New Zealand


New Member
Hi angy, you are a real lifesaver... many accoms in your links... thanks!

Also, a real tragedy for the christchurch folks...

Yeah, school's out the 2nd week we are there, probably be able to stay ahead of the SG crowds until Queenstown, where we expect the "big crush". We will not take any chances at the smaller townships though...

That said, as per your suggestion we will trim our Christchurch end of the trip, let's hope 2 days is enough for everything plus hot air balloon! btw, is arakoa worth the visit?

Extra day will likely go to Queenstown end... now we will have 4.5 days total, overkill you think?

Plan in ZQN:

Day 1: arrive from Te Anau, skyline gondola / luge, Lake Wakatipu
Day 2: Arrowtown day trip, via ferrata, Gibbston, Kawarau, Lake Hayes
Day 3: Shotover, drive crown range road and back (your fav!)
Day 4: Glenorchy @ Dart river and ???
Day 5: Relax til flight

We seem to have half day with no program though cos one of us is afraid of heights!



New Member
Hi angy, hope everythingf is alright there with you. I'm supposed to arrive CHC on 7th sept. But after the quake, is it still possible to go there? If we skip chc and go to akaroa for the 1st nite is it ok? Are the roads leading to other towns affected? Is it safe? Going to lake tekapo n mt cook area after akaroa. Or any other town that u suggest besides akaroa as our main purpose is to get to lake tekapo/mt cook area frm chc. Thiniking where to spend the 1st nite where we originally plan at chc. Appreciate your advise!


New Member
hi all,
nice to see all the travelbugs here.
It's fortunate that there are no major casualties from the earthquake. hope CHC rebuilds itself soon.

Would like to share my itinerary which i have planned in Dec. Not sure if it is too tight?

appreciate all advice and comments. Thanks!

Day 1 - arrive in CHC (2.30pm)
stay over in CHC
CHC botanic gardens

Day 1 - Drive to Mt Cook (328km)
stay over in Mt Cook
Lake Tekapo
Mt Cook Village
Mt Cook National Park
Salmon farm?

Day 3 - Drive to Dunedin (328km)
Cadbury Factory
Larnach castle
Stay over in Dunedin

Day 4 - Drive to te Anau (285km )
Lake Te Anau
Stay at Te Anau

DAy 5 - Drive Milford Sound (121km)
Fiordland National Park
Stay Milford Sound

Day 6 - Drive to Queenstown
Queenstown underwater observatory
Hot air ballooning? Rafting?
Stay Queenstown

Day 7 0 - Drive to West Coast Glacier (187km)
Crown Range Road
Pass by Wanaka
Glacier Gliding
Stay at West Coast Glacier

Day 8 - Drive to Greymouth (308km)
Punakaiki Rock aka Pancake rocks
Monteith's Brewery Tour
Stay Greymouth

Day 9 - Drive to CHC (arthur's pass)
Cathedral central
Stay over at CHC

Day 10 - Depart for SG


New Member

forget anyting around Christchurch, including Akaroa. Go straight to Lake Tekapo. Forget about any accomodation in CHC because the engineers have to check all the buildings in CHC because they are certified safe


New Member

I have 2 questions for you.

How many drivers do you have for this trip? If it is only 1, good luck.

2. Have any of your diver(s) ever drive between 300-400km a day for 3 to 4 days? Given that you have not driven in NZ, you need to add another 10-20% additional distance for wrong turn and wrong road.

My opinion of your trip, you try to squeeze in everything in a short period of time. From your trip wish, you will be exhausted by Day 3.


New Member
hi hi angy, thanks for letting me know. yes so far it's only 1 driver. i am planning to get GPS so that we will not get lost

hmm guess i might have to forgo mt cook or greymouth. In your opinion, which is a nicer area?


New Member

When you are talking about " forget anything ard chc".. which are the areas you are refering to? how bad is the situation?? I dont really dare to go ahead and bk accomd for my Nov trip.. thinking shd i adopt a wait and see attitude..

