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Topic # 183944 4-Nov-2015 10:33
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I'm thinking of driving  Christchurch -> Greymouth -> Franz Josef/Fox Glacier -> Haast -> Wanaka -> Queenstown.

Map of the route:
http://tinyurl.com/nq9xwdz


On paper this is about 750km, 10 hour drive. What would be a good way to do this journey over 5 days? Which places would be good to stop and stay overnight?

Is this good? Any suggestions are most welcome. 

Day 1: Christchurch to Greymouth ( 3hr - 5hr drive). Break for coffee/food.
          Greymouth to Franz Josef and Fox Glacier ( 2hr - 3hr drive)
          Stay the night Fox Glacier or Franz Josef ?

Day 2: Explore Franz Josef and Fox Glacier. Is half a day enough?
          Drive to Haast ( 2hr - 3hr drive).  Stay the night in Haast?

Day 3: Drive Haast to Wanaka (2hr - 3hr drive). Break for coffee/food.
          Drive Wanaka to Queenstown ( 1hr - 2hr drive)

Day 4 and 5: Relax and enjoy Queenstown. Maybe short drives to Glenorchy and Arrow Town or places of interest. 

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D.W

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  Reply # 1420573 4-Nov-2015 11:33
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May I ask what the purpose of the journey is?

I've driven Fox Glacier to Chch in a day, and it is a long, long day of driving and not very enjoyable.

Personally I think the "best" route between Chch and Queenstown is straight up the middle with a stopover in Lake Tekapo or Mount Cook.

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  Reply # 1420584 4-Nov-2015 11:40
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Do you want to do any specific activity? Your current trip plan is more of a driving trip - sight seeing only.

I have spent 3 whole months in the west coast holidaying, so I knew the area pretty well. I will write more response tonight.

There are a lot of great stuffs to do there, but with limited time you wont be able to see/do a lot.





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  Reply # 1420592 4-Nov-2015 11:49
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D.W: 

I've driven Fox Glacier to Chch in a day, and it is a long, long day of driving and not very enjoyable.



It's quite a long drive, but surely you must be jesting.  So long as the weather is okay, it's a great drive.  Long gaps between McDonald's restaurants though, so may not suit certain types of folks.

For the OP, I'd probably suggest staying around Hokitika one night.

Biggest problem IMO is weather and pre-booking accommodation.  When I've done round trips via the coast to Q'town from Chch, then I've not pre-booked.  If there's a NW wind pattern, then it'll be bucketing down on the coast, but fine (ish) East of the Alps.  If its a Southerly pattern, then it might be fine and clear on the coast, but wet and cold on the East.  Time it right - which may necessitate reversing the trip - and you can get good weather both sides.

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  Reply # 1420595 4-Nov-2015 11:51
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I've driven from Queenstown to Nelson via Haast in a day and it wasn't that enjoyable. Once I reached Nelson I was pretty low on fuel. 




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  Reply # 1420720 4-Nov-2015 12:54
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michaelmurfy: I've driven from Queenstown to Nelson via Haast in a day and it wasn't that enjoyable. Once I reached Nelson I was pretty low on fuel. 


Many years ago I did Nelson to Queenstown in two days but I badly misjudged it by staying the night in Westport which is much, much closer to Nelson than Queenstown. Westport to Queenstown was too long for me as I get fatigued easily, and in the end I never made it at all because the clapped out old Bluebird broke down!

I'd like to repeat that trip next year when I do the half marathon in Queenstown. I was thinking I would do:
Day 1 : Wellington - Nelson
Day 2 : Nelson - Hokitika
Day 3 : Hokitika - Queenstown
Day 4 : Half Marathon
Day 5 : Queenstown - Dunedin
Day 6 : Dunedin - Christchurch
Day 7 : Christchurch - Wellington

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  Reply # 1420730 4-Nov-2015 13:13
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Greymouth is about 20mins off your main route - Hokitika is more of a natural rest stop.

I've done Christchurch to Franz several times, its about 5-6 hours with the odd toilet stop, no sightseeing. As it sounds like you don't know the area, I'd recommend doing Chch- Franz in one day, but break it up with lots of 10min breaks at DOC viewing points etc rather than waste your time in small towns (no offence to Hoki et al).

