South Island trips

Nelson to Queenstown via West Coast

6 Days
872km
542mi

Route

Nelson Central to Central Queenstown

Highlights

  • Punakaiki
  • Franz Josef Glacier
  • Lake Wanaka

Best time of year

All year

Travel from sun-drenched Nelson along the rugged West Coast, home to the famous glaciers and unearthly Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. From here, turn inland and head up and over the Southern Alps, experiencing the gorgeous lakeside town of Wanaka. This 6-day journey covers many of the South Island's most unique attractions. 

Day 1

Nelson - St Arnaud

1 hr

15 mins

89 km

55 mi

Nelson

Your journey begins in New Zealand’s sunniest region – a gourmet feast of orchards, vineyards and sun-kissed hop fields and the source of delectable local brews. Nelson has eating & drinking options galore with more craft breweries per capita than anywhere else in New Zealand.

From here, travel south to St Arnaud, a picturesque town that sits on the edge of Lake Rotoiti. St Arnaud is the perfect place from which to explore the honeydew forests and mountains of Nelson Lakes National Park. There's a number of stunning day hikes to choose from. 

Exploring the edges of the Abel Tasman National Park in a sea kayak is a rare type of freedom.

Start in Nelson Central

One of the sunniest cities in New Zealand, Nelson is the perfect spot to base yourself while you spend some time exploring the Abel Tasman National Park.

Alpine Store

End in St Arnaud

If you’re planning to explore the honeydew forest and mountains of Nelson Lakes National Park, you’ll find comfortable accommodation and friendly restaurants at St Arnaud.

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