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3 weeks South Island Itinerary

Malaysia
Level Contributor
98 posts
77 reviews
3 weeks South Island Itinerary

Hi All,

I have come out a draft version of my 3 weeks NZ South Island itinerary. It's a self-driving trip yea...Any comment?

Day 1: Christchurch

Day 2-3: Lake Tekapu

Day 3-5: DunedIn

Day 5-6: Te Anau

Day 6-9: Queenstown (including Milford Sound)

Day 10-12: Fox Glacier (including Franz Joseph Glacier, Mt Cook)

Day 13-14: Abel Tasman National Park

Day 15-16: Nelson, Blenheim

Day 17-18: Kaikoura

Day 19-21: Christchurch

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
27,635 posts
67 reviews
1. Re: 3 weeks South Island Itinerary

I suggest you rearrange your trip slightly to ensure you drive the most spectacular roads. Also when are you travelling? We will soon be in the winter months where some adjustments might need to be made.

Aoraki/Mt Cook is accessed from the Tekapo area, not the West Coast and Milford is explored from Te Anau.

perhaps;

1 arrive Chch

2 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook via Tekapo

3 explore Tasman glacier icebergs

4 drive Lindis Pass to Queenstown - glorious drive

5 explore

6 more

7 drive to Te Anau

8 explore Milford, stay Te Anau

9 drive to Dunedin

10 explore

11 drive to Wanaka

12 drive to Fox

13 explore glaciers

14 drive to Punakaiki

15 drive to Abel Tasman

16 explore

17 drive to Nelson

18 drive to Blenheim

19 drive to Kaikoura

20 drive to Chch

21 fly home

hope this helps :)

Malaysia
Level Contributor
98 posts
77 reviews
2. Re: 3 weeks South Island Itinerary

Hi WanakaLakes,

Thanks for you advice. I will be arriving Christchurch on May 24th at 1.55pm, so I guess there is not much time to drive to Aoroki yet. I have revised my plan to something below based on your advice. Hope this will be ok! :)

1: Arrive Christchurch, drive to Ashburton/Geraldine and stay overnight (I prefer to drive to Geraldine first as it's nearer to Lake Tekapo)

2: Drive to Lake Tekapo. Stay overnight at Tekapo??

3: Explore Aoraki

4: Drive to DunedIn via this route (Oamarama -> Oamaru -> DunedIn). Stay overnight at DunedIn

5: Explore

6: Drive to Te Anau

7: Explore

8: Drive to Queenstown. Stay 3 nights at queenstown

9: Explore Milford Sound via cruise

10. Explore Queenstown

11. Continue Queenstown

12: Drive to Wanaka via partial Lindis Pass (is this ok to see the glorious drive you mention?)

13: Drive to Fox, explore glaciers

14: Explore glaciers (Fox, Franz Joseph Glacier)

15: Drive to Punakaiki

16: Drive to Abel Tasman

17: Drive to Nelson

18: Drive to Blenheim

19: Drive to Kaikoura

20: Drive to Chch

21: Fly Home

If it's too rushing, I might deduct 1 night stay from Queenstown as I also would like to stay longer at Chch....Please comment yea... :)

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
Level Contributor
27,181 posts
271 reviews
3. Re: 3 weeks South Island Itinerary

You have still got some things backwards - reread WL's excellent itinerary. You'll see first of all that she always recommends you drive from Wanaka to Dunedin to Te Anau so you see more interesting scenery than the Mt Cook-Dunedin route. Secondly, why go to Te Anau for 2 nights; then carry on to Queenstown (day 8) then go back to Te Anau enroute to Milford Sound (There is no other way in to Milford Sound)?

Day 12 you will not see the Lindis Pass driving Queenstown to Wanaka to the glaciers - this is Haast Pass.

Day 16 - waste of time going to Abel Tasman if you do not allow any time to enter the National Park.

Malaysia
Level Contributor
98 posts
77 reviews
4. Re: 3 weeks South Island Itinerary

HI Zhuhai,

Based on the map...it seems that it's more convenient to travel the route I put in, I will change the route from Wanaka to DunedIn to Te Anau...thanks...

I thought the cruise is departing from Queenstown itself is easier? Ok..so means...to go on the cruise on Milford Sound, it's better to travel from Te Anau to Milford port? By the way, I planning to take the day tour cruise...

Will take not on Abel Tasman....

Malaysia
Level Contributor
98 posts
77 reviews
5. Re: 3 weeks South Island Itinerary

Hi Wanaka, Zhu Hai,

I would like to try one of the famous hot pools in NZ also..which one do you recommend me to go and at which stop?

Thanks.

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
Level Contributor
27,181 posts
271 reviews
6. Re: 3 weeks South Island Itinerary

The only true hot springs near your route is Hanmer Springs, which you could visit on Day 20, on your way from Kaikoura to Chch. There are "hot pools" at Lake Tekapo, but not natural ones.

Malaysia
Level Contributor
98 posts
77 reviews
7. Re: 3 weeks South Island Itinerary

For day 2, should I stay at lake tekapo or mt cook?

queenstown
6 posts
1 review
8. Re: 3 weeks South Island Itinerary

I suggest skip Dunedin and spend more time in Queenstown area - Arrowtown, Lake Hayes, Glenorchy

Toowoomba
Level Contributor
7 posts
3 reviews
9. Re: 3 weeks South Island Itinerary

I think you need some time in the Catlins. Skip Dunedin and head there instead. Check out Cathedral Caves and McLean Falls - see some sea lions and penguins. Also Curio Bay petrified forest.

Malaysia
Level Contributor
98 posts
77 reviews
10. Re: 3 weeks South Island Itinerary

Since I will be driving from Lake Tekapo to Mt Cook, I would like to stop by the salmon farm to get some fresh sashimi. Is this the correct place to go and is it worth to turn in to the road for sashimi? I love sashimi!

http://www.mtcookalpinesalmon.com/home.aspx

Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon

Tekapo–Pukaki Hydro Canal

Twizel

South Island

New Zealand