South Island - New Zealand

//The South Island is often called "the Mainland". Today this expression is used humorously, although still with pride by "Mainlanders", since while it is a somewhat larger landmass than the North Island, only about a quarter of New Zealand's four million inhabitants live in the South Island. However, in the early stages of European (Pākehā) settlement of the country, the South Island was pre-eminent, with the majority of the European population and wealth focussed there due to gold rushes. It was not until the early 20th century that the North Island population overtook the South, with 56%

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prashant m :

Hello everybody, plan to visit South Island frm 22/12/07 to 1/1/08 1. Arrive in CHCH on 22 morning spend 3 Days there in the City. 2. 25Dec go to Kaikoura (Whale watching) (1 night 25) Not sure if they are operate tours on christmas days? 3. 26DEC Hanmar Springs(1night 26Dec) 4. 27Dec go to Greymouth (French colony) (couple of hrs on way) and proceed to the franz Josef Glaciers(1night 27) 5. On 28th morning proceed to Queenstown and do misc activities(2nights 28,29Dec) 6. On 30DEC procced to Milford Sound thru Te Anau-Do an Overnight cruise(1 night 30DEC ) 7. On 31 st proceed to CHCH from Milford to CHCH spend 31 night in CHCH and on 1st fly out of SI. Does this plan looks feasible in the given time frame? Should I travel the other way round from East cost to west coast? Any suggestion of mustdo places I have missed?? I would appreciate your feedback. Once I finalise the plan I have to book accomodations and visiting during High season doesnt help!!! Fire away!! Thks

