View Full Version : New Zealand planning with bub in tow

Dylan & Marianne
25-10-2011, 8:04pm
It has already been a big year for Marianne and I but we are planning to take a trip to get away from lots of things going on in late April/early May next year.
At that time, we'll be out of home with my parents as home renos are underway , so we figured a few weeks away from all that stress and cohabiting with parents might be a good thing :)
The premise for the trip is that Marianne is happy to just be away and isn't particularly interested in doing much hiking, but at the same time, has allowed me a few single nights here and there to get it out of my system !
Based on images I've seen around the place and a rough 3 week itinerary, we plan to stay a couple of nights in each spot to minimise moving for Charlotte and self drive / stay in self contained places. The motorhome option did enter our minds but the though of lugging that around every time we want to go anywhere wasn't too appealing.
With that in mind, I was wondering what people thought of the following itinerary over 3 weeks and I would love to be pointed in the direction of things worth stopping for that I would otherwise miss!

Day 1 Arrive Christchurch and stock up on the groceries, get a cheap pram and stay overnight
Day 2-3 : Drive to Greymouth on the west coast and spend a couple of nights there photographing a starfish colony someone directed me to as well pancake rocks
Day 4: Drive to Franz Joseph Glacier - overnight there and hopefully visit Lake Matheson in the morning
Day 5: Drive from west coast through to Wanaka where hopefully spend 2-3 nights
Day 6: I hope to do an overnight hike to Alpine lakes (Wilkins Valley) and return on day 7 - I think Marianne's happy to loaf !
Day 8: Drive to Mount Cook area where we hope to spend another 3 nights
DAy 9: I hope to do an overnight hike to Muellur hut and get up close to Mt Cook
Day 10: return down and do some walks around hooker valley
Day 11: drive to Lake Tekapo and overnight there
Day 12: drive through to Queenstown /Glenorchy /Kinloch total of 3 nights somewhere in that region
Day 13: Arrowtown area
Day 14: Glenorchy area
Day 15: Drive to Te Anau for 2 nights - I hope to hike to Shallow bay hut and overnight there for Lake Manapouri views
Day 16: more of lake Manapouri / lake Te Anau
DAy 17: drive to Milford area: 2 nights there - possibly Marianne to drop me off at for 1 day hike to Lake Mackenzie + overnight
Day 18: back to Milford
DAy 19: Drive to Catlins conservation area : waterfalls galore! and nugget point lighthouse - 2 nights
Day 20 : Catlins
Day 21: Drive to Moeraki: 2 nights there
Day 22: Moeraki
Day 23: Drive back to Queenstown and exit!

I know that's more than 3 weeks and 3 weeks is really all I can fit so I guess one of the questions /opinions I'd be interested in is whether people would miss out on the west coast days at the start, or cut out some of the stuff in the middle around Mt Cook/Tekapo ? I reckon for me, the 'must do' bits are the ones I've got in bold.

Any opinions appreciated on anything from itinerary, to travel mode etc.
It will be a big challenge to have 8 month old Charlotte along but hopefully by the time she gets some head control, I'll be taking her out in a child carrier with all my gear just to get used to it :)

Dylan & Marianne
25-10-2011, 8:25pm
oops , I'm not sure this is in the right forum lol - mods feel free to move post!

26-10-2011, 12:22am
Dylan New Zealand is a lovely place there are quiet a few trecks around hooker valley and Mt John observatory is a must at Takepo there is a tour bus which takes people up there and can use an equatorial mount for long exposures nice friendly people. I would recommend the pizza place at Takepo as there is not much around. The church at takepo is lovely and if you have time the drive around round hill ski resort is nice as well.

I am going to do a north island and south island tour next year December.

26-10-2011, 12:57am
Looks like a great trip.
As you probably know based on images posted, we were there in September. We only spent 2 weeks in the south island, which was not enough. There is so much to see. The main thing that caught us out was travel time. I'm pretty sure NZ road designers only had french curves & not straight rulers. For a given distance we ended up allowing twice twice the travel time as you would in Oz - what with windey roads, countless single lane bridges (mainly west coast), plus simply amazing scenery that seems to stop the car & drag your camera out of its bag on its own (much to my wife's constant irritation:D) ....I reckon we missed just as much as we looked at. We found many unexpected diversions along the way (like Trotters Gorge - between Moeraki & Dunedin) that slowed us down, so I'd suggest you lock in your"must see's" but leave a bit of flexibility between them for the unexpected.

Dylan & Marianne
26-10-2011, 5:38am
Thanks for the input guys - I reckon I don't want to drive any more than 200 -300 km between locations or it'll be a killer!
I might see if it's possible to get a little more than 3 weeks! After being in Iceland for 5 weeks last year, that now seems to be an ideal time to visit a country properly lol

Old Skool
26-10-2011, 8:06am
Reckon you could spend a bit longer in CHCH, walking around the Red Zone in the CBD there are some photo opportunities with the earthquake damage. A trip out thru the Lyttleton Tunnel to Lyttleton and if the road is open, drive over the port hills to Sumner, Redcliffs, New Brighton etc and back to CHCH that way would be worthwhile.