South Island trips

South Island Adventure Itinerary

6 Days
1321km
821mi

Route

Christchurch to Christchurch

Highlights

  • Ancient glaciers
  • Sky-scraping peaks
  • Azure-blue lakes

Best time of year

All year

Journey from east to west and back again, taking in some of the South Island’s best adventures. After enjoying Christchurch, discover the wild world of Arthur’s Pass – an excellent place to take a hike. The west coast town of Greymouth is a great place for rafting before you move on to heli-hiking at Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers.

Spend some time in New Zealand's adventure capital Queenstown, trying out bungy jumping, jet boating, or whatever else you fancy. Next you'll ascend the peaks of Aoraki Mt Cook, beofre crossing the Canterbury Plains back to Christchurch.

Info

White water rafting in the Buller Gorge near Murchison, West Coast

Photo by Ian Trafford

Day 1

Christchurch - Arthur's Pass - Greymouth

2 hrs

58 mins

241 km

150 mi

Christchurch - Canterbury

Fast-changing and funky, Christchurch is the South Island's largest city. Old English gardens contrast with pop-up bars and container-based shopping malls in this enduring centre, which is rebuilding itself after a damaging earthquake in February 2011. Favourite activities include punting down the Avon River, biking in the Port Hills, visiting Sumner Beach, or taking a day trip out to the French colonial settlement of Akaroa.

The route known as Arthur’s Pass was first used by Maori tribes crossing to the west coast to find pounamu (jade). Today it’s a sophisticated mountain pass, memorable for its scenery as well as its breathtaking civil engineering.

The settlement of Arthur’s Pass is a base for climbing, hiking, hunting and skiing adventures in the adjacent national park. There’s a good choice of short walks.

Once you’re through the pass, the misty mountains gradually give way to classic west coast river and forest scenery. Rushing water, impressive bridges and tiny towns are soulfully picturesque.

Greymouth has a long gold mining history. The local brewery runs tours or you can try out white water rafting or sea kayaking.

Cashel Mall Re:Start Project

Start in Christchurch

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

The beautiful lights of Greymouth at night.

End in Greymouth

Greymouth is a town with a history of jade hunting, gold mining and dramatic river floods. Sample the beer and listen to wild west coast stories.

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