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Dec South Island 13D driving itin w 8 year old child

Singapore
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80 posts
45 reviews
Dec South Island 13D driving itin w 8 year old child

Hi

We are travelling as 2 adults + 1 child 8 year old boy in late Nov/Early Dec and have 11-12 days to spare. Tentatively planning based on 23 Nov - 04 Dec 2017.

Arriving CHC on 10hr flight at around 11am.

Flying out of CHC too on 12pm flight.

We are interested in scenic walks, easy hikes (pls recommend any suited for 8 year old - can do 2-3hr walks). And shortlisted these activities - Stargazing @ lake tekapo or Mt Cook. TSS Earnslaw/Walter peak farm experience, Milford Sound cruise, any wildlife tour or places we can watch seals/penguins/whales :) So will appreciate any recommendations

I had initially thought of driving straight from CHC to Lake Tekapo to relax and recover with my night stay due short distance. But read that it's recommended to drive anti clockwise? But that would mean spending a night in CHC since Arthur's pass/Hokitika looks like a long drive from CHC

1. Would like advice on how to fit these destinations in to minimise driving.

2. How to fit Kaikoura in or should i go Dunedin instead on Day 10/11?? I read some roads to Kaikoura are disrupted. But would really like to fit in some wildlife tour (seals/penguins/whalewatch)

3. Shld I cut out anything? Or adjust the length of stay in any place?

4. Any resource to check for recommended hikes for children? I am thinking easy walk under 2-3hrs is ok.

Will really appreciate all your help. Thanks!!

Draft anticlockwise itin inspired from forum posts:

Day 1 (23Nov) 10 hr Flight. Sleep onboard.

Day 2 (24Nov) Arrive CHC at 11am. Any recommendations for things to do in CHC? Overnight in CHC

Day 3 (25Nov) Morning Drive to Arthur's Pass - 2hr (1.5hr Devil's Punchbowl walk feasible?) Any stops for lunch? Drive to Hokitika Gorge - 2hr drive (30min walk). Drive to Franz Josef Glacier -2.5hr . Overnight in FJG (or too much driving - shld overnight in Hokitika?)

Is it worth the detour to see Hotikika Gorge or shld drive straight to FJG after Arthur's pass?

Day 4 (26Nov) Drive FJG / Fox Glacier/Lake Matheson. Overnight in FG

Day 5 (27Nov) Drive FG to Wanaka - 3hr drive (Knights point lookout; Lake Wanaka & Puzzling World); Mt Aspiring any walks to recommend? ; Drive Wanaka to Arrowtown or Queenstown. Overnight in Queenstown.

Day 6 (28Nov) Queenstown F&E . Overnight in Queenstown

Day 7 (29Nov) Drive Queenstown - Te Anau - Milford Sound Cruise - Te Anau. Overnight in Te Anau? or Queenstown?

Day 8 (30Nov) Queenstown (TSS Earnslaw/Walter peak/Lunch)

Day 9 (01Dec) Drive Queenstown to Mt Cook/Lake Tekapo - Hooker Valley Track ; Lake Tekapo Mt John observatory. Shld i go Lake Tekapo first or former? Overnight in which?

Day 10(02Dec) Mt Cook/Lake Tekapo

Day 11(03Dec) ?

Day 12(04Dec) ?

Day 13(05Dec) Lake Tekapo -> CHC -> Overnight in CHC

Day 14(06Dec) Flight frm CHC airport @ 12pm

Singapore
Level Contributor
80 posts
45 reviews
1. Re: Dec South Island 13D driving itin w 8 year old child

Sorry I forgot to add Te Anau Gloworm cave :)

Also, as we are not planning on any heli-hiking at Fox Glacier and not sure if my child can go glacier hiking..would it be recommended that I skip the West coast and take another route?

