14 Days Southern Scenic
14 Days | South Island
A leisurely circuit of the magnificent South Island, including the most awe-inspiring scenic highlights of snow capped mountains and turquoise blue alpine lakes.
(01 Oct 2017 - 30 Apr 2018)
NZ$1685 per person
(01 May - 30 Sep 2017)
NZ$1480 per person
- 9 nights gold and 4 nights blue motel accommodation
- 13 days small rental car hire
- welcome voucher wallet & driving maps
- expert itinerary planning & booking service
- 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST)
- Prices are per person, share twin/double room and in NZ$
Circle the spectacular South Island, featuring eco sightseeing areas near Dunedin and remote Milford Sound, resort adventure at Queenstown, the lush West Coast forests and awesome glaciers and the golden beaches of Nelson in the north. Perhaps sample some world-class wines in Blenheim and soak in hot thermal pools at Hanmer Springs.
Day 1 - Arrive Christchurch, pick up rental car on arrival. Kia ora, welcome to Christchurch, the largest city of the South Island. Christchurch offers pockets of perfect as the central city rebuilds after the 2011 earthquakes. Located on the vast Canterbury Plains, with the sweeping coastal curve of Pegasus Bay and the volcanic hills of Banks Peninsula, Christchurch offers surprisingly diverse landscapes. Stroll the graceful Botanic Gardens and Hagley Park, relax beside the gently flowing Avon River or take in the expansive city and mountain views from the Christchurch Gondola.
Day 2 - Drive Christchurch - Twizel (approx 4 hours) Travel through rolling green farmland and several quaint rural towns including charming Geraldine with its chocolate shop and renowned Barker's jam store, Fairlie and Kimbell. Continue to the stunning turquoise blue glacial lakes of Tekapo and Pukaki before reaching today's destination - the alpine village of Twizel. An optional side trip to the Mt Cook village in the heart of the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is worthwhile if time allows. Twizel is a small township located near Aoraki Mount Cook which was originally created to provide a home for workers involved with the Upper Waitaki Power Scheme. Today it is a well-positioned base for exploring the Mackenzie Basin and Aoraki Mt Cook National Park.
Day 3 - Drive Twizel - Dunedin (approx 3 hours, 45 mins) Pass beautiful Lake Ruataniwha to Omarama then follow the shores of Lake Benmore, Lake Aviemore and Lake Waitaki as you steadily descend to the coast. Oamaru's white sandstone architecture and historic Victorian precinct make this town a worthwhile stop. Perhaps visit the huge spherical Moeraki Boulders on Koekohe Beach, an amazing geological phenomenon, and quaint fishing village of Moeraki. Destination is Dunedin, the vibrant "Edinburgh of the South" with its Victorian and Edwardian architecture and close proximity to the wildlife habitats on Otago Peninsula.
Day 4 - Drive Dunedin - Te Anau (approx 4 hours, 10 mins) Pass Lake Waihola and cross the Taieri Plains to the Clutha River at Balclutha before heading inland and on to the Southland Plains. Sheep farms dominate the velvet green landscape to the rural hub of Gore before reaching Te Anau, the gateway to the majestic Fiordland National Park. A short side trip to beautiful Lake Manapouri is worthwhile. Te Anau's strategic location to both Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound, the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves and its own magical surroundings make it a perfect destination.
Day 5 - Optional Milford Sound Day Trip (approx 1 hour, 45 mins each way) As gateway to the Fiordland National Park, Te Anau's proximity to Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound make it a very popular destination. But there is more; nearby graceful Lake Manapouri, the Te Anau Glowworm Caves, thrilling river jet boating, trout fishing, hot tubs, 4WD outback adventures, stunning scenic flights and cycle and hiking trails. There are choices galore!
Day 6 - Drive Te Anau - Queenstown (approx 2 hours, 25 mins) Rolling farmland interspersed with native and exotic forest en route to the small settlement of Kingston at the southern tip of Lake Wakatipu. Skirt the lake shore with the imposing backdrop of the majestic Remarkables mountains to reach Queenstown, famous for its outstanding adventure activities, superb wineries and restaurants and sparkling nightlife. Whether it's family fun, romantic honeymoon days or adrenaline rush you are looking for, you'll find it in Queenstown.
