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Itinerary - advice needed

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Itinerary - advice needed

Hi All,

First time in New Zealand in May/June travelling with my husband. Our itinerary below, any advice/comments appreciated!

Day 1 Arrive in Christchurch

Day 2 Christchurch to Greymouth (TranzAlpine) car pick up and drive to Franz Josef glacier

Day 3 Franz Josef glacier

Day 4 Fox Glacier and drive to Wanaka

Day 5 Wanaka

Day 6 Drive to Queenstown

Day 7 trip to Milford Sound

Day 8 Queenstown

Day 9 Drive from Queenstown to Mt Cook

Day 10 Mount Cook and drive to Lake Tekapo

Day 11 Lake Tekapo drive to Christchurch, car drop-off and fly to Nelson

Day 12 Nelson

Day 13 Abel Tasman Park

Day 14 Nelson to Picton (coach) and train to Christchurch

Day 15 Christchurch - flight home

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1. Re: Itinerary - advice needed

Welcome to the forum :)

I think your trip looks really good, nice planning!

Have you booked your flight Chch to Nelson? take a look at grabaseat where you can possibly snag a better price on Air NZ http://grabaseat.co.nz/ (you would need to pay a bit extra for luggage).

One point to consider, I don't know how much snow has fallen at Arthur's Pass lately but if not much, you might want to consider driving to Greymouth rather than taking the train. The train is stunning with lots of snow cover but less so when the snow is light to none. The road is a very scenic trip, more-so than the train which bypasses some of the spectacular scenery but going into tunnels. Perhaps Coaster, who crosses Arthur's Pass twice daily, can advise on snow cover.

happy travels :)

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2. Re: Itinerary - advice needed

My wife and I arrive in Queenstown in mid April '13 and stay there for four days, doing the classic area tours and activities which have been arranged for us by SWAIN Tours.

We will then drive to Auckland over three days. We first go to Mt. Cook staying at the Hermitage for one night. Are the roads paved/sealed to the hotel? Will there be much snow in April? I've hiked many times on Mt. Hood in Oregon and look forward to some walking/tramping (not hiking) at Mt. Cook.

Next day we drive to Fairlie where we do a farmstay. My wife grew up in Scotland and we've done the sheep farm stay there in the recent past; she is not so keen to just stay on the farm. Are there other things to do in the Fairlie area?

We drive the third day to Auckland where we stay in a B&B. What are the recommended highlights from Fairlie to Auckland. Friends have advised that this is a stunning area. From Google I can see that there appears to be a road that runs along or near the beach (variously name Lower Beach Road and Ocean View Road that begins near Coldstream. Is that road paved/sealed? Is it worth the extra drive down to see the ocean view?

Advice and suggestions appreciated very much.

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3. Re: Itinerary - advice needed

Hello Photoguy, I must be reading your post incorrectly.

As written, I am reading that you plan to drive Fairlie to Auckland in one day?

You realise the distance is 1252kms (about 777 miles) and the drive and ferry would take about 24 hours of non-stop travel? At an absolute minimum you would need 4 days to drive this, preferably more.

or do you mean you are driving to Christchurch?

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4. Re: Itinerary - advice needed

I am also confused about your reference to "Coldstream". The only "Coldstream" I know is inland, north of Rangiora, not near the beach at all.

Yes the roads to Mount Cook Village are sealed and in good condition (SH 80). Very unlikely to be snow in April except on the peaks. Again I am confused when you say you want to go tramping, but not hiking! I think they are the same thing in two different local dialects. Lots of great opportunities for short hikes/tramps from 15 min to all day at Mt Cook but it appears you won't have much time. Have you heard about the Tasman Glacier Explorer boat tour to view the icebergs? Or you walk to the lake and see the icebergs free.

Edited: 01 July 2012, 07:02
Huntington Beach...
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5. Re: Itinerary - advice needed

Good catch. Yes, Fairlie to Chch.

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6. Re: Itinerary - advice needed

Thanks for the suggestions about the glaciers. We've been to the Arctic and I've been to Antarctica as well but we have never seen glaciers on a lake. Sounds very interesting.

And, yes, we are driving to Christchurch and not to Auckland. Sorry, it was late and I've been doing a lot of reading and planning.

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7. Re: Itinerary - advice needed

having seen Arctic and Antarctic glaciers you will be very disappointed with Tasman glacier - it resembles a misshappen coalmine more than that of a prestine glacier face. However the Tasman is NZ's largest glacier and is one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world (up to 200 metres a year) - and grinding through the mountains is what makes it appear black, it is covered in ground up rock. It is also one of the few glaciers in the world with an accessible terminal lake - which has icebergs!

It really is quite an amazing sight - a stunning contrast to the beauty of the polar regions.

http://www.glacierexplorers.com/

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8. Re: Itinerary - advice needed

WanakaLakes, thanks for your information.

I've found that beauty and interesting things abound no matter where you go ... never seen a glacier with its on accessible terminal lake and so I'll add it to our list of must do things for the area.

How about the drive from Fairlie, to Christchurch, now that I've clarified that we aren't going to try a cannonball run from Mt. Cook into Auckland in one day in a rental car. Is the drive nearest the ocean a scenic one, i.e., Lower Beach Road and Ocean View Road? I see this on Google Maps.

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9. Re: Itinerary - advice needed

I'm afraid the drive Fairlie to Chch has few scenic highlights. I haven't ventured onto Ocean View Road or Lower Beach Road.

Google maps shows Lower Beach Road is over 1 km from the sea while Ocean View runs closer to the sea, at 500m. So yes, no doubt you can see the sea. Let us know if you think the detour worthwhile.

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10. Re: Itinerary - advice needed

Since the coastline around Sth Canterbury is low-lying and rather uninteresting, most people would find the Inland Scenic route through Rakaia Gorge to be more interesting.