Thanks for keeping us update on the situation at CHC..


New Member

good luck if you insist on driving 300-400km a day with 1 driver. My friend was knocked out the second day after driving 300km the first day.

Both Mt Cook and Greymouth are nice and both are a distance to drive.

Just dont stay in CHC. Maybe stay at Hanmer spring.


New Member
300km to 400km with stops in between are pretty fine. (Passenger do yr part by keeping a good conversation with the driver). Try to do the longer route in the morning when u r fresh. Most importantly, get a detailed map (GPS will be great) and plan yr route well. Btw, NZ is pretty easy to get around & much lesser cars compare to Aus...


Hi angry, we will touch down Christchurch airport in the late night. Where should we sleep over then? We will be there mid nov.


New Member
This is my original schedule..before the earthquake.. wondering how shd i make changes to avoid staying at chc..

Day 1 : Arrival at chc in the afternoon.
Stay over at chc

Day 2 : Day trip to Kaikoura via transcoastal.
stay over at chc

Day 3 : Travel from chc to lake tekapo
stay over at lake tekapo

Day 4 : Travel from lake tekapo to dunedin
stay over at dunedin

Day 5 : Dunedin

Day 6 : Travel from dunedin to Invercargill
stay over at Invercargill

Day 7 : Travel from Invercargill to Te Anau
stay over at Te Anau

Day 8 : Day trip to Milford Sound
stay over at Te Anau

Day 9 : Travel from Te Anau to Queenstown
stay over at Queenstown

Day 10 : Queenstown

Day 11 : Travel from Queenstown to Wanaka
stay over at Wanaka

Day 12 : Wanaka to Fox Glacier
stay over at Fox Glacier

Day 13 : Fox Glacier

Day 14 : Travel from Fox Glacier to Hokitika
stay over at Hokitika

Day 15 : Travel from Hokitika to chc
stay over at chc

Day 16 : back to sg... should i change my schedule.... *headache*


New Member
Happy Tea and Poseidon,

Call up the hotel and ask if they are ok. I heard that some hotels are fine.

you can try staying at Geraldine.

I strongly suggest both of you to check with the hotels to see if they are ok


New Member

just got back from Christchurch. Other than the city itself, the rest of Christchurch looks okay.

There are buildings in the city that are extensively damaged. Some has been demolished. The main church in Catherdal Square is currently out of bounds to everyone.

Things are now back to normal CHC


Hi angy thanks for your updates.

We will be there with my boy this nov, arrive CHC 14th late night, depart CHC 25th for 345pm flight, all via Sydney.
Do u suggest we tour CHC first or leave CHC till the end of the trip?

Hi oleander, hope your trip was not really affected by the earthquake. Can u share your experiences especially with the two kids?


New Member
hi, is it possible to travel in NZ in April/May? Thinking of going next yr end April to early May or mid May to end May with 2 kids.


New Member

I am interested to book my queenstown accomondation at shotover river lodge which is at aruther road. It is around 7km away from queenstown central.
My qns is.. will the parking rates at queenstown central kill me or i am better off getting a place to stay at the central area?


New Member
Hmmm no votes...

Hi Angy, below is my itinerary for 11 day South-island trip in mid-oct starting 13 oct... we made it as leisurely as possible as we do not want to rush from place to place and like what u advised; we focused on the key areas to do.

Day 1: Depart Singapore

Day 2: Arrive in Christchurch - Leisure day in CC: Tram & Punt / sightsee ard city (Nite Stay in CC)

Day 3: Depart CC to Greymouth via Tranzalphine : PICK UP THE CAR HERE: 1st stop, drive north wards to Pancake Rocks (read that it's beautiful nature walk! Is it worth the drive bkwards?) before heading to FOX/ FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER. (Nite Stay in Glacier)

Day 4: Half-day Glacier hike(if gd weather: Heli) + Glacier kayak (Nite Stay in Glacier)

