6 days in NZ South Island - itinerary from Queenstown?

Old Feb 9, 19, 1:13 pm
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6 days in NZ South Island - itinerary from Queenstown?

I'm planning to spend 6 days in the South Island of NZ in March, and looking for some suggestions on an itinerary. We've been to NZ before, and have visited the Northern portion of the South Island (basically as far as Christchurch, but haven't been South of there).

We'll be flying in/out of Queenstown, and have about 6 days there. Any recommendations as far a potential itineraries, or cities/towns to stay in? Would people recommend using Queenstown as a base, and doing day trips from there, or recommend staying in different parts? Wanaka? We're a couple of moderately fit 30-somethings, so definitely up for some outdoor activities such as day hikes, day cycling trips, but nothing too extreme or multi-day hikes. Definitely want to see Milford Sound.

Appreciate any recommendations as far as some of the must-do items for the South Island, and how best to structure the trip as far as where to stay.
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Old Feb 9, 19, 3:21 pm
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How are you going to Milford Sound? If you are driving you need a night in Te Anua. If you are taking the long one day bus trip from Queenstown you can skip that. Either way is fine, when I did it I drove but the bus trip would have been OK also. The other place to stay is Wanaka. There is plenty there to justify one or two nights. So I would suggest 2 nights Wanaka and either 4 nights Queenstown or 3 nights Queenstown and one night Te Anua. How you string that together depends on flight arrival/departure times. But 6 nights in Queenstown would be ok too, if you donít mind long drives.
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Old Feb 9, 19, 7:06 pm
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Two big advantages to driving to Milford sound: 1. you can get there before the bus and it is magical when devoid of the tourist hordes (esp. if fogged in, which is likely for March). 2. you can stop to see some great sights along the way (things like bubbling brooks with stunning rock formations) ... it is an enchanted part of the world. As for the rest of the time, possible suggestions are to stay in Arrowtown (former gold mining town near ZQN) and to drive to the glaciers (though maybe not enough time for that). The glacier walk is maybe the best single tourist experience that I have had in the past 20 years (but you have to be reasonably fit, you are equipped with crampons and ice axe and need it for the glacier).
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Old Feb 9, 19, 7:53 pm
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Thanks for the suggestions. As far as the trip to Milford Sound, we are leaning towards driving, so appreciate the advice, and will likely look to spend a night in either Te Anau or at the Milford Sound Lodge to try to break up the trip and maximize our time there. Leaning towards something like 3 nights in Queenstown, 1 night in Milford or Te Anau, and then 2 nights in Wanaka or Arrowtown. As far as the glacier walk, yeah, we'd been considering that too, so may look at that as well. Milford Sound was higher on our list, as we live quite close to glaciers (i.e. are driving distance to plenty of glaciers in the Rockies, including the Icefields Parkway and Jasper), but would love to see that too. I've used crampons and ice axes before, but definitely wouldn't be carrying our own gear and not familiar with the area, so would likely need to go with a guide or tour company.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 7:06 pm
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Aside from having to stay overnight in Te Anau for Milford Sound, Iíd spend the rest in Queenstown or Arrowtown. Save the unpacking and packing.

Check out Millbrook Resort, it is about 4km outside of the former gold mining town Arrowtown. They run a free shuttle to Queenstown, save you the driving and parking. Dining in Queenstown is quite easy without a car! Your cottage would be right next to the golf course.

Everywhere else can be made into a day trip. Almost anywhere you can hike and trek. For more exciting sports, try bungy jump at the Kawarau Bungy Center, or the one in Queenstown.

Wanaka is an easy day trip on the scenic drive toward Cardrona and on the return take the Kawarau Gorge highway.
Some recent images from some of these places, see link below:

https://stefanofoto.smugmug.com/Asia-SWP/New-Zealand
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Old Mar 6, 19, 12:57 am
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Perhaps the Shotover Jet too? Glenorchy is a nice little escape from Q'town too. Joe's Cafe is a nice little breakfast place imho although a bit touristy/franchisey now. Fergburger is very popular if you like that sort of thing. Also, I highly recommend the Vknow which, again, imho is a hidden gem in Fernhill. I also enjoyed a trip on the SS Earnslaw which I never thought I would ever find myself typing or saying. If you do like golf then, aside from Millbrook, I loved Arrowtown Golf Course. The town itself is nice too with some really nice walks into the hills from it as well.
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Old Mar 6, 19, 9:31 am
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I may be a little late to this thread, but I would do:
Day 1: Arrive in ZQN, immediately drive to Te Anau; overnight in Te Anau
Day 2: Drive to Milford Sound and check out different spots along the way (Lake Marian and Key Summit come to mind, but they take a few hours to complete); overnight in Te Anau or Milford Sound
Day 3: Drive back to Queenstown and explore the town; overnight in Queenstown
Day 4-6: Overnight in Queenstown for the rest of your trip; take a daytrip to drive to Wanaka (early) and do Roys Peak; the remaining time, explore Queenstown, taking one day to do Ben Lomond
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Old Mar 6, 19, 1:38 pm
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I don't have much to add except a suggestion to do Milford first thing in the morning or late evening, I booked cruise to start at 4.15 pm I think, and I can confidently say that it was hands down the best experience of my life, Milford Sound truly is 8th wonder of the world. I did late evening because we wanted to stop in Te Anau for lunch and a few other spots along the way.

Drive from Queenstown to Milford is quite scenic too although not as scenic as the drive to Blue Pools/Haast,
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Old Mar 27, 19, 7:45 pm
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Look at the Mt Cook park. The sights are amazing. The glacier (I think it was rather small but still beautiful) and the Mountain itself are a sight to enjoy. I would consider spending a night at the Hermitage Hotel. Truly impressive views and the lunch buffet is actually pretty good.
I guess you could do it as a day bus tour from Queenstown.
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Old Mar 28, 19, 10:05 am
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Originally Posted by keisari View Post
Look at the Mt Cook park. The sights are amazing. The glacier (I think it was rather small but still beautiful) and the Mountain itself are a sight to enjoy. I would consider spending a night at the Hermitage Hotel. Truly impressive views and the lunch buffet is actually pretty good.
I guess you could do it as a day bus tour from Queenstown.
Hooker Valley Track is the one walk I didn't get to do that I wish I had. Supposedly great "bang for your buck" (ie very little energy output for fantastic views).
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