The South Island is the perfect destination for a long road trip. This part of New Zealand is known for its beautiful countryside, snowy mountains and glaciers, rugged coastlines, adventure activities and wineries. But with so much to see and do, it can be difficult to plan a good, balanced itinerary. That's why we've put one together for you; this 10-day holiday planner incorporates some of the best sites in the South Island. Read on!
Day 1: Christchurch to Lake Tekapo
Once you've arrived at Christchurch airport, simply pick up your rental car or campervan and begin your journey to Lake Tekapo. After a four-hour drive you'll arrive to enjoy beautiful scenery, a dip in the Tekapo Springs, or an Air Safari flight over the Southern Alps.
Day 2: Lake Tekapo to Mt Cook
After a short two-hour drive you'll arrive at the Southern Hemisphere's highest mountain: Mt Cook. Here you can try a glacier trip, a horse trek, fishing, or a walk on one of the many tracks in the alpine wilderness.
Day 3: Mt Cook to Queenstown
A four-hour drive will take you to one of New Zealand's most popular tourist destinations; Queenstown. Here you can enjoy a bungy jump, skydiving, jet boating, white water rafting or hang-gliding. Those who prefer more relaxing activities can try a gentle walk around Lake Wakatipu, or a tour of the local wineries.
Day 4: Queenstown to Te Anau
Take a four-hour drive to Te Anau to enjoy more breath-taking mountain views, glowworm caves, a tour of the Fiordland National Park, or a cruise on Lake Te Anau.
Day 5: Te Anau to Wanaka
After a three-hour drive to Lake Wanaka, you can go for a picnic by the lake, or skiing and snowboarding at Treble Cone.
Day 6: Wanaka to Fox Glacier
The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are just a four-hour drive from Wanaka. Don't miss this rare opportunity to get up-close to these natural wonders.
Day 7: Fox Glacier & Franz Joseph Glacier to Hokitika
Hokitika is a must-see on your tour of the South Island. After just a three-hour drive, you can enjoy the infamous west coast, fresh seafood and local cuisine, culture and heritage sites, and great Kiwi hospitality.
Day 8: Hokitika to Hanmer Springs
A four-hour journey will take you through Lewis Pass and on to Hanmer Springs, where you can relax and unwind in natural hot pools surrounded by impressive mountain views.
Day 9: Hanmer Springs to Kaikoura
Take a four-hour drive to Kaikoura to try New Zealand's best crayfish and seafood. While you're there you might get to see dolphins and whales - just book one of the local cruises to see coastal wildlife up close.
Day 10: Kaikoura to Christchurch
The final leg of your journey will take you on a two-hour scenic drive to Christchurch. Travelling down SH1 you can stop at the Seal Colony, or at Woodend Beach. Then, simply enjoy Christchurch on the final night of your trip!