Day 5: Glacier -> Wanaka -> (via Crown range rd) Queenstown -stop at Wanaka for a couple of hrs before continuing journey to QT.(what is best to see for the few hrs? We would want to reach QT before night fall)/(as will arrive in the late evening, where is a nice place to go for/after dinner to view the night scene? (Nite stay in QT)

Day 6:Queenstown activies: Shotover Jet /Gonola & Luge/ Onsen Hot Pools / visit to Arrowtown (Is it too heavy for a days' activity? (Nite stay in QT)

Day 7: Day Tour to Milford Sound(Nite stay in QT)

Day 8: Depart Queenstown to Dunedin (must-dos in Dunedin given the short stay?) (Nite stay in Dunedin)

Day 9: Leave Dunedin to Pete's farmstay that is near CC Airport. (Nite stay in farm)

Day 10: Farm (Nite stay in farm)

Day 11:Home sweet home

Other inputs are most welcum


New Member
Hi, i am planning for NZ self drive in end mar 2011.

May I know is the weather at end mar nice? As in, will I encounter rainy days or bad weather?

Below is my itinerary:

Day 1 Singapore to Auckland
Day 2 Auckland
- city tour
Day 3 Auckland-Waitomo-Rotorua
-Glowworm tours, Kiwi 360, Rainbow Springs Farm
Day 4 Rotorua-Taupo-Rotorua
- Wai-O-Tai-Pu, Agrodome, Whakewerea Geothermal Field, Huka Falls
Day 5 Rotorua-Christchurch-Lake Tekapo-Lake Pukaki-Mt Cook Village
Day 6 Mt Cook Village-Twizel-Oamaru-Dunedin
- glacial boat trip, Moeraki Boulders
Day 7 Dunedin-Queestown
- Dunedin city tour
Day 8 Queenstown
- Queenstown city tour, Shotover jet, Gondola/Luge ride
Day 9 Queenstown-Te Anau-Milford Sound-Queenstown
- Mirror Lake, Milford Sound cruise
Day 10 Queenstown-Glacier (Franz Josef/Fox Glacier)
Day 11 Glacier-Christchurch
- Glacier trekking
Day 12 Christchurch
- city tour
Day 13 Christchurch to Singapore

Can advise if my itinerary is ok?


New Member

can I ask a favour? If you find my comments useful, all I ask is after you come back from NZ, come into this sub forum and share with the rest your trip experience, what are the must do/must see/must bring/must not do/tips?


New Member
Ok, I see there are lots of questions, here goes

tour CHC first and then you can appreciate how lucky Singapore is.

any time is good time to travel. Except April and May will get dark very quickly.

you meant you come all the way to NZ and you are worried about parking ah?

GPS can be useful. When you rent the car, you can ask for GPS set, of course have to pay. Maybe you can bring your own and download NZ maps.

bring offspray at Pancake rocks. Famous for sandflies. Can buy offspray in NZ.

Day 5, spent sometime at Crown Range. You will pass by the skifields. Not sure when the skisfields are closing. You should check it out when you are in NZ.

Day 7, MS to Queenstown will kill you. Why not stay at Te Anau instead. You can visit glow worms are Tw Anau.

Dunedin, so many things to do. Depends what you want to do. Example, chocolate factory visit. Visit the albatross colony. The castle at Anderson bay.

Day 9. The travel wil be quite long depends where you want to stop. Moeraki boulders will be one place you like to see. I suggest you explore Dunedin to Lake Tekapo.

Day 3 will be tiring. But Waitomo Cave is worth visiting. It all depends how much time you have. There are 2 caves that you die die must go. If you do 2 caves and you are travelling from AKL and your final destination in Rotorua, good luck. You will be 100% exhausted. Your trip too packed. You will be rushing all the time and see very little.


