Ultimate South Island Self-drive

Welcome to New Zealand’s South Island, dubbed by many as a ‘Paradise on Earth’. On this amazing New Zealand 14 day tour you can expect to see snow-capped mountains, bright turquoise coloured lakes, waterfalls, glaciers surrounded by rainforest and rugged beaches. Highlights include a whale watching tour off the coast of Kaikōura, stunning Lake Tekapo, Queenstown; ‘The Adventure Capital of the World’, Franz Josef Glacier, Lake Wanaka and the jewel in the South Island’s crown: Milford Sound!

Day 1 – Christchurch Arrival

You will be met at the airport by one of our friendly representatives who will give you New Zealand your route notes and hand over the keys to your rental. In the afternoon you could take a Christchurch city tour. Christchurch is known throughout New Zealand as ‘The Garden City’. This city tour could include a visit to ‘The Sign of the Kiwi’, the most panoramic of Christchurch’s viewpoints, a stroll in the botanic gardens and drive around the bays of Christchurch taking in Lyttelton which was the gateway for many of Christchurch and the Canterbury region’s first settlers.

New Zealand Budget Family Accommodation: Colombo in the City Motel or similar

New Zealand Classic Accommodation: Rydges Latimer Christchurch or similar

Day 2 – Christchurch to Kaikoura + Whale Watching Tour – 189km New Zealand (3 hour drive)

Today you will head north through the wine growing area of Waipara to Kaikoura. Kaikoura is a sea life paradise which boasts whales, seals, albatross and dolphins. There are over 17 species of whale to be found in Kaikoura all within 8 km of the coastline. This afternoon you will take a whale watching tour of 3 hours. Keep a look out for Killer Whales and orcas as well as many species of dolphin. This is an experience not to be missed (included activity).

Budget Family Accommodation: Kaikoura Gateway Motel or Similar

Classic Accommodation: White Morph Inn or similar (ocean view)

Breakfast included today

Day 3 – Kaikoura to Punakaiki – 360km (5 hour drive)

This morning you have the opportunity to visit a seal colony to view New Zealand’s native fur seal up close. Your drive today takes you through the Southern Alps to Hanmer Springs. This is a thermal alpine village nestled in the mountains. You will get the opportunity to take a dip in the thermal waters and view the mountains from the hot pools. Today you will head through the Lewis Pass to the South Island’s West Coast, known by many as an isolated paradise featuring rugged coastline and native bush. Your stop tonight is Punakaiki where you can explore the pancake rocks and blowholes situated right next to the village; a bizarre, rugged, rocky landscape, which impresses thousands of visitors each year with its powerful forces of nature. You have the option of enjoying a true blue New Zealand pub meal this evening before calling it a night (optional – extra cost).

Budget Family Accommodation: Paparoa Park Motel or similar

Classic Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort or similar (ocean view)

Breakfast included today

Day 4 – Punakaiki to Franz Josef Glacier – 217 km (3 hour drive)

In Punakaiki this morning you can explore the pancake rocks and blowholes situated right next to the village; a bizarre, rugged, rocky landscape which impresses thousands of visitors each year with its powerful forces of nature. Next up, check out the beautiful Truman Track down to the beach, or a section of the Pororari River Track. Driving South down the coast from Punakaiki, check out the stunning Hokitika Gorge with its beautiful bright blue waters and surrounding native forest. Arrive in Franz Josef Glacier early afternoon, where you will have the opportunity to enjoy a short scenic helicopter flight with snow New Zealand landing on Franz Josef Glacier, or a 3 hour guided heli-hike on the ice of glacier itself! (optional – extra cost). Tonight you will have the chance to relax and unwind with a soak in the Glacier Hot Pools, each filled with New Zealand pure water from the Glaciers (optional – extra cost).

Budget Family Accommodation: Punga Grove Motel or similar

Classic Accommodation: Aspen Court Motel or similar

Breakfast included today

Franz Josef Glacier

Day 5 – Franz Josef Glacier to Wanaka 280km (4 hour drive)

One of the prettiest and most dramatic journeys in the country is what you can experience on this tour over the Haast Pass through to Wanaka. En route you will visit Lake Matheson, otherwise known as ‘Mirror Lakes’ where on a clear day it is possible to see the reflection of New Zealand’s highest mountain Mt Cook (3754m/12,316ft). The walking possibilities are New Zealand endless today around Haast and Haast Pass and you can do one of or several walks, some of which feature spectacular waterfalls and deep blue coloured pools where it is possible to see trout swimming. One of our favourite spots at The Road Trip is Ship Creek, an isolated beach featuring native totara trees hugging rugged coastline. Tonight you will stay in Wanaka, one of the most popular kiwi vacation hot spots situated on the shores of Lake Wanaka.