Also read about the windy roads on the West Coast which may lead to car sickness in this very old thread :p

https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g25…

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Fiji
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6,489 posts
289 reviews
2. Re: Dec South Island 13D driving itin w 8 year old child

Day 1 (23Nov) 10 hr Flight. Sleep onboard.

Day 2 (24Nov) Arrive CHC at 11am. Any recommendations for things to do in CHC? Overnight in CHC

Day 3 (25Nov) Day trip to Kiakoura (whale watching)

Day 4 (26Nov) Drive via Castle Hill (Short Walk) Arthurs Park Lunch and walk) O/N Hokitika

Day 5 (27Nov) Drive out to Hokitika Gorge and onto Fox Glacier

Day 6 (28Nov) Fox Glacier Lake Matheson Glacier terminal viewing Walk

Day 7 (29Nov) Fox Glacier to Wanaka

Day 8 (30Nov) Wanaka Lake Wanaka, Puzzling World & Toy museum then drive to Queenstown F&E

Day 9 (01Dec) Drive QTN to Te Anua

Day 10(02Dec) Te Anua (Milford sound cruise)

Day 11(03Dec) Drive from Te Anua to Queenstown (TSS Earnslaw/Walter peak afternoon tour)

Day 12(04Dec) Drive Queenstown to Mt Cook/Lake Tekapo - Hooker Valley Track . Overnight Mt cook

Day 13(05Dec) Early morning walk at Mt Cook drive via Lake Tekapo -> CHC -> Overnight in CHC

Day 14(06Dec) Flight from CHC airport @ 12pm

Edited: 31 July 2017, 05:01
Singapore
Level Contributor
80 posts
45 reviews
3. Re: Dec South Island 13D driving itin w 8 year old child

Thanks a lot! For kaikoura day trip.. means we drive to/fro and overnight back in CHC right?

Am a little concerned if I m packing too much into too little time as well. 2 nights max in Queenstown and Mt Cook. All other places are 1 night.

If I was to give up some destinations..what could I give up?

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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40,185 posts
450 reviews
4. Re: Dec South Island 13D driving itin w 8 year old child

GTS has given you a good basic itinerary, if a little rushed - but that is what you get with only 12 days and a long wish list. One day we'll get his spelling of NZ placenames right too!!

First some comments on your original itinerary - day 3 is too long (yes stay in Hokitika); Day 5 is way too long (driving FJG to Wanaka in anywhere near 3-4 hours would be illegal as it is close to 300 Km, plus 20 one lane bridges, numerous twists and lots of scenic photo opportunities!!); Day 7 is too long. QTN to MS-QTN is a 13 hour round trip, including the cruise.

GTS has given you 2N Chch; 2N Fox Glacier & 2N Te Anau; If you dropped Kaikoura you would save a lot of KM and could perhaps swap the 2nd night in Chch for a second night in QTN. The other 1N stays are necessary to break the long drives. If you dropped the 2N in Te Anau you would need to add 1 more to QTN (total now 3N) and 1N to Wanaka or Mt Cook. You would then need to do an all day coach tour to MS from QTN; or a fly-cruise-fly or drop it completely.

Edited: 31 July 2017, 05:57
Sydney, Australia
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for Fiji
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5. Re: Dec South Island 13D driving itin w 8 year old child

Yes you could add an extra night in QTN instead of Kiakoura but thought you wanted to see the Whales with your son. Yes you would either drive it or do the tour and you could then pick up a car on day 3.

Yes Zhuhai it is Te Anau and yes if you did the itinerary I suggested you could do the Glow worm caves at Te Anau late afternoon on Day 9 but not if you did the tour from QTN.

I thought the option from QTN of a coach/Cruise/coach tour from QTN to Milford Sound and return (total 13hrs) would be too long with an 8yr old and was mindful of the cost for the fly option with 3 of you.