New Member
Hi angy, I have amended my itinerary:

Day 1 Singapore to Auckland
Day 2 Auckland
Day 3 Auckland-Waitomo-Rotorua
Day 4 Rotorua-Taupo-Rotorua
Day 5 Rotorua-Christchurch-Glacier
Day 6 Glacier
Day 7 Glacier-Queenstown
Day 8 Queenstown
Day 9 Queenstown-Te Anau-Milford Sound-Te Anau
Day 10 Te Anau-Dunedin
Day 11 Dunedin-Mt Cook Village
Day 12 Mt Cook Village
Day 13 Mt Cook Village-Christchurch
Day 14 Christchurch

Is it better?


New Member

Yout trip really really packed. you try to cover 2 islands in 13 days. My advice, choose 1 island to cover, come back the next time for the other one.

Your xiong days - Day 3, Day 5, Day 9, Day 11. These three days, you will be on the road for more than 5 hours.

if you insist on doing 2 islands, you will see very little. You will most of your time driving. How many drivers are there? 1? 2? If it is 1, go luck to the driver.


New Member
hi angy, thanks for the advice. I have no choice cos i dun have enough time to spend more days in NZ neither do I want to just spend my time on 1 island. I have 3 drivers so shld be ok. We are experienced in self-drives too (past experiences in Australi and Europe) so shld be ok bah.

Thanks once again


Hi There, i am confused, for Mt Cook, the base is from Lake Tekapo or Twizel? or either?

Is it necessary to get to the Mt Cook Visitor Centre? Is this in the Mt Cook Village?

I am planning to travel from CHC to Lake Tekapo to Dunedin direction before ending up at Fox or FJ. Then from there, after the pancake rocks, i am stuck, how should i plan to get back to CHC?
Is it possible to plan a night stay (where?) before morg drive to CHC airport by 2pm to catch a 4pm flight?
i am skipping Nelson and Kaikoura.


New Member
Happy tea

the base of Mt Cook is Mt Cool village. It will be around the same vicinity as the Visitor Centre.

You are truly lost about the South Island. haha. Never mind. I recommend you study the map of NZ again. FJ is in the west coast. Two ways to get there. Either from Wanaka or from Greymouth.

You can basically do the clockwise or anticlockwise direction if you want to goto FJ.


I thought I will want to do clockwise first as read that it's good to get comfortable w the easier drive first. Or should I think the opposite way? Leave the easier drive to the end wof the trip when our energy will be drained? Only my hubby driving.he don't want me to drive as I seldom drive in sgp.


New Member
Happy tea, I recommend going the anticlockwise direction. If you can cheong, you can drive from CHC to Hokitika in Day 1. You will be able to pass by FJ in Day 2.


New Member
Tks angy!

How long approximate (in terms of driving hrs) is frm Dunedin > Lake Tekapo > Christchurch? This is a better (shorter n more scenic) route compared to traveling : Dunedin > oamaru > timuru ?

Can I ask where to buy prepaid calling card? Which svc provider is recc?

I m so excited! Traveling to NZ in 3 days time!


New Member

yes, it is definitely more scenic, but a longer journey. I dont think it is shorter. Time is relative, it depends where you stop and your breaks. Allow 5 hours and you should be fine. Make sure you see Moreaki Boulders.

The temperature dropped today like crazy. So, my advice, bring thermal and long john just in case. I think by the time you come, the cold weather is truly over.

I recommend by 2 Degree prepaid card. Alot of places you can get.

Please come back and share your experience with others and drive carefully.


Thks angry. Like to know how do I include mt cook and lake tekapo? Interested in southern scenic route too. Can I just detour to otago peninsular for a quick look after leaving Dunedin?

Eh I only got 10 full days in nz exluding arriving and departing chc. I know I can't go to all places but I dunno which part I should give up...


New Member

ok, here is a kiasu pa kao liao tour for 8 days

Day 1 - CHC to DUD via Mt Cook, Lake Tekapo
Day 2- tour DUD and then you need to stay in Te Anau for the night
Day 3- Day trip to Milford Sound and then stay in Queenstown for the night
Day 4-5 based in Queenstown and tour Wanaka and Arrowtown
Day 6 - Driving to FJ, Hokitika and stay in Greymouth
Day 7 drive from Greymouth to CHC vis SH73.
Day 8 - prepare to go home


Wow kinda rush man.. I got more than 8 days lah... No need to be so pack. I have a draft route which is similar to an itinerary from the materials that I got from the tourism board. Let u review once i make some changes.

