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Michelle asked

Itinerary help!

HI! Planning a ten day trip to NZ’s South Island next November for a group of 4-6 very active women. We plan to rent a car and are neither budget nor luxury travelers, right down the middle. We HAVE to start from Queenstown where we will stay for the first 3 nights (racing a half marathon) and then the remaining 7 nights are up in the air. My idea would be to finish in Christchurch. Can any one suggest where we should spend the next 7 nights and in what order? It would also be nice to not be changing hotels each and every day. We’ve done that before. It was exhausting. In a perfect world we would like to hit:

-Te Anau (half-day Milford track tramp and glow worm caves)

-Milford Sound cruise

-Otago wine county

-Lake Pukaki (Stargazing tour)

-Mt. Cook, hooker valley track hike

-Glacier country, hot pools (we’ve all done glacier hikes in Iceland, so willing to forgo unless someone tells me we’d be crazy to)

-Abel Tasman 

-Arthur’s pass national park-transalpine train from Greysmouth to Christchurch? 

-????? Other must dos????

1 Answer
answered first by
Claudia from New York City

Hi Michelle,

My family and I did a similar tour in the South Island of New Zealand. We bought a 10-trip pass with and explored the places independently. So I can't comment on driving in the South Island.

Here's my suggested itinerary that covers all the places mentioned except Abel Tasman National Park, which is located in the northern part of the South Island:

Day 1-4: 3 nights in Queenstown, join a full day wine tasting tour in Gibbston and Bannockburn wine regions (Central Otago) with Queenstown Wine Trail.

Day 4-6:  2 nights. Travel to Te Anau. Join a Milford Sound Cruise, visit Te Anau Glow worm caves, go tramping in Te Anau.

Day 6-8:  2 nights. Drive from Te Anau to Aoraki Mount Cook Village. Hooker Valley Track. You can get to Lake Pukaki from Aoraki.

Additional info:,-mt-cook/

Day 8: Drive to Christchurch

Day 8-10: 2 nights in Christchurch. If you like, you can take the Tranz Alpine day trip from Christchurch to Greymouth and back to Christchurch.

Hope this info helps.

Comments (1)

Thank you Claudia!! I’ve come up with an itinerary which is pretty much what you I know I’m on the right track. Only difference is we’re killing Christchurch altogether and spending the last two days in Nelson/Abel Tasman/Marlborough sounds región and returning to the US via Wellington.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Abel Tasman National Park (park)
  2. Queenstown (attraction)
  3. Gibbston (city)
  4. Bannockburn (city)
  5. Te Anau (attraction)
  6. Milford Sound (city)
  7. Aoraki Mount Cook Village (city)
  8. Hooker Valley Track (attraction)
  9. Lake Pukaki (attraction)
  10. Christchurch (city)
  11. Greymouth (city)
comments (1)
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