Budget Family Accommodation: Clearbrook Motel or similar

Classic Accommodation: Edgewater Resort or similar (lake view)

Breakfast included today

Day 6 – Wanaka

Today is a chance to explore the beautiful lakeside town of Wanaka. Options include: A walk up one of our favourite look out spots featuring 360 degree views of Lake Wanaka, Aspiring National Park and the Clutha River, a visit to Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World, a kayak tour on the lake, a visit to a winery, a visit to the Warbirds and Classic cars Museum or even fishing on the lake to take a chance at catching fresh trout. Perhaps take on the Rob Roy Glacier hike or Roy’s Peak if you’re feeling especially fit! (all activities optional – extra cost for some).

Budget Family Accommodation: Clearbrook Motel or similar

Classic Accommodation: Edgewater Resort or similar (lake view)

Breakfast included today

Day 7 – Wanaka to Te Anau (260 km – 3 hours drive)

This morning after further exploring Wanaka, your South Island tour takes you over The Crown Range, New Zealand’s highest highway to Arrowtown, an important location in the gold rush of Central Otago in the 1860s. Perhaps browse the preserved Chinese gold mining village or wander the boutique shops the town has on offer. Your next stop is Amisfield Winery where you will enjoy a 4 course degustation lunch overlooking the stunning Lake Hayes. This afternoon you will drive a further 2.5 hours to Te Anau.

Budget Family Accommodation: Bella Vista Te Anau or similar

Classic Accommodation: Radfords on the Lake or similar (lake view)

Breakfast and lunch included today

Day 8 – Milford Sound Day Cruise plus return to Te Anau (240km – 4 hours return drive)

Be prepared for one of the jewels of the New Zealand landscape! The drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound is one of the most spectacular in the world and certainly a highlight on any New Zealand tour. En route you will see spectacular valleys, breath taking mountains and hopefully spot the cheeky Kea (New Zealand’s mountain parrot). This morning you will experience all that the fjords have to offer with a 1.5 hour boat cruise featuring pristine waterfalls and towering mountains plunging into the Tasman Sea (included activity). Keep a look out for dolphins, seals and the Fiordland crested Penguin. On your trip back to Te Anau there is the opportunity to take some short walks in the Fiordland National Park.

Budget Family Accommodation: Bella Vista Te Anau or similar

Classic Accommodation: Radfords on the Lake or similar (lake view)

Breakfast and lunch included today

Photo: Guntsoophack / Adobe Stock

Day 9 – Te Anau to Queenstown – (184 km – 2 hours drive)

This morning in Te Anau you will take a tour by boat across Lake Te Anau to the glow worm caves to view the shimmering light of thousands of luminous glow-worms in a 12,000 year old grotto (included). Following this, you will head to Queenstown, ‘New Zealand’s adventure capital of the world’. Skirting your way around Lake Wakatipu makes for some stunning photography and you will be amazed by the Remarkables Mountain Range, one of the most famous back drops for Lord of the Rings. The afternoon is free to spend as you wish in Queenstown, and there is plenty to see and do!

Budget Family Accommodation: Bella Vista Queenstown or similar

Classic Accommodation: Kamana Lakehouse or similar (lake view)

Breakfast included today

Day 10 – Queenstown

This morning you will enjoy an exhilarating ride on the famous Shotover Jet! The rest of the day is free to explore Queenstown at leisure and take part in some of the fantastic activities that this ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ has to offer. Options for the adventurous include: Skydiving, Bungy Jumping, Canyon Swings, White Water Rafting, Flyboarding and Paragliding. If you feel like taking a more relaxed approach to the day, a cruise on the TSS Earnslaw 100 year old steam ship or a walk through Queenstown’s Botanic Gardens are not to be missed. Perhaps drive out to the head of Lake Wakatipu and experience the breath-taking scenery of the Glenorchy area. A popular option with our clients is a helicopter flight to the top of Coronet Peak, where passengers are able to get out on the snow 365 days a year! (Weather permitting).

Budget Family Accommodation: Bella Vista Queenstown or similar

Classic Accommodation: Kamana Lakehouse or similar (lake view)

Breakfast included today

Shotover Jet, Queenstown

Day 11 – Queenstown

Today is a further day to enjoy the sights and adventure of Queenstown at leisure.

