We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

10 days April 2014

Central Queensland
Level Contributor
215 posts
7 reviews
Save Topic
10 days April 2014

Hi All

I am in the very early stages of planning our self drive trip to the South Island in 2014.

We plan to fly out on Friday 11 April arriving in Christchurch or Queenstown and spending 10 days taking in the beautiful sights NZ has to offer.

We are in our mid fifties and enjoy beautiful scenery coast & mountains, history, photography and peaceful surrounds. Easy walks would be great but my husband has bad knees so we can't climb mountains!!

I would appreciate itinerary suggestions as we don't have long and would prefer not to spend the whole stay driving. Is it plausible in our time frame to fly into say Christchurch and depart via Queenstown?? My husband is keen to take a boat tour of Milford Sound.

I've been searching flights online unsuccessfully so far so may have to visit a travel agent. I've heard there is a big air show hosted in Wanaku at Easter is it likely to affect accommodation choices and tourist numbers generally on the South Island do you think?

Thank you in advance.

Chris

Milford Sound BBQ Bus
Sightseeing Tours, Boat Tours, Bus Tours, Day Trips
KJet
Boat Tours, Water Sports, Speed Boats Tours
Flow Fun Canoes & Rafts
Boat Tours, Kayaking & Canoeing, River Rafting & Tubing
New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
29,000 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 10 days April 2014

Hi Chris :)

Yep, Warbirds Over Wanaka will increase visitor numbers in Wanaka and Queenstown for Easter weekend but everything else will be fine.

One possibility-

1 arrive Chch

2 drive to Punakaiki

3 drive to Franz Josef

4 explore glaciers

5 drive to Wanaka

6 explore

7 drive to Te Anau

8 explore Milford Sound, stay te Anau

9 drive to Queenstown

10 fly out

if wanting less driving, head down the centre of the island;

1 arrive Chch

2 explore

3 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

4 explore Tasman glacier and icebergs

5 drive to Wanaka

6 explore

7 drive to Queenstown

8 explore

9 bus to Milford Sound, cruise, bus or scenic flight to Q'town

10 fly out

happy travels :)

Central Queensland
Level Contributor
215 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 10 days April 2014

Thank you WLnz

I'm trying to squeeze as much time as possible into this trip and hate wasting time in airports. A flight to Queenstown for us is via Christchurch!

Instead I am considering flying into Dunedin and driving to Te Anau for Milford Sound etc then up through Queenstown, Wanaka en route to Christchurch. That way hopefully we'll avoid the Easter crowds at WOW.

I have 2 questions... what is the drive like from Dunedin across to Te Anau? The NZ tourism site states approx 4hrs is that accurate? Obviously we'd want to look at things along the way! Secondly should we consider basing ourselves in one or two places to avoid packing / unpacking daily?

Cheers

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
29,000 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: 10 days April 2014

Yep, that will work.

Make sure you spend at least two nights Dunedin - it is a great wee city plus it has the fabulous Otago Peninsula with penguins, albatross and fur seals.

And yep, the drive to Te Anau is 4 hours via Gore - it is quite a pretty drive through rolling farmland (rolling as in not flat, not mountainous).

A very scenic route which can be done in a full day or over several days is via the Catlins, following the coastline. This route offers stunning windswept beaches (Cannibal Bay is my favoirite), lakes, waterfalls, penguins, lighthouses, native bush walks and more.

Central Queensland
Level Contributor
215 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 10 days April 2014

I've just spent the whole afternoon searching & planning!

Dunedin def 2 nights then the southern scenic route which looks fantastic too many lovely places to visit could just stay there for whole time! Then onto Te Anau.

I'd probably stay somewhere for a night en route....but where hmmmm.

Te Anau 2 nights incl Millford Sound trip, glow worms? Then onto Wanaka for 2 then head north for Easter weekend any suggestions??

All very loose at the moment obviously. So much for staying in only a couple of places LOL!

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
Level Contributor
29,000 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: 10 days April 2014

I love Aoraki/Mt Cook - it has stunning mountain scenes, great walks, the amazing turquoise Lake Pukaki and the Tasman glacier terminal lake with icebergs! http://www.glacierexplorers.com/

The drive Wanaka to Aoraki/Mt Cook via the Lindis Pass is one of my favourite drives on the planet. dangerousroads.org/new-zealand/904-lindis-pa…

Nova Scotia
Destination Expert
for Nova Scotia
Level Contributor
12,955 posts
169 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 10 days April 2014

We loved the drive through the Lindis Pass and on to Mount Cook. It is stunning. We took many, photos.

Take groceries and stay at the fabulous Mount Cook Alpine Lodg. It has a wonderful lounge/kitchen with huge windows and a deck looking out over the mountains. We stopped at a salmon farm along the way and had a wonderful feast.

Central Queensland
Level Contributor
215 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: 10 days April 2014

Thank you so much for your suggestions.

So far this is how our trip is looking. We may be able to add a few more days yet!!

Arr Dunedin 10/04 pick up hire car (2 nights) - is airport far from city centre? Is the city difficult to drive around?

We tend to stay in accommodation that includes breakfast but not necessarily B&B's is this not the norm in NZ?

Travel along Southern Scenic route stay midway somewhere.

Head for Te Anau for 2 nights take Milford Sound cruise. Are the Milford Sound trips departing from Te Anau any different from those from Queenstown? We may chose if possible to coach, cruise & fly. Thought or suggestions?

Travel on to Wanaka area if we can get accommodation because close to Easter, 2 nights.

Then drive through Lindis Pass to Mt Cook Village 1/2 nights if possible.

Punakaiki next for 1 night before heading to Christchurch for a night then fly out. What's the drive like back to Christchurch from Punakaiki?

If we add days it will be at the beginning of trip so will still have hustle & bustle of Easter at the end!

We are considering hiring a vehicle through Ace Rentals NZ any experience with them?

I'd appreciate any further comments.

C 😉

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
Level Contributor
37,728 posts
375 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: 10 days April 2014

Motels generally do not do breakfasts as that is what distinguishes them from hotels; although some will do a very basic "continental" outside your door at a pre-booked time. B&Bs by definition do provide breakfast.

I prefer a cafe breakfast if I am not self-catering.

Mt Cook to Punakaiki is too far to drive in one day IMO. You need to rethink these 2 days.

California
Level Contributor
9,660 posts
73 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: 10 days April 2014

>>Head for Te Anau for 2 nights take Milford Sound cruise. Are the Milford Sound trips departing from Te Anau any different from those from Queenstown? We may chose if possible to coach, cruise & fly. Thought or suggestions?<<

The coaches from Queenstown stop in Te Anau along the way, it's all the same road from there. The cruises offered are no different. Coach/cruise/fly options are from Queenstown only.

You need a roadmap, and you'll see that Mount Cook is not on the way to Punakaiki.

Central Queensland
Level Contributor
215 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: 10 days April 2014

Thanks waiting on my map to arrive!