South Island trips

Wonders of Nature

22 Days
2336km
1452mi

Route

Christchurch to Christchurch

Highlights

  • Franz Josef Glacier
  • Kayak the Abel Tasman
  • Stargazing

Best time of year

All year

This three-week road trip tours the South Island from East to West, North to South, and includes glaciers, kayaking, dramatic scenery and more wildlife than you’ve got room in your camera for. We’re talking whales, seals, dolphins, penguins, and many species that are found only in New Zealand – like the centuries-old tuatara. There are plenty of thrilling activities to get stuck into along the way, from bungy-jumping to jet boating, mountain biking, skydiving, trekking and so much more. Book your wheels, get familiar with driving in New Zealand and set out on this unforgettable road trip. 

Day 1

Christchurch – the Garden City

36 mins

33 km

21 mi

Christchurch - Canterbury

For those just arriving from overseas into Auckland, you’ll need to grab a flight down to Christchurch, in New Zealand’s South Island.

Christchurch central is a fascinating place to wander around – from the Botanical Gardens to the Arts Centre and the Avon River that winds through the city. Christchurch was hit hard by earthquakes in 2011, and you can see the after-effects around town to this day. The Re:START Container Mall popped up soon after the quakes, and has grown into a great area in the heart of the city for lunch or a spot of shopping.

On your way out to of town, stop at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve to start learning about New Zealand’s birds and animal life.

The rest of the island awaits, so it’s time to head north to the beach town of Waikuku, where you can stay tonight before the trip to Hanmer Springs tomorrow.

Explore the surrounds of Christchurch, Canterbury.

Start in Christchurch

Christchurch city promises an eclectic mix of historic elegance and contemporary culture. As the gateway to the South Island, it's a must on any itinerary.

Waikuku Beach

End in Waikuku Beach

Driving in New Zealand

Important things you need to know about driving in New Zealand.  
Time & distance calculator

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