Budget Family Accommodation: Bella Vista Queenstown or similar

Classic Accommodation: Kamana Lakehouse or similar (lake view)

Breakfast included today

Day 12 – Queenstown to Tekapo via Mt Cook (280 km – 4 hours drive)

You leave Central Otago today through the Kawarau Gorge and Cromwell where you can make a stop en route and visit a local fruit shop for a chance to try real fruit ice cream and perhaps sample New Zealand famous manuka honey products. From there, cross the Lindis Pass (965m) to the Mackenzie Country, known for its Merino Sheep and wool industry. Weather permitting you can take a short walk at the foot of Mt Cook – New Zealand’s highest mountain. En route to Lake Tekapo, perhaps take a trip to the top of Mt John to experience the feeling of being on top of the world. This boasts stunning 360 degree views of the Mountains and turquoise coloured lakes (Road open until 5pm – $8 entry fee). Tonight you will stay in the town of Lake Tekapo and enjoy its turquoise coloured waters. Tonight you will enjoy a guided tour at Mt John Observatory to be amazed by Tekapo’s spectacular night sky (included).

Budget Family Accommodation: Lake Tekapo Village Motel or similar

Classic Accommodation: Peppers Bluewater Resort or similar (lake view)

Breakfast included today

Day 13 – Lake Tekapo to Christchurch – 250km (3 hour drive)

This morning you will drive through to Christchurch where the rest of the afternoon can be spent exploring. Options include: The Tannery with its boutique shops, the Canterbury Museum, the Christchurch Art Gallery, a drive around Banks Peninsula or perhaps a visit to Christchurch’s International Antarctic Centre (all activities optional – some with an extra cost). Tonight you can enjoy a meal in the central city at one of the many new and exciting restaurants in Christchurch (optional – extra cost).

Budget Family Accommodation: Colombo in the City Motel or similar

Classic Accommodation: Rydges Latimer Christchurch or similar

Breakfast included today

Day 14 – Departure Day

Today after returning your rental, you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight. We trust that you have had a memorable self- drive tour with us.

Self-Drive Package Includes:

-13 nights in 4 or 5 star accommodation listed above [Double or Twin Share]

-Daily Breakfast

-14 days hire of a late model Toyota Rav4 or similar for 2 or 4pax, or a late model Hyundai iMax or similar for 6pax + GPS & full insurance

-Kaikōura Whale Watching Experience

-Amisfield Winery 4 Course Degustation

-Cruise Milford 1 hour 45 minute Milford Sound Cruise with Picnic Lunch

-Te Anau Glow Worm Caves Tour

-Shotover Jet

-Dark Sky Project Summit Experience

-All reservations

-The donation of a large native tree – a sustainability initiative to offset carbon emissions

A Bespoke Welcome Pack:

-A friendly welcome upon arrival + assistance collecting your vehicle + presentation and explanation of your bespoke published travel guide with all our top picks for what to see and do and where to eat, maps and interesting facts

-Our full support during your trip via a free calling number

May 1 2021 to September 30 2021:

With classic accommodation:

2 pax

Normal price: $5,580 NZD per person

10% bubble discount: $5,020 NZD per person 

4 pax

Normal price: $4,744 NZD per person

With 10% bubble discount: $4,270 NZD per person 

6 pax

Normal price: $4,548 NZD per person

With 10% bubble discount: $4,090 NZD per person 

Budget family accommodation option for 2 adults + 2 children staying in 2 bedroom apartments (excludes breakfasts):

Normal price: $3,017 NZD per person

With 10% bubble discount: $2,716 NZD per person 

1 October 2021 to 30 April 2022 (excluding 24 Dec 2021 to 8 Jan 2022):

With classic accommodation:

2 pax

Normal price: $6,138 NZD per person

With 10% bubble discount: $5,524 NZD per person 

4 pax

Normal price: $5,363 NZD per person

With 10 % bubble discount: $4,827 NZD per person 

6 pax

Normal price: $5,019 NZD per person

With 10 % bubble discount: $4,516 NZD per person 

Budget family accommodation option for 2 adults + 2 children staying in 2 bedroom apartments (excludes breakfasts):

Normal price: $3,560 NZD per person

With 10% bubble discount: $3,204 NZD per person 

*Upgrade to the luxurious Fiordland Lodge (including breakfast & 3 course dinner) for your 2 night stay in Te Anau for an extra $485 NZD per person

Thank you again for all the work you did and the wonderful, trip of a life time, you provided us with.”

Larry Harris and family – Canada, Feb – Mar 2019

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.