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South Island tour- 5 nights with an 8 month old in September

Sydney, Australia
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4 posts
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South Island tour- 5 nights with an 8 month old in September

Hi, we've booked 5 nights in a campervan in the South Island next week (Sept 16th) with our 8 month old baby. Starting and ending in Christchurch. We know it will be cold, so we're taking warm clothes and plan to stop in powered sites so we can use a heater at night. It's our first time away with the baby doing something like this so we plan to take it fairly easy - not going crazy with site seeing, but would like some scenic places to drive and stay. Does anyone have any suggestions for routes, places to stay, and any tips in general for travelling at this time of year with a baby in a van? We were thinking Christchurch-Mount Cook-Wanaka-Fox Glacier-Greymouth-Christchurch. Is that a reasonable route with no more than around 4 hrs driving per day (and less on some days)? Thanks in advance!

Wanaka, New Zealand
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1. Re: South Island tour- 5 nights with an 8 month old in September

I think you will find your proposed route will take a lot longer to drive than the map suggests. It will take a full day to drive from Wanaka to Fox with stops - more like 6 hours plus driving. You haven't really allowed for seeing the places you are driving to. I can see the logic of your loop, but I don't think you will find it so relaxing. The sandflies on the West Coast may be problematic with baby. They can be pretty fierce and will keep you in the van. Is she crawling? I used to use a mosquito net with my kids when they were babies to keep the sandflies off, so they could have some time outside.

Sydney, Australia
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4 posts
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2. Re: South Island tour- 5 nights with an 8 month old in September

Thank you, this is so helpful. I certainly hadn't factored in sand flies and obviously the sites that suggested Wanaka-Fox was only 3.5 hours were optimistic! No she isn't crawling, and we're pretty happy just to drive and camp, but equally open to choosing just a couple of stops and staying a couple of nights each. Grateful for any ideas of alternative itineraries!

Ballarat, Australia
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3. Re: South Island tour- 5 nights with an 8 month old in September

5 nights is not long. I think you would be wise to focus on having a good time rather than trying to cover an unrealistic amount of ground.

Oamaru - Wanaka (2 nights) - Mt Cook - Tekapo could work.

Hanmer Springs - Nelson (2 nights) - Picton/Blenheim - Kaikoura could also work.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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3,130 posts
21 reviews
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4. Re: South Island tour- 5 nights with an 8 month old in September

we can drive from Wanaka to Fox in 3 hours BUT: we know the road well, are aren't in a camper van, and we don't stop along the way.

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: South Island tour- 5 nights with an 8 month old in September

Thanks, we'll look at both of those. Really helpful

New Zealand
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for South Island
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6. Re: South Island tour- 5 nights with an 8 month old in September

Your planned route takes a minimum of 10 days.

Given you will be here this month I suggest you head north rather than south. Snow and heavy rain are currently down south with the Haast Pass closed due to a rock slide.

So you could;

1 arrive Chch, drive to Hanmer Springs

2 drive to Nelson

3 explore Abel Tasman National Park

4 drive to Blenheim - wine tour?

5 drive to Chch

6 fly out

hope this helps :)

7. Re: South Island tour- 5 nights with an 8 month old in September

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