Day 7 - In Queenstown at leisure. Queenstown's vast array of outstanding activities includes thrilling river jet boating, out back 4WD trips, white water rafting, bungy jumping, tandem skydiving, hot air ballooning, mountain bike and hiking trails. For a more relaxing day perhaps choose a scenic lake cruise in the historic TSS Earnslaw, visit a high country farm, play a round of golf at one of the many world class courses, ride on the Skyline Gondola for breathtaking views, take a guided Lord of the Rings film site tour or a guided winery tour. Visit historic Arrowtown for insights into the early gold mining days. Queenstown's enticing cafes, restaurants and nightlife will complete the day.
Day 8 - Drive Queenstown - Franz Josef Glacier (approx 4 hours, 40 mins) Drive along the shores of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea with their impressive mountain backdrops and on through the imposing Mount Aspiring National Park with it's extraordinary beauty. Continue through Haast Pass, then follow the Haast River to the coast. Stop at Knight Point for outstanding coastal views of the Tasman Sea, peaceful Lake Moeraki and Lake Paringa to enter the Westland National Park. Pass through the Fox Glacier village to Franz Josef Glacier township with its exciting outdoor activities such as guided glacier hikes, scenic helicopter flights, kayaking on nearby lakes. A soak in the hot pools completes a star studded day.
Day 9 - Drive Franz Josef Glacier - Hokitika (approx 1 hour, 45 mins) The Westland National Park displays its highlights with mirror lakes Mapourika and Ianthe, towering native forests with the dramatic snow-capped Southern Alps in the background. Steeped in rich gold mining history, Hokitika also has nearby Hokitika Gorge, Treetops Walkway and even some local glow worms!
Day 10 - Drive Hokitika - Nelson (approx 4 hours, 40 mins) View some of the West Coast's beautiful lush rainforest as you leave Hokitika, north bound for Nelson. From Greymouth follow the spectacular coast road to Punakaiki, considered one of the top 10 coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet. The Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki are world famous and the 20 minute loop track to Dolomite Point gives the best views of these 30 million year old rock formations. Follow the Buller River inland to Murchison then enjoy the dense forest of the Kahurangi National Park en route to Wakefield and Brightwater as Nelson city approaches.
Day 11 - In Nelson at leisure. The sunniest region in New Zealand with a geography that captures everything from long golden beaches to untouched forests and rugged mountains. Perhaps a day trip to the gorgeous Abel Tasman National Park for beach swimming, a boat cruise or beach & bush walk or visit the World of Wearable Arts Museum. Local wine tours and cellar doors promote outstanding local wines. Bike the cycle trails through vineyards and orchards, along stretches of white sand coastline, beaches and bays.
Day 12 Drive Nelson - Blenheim (approx 1 hour, 35 mins) Leaving Nelson and Tasman Bay behind the drive today will take you through small township of Rai Valley, which has a beautifully preserved cottage museum that gives a glimpse of local life in 1890. At Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve you can enjoy a bush walk or a swim, depending on the time of year. Nearby Canvastown is a place to explore old gold mining fields – thousands tried to get rich here in the 1860s. The seaside town of Havelock is known as the Green Shell Mussel Capital of the World and gateway to the magnificent Marlborough Sounds. Framed by mountains and situated in the heart of wine growing Marlborough, Blenheim is one of the sunniest towns in New Zealand. Explore the local food and wine culture by bike or guided tour through the vineyards. Stroll through the beautiful parks and gardens, visit Seymour Square with its picturesque fountain, 15 metre memorial clock tower and bright flowerbeds or spend time in the charming town centre.
Day 13 - Drive Blenheim - Hanmer Springs (approx 4 - 5 hours) Take the inland route via picturesque St Arnaud on the shores of Lake Rotoiti, the rural township of Murchison and the stunning majesty of the Southern Alps as you cross the Lewis Pass. Surrounded by dramatic mountains and towering forests the charismatic alpine town of Hanmer Springs is bustling with outdoor activities, from forest hiking to mountain biking, to quad biking and jet boating, and even bungy jumping for some high octane outdoor adventure. Once you've caught your breath, a soak in the hot spring pools is highly recommended - and if you're looking to really relax, treat yourself at their spa.
Day 14 - Drive Hanmer Springs - Christchurch (approx 1 hour, 55 mins) A short drive today, travel through the wine growing region of Waipara which leads you to the vast Canterbury Plains. Cross the Waimakariri River as you approach Christchurch city, with Hagley Park, the beautiful Botanic Gardens and meandering Avon River fringed with graceful willow trees.
This South Island KiwiCombo road trip itinerary can be travelled in reverse and can be modified to suit your individual requirements. Suggested activities are a guideline to some of the special and unique experiences offered in each region but are optional and not included in the KiwiCombo Pass. However we can make reservations for you, just ask!