South Island - visit during autumn or spring?
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Dec 16, 2012 5:18 PM Last Post By: behyx
Nov 17, 2012 7:29 PM
South Island - visit during autumn or spring?We have some time off during May and October 2013, so thinking of visiting NZ south island. Based either at Christchurch or Queenstown. Most probably driving around the 200km radius.
Which season is more beautiful? We love the color of autumn landscape, but also considering spring because of the flower bloom.
Suggestions please! Thanks :)
Edited by: behyx
Nov 17, 2012 9:14 PM
1Autumn. Spring is not a cool season in NZ, very windy and unpredictable.
Nov 17, 2012 11:33 PM
Nov 18, 2012 12:35 AM
3I think if you drive 200k out of any city here you'll end up in the sea. Go for Christchurch.
Nov 18, 2012 6:14 AM
4Definitely Autumn, the weather is much more settled and NZ tends to get late summers at the moment so May is perfect. It's spring there now and I'm hearing from family the weather is terrible!
Nov 18, 2012 4:02 PM
5another vote for autumn.
the central otago area is amazingly scenic in autumn - so I'd vote for Queenstown. Bear in mind that flying in to Queenstown is usually more expensive than Chch. however it's only about 100km from the west coast and 150km from the east coast - as the crow flies - so you'd better head north or south for your 200km!
Nov 18, 2012 7:39 PM
6Indeed! The sector between Christchurch and Queenstown is so expensive! About US$350! I'd have thought it's as cheap as Australia's domestic.. :(
Because of budget constraint, I'm more prone to land in Christchurch and drive to central Otago. Would there be any good scenery areas in between? Are they worth the drive?
Nov 18, 2012 7:53 PM
7Not sure I'd call the driving scenic, at least to start with, but that's because I'm not a big open dry plains type person. One route is via Lake Tekapo & mt Cook - the first couple of hours south and west from Chch (assuming you take that route) are across the canterbury plains. In autumn I guess this could be quite nice. Then as you start getting up into the foothills, it becomes more interesting. Lake Tekapo is a very good stop, and you go past the road up to Mt Cook so could head up there as well. Then the remaining time through to Wanaka and/or Queenstown is through the high hill country - which is pretty picturesque and dramatic.
the problem is Queenstown's airport - it's a very difficult one, and only some planes can fly there - they MUST have instrument backup in case the weather closes in, is my understanding. So it's not a cheap destination. Whereas Chch is a large international airport and loads of different airlines fly into there. Depends if it's worth the extra day there (and back?) for the cheaper flights.
Another route from central otago to Chch is through Cromwell, Alexandra, and SH85 to the coast, and then up Sh1. That also has its long tedious stretches.
Nov 18, 2012 8:48 PM
Nov 18, 2012 9:18 PM
Nov 21, 2012 6:07 PM
11I strongly disagree with Lisa about the scenery between Chch & QTN - having done it many times, I'd say it is one of the most stunning drives in NZ, once you get across the Rakaia River (about 50 Km out of Chch). As you get close to Geraldine (assuming you are on the Inland Scenic Route) the land becomes more hilly and then suddenly you are approaching the mountains. In October they would still be snow covered and glorious. In April or May maybe a bit bare!! Lake Tekapo & Mt Cook are both great stopping points.
BTW - re flying CHC-ZQN - do you know about "grabaseat: http://grabaseat.co.nz/ - currently $45 one way.
Nov 21, 2012 6:23 PM
12LOL, I did say it was just me, cos I'm not a fan of big open plains... and I did say that the bits from Lake Tekapo on through to central otago are 'picturesque & dramatic'... ! Not the whole way from Chch to Queenstown, just the first couple of hours or so.
I'm glad someone weighed in with a different view. Would hate to put someone off the trip just cos I find the first bit a bit boring...
Dec 2, 2012 6:44 PM
13Hi all, thanks for all the inputs!
Ok the purpose of this trip is actual a wedding photoshoot (I'm a photographer). And we have planned that we will land at Christchurch airport, drive all the way to Queenstown as a scouting journey for scenic locations along the way. We planned to take about 3 days to do the scouting trip to Queenstown. Then we will meet our wedding couple in Queenstown and travel towards Lake Tekapo for a 2-day shoot.
Thus, for a 3 days scouting journey, these are the locations we have confirmed we want to check out :
(Arrive Christchurch airport at 12:25pm)
Any suggestions where should we spend the 2 nights during the scouting journey? Because I'm not sure which part of the journey has lesser or more things to see, so it's quite difficult to pre-book our accomodations.
Thus it's going to be a rather fast-paced journey; we will just go to the location, check out the favourable angles for the photoshoot, have a quick meal, then we will go to the next location. Thus we are not exactly 'sightseeing'. Hope you get the drift :)
Dec 4, 2012 2:21 AM
14Cross Lake Dunstan off your list. It is a man-made lake in the middle of farmland. I would suggest 1 night Aoraki/Mt Cook and 1 night Wanaka (apparently voted one of the top 10 romantic destinations in the world).
Not sure where you are coming from but I'd suggest first night in Chch to get over jet lag unless you are coming from Australia.
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