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Self Drive @ South Island for 12D10N

Singapore, Singapore
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9 posts
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Self Drive @ South Island for 12D10N

Hi, I will travelling to Southland from 5th March 2012 - 16th March 2012. Not sure if it is too rush base on my planned itinerary and these are the activities that I am looking forward to. Definitely lots of driving involve.

6/3 - Arrive ChristChurch in the morning and proceed to Fox Glacier. Will visit Castle Hill Village, Punakaiki etc...

7/3 - Fox Glacier Walk, Lake Matherson etc...

8/3 - Depart to Queenstown

9/3 - Jetboating, Skyline etc...

10/3 - Depart to Milford Sound

11/3 - Milford Sound Southern Discoveries Cruise, Lake Marian etc...

12/3 - Depart to Mt Cook

13/3 - Mt Cook Tracks walk, Lake Tekapo, Earth and Sky Mt John Stargazing Tours etc...

14/3 - Depart to ChristChurch

15/3 - Shopping etc...

16/3 - Return Singapore

Any comments or suggestion?

Thank you.


New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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29,738 posts
87 reviews
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1. Re: Self Drive @ South Island for 12D10N

Sorry, but planning to drive 8 hours - Chch to Punakaiki 4.5 hours then to Fox 3.5 hours - after a long flight is unsafe. Please don't. Driving when jet lagged is a recipie for disaster and planning to drive 8 hours on unfamiliar narrow, twisty and steep roads is madness.

In addition, driving Milford to Aoraki/Mt Cook is another 8 hour drive!

my suggestion;

6 arrive Chch, explore, shop

7 drive to Fox (skip Punakaiki)

8 explore glaciers

9 drive to Queenstown

10 explore

11 more

12 bus/cruise Milford, bus or fly back to Q'town

13 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

14 explore

15 drive to Chch

16 fly home

Please plan wisely and stay safe :)

Christchurch, New...
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329 posts
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2. Re: Self Drive @ South Island for 12D10N

I would endorse WanakaLakes' variation on your itinerary. You don't want to drive Chch to Punakaiki to the Glaciers in one day, let alone on the day you arrive in the country! If you try to include Punakaiki you won't have enough time anywhere to get out and look around. Arthurs Pass / Otira / Hokitika and down to the glaciers will more than fill your day.

If you have a rental car, then you might as well do your shopping at the start of the trip as at the end.

I'm sure you are aware the centre of Chch is still closed off, and will not all be reopened by March 2012. There are still plenty of great places to explore, and you might want to have a think about where to head for your shopping as there is no single obvious destination for this currently.

Singapore, Singapore
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3. Re: Self Drive @ South Island for 12D10N

I agree with the previous 2 posters. Just returned from a wonderful trip there, and would give anything to go back.. our initial itinerary was jam-packed with activities, until we realised that the distance between various places/attractions can be huge (we are talking about 4 - 8 hours). We eventually streamlined the itinerary, but even though we didn't drive but took the intercity bus + private tour throughout, certain parts can still be tiring.

It's definitely better to stay overnight at CHC on your first day after the flight, you'll feel more refreshed. If you are taking the SQ flight, you'll probably reach CHC in the morning, which allows you time to explore and shop instead of leaving it to the 15th. Then again, CHC wasn't ready during my trip, so I didn't get much chance to explore, but personally, I feel that the amazing scenery you can get further South more than makes up for it (NZ is not exactly known for its shopping anyway, no offence to the locals!) .. the Milford track's beautiful, same for Lake Matheson and Lake Tekapo (you may like to visit Lake Pukaki, which I think is along the way).. and Lake Wakatipu along the Queenstown-Glenorchy route is a must visit, especially if the weather sunny and the water's still.. there are loads of other routes and lakes that offer breathtaking scenery.. I'm sure you'll enjoy the trip!

4. Re: Self Drive @ South Island for 12D10N

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