Perhaps a whole day in Franz - check out the glacier, Okarito Beach or some of the lakes.

Franz to Queenstown is do-able in half a day, there's not much in Haast so I wouldn't bother staying. Again, plan to break it up with lots of scenic stops.

This is a really stunning part of the country - are you looking to do many walks, and what sort of duration would suit?

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  Reply # 1420739 4-Nov-2015 13:32
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Did Nelson to Christchurch via Westport/Greymouth in 2008; that was a very long drive but also highly enjoyable.
Google tells me it is 525km

Christchurch to Franz Josef is only 376km, which is the same as Dunedin to Chrichchurch

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  Reply # 1421017 4-Nov-2015 17:07
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There is not much in terms of accomodation in Fox, or Haast.

Franz is pretty much the centre of the Universe down that way, and that's saying something..

Spend a day pootling round the glaciers, Currently they are both retreating so its a bit of a walk them....



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  Reply # 1421737 5-Nov-2015 15:41
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Thanks for all the replies. 

I'm trying to show visitors, who are in their 50s and 70s, the beautiful NZ scenery. They have limited time in NZ, split between North and South Island. So the plan is to see the best of NZ but not to get them exhausted.  

Unfortunately I'm unfamiliar with the route and most of those places as well. I googled best drives in New Zealand and picked those that I can combine into one long drive laughing

Hmm, what to write...
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  Reply # 1421745 5-Nov-2015 15:56
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BillyFieldman: Thanks for all the replies. 

I'm trying to show visitors, who are in their 50s and 70s, the beautiful NZ scenery. They have limited time in NZ, split between North and South Island. So the plan is to see the best of NZ but not to get them exhausted.  

Unfortunately I'm unfamiliar with the route and most of those places as well. I googled best drives in New Zealand and picked those that I can combine into one long drive laughing


Put them on the transalpine in Christchurch and follow it along. Talk to them in Otira and then meet the train in Greymouth. Drive to shantytown have a look around and the then spend the night in Hokitika ...day one





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D.W

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  Reply # 1421774 5-Nov-2015 16:22
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Fred99:
D.W: 

I've driven Fox Glacier to Chch in a day, and it is a long, long day of driving and not very enjoyable.



It's quite a long drive, but surely you must be jesting.  So long as the weather is okay, it's a great drive.  Long gaps between McDonald's restaurants though, so may not suit certain types of folks.


I don't consider any 5+ hour drive to be enjoyable personally. I've driven all around the South Island multiple times and any time I've driven that kind of distance the passengers tend to fall asleep rather than enjoy the scenery. 

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  Reply # 1422998 7-Nov-2015 23:03
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Can the glaciers - too much of a mission. 
Hit Mackenzie country / Tekapo - it is really pretty around there.
Then head down to Wanaka / Queenstown for a couple of days.
Then hit Te Anau and do an overnight boat in Milford sounds.
Then through Gore to Dunedin - Port Chalmers is an awesome beach
Then it is the classic Moeraki boulders on the way back to Chch

You may run out of time, in which case just boost back from Te Anau.
 

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  Reply # 1423000 7-Nov-2015 23:06
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Whatever you do, unless you like nothingness, don't overnight in Haast!

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  Reply # 1423001 7-Nov-2015 23:11
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BillyFieldman: Thanks for all the replies. 

I'm trying to show visitors, who are in their 50s and 70s, the beautiful NZ scenery. They have limited time in NZ, split between North and South Island. So the plan is to see the best of NZ but not to get them exhausted.  

Unfortunately I'm unfamiliar with the route and most of those places as well. I googled best drives in New Zealand and picked those that I can combine into one long drive laughing


Beautiful scenery eh ...

Better to go to Tekapo and follow the lakes aiming for (Lake) Wakatipu [aka Queenstown].

Then go back via Mackenzie Country (head to Naseby and go via Dansey's Pass Road).

That's more amazement that the body will take.

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  Reply # 1423002 7-Nov-2015 23:12
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There's nothing to see on the West Coast in comparison to the Lakes in the middle. We are talking relatives here.

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