With its rugged landscapes, eclectic mix of Polynesian and European cultures, endless sightseeing activities and abundance of great dining venues, New Zealand is the ultimate holiday destination for those who love the great outdoors.
The perfect place for a road tripping adventure, New Zealand’s South Island is easy to navigate (without a GPS), there is hardly any traffic, other than the odd flock of sheep, and the well-maintained roads form a link around the island, stopping at those all-important places that everyone wants to see.
Whether you are looking for mountains, glaciers, lakes, beaches, vineyards, National Parks, fjords, or simply, the Lord of the Rings, you will find them all right here on this scenically diverse island, and almost every point of interest has something unique to offer international travellers.
One of the most popular self-drive routes on New Zealand’s South Island starts and finishes in Christchurch. First you can head south on a circular route stopping at Timaru, Dunedin, Invercargill, Te Anau, Queenstown (day trip to Milford Sounds essential!), Franz Josef Glacier and Greymouth before heading back to your starting point.
After a day or two to soaking up the fascinating heritage of New Zealand’s Garden City, you will be ready to get back on the road, this time heading north on another circular route taking in Kaikoura (Whales), Malborough (Wine), Nelson (more Wine), Kaiteriteri, and the northern most point of Wharariki for a breath-taking beach walk.
From here, it’s a good 7-8 hour drive back to Christchurch, so why not stopover in Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa? After all that driving, you will be more than ready to relax in these natural (but smelly!) sulphur pools!
There is so much to see and do on New Zealand’s South Island that you should allow at least 3 weeks for your self-drive holiday. Add another 3 weeks to cover the North Island, and you can create the perfect New Zealand adventure!