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South Island Quick Tour

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Doing the South Island in 7 days.
13 years ago, April 23rd 2007 No: 1 Msg: #13248  
N Posts: 8
I'm planning to visit my cousin in Wellington for about 2 weeks in early January. I'm thinking about a driving trip through the South Island for about 7 days to cover the must sees. Any suggested itineraries?

Yes, I realize it's a dreadfully short period of time... Reply to this

13 years ago, May 17th 2007 No: 2 Msg: #14027  
I'm gonna try and do south island in 2 weeks as well, would quite like a suggested itinerary too! Although might do a tour deal... Reply to this

13 years ago, May 21st 2007 No: 3 Msg: #14142  
You guys already know this... but have to say it anyway - sooooo little time!!!

But, if you only have 7 days then....

If you're coming from Wellington on the ferry and driving yourself (best option - hire a car or a sleeper van to save on $$, they're pretty cheap);
Abel Tasman (about 4hrs from Picton where you arrive in the South Island). Gorgeous place! I love it, we always go back there every year. Take a water taxi (about $25-35 depending on how far you want to go) and hike some of the way back and then camp at one of the many beaches (there is accom but so better to camp). Then walk the rest back. http://www.aatravel.co.nz/101-must-dos-for-kiwis/Abel-Tasman-National-Park.html has some info. You can also do sea kayak tours and I would highly recommend Kaiteriteri Kayaks - they're awesome!!

From here, travel to the West Coast and check out the Punikaiki Rocks and Blowholes - natural wonders. The ride is gorgeous if taking the scenic route which passes through Westport). Also, gorgeous palm beaches and walks. Would be a half day and then travel to Greymouth for a stop (On Yer Bike http://www.onyerbike.co.nz, or Shantytown http://www.shantytown.co.nz) and then to Hokitika for a nght if you need a rest from travelling. LOTS of touristy shops (gold, greenstone, rubies etc etc). It's a funky town.

Then on to the glaciers - a favourite. Take a walk on one of them, or get a helicopter up. http://www.aatravel.co.nz/101-must-dos-for-kiwis/Fox-and-Franz-Josef-Glaciers.html

Adventure capital of NZ is Queenstown! http://www.aatravel.co.nz/101-must-dos-for-kiwis/Queenstown-Adventure.html
Lots to do, rafting, bungee jumping - you name it. Is pricey compared to the rest of NZ, but worth it. A nice wee town - loved it.

Off to Milford Sound - cold but so gorgeous http://www.aatravel.co.nz/101-must-dos-for-kiwis/Mitre-Peak-Milford-Sound.html
Take a cruise!

Now either stop over Dunedin, Akaroa or somewhere - it's really up to you. I don't personally find anything that spectacular on the way to Christchurch to fly out home. Personally though I would stop over in Akaroa which is about 6hrs from Queenstown, and from there it's a 1hr+ drive to Christchurch - or you can just drive all the way. A few nice things to see in Christchurch before flying out. I would only give Chch a day though if you had to squeeze it in as it's worth spending more time at the other places rather than the city.


Travelling times:
Wellington - Picton (3 hrs) - just drive!
Picton - Motueka/Abel Tasman (2.5hrs) - 2 days
Motueka/Abel Tasman - Greymouth/Hokitika (3-4hrs) - 1 day
Greymouth/Hokitika - Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers (2hrs) 1 day
Glaciers - Queenstown (5.5-6hrs) 2 days
Queenstown - Milford Sound (4hrs) 2 days

That is REALLY squeezing stuff in, but we have done it. You get tired from travelling but it is a great holiday. We travelled the entire south island in 10 days I think it was and it really sucked due to travelling - so I wouldn't reccommend it at all. The above plan isn't too bad as we travelled every day.

Overall, this site may help you. It's the Top 100 things to do in NZ http://www.aatravel.co.nz/101-must-dos-for-kiwis/
Being a Kiwi, I actually don't agree with the top 50 things to do in NZ to be honest. Some things listed in the top 10 even are a bit OK, nothing fantastic, but I guess it's what you're into.

Anything else, just ask 😊 We live in Greymouth. Reply to this

13 years ago, May 21st 2007 No: 4 Msg: #14143  
Oh - if you're doing the South Island in 2 weeks (best to fly in if you can to Nelson but this may be more expensive)

Nelson - Abel Tasman - Kaikoura - Hamner Springs - Christchurch - Greymouth (on the Tranzalpine train - GORGEOUS ride, best in the country) - Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and then so on from the above layout. You would do a bit of back-tracking from going to Nelson to Abel Tasman, and then to Kaikoura as you need to go through Nelson again but it's only about 2hrs at the most I think.