The SH73 that u mentioned, said to be 3 and half hours drive, is it doable to reach the CHC airport to catch my 345pm flight? Will I be tempted to make stops for photos? Any place to stop over for lunch?


Hi Angry, my route as follows, how to improve on this?

Day 1 14Nov : Sydney>CHC, sleep CHC airport
Day 2 15Nov : tour CHC, sleep CHC city
Day 3 16Nov : CHC>Lake Tekapo, sleep Lake Tekapo
Day 4 17Nov : Lake Tekapo>Mt Cook Village>Oamaru, sleep Oamaru
Day 5 18Nov : Oamaru>Dunedin, sleep Dunedin
Day 6 19Nov : Dunedin>Catlins>Invercargill, sleep Invercargill
Day 7 20Nov : Invercargill>Te Anau>Milford Sound, sleep Te Anau
Day 8 21Nov : Te Anau> Queenstown, sleep Queenstown
Day 9 22Nov : Queenstown>Arrowtown>Wanaka, sleep Wanaka
Day 10 23Nov : Wanaka>FJ, sleep FJ
Day 11 24Nov : FJ>Greymouth, sleep Greymouth
Day 12 25Nov : Greymouth>CHC airport>Sydney (flight dep at 345pm)


New Member
Happy tea

Day 3, CHC to Lake Tekapo will have a lot of free time. YOu can even goto Mt Cook Village on Day 3.

Day 4, you can drive straight to Dunedin no need to sleep at Oamaru.

Day 6, you can back track from Invercargill and sleep at Te Anau


hmmm ok thks, we will play by the ear then... work along this route...

Questions :
1) Any places worth a 2nd night's stay?

2) If i want a farm stays, where should i slot it into my itinerary?

3) Is it ok to book only first 2 nights accomodation in CHC prior the trip? and book the 3rd night's stay during Day 2? and book 4th night's stay during day 3? is this workable?

4) Is all motel with kitchen facilities? i need to cook for my son.... wonder if i need to bring a travel cooker with me.

5) I read that you mentioned that we can buy rice from supermarket, but can we find them in small packaging? i dont want to carry a 5kg pack of rice throughout the trip..

6) Cothings, should i pack more long sleeves or t shirts are fine for Nov?


New Member
1. any place is worth 2nd day stay. why not decide when you are in NZ

2. It all depends where you want for your farm stay.

3. yes, why not. you are more flexible that way.

4. Yes, almost all motels have kitchen facilities. If you want cook rice, i recommend buy along a rice cooker. Or, practise how to cook rice in a pot in SG now.

5. Yes, 500g to 1kg bag.

6. Remember you will have an outer jacket. 1 long sleeve t-shirt will be useful. Focus on layered dressing.


Hi hi! Anyone can help? Qn abt location and distance.

As I will arrive chc very late at night, we will want to stay near the airport. Most likely at airport birches motel. As I will stay 2nd night in chc too, is it necessary to choose my 2nd night
hotel to be in the city? Or remain at the same hotel near airport?


New Member
hi all, i have a same query as happytea. My flight back to Singapore is actually very early - 6.15am. So I am thinking of staying one night near the airport before my flight.

Any recommendation? I am also wondering how to return our rented vehicle since the counter don't open that early.


New Member
i just came back from NZ 2 days ago... shiok!!!! hee let me settle down 1st and i will write a proper ( hopefully not too lor soh) review on my 16 days south island trip


New Member
I have not been in the forum for sometime.

Happy tea
I guess you are in NZ already.

Anywhere in CHC is fine. If you are worried about the opening hours, ask them when you are in CHC.

You are lucky, the weather was fantastic the last 2 weeks. I hope you spent a lot to help the NZ economy. Do share your time in NZ with the readers. Tell us you
a. likes,
b. dislike,
c. die die must go,
d. die die must eat and
e. die die must do

in NZ.

