12 day South Island road trip

Day 1 Christchurch

Situated within sight of the Southern Alps, Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island. Visit the Airforce Museum or The International Antarctic Centre where you can view the penguins and enjoy a thrilling 4D movie! Slow down the pace with a cruise on Akaroa Harbour or get up close with nature as you swim with the dolphins.

Day 2 Lake Tekapo

Distance 230km

Approximate Driving Time 3 hours 20 mins

Suggested stop en route:  Ashburton Domain – take a picnic to this beautiful park, walk amongst the trees and feed the ducks.

Travel across the vast Canterbury Plains to Lake Tekapo – a stunning example of New Zealand scenery. The Church of the Good Shepherd and the sheepdog statue are also great photo opportunities.

Day 3 – 4 Dunedin

Distance 299km

Approximate Driving Time 4 hours 20 mins

Suggested stop en route:  Moeraki – let the kids loose on the boulders, perfectly rounded by years of erosion by sea, sand and win.

Heading south, stop at beautiful Lake Pukaki for views of Aoraki/Mt Cook before heading towards the coast and the Otago city of Dunedin. One of the most popular attractions here is New Zealand’s only castle, Larnarch Castle, with its magnificent architecture and gardens plus spectacular views. Or become with nature with a visit to a penguin, seal or albatross colony.

Day 5 – 6 Te Anau

Distance 298km

Approximate Driving Time 4 hours 20 mins

Suggested stop en route:  Kiwiana – stop and have your photo taken with the Stag statue in Mossburn and the Brown Trout statue in Gore.

Enjoy a scenic boat ride to the Te Ana-au Glow Worm Caves or visit the Department of Conservation’s Wildlife Centre. Devote one full day for the return trip (232km) to Milford Sound, travelling through the Homer Tunnel and Fiordland National Park to arguably New Zealand’s most famous tourist attraction. View towering Mitre Peak, see waterfalls, seals and dolphins during a cruise on the fiord. Visit the Milford Discovery Centre and Milford Deep Underwater Observatory to view marine life usually only seen by divers.

Day 7 – 8 Queenstown

Distance 174km

Approximate Driving Time 2 hours 30 mins

Suggested stop en route: Kingston – jump on board the famous Kingston Flyer, a vintage steam train for a spectacular journey to Fairlight.

Head for New Zealand’s adventure capital – Queenstown! Enjoy a thrilling jet boat ride on the Shotover River,  bungy jump, go horse riding, cruise across Lake Wakatipu on a paddlesteamer, take a helicopter flight to the top of the Remarkables, travel on the Skyline Gondola for the most spectacular views and so much more!

Day 9 Wanaka

Distance 70km

Approximate Driving Time 1 hour

Suggested stop en route: Kawarau Suspension Bridge – see the bungy jumpers at the original thrill-seeking site.

Make the most of your time in Queenstown before taking the short drive to Wanaka. Puzzling World is a great topsy-turvy attraction for kids of all ages!

Day 10 Fox Glacier

Distance 262km

Approximate Driving Time 3 hours 50 mins

Suggested stop en route: Waterfalls – Thunder Creek Falls, the Gates of Haast and Fantail Falls are easily accessible from the road and well worth the stops.

The drive to the West Coast through the Haast Pass takes in some spectacular scenery. Fox Glacier is one of the most accessible glaciers in the world, offering amazing views and the chance for some adventure with a guided walk upon the glacier.

Day 11 Greymouth

Distance 203km

Approximate Driving Time 3 hours

Suggested stop en route: Hokitika – browse for gifts in the boutique and arts and crafts shops.

Travel along the scenic West Coast to Greymouth. Visit Shanty Town, a step back in time to the gold rush days. Pan for gold and see if you can strike it rich!

Day 12 Christchurch

Distance 252km

Approximate Driving Time 3 hours 20 mins

Return to Christchurch via Arthurs Pass.

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