6 Weeks on the South Island
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Feb 1, 2013 1:46 AM Last Post By: neverwinter
Jan 29, 2013 5:35 PM
6 Weeks on the South IslandHi Everyone,
As a new forum member I'd like to say thanks for all the useful information that I've already read on travelling in New Zealand! I'm currently planning a 6 week trip around the South island that mainly revolves around tramping 4 of the Great Walks. Any advice on the following concerns or the South island in general would be greatly appreciated :)
The area I'm having greatest difficulty in planning is the beginning of the trip, after Cable Bay and before we start the Heaphy. I can find bus schedules from Nelson to Kaiteriteri and transport from Takaka to Collingwood, but I can't seem to find transport between Kaiteriteri and Takaka. Is this possible? Or should I change my itinerary around this area? What highlights do people recommend? Should I bother with Takaka, or just spend more time in Kaiteriteri and then straight on to Collingwood?
My current itinerary is as follows (sorry for the long list)
Flight: Sydney to Christchurch
Bus: Intercity Christchurch to Nelson
Centre of NZ walk
Cable Bay Walkway to Cable Bay
Cable Bay Walkway to Nelson
Bus: Intercity to Kaiteriteri
Bus: GoldenBay Coachline to Collingwood
Stay at Sommerset house
Heaphy Track 1
Drop off: Sommerset staff
Heaphy Track 2
Heaphy Track 3
Heaphy Track 4
Heaphy Track 5
Pickup: Karamea Connections
Stay: Rongos Backpackers
Karamea to Westport
Bus: NakedBus Westport to Franz Josef
Visit Glacier Pools
Bus: NakedBus Franz Josef to Fox Glacier
Bus: NakedBus Fox Glacier to Queenstown
Bus: Kiwi Discovery Queenstown to Glenorchy
Routeburn Track 1
Dropoff: Kiwi Discovery
Routeburn Track 2
Routeburn Track 3
Pickup: Kiwi Discovery
Kepler Track 1
Kepler Track 2
Kepler Track 3
Kepler Track 4
Milford Track 1
Transport via DOC
Milford Track 2
Milford Track 3
Milford Track 4
Transport via DOC
Flight: Queenstown to Sydney
What do you think? Am I trying to do too much? I have visited Queenstown before for 10 days (in case people felt the stays there were too short). Am I using the right bus companies?
Any help is greatly appreciated!! Thanks :D
Jan 30, 2013 12:06 AM
1Awesome itinerary - I'm so jealous.
Day 3 - the Centre of NZ walk will take about 30 mins - if that.
Try Golden Bay Coachlines for bus services.
Make sure you have done some food shopping before Fox and Franz Joseph (i.e. at Westport). There's a seal colony at Westport that's worth checking out and I think the museum is quite good if you have any interest in mining.
Some tips on the Routeburn.
- first day to Routeburns Falls is quite easy and quick
- second day is the 'big' day. Drop your pack at Harris Saddle and go up Conical Hill if the weather is clear. There is a lot of downhill after that and if you have any issues with your knees, taking a couple of Ibruprofen will help.
- Lake Mackenzie is freezing! But you have to go in for a dip anyway ;)
- day three is even easier and shorter than day one - there's a side trip but we didn't do it because the weather wasn't any good
- the huts are very nice (as they are on all the Great Walks)
Only you will know if you;re doing too much. You've got a couple of easy days between each of the longer walks so should be find.
Jan 30, 2013 11:24 AM
2have you got your Milford booking if it is for this summer? If not you'll need to rely on a cancellation.
if this is for next NZ summer, book as soon as bookings open. www.doc.govt.nz.
looks good. unusually for these itineraries you have a too-short journey; Franz to Fox is 30 minutes, although you do need spare days on the west coast for weather contingency.
Jan 30, 2013 5:51 PM
3Thanks for your responses. I thought I did reply but I can't see that comment now so perhaps I didn't click post properly?
We've now booked all our great walks and re staying at the campsites for each (except Milford).
I am in the process of checking out where all the better towns to shop for food are (as I had read about Franz Josef and Fox previously).
As it turns out, to get from Kaiteriteri to Takaka, we'll be using Abel Tasman travel from Kaiteriteri to Motueka and then Golden Bay Coachlines from Motueka to Takaka.
I recognise the Franz to Fox trip is short but just with timing of buses and tours, it seemed the best way to plan it.
Jan 30, 2013 9:54 PM
4I'm glad to see you're giving Karamea a bit of time. The south end of the Heaphy track is at Kohaihai River mouth, an especially scenic area, and Karamea is a nice place to rest in. Maybe you could squeeze in a look at the Oparara caves.
Collingwood is also a nice place for a day or two. See if you can get a visit to Wharariki Beach.
You're getting into the real NZ in these places. They are mostly overlooked by travellers who focus on the heavily advertised destinations.
Jan 31, 2013 10:08 AM
5BTW Rongo isn't for everyone, but if you are there when there is a good bunch of WWOOFERs running it, can be a really nice spot. They do an 'every fourth night' free deal which makes them a good price, and those three days are just what you need to 'do' Karamea. That's a day at Oparara (which is unmissable), a day on the local walks (given that you have already done the Heaphy) and a day spare for bad weather or just relaxing while the washing dries. Do take insect repellent for the Heaphy and beaches.
for food on the West Coast; no big supermarket south of Hokitika until you reach Wanaka.
Jan 31, 2013 5:27 PM
6That's so weird, I just came to check the thread to ask if I should arrange that we spend two nights in Karamea instead of one in Karamea and one in Westport!
Given the posts here and the emails from the operator at Rongos, I think I'm sold! I just hope that the two hours in Westport would be enough time to go to the supermarket.
Looking at Rongo's website, I think it would appeal to my husband and I. We have a veggie patch at home and were originally considering wwoofing during our trip.
Thanks again for the advice!
Feb 1, 2013 1:46 AM
7While you are at Rongo, ask for a look at their permaculture project - interesting stuff and also an insight into growing stuff and small scale farming in NZ. I thought 'how do they keep their chickens safe from foxes?' and then realised that of course there are no foxes!
two hours in Westport is enough time to shop, there is a New World on the main street. Sadly no time for the seal colony, but Westport is a very typical NZ town so have a wander.
Bags feeling light?
Coffee table looking bare?
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