Roshell :
"Well it sounds like a great trip. I think all the places you are visiting comes under the "must do" list and you have covered the basics. I think as far as time is concerned, i would fly from place to place if it is cost effective for you as driving can be timely as you will be stopping every 5 minutes to take photos of the view. Also if you are a fan of Chocolate head to Duneden to see the chocolate factory, i was sorry i missed it. Furthermore, try and get accomodation within the CBD or town as it cost us a fair bit to travel into town if we wanted to do anything. Have a great trip."
mareeclara :
"It really depends on what you want to do!!!!!! I have lived in Christhcurch for many years on and off and love it....however I am not sure of the tourist views ( I know its well liked). I have added the whalewatch site, that does the whalewatching in Kaikoura, so you can e-mail or check if its open on Chrsitmas Day....I would personally be surprised if its open!!! Are you taking a car??? Its around a 21/2hr drive from chch to Kaikoura...thats no stops and local driving...it will probably take you longer. Hanmer Springs...from Kaikoura...hmm don't know, but you can take the back ( gravelled roads) which will proably be a couple of hours drive/ Hanmer to Greymouth....just ot point out, I prefer Hokitika over Greymouth which is cuter..there is less "civilsation"on the West Coast and they lack some facilities...just to point out. I have never heard of the French Colony....I only thought Akaroa near Chch was the only French place around) Greymouth to Franz is around 1 1/2hr drive ( again me driving, so add extra time).....some of these roads are windy ( in fact lots of roads here are windy).....I worked at Franz for 6 months and find the whole area lovely in sightseeing!! sooooooooo pretty, with great reflective lakes ( eg Lake Matheson near Fox Glacier)..... The Franz to Queenstown will be a decent drive.....its around 2-3hrs drive to Haast and then another couple of hrs to Queenstown I think....lots in Queenstown!!! Never been to the Milford Sound....hairy tunnel ( Homer Tunnel) to drive thru, but I envy you seeing that place!!!!!Milford to Chch will also be a long drive.....proably a good day ( if you stop anywhere). It probably doens't matter which way you drive around to be honest, but it proably will be busy, so driving times will be longer due to traffic....and ok we don;t have massive traffic jams, but the nature of the roads means there are not many places to pass on the roads and slow drivers ( ok tourists in general) tend to drive very slowly on open roads eg 50-60km per hr on 100km per hr roads) and hold up traffic. There are probably a few little places to visit on the West Coast I like eg Ship Creek...lovely little easy walks..off the main road...you may need a map to see it, but its sooo pretty and you can do a forest and a beach walk. The forest around the West Coast is truely breathtaking...especially in the rain!!! ( where there is a lot of there, especially in Spring and into summer), but you just take it in your stride and have fun. Have a great time."
suzzie :
"wow I think you have already got your answers, you seem to have planned a great trip. I'm here in Christchurch right now on holiday from West Australia and I love it. I'm doing transalpine train trip from ch to greymouth tomorrow, then going skiing in Mt Hutt next day. Then Franz Josefs next week. Enjoy every minute cos I have so far. Good Luck"
Driver T :
"Mareeclara has the right answer. Just a few points: Visit Lyttleton and Akaroa (the French place I think you are referring to) as a day trip while you are in Christchurch. It's at least a 2.30 drive up the coast to Kaikoura - probably longer, so check first that whale watching is being done on Christmas Day before you set out. Kaikoura to Hanmer is a long lonely drive, don't go to sleep at the wheel. If there's no whaling, go direct to Hamner from CH. On the way to Greymouth check out Maruia Springs and Reefton. Greymouth's not got much to offer unless you go to Waiuta and/or Shantytown. On the way down the coast, see if you can locate the gold dredging operation at Lake Kaniere, call in to Okarito, and check out Lake Matheson. At the glacier (one or the other-no need to visit both) do NOT venture off the paths or duck under any safety ropes. Go to Queenstown over the Crown Range Road from Wanaka. Do NOT drive to Milford. Too many tourists attempt this and too many fail. It's a tricky road, especially with all those tourists in their rental cars, on it. None know where they are going or what they are meant to be viewing on the way. Go by bus and get a knowledgeable commentary from the driver (if you're staying overnight one of the regular tour buses will be no good, but a bus service by the Barbecue Bus will get you there and back) or fly - a far better idea. You will never drive from Milford to Christchurch in one day. Even if you try it from Queenstown you are likely to collect a speeding ticket or two. Especially as on the way (going by Cromwell, Tarras, Lindis Pass, Tekapo and Geraldine) you are going to be stopping to take in the pass at Lindis Pass, the Merino at Omarama, the salmon farm at Lake Ruataniwha, Lake Pukaki, the Tekapo Church, and Geraldine Town Centre. New Zealanders will do this trip on a regular basis, but I don't recommend it all in one for a tourist. Have you considered overnighting on Doubtful Sound instead of Milford. The scenery is just as spectacular and the place is not overrun with all those darn tourists. Milford gets about 5 000 visitors a day, Doubtful gets about 100. (So it's alot quieter.) The speed on the open road is 100 kilometres per hour - no more. Have fun while you're here!! Driver T"
nz-moo :
"Like the others said be careful about driving! Its prime holiday time when your heading to NZ so there will be alot of traffic! I think you have a great trip planned! Have a great trip!"
Armu :

I am going with my family to New Zealand, South Island in December this year. I am thinking of taking one of the tours from the net. Opinions differ from Queenstown being the best place in the hemisphere to one big rip off. Any tips to make the best of my one week holiday?

