Stunning South Island

Embark on a self-drive journey through New Zealand’s captivating South Island, where every twist and turn reveals a new wonder. Immerse yourself in lush forests, towering snow-capped peaks, and serene fiords. Reflect upon mirror-like lakes and be captivated by the stunning coastline. Each day unveils a fresh adventure, offering unparalleled vistas and boundless exploration. Discover the essence of natural beauty as you traverse this diverse and enchanting landscape.

Specification: Stunning South Island


New Zealand


12 Days

Group Size

Private Tour

Tour Type

Self Drive Tour

Trip Grading


Travel Itinerary


Arrival in Christchurch

Arrival in Christchurch. Collect your rental car at the airport and start your South Island trip. The South Island’s largest city, Christchurch is an entertaining mixture of refined lifestyle and cultural excitement.



On your way to the West Coast you drive along the Buller River and the vegetation-rich Buller Gorge. The first location at the West Coast is Westport, This quaint port town is the largest centre of the Northern West Coast of the South Island and offers a number of cafes and restaurants as well as a Guided Heritage Walk and the history steeped Coaltown Museum. Another place worth stopping is Cape Foulwind. Located in Tauranga Bay, visitors can take a 10 minute stroll down a well formed track that leads to viewing platforms over the seal colony below. On-site information panels provide information on the activity in the colony and the seals’ breeding cycle, as well as historical information about the sealing industry that once existed in New Zealand.


Fox Glacier

Today’s journey takes you along the West Coast to your day’s destination, Franz Josef Glacier. The Fox Glacier is located about 23 km in the south of the Franz Josef Glacier. The glaciers are unique on earth, they reach down to rainforest covered valleys at an altitude of 250 meters above sea level. The Glacier is best explored by helicopter. Most scenic flights even include a landing on the ice! Lake Matheson is worth a visit as well. Enjoy a scenic walk around the lake and marvel at the perfect reflections when the water is still.



On the tour to Wanaka you are driving further down the West Coast before the road turns inland at Haast. Enjoy waterfalls, green valleys and untouched rivers as you leave the coast and climb to Haast Pass. The road winds through the Aspiring National Park, which stretches out over 3500km between the Haast River in the north and Fiordland National Park in the south. The resort town of Wanaka, on the southern shores of Lake Wanaka, offers outdoor adventures and indoor luxury. During the long, hot summers, the braided rivers and lakes are alive with people enjoying water-based leisure sports including boating and fishing. The mountains offer extensive hiking tracks, mountaineering and rock climbing for outdoor enthusiasts. In winter, the mountains surrounding the lake provide top ski and heli-ski facilities, attracting snow lovers from around the world.



Take some time today to explore Wanaka. Visit the famous Wanaka tree, enjoy a coffee at the lakefront or take a bike and cycle along the lake. Close by is the Mount Aspiring National Park with an abundance of hiking tracks for the more serious hikers.



Today you will reach Queenstown, beautifully situated on Lake Wakatipu. The alpine resort of Queenstown is also known as the St Moritz of New Zealand. Queenstown is treasured for its magnificent scenery and luxury lifestyle. It is situated on the shore of Lake Wakatipu which is surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges like the Remarkables.



Day at Leisure in Queenstown. The alpine resort is exciting and fantastically attractive. It’s the place to source almost any kind of adventure, including bungy, jet boating, horse trekking, rafting and river surfing. It’s also a destination for luxury experiences – gourmet food and wine, spa treatments and leisurely games of golf.


Te Anau

High country landscapes and trout fishing rivers are features on the road to Te Anau. The first part of the drive clings scenically to the edge of Lake Wakatipu. Te Anau township sits on the shores of Lake Te Anau. From here, the delights of the Fiordland National Park are within easy reach, including the start of the Milford Track. Today you can make an excursion to Milford Sound for a cruise or walk on the tracks. A visit of the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary or a tour through the Te Anau Glowworm Caves are other excellent adventures.


Te Anau

Leaving the stunning mountains and fiords of Te Anau, your journey along the main highways and motorways today will showcase the best of the Southern land and its scenery. Deep rivers, lush farmland and nature parks are just an appetiser for what this area of the South Island has to offer. Located in Gore, Hokonui Moonshine museum celebrates the history of illicit whisky making in the southern region that stemmed from origins in Scotland. Or visit Lake Waihola. This tidal freshwater lake is located half an hour south of Dunedin. It is surrounded by wetlands, including the internationally renowned and protected Sinclair Wetlands that are home to many species of wading birds.

DAY 10


Dunedin, one of New Zealand’s oldest and most important settler cities, has a strong Scottish heritage. It is the doorway to the Otago Peninsula and the Southern Scenic Route along the south eastern coast. Dunedin was planned in the early 1840s as a Scottish settlement. First settlers arrived soon after and, with the discovery of gold in the 1860s, the town grew to become one of New Zealand’s important commercial centres. Many Dunedin buildings date back to the gold rush. First Church, University of Otago’s clock tower, Larnach’s castle and Otago Boys High School were built in the late 1800s, and Dunedin railway station was completed in 1906. Enjoy a day at leisure to explore the city and the Otago Peninsula with its rich wildlife! For an encounter with sea lions, albatross and other species home to the Otago Peninsula, you can book a guided wildlife tour.

DAY 11


Your journey north is flavoured with history. Oamaru has a population of around 12,000 and an impressive heritage. Many of the elegant historic buildings were made from the local sandstone. Visit the Harbour-Tyne area – the best-preserved collection of historic commercial buildings in New Zealand. You should also check out the penguin colony, the museum and the pretty public gardens. River crossings are a feature of the journey north. On the way you are passing Timaru a small but beautifully formed city, Waimate and Oamaru, where you can watch penguins. The main attraction on the way to Christchurch are the Moeraki Boulders. These ancient spherical boulders are up to four meters in circumference and are lying scattered along Moeraki’s beach. The route to Christchurch is about as straight and flat as roads get in New Zealand. On a clear day, the Southern Alps provide outstanding scenery. The town of Rakaia sits on the southern side of the Rakaia River, and it’s ‘The salmon capital of New Zealand’. The Rakaia Bridge spans 1.8 kilometres of one of the world’s best examples of a ‘braided’ river system.

DAY 12

Free in Christchurch, Departure

Explore Christchurch before you depart.

What´s included


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