree with S4183IZ Te Anau to Invecargill by bus would not be a popular tourist route with no transport and limited time available.

New Zealand
Level Contributor
4,087 posts
6 reviews
2 helpful votes
3. Re: Te Anau to Invercargill

Catch A Bus south leaves Queenstown at 1pm and arrives Invercargill between 3.30 and 4pm so not much help to the OP

Intercity requires an overnlght in Dunedin.

Perhaps CK can post.their full itinerary so we can advise.

CK
3 posts
1 review
4. Re: Te Anau to Invercargill

Here's my full itinerary so far, still a work in progress:

Day 1: Arrive Auckland 9am. Plans to meet up with friend living in NZ to explore the city.

Day 2: Evening flight Auckland to Queenstown, arrive 9:30pm

Day 3: Intercity's Milford Sound tour from Queenstown, I've confirmed that I can be dropped off in Te Anau in the evening instead of Queenstown. Late-night glowworm caves.

Day 4: Catch-a-Bus South from Te Anau to Invercargill @1-4pm -> this is where I hope to catch the 5pm Stewart Island flight or 5:15 ferry from Bluff, but don't think I can make it

Day 5: Stewart island day (probably go to Ulva Island)

Day 6: Explore Stewart Island some more in the morning, fly back to Invercargill at 1:30 then catch a flight from Invercargill to Auckland at 3:40pm (this flight has a long layover in Wellington that I'd use to explore)

Day 7: Back in Auckland - haven't made specific plans yet, probably relax a bit or take a ferry to one of the islands in the bay

Days 8-9: I have a planned scuba diving trip leaving from Auckland that can't be moved

Days 10-11: No specific itinerary yet, will explore some sights near Auckland

Day 12: Fly home from Auckland in the evening

I know this is packed but I'm young and energetic, and I'm really excited about everything I have planned. I haven't actually booked anything except for my airfare to/from Auckland at the beginning and end, and the scuba trip, so I'm open to suggestions. It sounds like there are no other options to get from Te Anau to Invercargill reliably on time to make the last flight or ferry on day 4, so maybe I'll have to stay a night in Invercargill and catch an early one the next day. I'm a bit bummed to miss a night on Stewart Island because the #1 thing I'm looking forward to is the stargazing (and maybe even seeing the Aurora Australis!). Staying on Stewart Island until day 7 and catching a different flight back to Auckland is an option, but it's US$100 more plus an extra night in a hotel and I'm trying to keep my costs as low as possible (though that's probably what I'll end up doing). More than anything, I have such limited time and I was hoping to save a night in Invercargill by getting straight to Stewart Island, but alas, it may not be possible.

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Christchurch, South Island, Akaroa
Level Contributor
51,277 posts
577 reviews
231 helpful votes
5. Re: Te Anau to Invercargill

It is a pity that you have that scuba trip in the way, leaving you with all that time in Auckland. Could you stay a night in Invercargill and just do a day trip to Stewart Island or shift your St I stay to the 6th and fly back to AKL on the 7th? Far from being "packed", this itinerary has a lot of sitting on buses & planes & not much activity.

Auckland, New...
Level Contributor
337 posts
383 reviews
228 helpful votes
6. Re: Te Anau to Invercargill

Not your original question but on day 6, how long is the long layover in Wellington, is it overnight?

I wouldn't count on seeing the Auora Australis, I've lived in and travelled the South Island for 35 years and never seen it

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Christchurch, South Island, Akaroa
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51,277 posts
577 reviews
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7. Re: Te Anau to Invercargill

Oops I cross-posted & couldn't edit in time. I also wouldn't go to Stewart Island hoping to see an aurora. 50 years in NZ including a lot of nights in tramping huts & never seen one. If you were going to see Kiwi, that would eb different. You won't need an "extra night" in a hotel - just switch a night in AKL for a night in Invercargill & if Stewart Island is on your bucket list $100 is a small price to pay to change your flight.

CK
3 posts
1 review
8. Re: Te Anau to Invercargill

Sorry, I didn't include this up top, but I'm staying with my friend while in Auckland so I don't have to pay for accommodations while there. The layover in Wellington would be 6h.

Thanks everyone for your feedback - this is a lot of time on buses and planes. I think I'm going to have to go back to the drawing board, and given how hard it is to get there maybe drop Stewart Island in favor of spending more time around Te Anau/Queenstown (and maybe try to go to Aoraki for stargazing instead). It's a shame that none of the InterCity buses I can find are overnight! That would be a huge time saver.

Dunedin, New Zealand
Destination Expert
for Dunedin, New Zealand
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4,039 posts
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9. Re: Te Anau to Invercargill

Would it work if you turned your trip around a bit, and fly from Auckland to Invercargill and go straight to Stewart Island before Queenstown?

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Christchurch, South Island, Akaroa
Level Contributor
51,277 posts
577 reviews
231 helpful votes
10. Re: Te Anau to Invercargill

Overnight buses have been trialled but only work where the distances are long enough eg Akl to Wlg. Most users of intercity buses are tourists who have come to see the scenery & a distance like Te Anau to Invercargill is only a couple of hours so you'd arrive somewhere in the middle of the night. Domestic flights are relatively cheap & frequent so are generally preferred over long bus trips.

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