iansand9876 :
"Queenstown is a tourist trap. This has advantages and disadvantages. There is a lot of stuff to do, but the place is full of tourists. The South Island is just drop dead gorgeous (except Westport). I would hire a car and spend a couple of weeks driving around. maybe start at Christchurch and head south to Queenstown via Mt Cook. Spend a couple of days in Queenstown (do a Dart River jetboat trip - all the usual jetboat stuff combined with awesome scenery.) Fly to Milford Sound and drive back to Queenstown. Then across the Harst Pass to the West Coast (it will be raining). Up to the glaciers (and do a glacier walk). Then to Picton and the Marlborough Sounds (do a mailboat tour). You will pass close to Westport - resist any temptation to enter this town. Down the Kaikoura Coast (whale watching tour in Kaikoura) and back to Christchurch. This leaves out Arthurs Pass - maybe a train trip to Greymouth and back?"
DakotaNZ :
"I pretty much agree with above. Queenstown really disappointed me, but Wanaka about 1 hr north, east is really beautiful if you come in the summer, over run with tourists skiing in the winter. Take a car and make the journey your self. When I first came to live down in the South Island, I was taken back by the beauty travelling between Christchurch and Wanaka around the Lake Te Kapo area. Everywhere is gorgeous though really you can't go wrong."
Tuppence :
"Buy a Lonely Planet book on New Zealand, as well as a good road map right now, & start planning your trip with the aid of both of these. Fly into Wellington, catch the ferry across to the South Island, hire a car or camper-van & start driving south. Queenstown is stunning, but expensive. Nelson is less expensive and will afford you several cheap day trips. It all depends on what you're looking for in a holiday. If you can tell me what you expect from a holiday, I'll do my best to give you some great advice about where to go in my home country."
Unix :
"It will be cheaper to rent a caravan or a car for your family and drive all the way as the scenery is marvellous. It's very easy to drive in NZ and you just need to get all the maps from the Information Counter located in all towns. Can stop anywhere you like when you are driving and very convenient too. South Island has got the best scenery in the world."
mandy n :
"I suggest you hire a 4berth camper van for the week. For that time period, during december the all inclusive rate for a camper van, from Kea campers, is $290 a day. Sounds expensive, but its your car and accomodation in one. Its the deluxe one, so has a kitchen and bathroom on board. you can stay each night in a different holiday park, average cost of $40 a night (all prices quoted are in nz dollars). This gives you nighttime security, as well as access to bigger bathrooms and kitchens and people to meet. Most of the parks have swimming pools and playgrounds too, for the kids. Just travel about at your own pace, choose the places you want to go and drive there yourself. It not difficult to drive in NZ."
abc456 :

I am looking for a self-contained beach house or cottage in the South Island of New Zealand. I'll be heading North back to Christchurch, but want to spend 2 nights (after leaving Dunedin) somewhere beautiful by the beach. I see lots of this sort of accommodation in the North (and on North Island), but can't find any in this area. Can anyone assist?

sharna :
"you need someone to carry your bags? i'm soo jealous. Lol."
Eagle_Kiwi :
"I'd suggest MOERAKI would be the perfect spot ... IF you can maybe google? and find a place there. (It's a delightful small fishing village, just over an hour north of Dunedin. Failing that, perhaps KAKANUI is next best place on that coast . . . . but some houses there may be a mile or 2 from the sea. Good luck. :-)"
zee_prime :
"I recommend Aramoana."
Driver T :
"Most of the beaches on the coast you refer to are stony. Katiki Beach is sandy as is the Moeraki/Hampden Beach, and accommodation for these is available at Shag Point, Moeraki, Hampden and Waianakarua. Kakanui and All Day Bay are good too. The next best would be Friendly Bay at Oamaru where there's heaps of nearby B and Bs Then there are places like Hakatere and adjacent beaches at Ashburton, and Akaroa."
Aspen Dreamer :
"I think Eagle Kiwi has the best information since he has lived in that area so very long... I think he would know after 60 years... I place my money on him..."
Tahini Raving Weirdo :
"Some of the most amazing scenery north of Dunedin is on the beaches of Karitane, Seacliff, Warrington, and Waikouaiti, and possibly Shag Point just south of Moeraki (lots of animals on the cliffs, magic stuff). After that (Oamarua, Timaru) things get a bit, shall we say, less dramatic, until you get to Christchurch. I would look for a cottage in: 1. Waikouaiti, where this B&B would be my choice: 2. Seacliff 3. Karitane 4. Warrington 5. Shag Point"

 

Comments on South Island

ahmershuja
Date: 2008-02-05 20:41:08

Some recommendations based on our trip to the South Island.


coderbari
Date: 2008-02-05 20:41:08

Mark Twain once called Hawaii "the loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean". There aren't many people that would disagree: Hawaii's distinct natural beauty has been memorably captured in many a film, from 'South Pacific' to Disney's 'Lilo and Stitch'.


coolguy17111987
Date: 2008-02-05 20:41:08

Realtors from South Florida, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, South Beach Miami, Fisher Island, Star Island Miami and also over the world can easily share their real estate knowledge through this group. And people who joining in this group can easily get information and updates on real estate market. South Beach Miami Real Estate


Asgard
Date: 2008-02-05 20:41:08

Ireland: Ministers on both sides of the border are calling for the island of Ireland to be made a nuclear-free zone.




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