Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How to do the South Island of New Zealand in 6 days

Well, at least this is how we did it. It was the ultimate road trip – whale-watching, glacier walking, skydiving, and more than 2,000km of driving in six days. And if you like curvy, empty, single-lane highways with high speed limits and no cops, surrounded by mountains on one side and ocean on the other (who doesn’t?), the South Island is a fun place to drive.

Day 1
Christchurch – Kaikoura
(187km, 2.5 hours)
3:15pm – Arrived at Christchurch airport (the South Island’s main international gateway)
4:30pm – Rented car and SIM card at the airport
5pm – Hit the road to Kaikoura
8:30pm – Dinner at Black Rabbit Pizza Co

Day 2
Kaikoura Abel Tasman National Park
(316km, 4 hours)
10:30am – Whale-watching tour with Whale Watch Kaikoura
2pm – Hiked the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
4:15pm – Late lunch for Vipin at Kaikoura Seafood BBQ roadside stall
4:30pm – Late lunch for Kruti at Hislops Café (delicious toasted muesli!)
5pm – Started driving to Abel Tasman National Park
6pm – Coffee pit stop at The Store (a café)
9:30pm – Arrived at Marahau, main gateway town to Abel Tasman National Park

Day 3
Abel Tasman National Park – Nelson – Punakaiki – Franz Josef Glacier
(536km, 7 hours)
8am – Two-hour “taster” hike on the Abel Tasman Coast Track
10:30am – Left Abel Tasman National Park for Nelson
12noon – Lunch at Nelson Saturday Market
1pm – Left Nelson for Franz Josef Glacier
3pm – Beach stop while driving down the West Coast (many beautiful beaches, just choose one)
5pm – Pit stop to see the Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki
9pm – Arrived at Franz Josef Glacier

Day 4
Franz Josef Glacier – Queenstown
(404km, 5 hours)
8:15am – Full-day hike with Franz Josef Glacier Guides
5:30pm – Dinner at takeout shack Guzzi’s, a local told us they have “the best fish & chips on the West Coast,” I didn’t agree, thought it was just ok
6pm – Headed to Queenstown
11pm – Arrived in Queenstown

Day 5
Queenstown – Glenorchy – Queenstown
(136km, 1.5 hours)
10am – Slept in, walked around town
11am – Hot chocolate at Patagonia (waiting out the rain)
1pm – Sandwiches at Vudu Café
2:30pm – Drove to Glenorchy, had intended to do a day-hike on the Routeburn Track but the weather was awful so we just went for the drive (since we hadn’t spent enough time in the car yet)
8pm – Booked skydive for the next morning at Nzone
9pm – Pizza at Winnies

Day 6
Queenstown Lake Tekapo Christchurch
(489km, 6 hours)
8:30am – Skydiving with Nzone
11:30am – Breakfast burritos at Halo
1:30pm – Started driving to Christchurch
4pm – Lunch pit stop at Lake Tekapo
8pm – Arrived back in Christchurch, departed for Sydney early the next morning

1 comment:

  1. Just an idea: you could have a one hour jet boat ride near Murchison on day 3 before going to the West Coast if you are an adventure junkie :-)