Last, all those frequent this sub forum and have gain valuable tips from the discussion, I have a personal favour to ask from you.

If you find my suggestions and assistance useful, can you share with fellow forum readers what you have gain from your trip? Write a huge trip report. Last last, the weather is beautiful and sunset at 8pm. However remember to bring suntan lotion, the UV light in NZ is very strong.


New Member
angry..haa i will share my tots with all here..give me some time to sort things out ( photos.. etc )..

Just some little tips for all going to NZ.. BRING UR SUNBLOCK + sunglass.. the sun in NZ is very unforgiving to ppl that wan fair skin..

I bought a pre-paid 2 degree sim card when i was in NZ.. there is still some value left inside the sim card ( NZ10 over bucks)..If you are going to NZ and you need a pre-paid sim card.. drop me an private msg..


New Member
if you are coming to NZ next week, forget about staying in Greymouth. All the hotels and motels are fully booked. This is due to the mining disaster that happen early this week. All the 29 miners are presumed dead. The local and foreign press, the police and everyone else have booked all the accomodation in Greymouth.


Hi all, i just came back last friday. its a great holiday and we were really lucky in terms of weather, cos their activities are mostly subjective to good weather. I will do a write up too, but give me some times. Now got to get back to reality hard for budget for North Island next time. haha

Hi Megan, I stayed at Airport Birches Motel for my 1st 2 nights. Its a nice place to stay at.

I chose them because they provide free airport pickup though i arrived very late. I checked their website, the earliest airport shuttle starts from 930am. For your timing they can arrive a taxi.

Or you can try Sudima Hotel which is 2 mins away from the airport.

For your car, i think you might want to return the car on the day before. They can send you to your hotel after that.


New Member
Just to pass on some tips ..things that I found out during my trip..

1. If you are staying in motels/ hostel and require internet connection. Check the internet cost before you book the location. A lot of places mention that they have wireless LAN but then the wireless signal is not strong especially if you stay a few blks away from the main recept area. Example : we stayed at room no. 18 in Jade Court Motor Lodge in Hokitika, everything was great except the wireless LAN is soo sucky that we can only get signal in our car which is park in front of our unit. Once inside the room, there is no signal..

2. NZ is full of mountainous road…can be very dangerous so please drive carefully.. the speed limit at highway is 100km/hr and lesser once you hit town area along the way. There are a lot of un-gravel road if you are going to the southern scenic be prepared for sandy/rocky track..

3. Forget about shopping in NZ.. the only place to shop is QT and CHC… enjoy and appreciate nature!!! No point shop in NZ except for kiwi magnets and wool products.

4. NZ is freaking strict on people that bring in fruits/plants/veggie forget about any Chinese medicine..not even pi pa gao.. there is a very big poster in front of the immigration counter to remind you about the fine.. NZ400 if I am not wrong.

5. Prepare for unexpected weather.. we were there in early nov..expecting late spring/early summer type of weather.. end up it was 5 degree when we arrive at Christchurch.. nearly frozen to death during the 1st few days..

6. If you are taking gondola in QT.. buy your luge rides together with your gondola is cheaper than buying the luge rides separately.. take note that the operating hours of gondola and luge rides is not the same.

7. Go to some wildlife park to see live kiwi..they are cute!! We went to the one next to QT gondola and enjoyed ourselves..

8. There is no 3-in-1 coffee, 3-in-1 milo in NZ.. so if you need them.. bring your own.. Instant noodles are expensive in supermarket and not much choices.. better to buy them from either asian supermarket or bring your own.. I didn’t spot any asian supermarket in QT..but there are quite a few in CHC..

9. Spend at least one night in a B&B and get to know the family..haa maybe my husband and I are very kaypoh..we actually had a very enjoyable tea session after dinner with the owner of the B&B..

hee i will do a review on my trip soon.. hee 16 days.. need time to process and write.. =p