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7 Day South Island Itinerary

Bay Area, CA
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7 Day South Island Itinerary

Hi everyone,

I'm hoping for feedback for a 7 day itinerary for March of next year for myself and my husband:

Day 1: Arrive Christchurch (we are staying in the North Island for a week before, so a short flight)

Day 2: Drive to Mt Cook/Lake Tekapo

Day 3: Helihike to Tasman glacier or helicopter to Fox/Franz Josef glaciers and other exploring in the national park

Day 4: Drive to Queenstown (which we will use as our base for the remainder of the trip)

Day 5: Hang out in Queenstown

Day 6: Wine tour in Central Otago

Day 7: Day trip to Milford Sound

Day 8: Fly to Auckland

Main things I'm hoping to get feedback on:

1) I'm trying to determine whether to stay in Mt. Cook Village or the Tekapo Lake area (or Twizel or another town). Mt. Cook village looks gorgeous and closer to the park (and from what I can tell, we can book the helihike or helicopter tour from that area), but lodging options are much more limited. We are interested in seeing the glaciers (whether Tasman or going to see Fox/Franz Josef) and doing some hikes around the park and enjoying the scenery.

2) I'm thinking since we are probably going to book tours to Milford Sound and the wine area, we could possibly ditch our rental car on Day 4 or 5 and have the tour companies pick us up from our hotel. Is there enough to do in Queenstown that we won't want to have a car for a whole day? I'm open to staying in the central business district for convenience, though some of the lodging outside of town looks lovely. Other postings on this forum about whether to hire a car in Queenstown are based on making road trips to the surrounding area, but I don't think we really have a lot of time to do that anyway.

3) Does it makes sense to use Queenstown as a base for visiting Milford Sound? We definitely are hoping to relax a bit, and not having to move hotels every day would be preferable to packing up every morning, though it looks like trying to do Milford Sound in one day makes for a very long day. Would you recommend taking a flight to Milford Sound from Queenstown or are there helicopter tours that you would recommend?

Thanks in advance!

California
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1. Re: 7 Day South Island Itinerary

1) Mount Cook village is much preferred. There's really little to do at Lake Tekapo except take pictures of the lake, dog statue, and church. You'll be done in 20 minutes. There are loads of walks at Mt Cook - Hooker Valley Track is really a must-do. Twizel would be an absolute last resort if nothing was available at Mt Cook or Tekapo.

2) I can't think of any tour or activity that WON'T pick you up in Queenstown. A car won't be needed and may be a nuisance. If you stay centrally, you'll be fine without one.

3) The ultimate is the coach/cruise/fly tour to Milford.

Bay Area, CA
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2. Re: 7 Day South Island Itinerary

Thanks deShenke! Do you think that staying at the Hermitage is worth it in Mt. Cook? The other option we are considering is the motel, though it seems like the Hermitage is the classic choice.

On the Milford tour, I'm looking at Air Milford reviews and there are loads of reviews about the fly/cruise/fly option. My concern about the coach/cruise/fly option is that if the weather is bad, the long drive will be pretty tough to sit through. Do you have thoughts about the two different options? Is the scenery to Milford on the coach very different than the scenery we'll have seen all the way from Christchurch?

Thanks again for your help!

California
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3. Re: 7 Day South Island Itinerary

I have no idea about the Hermitage. We stayed at Aoraki Mt Cook Motel - simply because we self-cater on our travels (we're weird that way). Our room was huge and the kitchen was very well equipped. There was a spa bath (we never used). We had a fantastic view of Mt Sefton from our room, and I think this is the norm from every room in the motel. At the Hermitage, you pay extra for a Mt Cook view room.

Picture (because I like to show off my other-half's photo skills): fmsphotos.com/Travel/…A

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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4. Re: 7 Day South Island Itinerary

Re Mt Cook, you say <lodging options are much more limited. >

You only need one room for one night - the options range from backpackers/YHA through to 4 star hotel so not that limited. I've just spent 4 days in the Aoraki-Mt Cook NP - staying in the park is the only way to see the sunrise/sunset vistas & maximise the opportunities to hike.

Edited: 08 December 2016, 04:36
5. Re: 7 Day South Island Itinerary

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