QUOTE(thegiants @ Jan 20 2010, 12:52 AM)
Is there anybody out there?
It would really help me if someone commented on the itinerary I posted.
I was thinking that visiting the glacier is too much of a bother for such a short trip.
here is how you can spend your time efficiently and not get too tired:
7 day itinerary
Day 1 -
Pick up vehicle at Christchurch airport. Well………..let’s get going so we can enjoy the scenic wonders of this beautiful New Zealand. From Christchurch let’s head south on route 1 crossing the famous Rakaia River and the home of the giant salmon. Good café there if you feel a need to stop and let the girls get a photo with the salmon! On through Ashburton and then a turn off to the right on route 79. You will come to the small community of Geraldine. A beautiful little village. Good spot to fill up with more stuff from there super market there thar wasn’t available at Raewards. You can also stop at a dairy along the way say in Ashburton…..I Geraldine as you enter the main part of town on the left is the gallery of one of our top Maori artists and worth a few minutes to have a look at his work…..it’s free. After going through to the other end of town and the road turns right on the left is a small shopping complex to check out. Pick up some of the Barker’s Berry jams for a treat. Clean public toilets right there also as in almost all small town along your route. New Zealand is known for clean and hospitable public facilities so don’t be afraid to stop. Another point I must make a lot of American’s (me included when I first got here missed out on the best and less expensive meals along the way. The Kiwi’s best cafes are what we call cafeterias called tea rooms. Nothing like the cheap and nasty stuff but very good quality food t decent prices. Be sure to try some of their meat pies! Good value food for decent prices. They are the major food spots in NZ and missed by most Americans…… When you see a tea room advertised it is their cafes…………you’ll love it. There are also good cafes but they too usually have “counter food”……and don’t miss out on fish and chips! Somewhere along the way……anyhow I digress…………best get along.
The drive from Christchurch to Geraldine is 1 ½ hours………From Geraldine you will be going into some of the most beautiful drive of stark high country called the Mckenzie Country with opaque blue glacier water lakes. Route 79 goes through Fairlie and then on to Lake Tekapo. Here go down by the lake to see the small church. The drive is another hour from Geraldine. Passing through the small village of Tekapo on the right is a turn off to a new pool project you may wish to visit. You will pass by the Lake Tekapo Top Ten Holiday Park where you may wish to stay.– www.laketekapo-accommodation.co.nz . If still early in the day on down the road. Just past Tekapo look for the sign to the observatory at the top of Lake John…..if not too windy be sure to go up there. What a view and there is an all glass café………..well worth the trip.
Or from there continue on to the turnoff (route 80) to Mt. Cook and stay at the Glentanner Holiday Park – www.glentanner.co.nz under the shadow of the unbelievable Mt Cook area…………….awesome! Be sure to drive on out to the end of the road at Mt. Cook either today or before you leave. It will be one of the highlights of your trip. From Tekapo the drive to Mt Cook is an hour……..
Day 2/3 –
From Mt Cook back out onto route 8 the next stop at Omarama. Stop at the Totara Peaks gallery to see the display of costumes from the Xena TV show. Continue along route 8 through the scenic wonder of the Lindis Pass on through the countryside by Lake Dunstan to Cromwell where you cross the river to route 6 and on to Queenstown. You will love the scenery from here on. You will go into the Kawarau Gorge following the Kawarau River into the wine country. You might want to stop at the Gibbston Valley and take the kids into the wine cave and pick up some cheese. Next on the right will be the original bungy jump where you can enjoy watching people throw themselves off the bridge with rubber bands on their ankles.
After that continue along route six to the turnoff on the right to Arrowtown. Take your time to explore this old mining town and park down by the river (turn right in the main part of town) be sure to take a walk through the old Chinese Village (all free).
From Arrowtown follow the back road to Queenstown where you will stay right downtown at the Queenstown Top Ten – www.camp.co.nz . Be sure to book this asap……very busy spot….by the way I would appreciate it if you would mention I sent you to these parks…..Driving time from Mt. Cook to Queenstown is 2 hours.
Lots to do here – luge, gondola, jet boat, etc…………..bust tourist town resembling Aspen.
Day 4/5 –
From Queenstown we are off to Milford Sound from Te Anau. The drive is 2 hours to Te Anau and then 2 hours one way to Milford Sound. South of the lake after Queenstown you might want to stop in Kingston to see or even take a ride on the classic steam train – the Kingston Flyer. Kids will love it. What I suggest is to drive to Te Anau (route 94) and go to the Great Views Holiday Park – www.fiordlandgreatviewsholidaypark.co.nz . to stay. Fabulous place and people…
Make arrangements before you get there for them to take you and the family into the Sounds in there small van. They stop for photos, etc. and you will have a better trip than driving yourself…………… To make sure you get to enjoy this area have given you 2 days here. Can’t hurry this one. You must do the boat trip to really experience the fiords……Contact them and get the info you will need .
Day 6 -
From Te Anau we now take route 94 to Gore and then route one north to Dunedin.
Driving time is 4 hours. (sorry must be done but an enjoyable drive). Stay at the Dunedin Holiday Park – www.dunedinholidaypark.co.nz . Wonderful park be sure to take a walk around it to see all the murals………….. You may want to go out to the Albatross centre and the Larnach Castle on the Otago Peninsula and/or take the major wildlife cruise in the country – Monarch Cruises – www.wildlife.co.nz
This may be done tomorrow morning on your way out of town…..
Day 7 -
North from Dunedin on route one. It is 5 hour drive to Christchurch so you can plan accordingly for your departure. If you leave tomorrow consider this…………..
North of Dunedin after you pass the town of Palmerston look for the right turn into Shag Point….go to the end of the road (secret place). There is a large colony of young adult fur seals hang out here and you can stand on the rocks overlooking them closely without harm.
Next stop is the little fishing village of Moeraki and Fleurs restaurant if you want to experience real Kiwi food and meet one of the best.
Next stop just past is the Moeraki Rocks. When you turn off go straight to the beach and walk to the rocks (low tide). Other wise if you go to the café area they charge you for the same thing……..
Next stop is at the Little Blue Penguin Colony in Oamaru. If you want to stay the night in the area you can come here at dark to watch the little blues come ashore to feed their young. You will know your timing (3 hours to Christchurch). If you do stay the night if you want to stay at a very exciting spot full of interesting animals such as wallabies, etc the children will dearly love go on through to Waimate to the Kelceys Bush Holiday Park…… www.kiwicamps.com . About a ½ hour north but worth it if you stay…….