Feb. 23 – South Island Itinerary with comments

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend crisscrossing the island like we did, but the minor inconvenience of a few extra driving hours was soon replaced with great memories of a wonderful experience.  We were not interested in doing very many touristy things, our focus was more about being out in nature, some easy walks or hikes, near water or mountains.

We tried to keep each travel day between hostels to about 250km or 3 hours.  We weren’t always successful.  We found we could book 4-5 days in advance except for popular tourist destinations like Christchurch, Queenstown and Wanaka.  After about Dec. 10 the more popular hostels get booked for the holidays.

The bed size was confusing and we never got the same answer twice.  A double bed was often a queen size, but sometimes it was really a double bed.  We had almost no problems with bathrooms down the hall (with a couple exceptions).

As for campervan vs hostel vs motel/B&B what we observed is campervans tend to keep to themselves, don’t socialize so much, and are limited to where they can park/camp and for how long.  It gets enforced and more crowded after Dec. 20.  Motels and B&Bs would probably be more expensive with no cooking facilities.  Not sure how easy it would be to socialize.  The hostels we stayed in (with a couple exceptions) had great kitchens and we met lots of friendly and interesting people.

Pace yourself so you have a few places to stay more than a couple nights.  Moving from place to place every other day is exhausting and you don’t get to see much of the area.

We filled up with gas the beginning of each travel day.  There are a couple areas that warn no gas available.

Day 1 – Nov. 22 Whangarei to Taupo (Black Current BBH)

Day 2 – Nov. 23 Wellington (Downtown Backpackers BBH) – great huge commercial kitchen

Day 3 – Nov. 24 Interisland Ferry, Nelson (Almond House BBH) – very friendly, well organized/equipped

Day 4 – Nov. 25 drive to Motueka and Abel Tasman

Day 5 – Nov. 26 visit WOW Museum in Nelson

Day 6 – Nov. 27 Punakaiki (Te Nikau Resort BBH)

Day 7 – Nov. 28 Truman Trail, Punakaiki/pancake rocks, Pororari Gorge, Greymouth (Global Village BBH) – young int’l crowd

Day 8 – Nov. 29 Greymouth & Pt. Elizabeth walk

Day 9 – Nov. 30 Greymouth & Barrytown Knife workshop – terrific workshop & highlight for Jim

Day 10 – Dec. 1 Arthur’s Pass (Mountain House BBH), Devil’s Punchbowl hike

Day 11 – Dec. 2 Castle Hill, Barrys Bay (Halfmoon Cottage BBH) – fabulous, friendly, well equipped/organized

Day 12 – Dec. 3 Barrys Bay & Okains Bay & Akaroa

Day 13 – Dec. 4 Barrys Bay

Day 14 – Dec. 5 Christchurch (Dorset House BBH)

Day 15 – Dec. 6 Christchurch & Lyttelton

Day 16 – Dec. 7 Christchurch

Day 17 – Dec. 8 Lake Tekapo (Tailor-Made BBH)

Day 18 – Dec. 9 Mt Cook & Hermatige Lodge & Hooker Valley Track & Oamaru (Old Bones BBH) – great comfy place well organized/equipped & friendly

Day 19 – Dec. 10 Oamaru

Day 20 – Dec. 11 Oamaru & penguins

Day 21 – Dec. 12 Moeraki rocks & Dunedin (Chalet Backpackers BBH) & Cadbury’s & Speights tours

Day 22 – Dec. 13 Port Chalmers & Toitu Museum & Taieri Gorge train ride & Fleur’s Place

Day 23 – Dec. 14 Otago Peninsula & Lost Gypsy Gallery & Invercargil (Southern Comfort BBH)

Day 24 – Dec. 15 Invercargil & Ferry to Stewart Island & Ulva Island

Day 25 – Dec. 16 Invercargil

Day 26 – Dec. 17 Manapouri (Freestone BBH) – gorgeous little cabin

Day 27 – Dec. 18 Manapouri & Jucy Cruize to Milford Sound

Day 28 – Dec. 19 drive through Queenstown, Arrowtown, Cardrona, Wanaka (Wanaka Bakapaka BBH) – well organized/equipped & friendly

Day 29 – Dec. 20 Wanaka

Day 30 – Dec. 21 Wanaka & drive to Cromwell & Clyde & Alexandra & Cinema Paradiso

Day 31 – Dec. 22 Wanaka & Rob Roy Glacier walk

Day 32 – Dec. 23 Glenorchy (Kinloch Lodge) drive from Wanaka, Arrowtown, Queenstown and back – beautiful room so-so kitchen shared with no very friendly people

Day 33 – Dec. 24 Glenorchy

Day 34 – Dec. 25 Glenorchy

Day 35 – Dec. 26 Otago Peninsula (McFarmers Backpackers BBH) – fabulous, cute, comfy & friendly

Day 36 – Dec. 27 Otago Peninsula

Day 37 – Dec. 28 Cromwell (Pinot Lodge BBH) – pass on this one, ick

Day 38 – Dec. 29 drive through Alexandra to Hokitika (Birdsong BBH) – stick from sewage down the road

Day 39 – Dec. 30 drive up West Coast & across Hwy 7 to Hanmer (Jack in the Green BBH) & SPA – wonderful, comfy, well organized/equipped and friendly

Day 40 – Dec. 31 Kaikoura (Bay Jelly BBH) – friendly

Day 41– Jan. 1    Kaikoura

Day 42– Jan. 2   drive through Blenheim and East Coast to Nelson (Almond House BBH)

Day 43 – Jan. 3   Nelson

Day 44 – Jan. 4   Marlborough Sounds (Anakiwa Backpackers BBH) & Queen Charlotte Track hike

Day 45 – Jan. 5   Ferry back to North Island & Plimmerton (Moana Lodge BBH) – amazing room, great facilities, well organized/equipped and friendly

Day 46 – Jan. 6   Taupo (Blackcurrent BBH)

Day 47 – Jan. 7   drive back to Whangarei

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