Hope that helped!!
You could see so much more in 2 weeks though of course. Like Marlborough Sound (near Picton/Nelson) and the coast is so nice. Reply to this

13 years ago, May 22nd 2007 No: 5 Msg: #14223  
Awesome post! I cannot wait to see the Franz Joseph glaciers (might skydive there) or the Milford Sound.

I think I'm gonna book a tour bus - like Kiwi or Magic or something... Been against them before as I think they're waaay too expensive but I've just worked my ass off in Auckland so that's gonna be my own little reward (plus they are cheaper in winter and good if you want to cram places in...)

I will definitely be stopping in Greymouth to check out the Monteiths brewery - New Zealand's finest beer! (Closely followed by Waikato beer in my opinion)... I'll give you a shout - we could meet for a Monteiths or two!? Reply to this

13 years ago, May 24th 2007 No: 6 Msg: #14266  
N Posts: 8
Awesome info, thanks! Really looking forward to bungee jumping and Milford Sound.

I'll be traveling with my cousin, who's not exactly the roughing it type, but I assume there's plenty of lodging options on the way.
Reply to this

13 years ago, June 6th 2007 No: 7 Msg: #14941  
Hi,

I am a travel writer/photographer who travels New Zealand 24/7-365 days a year in a seven metre bus with wife and two cats now for four years.
I have put a lot of information up that would take too much space here to transfer. Have a look at my website at www.newzealandtravelguide.net.
You may find what you need if not get in touch I'll be glad to help out with your questions. Also have placed information here on travelblog you can check out.

Ron Reply to this

13 years ago, July 8th 2007 No: 8 Msg: #16241  
N Posts: 8
Ok, so I think we're going to stretch it to 10 days. This is the suggestion from my cousin:

Ferry from Wellington to Picton. Then we drive from Picton to Nelson ( maybe 2 or 3 hrs, Able Tasman Nation Park) - Wesport - Greymouth - Franz Josef Glacier - Lake Manaka - Queenstown - Milford Sound - Queenstown - Dundin - Oamaru - Timaru - Christchurch - Hammer Springs - Kaikoura - Picton - Wellington.

Sounds to me like a month's worth of sightseeing. Is it doable, or is it going to be like National Lampoon's Vacation, where they stop off at the Grand Canyon for about 30 seconds and have to move on? If you guys were to narrow it down, what would you take out of the itinerary? Thanks! Reply to this

13 years ago, July 9th 2007 No: 9 Msg: #16250  
Sounds do-able, but you have probably already figured that you won't get much time in each spot.
Personally, I'd rather see a few places properly than just drive from spot to spot. Depends on your perspective & if you are likely to be back for another shot at it some time.
If I was culling it, I'd give Westport & Greymouth a miss and just head on through. Also, this time of year the west coast is likely to be a bit murky. If you were guaranteed good weather I'd say hop in to Mt Cook, but no point if you can't see it or walk it!!
There is not a huge amount in Christchurch (that excites me, anyway), so that is another culling option, maybe.
Whatever you are doing, enjoy. And if you need any Welly tips, I'm a huge advocate (just see the blog) and not paid be the tourist board, although I probably should be!!! Reply to this

13 years ago, July 10th 2007 No: 10 Msg: #16304  
Ok, so I think we're going to stretch it to 10 days. This is the suggestion from my cousin:

Ferry from Wellington to Picton. Then we drive from Picton to Nelson ( maybe 2 or 3
hrs, Able Tasman Nation Park) - Westport - Greymouth - Franz Josef Glacier - Lake
Manaka - Queenstown - Milford Sound - Queenstown - Dunedin - Oamaru - Timaru -
Christchurch - Hammer Springs - Kaikoura - Picton - Wellington.

Sounds to me like a month's worth of sightseeing. Is it doable, or is it going to be like
National Lampoon's Vacation, where they stop off at the Grand Canyon for about 30
seconds and have to move on? If you guys were to narrow it down, what would you take
out of the itinerary? Thanks!

Here is my suggestion:

First day -
Picton to Kaikoura (2 hrs) -great scenery with lots of seals.
Go over the Lewis Pass to the West Coast via Reefton with a stop at Hanmer Springs to
soak your body after the Thrillseekers Canyon. (Kaikoura to Hanmer - 1 1/2 hours)
Stay here or in Reefton depending on your condition.
Cheap to stay at the holiday parks in cabins.
(2 hours from Hanmer to Reefton - 3 hours to Greymouth)
The Lewis Pass is one of the most beautiful drives in the South Island. One thing most
people overlook is the fact driving in New Zealand is a destination in itself sometimes
more rewarding than the end of the road.