>>>>Also, as we are not planning on any heli-hiking at Fox Glacier and not sure if my child can go glacier hiking. Would it be recommended that I skip the West coast and take another route? <<<

The walk at Fox Glacier is just from the car park to the Glacier viewing platform the only way you can get on the glacier these days is to do a helihike as the heliflight and landing takes you to a flat snow area above the glacier but you do get to walk on Snow and see the Glacier on the flight up and back if you did that.

The drive from Fox Glacier to Wanaka is windy but that is why we recommend many stops and a slow drive which will take ALL DAY to get to Wanaka. I would definitely recommend this drive for lots of scenic beauty along the way with small walks just off the main road.

California
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11,213 posts
73 reviews
6. Re: Dec South Island 13D driving itin w 8 year old child

Have you considered dropping the West Coast entirely and adding Dunedin to your trip? I this case, I would drive on Day 2 from Christchurch to Dunedin and do the route in a clockwise manner. Day 2's drive will be the least scenic, but you get it out of the way. And perhaps the newness of seeing sheep will be of interest to your son and not make the drive so long. You could stop at Moeraki to view the boulders on the way.

Then on Day 3, do the Elmwood Wildlife tour. Or if any of you are into trains, the Taieri Gorge Railway.

From there, you could head to Te Anau and do Milford Sound and the caves and make your way back to Christchurch via Queenstown, Wanaka, Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo.

This would make for a lot less driving and more wildlife viewing.

Singapore
Level Contributor
80 posts
45 reviews
7. Re: Dec South Island 13D driving itin w 8 year old child

Yes deschenke. indeed I have thoughts of dropping West coast cos I am really not confident of doing so much driving. I should consider the option of doing clockwise and adding Dunedin. thats a 4.5 hour drive from CHC to Dunedin. where are the good stops to break the drive along the way? Moreaki boulders and ?

California
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11,213 posts
73 reviews
8. Re: Dec South Island 13D driving itin w 8 year old child

There are some shops and a park at Geraldine. At Oamaru, there is interesting Victorian architecture and the SteamPunk HQ.

Singapore
Level Contributor
80 posts
45 reviews
9. Re: Dec South Island 13D driving itin w 8 year old child

thanks! Does the driving arrangement below make sense? or do I go to Mt cook on Day 3?

Certainly a more relaxed pace. And maybe i can do west coast another trip.

Any farmstays to recommend along the route? Elm wildlife tour seems very interesting and I am so ready to book it. hopefully Dec is a gd season for animal watching.

Day 1 CHC

Day 2 CHC to Dunedin via Geraldine, Moraeki Boulder, Oamaru. Overnight in Dunedin

Day 3 Elm wildlife tour. Overnight in Dunedin

Day 4 Cadbury world/train. Drive to Queenstown. Overnight in queenstown

Day 5 Queenstown TSS earnslaw. Overnight in QTN

Day 6 Morning Queenstown free and Easy. Drive to Te Anau for evening. glowworm cave tour. Overnight in Te Anau

Day 7 Coach/Milford Sound. Overnight IN Te Anau

Day 8 Drive back to Queenstown/day trip to Arrowtown. Overnight in Queenstown

Day 9 Drive to Wanaka. Puzzling World. Lake Wanaka. Then Drive via Omarama/Twizel to Mount cook. overnight in mt Cook (or Lake Tekapo if no accommodation available)

Day 10 Mount Cook Hooker valley track. Overnight Mt Cook/Tekapo

Day 11 Lake Tekapo - Drive to Christchurch via? Overnight in CHC

Day 12 Flight back from CHC.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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10. Re: Dec South Island 13D driving itin w 8 year old child

Nearly right but on day 2 you don't need to detour inland to Geraldine (you must come back through Geraldine on day 11). It is a long enough day pushing through to Dunedin via Oamaru.

Don't mess about with the 2 separate stays in QTN :

Day 4 Dunedin to Te Anau (2N)

Day 6 Te Anau to QTN (2-3N)

N 8 could be a night in Wanaka esp if you can't get accommodation at Mt Cook on N9.