Replies: 3 - Last Post: Nov 16, 2012 5:07 PM Last Post By: Nice_But__
Nov 15, 2012 1:33 PM
Was looking to get some advice on finalizing my trip to the South Island. I will have 7 full days, flying into Christchurch and out of Queenstown. I am thinking of renting a car for some of it, but need to look into pick up and drop off locations for exact details. I have come across so many things that I am torn in which direction to go. My husband and I are in our mid-20's, enjoy anything/everything outdoors, and likely will be staying in motels.
Things that we are debating...
1) Tranz Alpine
- Is this even worth it? The changing landscapes look incredible, but so does everything on the South Island :) I'm just afraid that if the train isn't worth it, it may put us in a location that may not be ideal for a 7 day trip.
2) Mt Cook vs Fox Glacier
- I have had one person tell me Fox Glacier tours are very cheesy/touristy and they preferred Mt Cook as it's a but more off the beaten path but still has plenty of guided tours. I have also had another friend tell me that Fox Glacier was amazing. Anyone have any personal opinions/experience?
3) How long to stay in Te Anau
- We already have 2 nights booked in Queenstown where we will be doing things a bit more locally (jet boating, trekking, etc). Right now, we are thinking of doing a day kayaking trip in Milford Sound, and I'm sure we could find more activities as well. Any recommendations on how long to stay?
- We are considering this for two reasons: to save money and to have a different experience. My concern is the locations we are thinking of visiting primarily have unpredictable weather, and I'm not sure if we want to be in a small/rustic place. Has anyone tried these before?
I will appreciate any/all advice, even if it's not the things I mentioned and if it puts us in a different direction. Thanks and happy traveling to all ;)
Nov 15, 2012 4:03 PM
11. - We skipped the Tranzalpine cos we had a car the entire time, so I can't compare, but yes, it is the case, that there is amazing scenery everywhere. The train also locks you into a certian timeframe and itinerary that, with a car, might be more flexible.
2. Again, we did neither, but we did do Franz Josef, for free, We walked up to the glacier terminal and had great views. However, if you actually wish to go on the ice or touch the glacier then yes, you must pay for a tour.
3. In 7 days I can't see how you are fitting all of this in. We had 2 nights in Queenstown, then a night in Te Anau with a glow worm tour, a full day seeing Milford Sound and stopping frequently on the return to see the forests and waterfalls and snow, then another night in Te Anau. To fit in a day kayaking in Milford you will need to be in Te Anau the night before, and either the night after, or have a 5 hour drive back at the end of a long day. 2, you have 2 nights Queenstown, 2 nights te anau, and you are going to see the rest of the south island in 3 nights? Not happening. I would have 1 night in Queenstown, have a big day there, then spend that night in Te Anau. Get an early start, do Milford BUT NOT A FULL DAY, make it a cruise or half day kayaking, then get back to Queenstown that night. Still an insanely busy trip, but at least you have a bit more time. You then have to decide which 1, of the 2 "sides" to do - EITHER from CChurch head over Arthurs Pass and do the glaciers in your remaining 4 days (my pick) OR do Mt Cook. This side is easier and quicker though.
4. Sorry, can't assist here. We stayed in the fabulous NZ caravan parks. Most have very nice cabins at a good price. I honestly don't see how the farmstay fits into this itinerary. The south island is a lot bigger than it looks, the roads are long, slow, scneic and winding. The glaciers to Queenstown for example takes 5 hours. Queenstown to Milford is a 5 hour drive EACH WAY.
Nov 16, 2012 4:14 AM
2The Tranzalpine is amazing, but it follows the same route as the road except where it dives into a tunnel, and I think that means that you don't see the fantastic Otira viaduct. Of course with the train, someone else drives so all you have to do is admire the scenery.
there's loads to do round Te Anau; Kepler Track, Manapouri walks plus it is nice little town and it gets a lot less rain than the rest of Fiordland. Remember that you don't really need 'activities' - you need doc.govt.nz, some decent walking shoes and a pair of working eyes. :-)
almost everywhere in NZ has unpredictable weather. Have you considered the smaller hostels (bbh.co.nz for prices and reviews). Many of these are memorable in themselves and you usually get a lounge with a stack of books and magazines and other people to talk to if you get a bad weather day.
Nov 16, 2012 5:07 PM
3I think with your schedule, you'll have to either head south from ChCh, via Tekapo road for views, and end up in Te Anau after a day or three.
Drive over Arthurs pass and head down the West Coast via a Glacier, to Te Anau after 2-4 days.
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