Day 2 - So if you stayed at Reefton it will be 4 hours to Franz Josef or 3 hours if you
stayed at Greymouth. This is worth spending your time at........go up to the glacier either
by walking or by helicopter.

Day 3 - Drive to Queenstown (5 1/2 hours) One of the greatest drives you will experience
through the Haast Pass. Worth stopping at Haast at the World Heritage and at Thunder
Falls just before Hells Gate bridge. Stop for a break at Makarora. Buzz on through
Wanaka unless you need a coffee to keep going. Stay in Queenstown.

Day 4/5- Queenstown most of the day.......choose your time wisely.
then on to Milford Sound. Stay at the Great Views Holiday Park on the Milford Road and
catch a ride to Milford and back from there much easier and you can relax -

Day 6 - Te Anau to Dunedin 4 hours drive - Choose your time as you please. Depends
what you are into. I would list a few things but I haven’t a clue what you like to do.

Day 7/8 - Take the road to the Mckenzie Country and see Mt Cook and stay at Lake
Tekapo Holiday park. A place worth taking the time to enjoy!


Day 9/10 - Off to Christchurch....................and back to Picton
Tekapo to Christchurch is 3 hours - Christchurch to Picton is 5 hours. Work it out at your
leisure.

If you need more specifics contact me at


Reply to this

13 years ago, July 22nd 2007 No: 11 Msg: #16735  
N Posts: 8
Fantastic! You guys have been a great help. Reply to this

13 years ago, July 23rd 2007 No: 12 Msg: #16753  
B Posts: 5
If your trip from Wanaka to Queenstown is during daylight, be sure to take the Cardrona Hill route instead of the highways. The drop into Queenstown from high up is something special, but not recommended in the dark !

During Queenstown stay, take a trip up the road up to Glenorchy, one of the most scenic roads you could ever wish for. Reply to this

13 years ago, July 24th 2007 No: 13 Msg: #16784  
N Posts: 8
Around Queenstown, what's the best place to conquer my fear of heights and bungee jump for the first time? Reply to this

13 years ago, July 24th 2007 No: 14 Msg: #16796  
B Posts: 5

Probably the most famous one is the A.J.Hackett outside Q'Town

http://www.bungy.co.nz/index.php/ps_pagename/queenstown

although I am no expert. Reply to this

13 years ago, July 24th 2007 No: 15 Msg: #16797  
B Posts: 5
Oops

double post
Reply to this

13 years ago, August 23rd 2007 No: 16 Msg: #18400  
B Posts: 11.5K
Hi syz7232 (and others),

I've used Bottom Bus before when travelling round the lower South Island. Was very happy with the service. Have a great trip!
Reply to this

13 years ago, September 19th 2007 No: 17 Msg: #19686  
I would appreciate knowing if my planned quick tour is looking for trouble and I need to adjust. I'm trying to see Milford Sound, some of the drive in fiordland, the west coast, the glaciers, the TranzAlpine train and whale watching at Kaikoura.

I arrive in Queenstown by air at 0945 on Monday 1 Oct and will rent a car. Monday I will drive, possibly to Te Anau and back. Tuesday I have booked an air/cruise/air Milford Sound tour. On Wednesday I drive to Franz Josef. On Thursday I drive to Greymouth and catch the TranzAlpine train.

I am thinking of buying the Tranzalpine ticket for Friday and standing by for Thursday because of the chance of a weather delay in Queenstown requiring me to delay departure until Thursday.

On Saturday 6 Oct I will drive to Kaikoura for the 10am sailing on whale watching and return that same afternoon to catch a 7pm flight out from CHC to AKL.

Advice is appreciated. Reply to this

13 years ago, September 21st 2007 No: 18 Msg: #19815  
Thats a lot to do in such a short time.....we had 2 weeks on the south island and didnt see anywhere near the lot lol....

Here's a condensed version.....


Cheers
Col Reply to this

13 years ago, September 22nd 2007 No: 19 Msg: #19855  
with regards to Ronlaughlin's advice on taking the Lewis Pass to the West Coast from Christchurch, I would suggest Arthur's Pass is a better drive in terms of scenery (Christchurch to just south of Greymouth). You pass by Castle Hill where the battle scene from "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" was filmed (you can stop and explore the area) and there is lots of other nice places along the way.

For Warrenlm, note that the Kaikoura whale watch boats can't go out if the weather is dodgy. If it is an important part of the trip, better to allow some leeway just in case. Reply to this

13 years ago, October 16th 2007 No: 20 Msg: #20979  
If you are in Christchurch I def. recommend the Christchurch City Bike Tour. Its two hours and a great way to see the city and outskirts.... the beauty is... Christchurch is flat... And they have great guides too! Reply to this

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