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Te Anau to Omarama or Dunedin

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PJ
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Te Anau to Omarama or Dunedin

I would like to know the road conditions from Te Anau to Omarama and also to Dunedin.

My family and I will be taking the overnight cruise at Doubtful Sound, and we will leave the area after we disembark from the boat at about noon. My travel agent told me that it will be too tiring to drive to Omarama in one afternoon, and that it's better that we go to Dunedin instead. It does not make much sense to me since Dunedin seems such a big "detour" from our destination in Omarama, and checking the travel times it seems both take around 4-5 hours to complete. Is it because the drive to Omarama is more difficult because of mountainous terrain?

If we do decide to go to Dunedin, may I know if it is advisable to take the coastal road via Invercargill or stick to the shorter inland route via Gore?

Chris

New Zealand
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1. Re: Te Anau to Omarama or Dunedin

The drive to Dunedin, via Gore, is the easier drive though it does, as you say, take you out of your way. And it means you would miss the Lindis Pass, imo one of the most glorious sections of road in the country.

There are some wriggly bits in the Lindis so it's best done when you are fully alert. My suggestion is after the Doubtful Sound overnight, drive to Wanaka (3 hours). The following day take the stunning 1.5 hour drive over the Lindis Pass to Omarama :)

Umbria, Italy
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2. Re: Te Anau to Omarama or Dunedin

The road is fantastic and even in my chitty bang bang hire car it was a dream. The only question I ask is Omarama?

PJ
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3. Re: Te Anau to Omarama or Dunedin

Sorry. what about Omarama? Should I stay somewhere else in Mt Cook country?

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4. Re: Te Anau to Omarama or Dunedin

Mt Cook itself is the place to be unless you are into gliding (Omarama is NZs gliding capital) or need to chase a few trout in the streams.

PJ
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5. Re: Te Anau to Omarama or Dunedin

Not much choice as we are sort of limited in accommodation as per self-drive package (need to pay extra to arrange for alternative accommodation). Would still be possible to use Omarama as a base and make day trips to Mt Cook right?

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6. Re: Te Anau to Omarama or Dunedin

Omarama is over an hour's drive from Aoraki/Mt Cook. The savings you would make by using the package accommodation would be negated by petrol costs and lost time.

Christchurch, New...
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7. Re: Te Anau to Omarama or Dunedin

I would go through Omarama rather than Dunedin unless you had a particular reason for Dunedin. However Omarama is a dot in the map where two roads join, unless you are into gliding (world-not NZ centre) or are a trout fisherman. It will take 3 minutes to see the highlights. However the overall scenery both through the Lindis Pass (excellent road outside of a few weeks of winter-you might do the whole road in top gear) and the McKenzie Plain is quite stunning. However there are not many built up towns. Twizel is 20 minutes from Omarama, I would list it's chalms but can't remember what they are if you are not a rower. However it is cheaper to stay in than Aoraki MT Cook (another 40 minutes further on). I suggest you stay in a motel in Twizel. The Mountain is at its best first thing in the morning. It will take 40 minutes on probably the best South Island road up the side of Lake Pukaki. (I probably have been a bit harsh about Twizel's chalms, they do have one of the nicest restaurants in the area!)

PJ
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8. Re: Te Anau to Omarama or Dunedin

Yes I'm completely sold on the Te Anau (acutally it's Manapouri)-Omarama route and will ditch Dunedin from my itinerary. Will probably stay one night at Omarama and do the gliding the next morning, then head to Aoraki Mt Cook after that. Hopefully we can put up at Lake Tekapo for the night since it would be rather silly to backtrack to Omarama again.

Have read about the Earth & Sky tour at Mt John conservatory at Lake Tekapo. Sounds fascinating! Is it a tour worth taking and what happens if it rains or if the sky is overcast? Will there be a refund?

Chris

PJ
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9. Re: Te Anau to Omarama or Dunedin

Oops, I meant observatory, of course!

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10. Re: Te Anau to Omarama or Dunedin

Hi Chris, the observatory is wonderful. You will find the cancellation policy on their website :)

from the Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki/Mt Cook, there is a fabulous trip out on the Tasman glacier terminal lake. The boat cruise amongst the icebergs is unique.