Discover the South Itinerary

4-5 DAYS

839 km

Highlights

  • Gold mining heritage
  • Larnach Castle
  • Award-winning vineyards

Proximity

The scenery on this route is simply mind-blowing. Get ready for towering mountains and turquoise lakes along with friendly, down-to-earth locals and rare wildlife. See Dunedin’s ornate mansions and Gothic churches then drive to Central Otago for gold mining legacy set among stunning landscapes and award-winning vineyards. Or head to the vibrant Queenstown for some cosmopolitan hospitality and a leisurely cycle alongside one of their many beautiful lakes and waterways.

Day 1: Spend the day in Christchurch

Vibrant creativity meets heritage
Christchurch - Canterbury
Street art, Christchurch, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Julian Apse

Christchurch - Canterbury

CHRISTCHURCH

Vibrant city with an evolving creative heart

Highlights

  • Street art trail
  • Historic tram ride
  • World-famous Botanic Gardens

Recommended experiences in Christchurch

Find out more

Your journey begins in the South Island's largest city, Christchurch, which is brimming with innovation and creativity. Check out the pop-up bars and cafes, container-based shopping malls and the transitional cathedral made of cardboard.

Christchurch is no. 2 on The New York Times' 52 Places to Go and the gateway to the South Island. Vibrant and ever-evolving, this picturesque city offers a stunning juxtaposition of new architecture against heritage buildings surrounded by a region of natural wonders.

Day 2: Christchurch to Oamaru

encounter playful wildlife
Waitaki
Blue Penguins, Oamaru, Waitaki

By Chris Stephenson

Waitaki

WAITAKI

Heritage, unique wildlife and natural wonders.

Proximity

  • By car: Christchurch to Oamaru
  • By car: 3 h 20 min | 250 km

Recommended experiences in Waitaki

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From Christchurch take your time to discover this beautiful part of New Zealand. Explore Oamaru's Victorian precinct and visit the fascinating Steampunk Playground and Museum. In the evening, as the sun sets, watch the world's smallest penguin come ashore to nest at the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony.

Day 3: Oamaru to Dunedin

Come closer and experience New Zealand's rich history
Dunedin
Larnach Castle, Dunedin

By Miles Holden

Dunedin

DUNEDIN

Historic architecture and eco-adventure await you

Proximity

  • By car: Oamaru to Dunedin
  • By car: 1 h 40 min | 112 km

Recommended experiences in Dunedin

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Head south towards Dunedin, taking in the grand landscapes as you weave your way through the coastal roads. Then take time to marvel at one of New Zealand’s great natural wonders, the Moeraki Boulders before arriving in Dunedin, one of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere.

Day 4: Dunedin to Queenstown via Central Otago

Award-winning wines and charming historic towns
Central Otago
Otago Central Rail Trail, Central Otago

By Tourism NZ

Central Otago

Central Otago

Gold mining heritage meets adventure

Proximity

  • By car: Dunedin to Clyde
  • By car: 2.5 h | 195 km

Recommended experiences in Central Otago

Find out more

From Dunedin, head inland through Central Otago, where it feels like you’re driving through a painting with it's historic towns, great cycle trails, seasonal fruit and award-winning vineyards.

For those who like combine exercise with wine tasting – the Four Barrels Walking Wine Trail is a scenic 8km circuit that takes you to four fabulous cellar doors around Cromwell.

Alternatively, join the trend and enjoy a relaxed cycle on one of the three spectacular ‘Great Ride’ cycle trails in Central Otago – which includes the Otago Central Rail Trail which inspired the creation of the New Zealand cycle trail network.

For a true adrenaline rush – head to Highlands and catch the fastest taxi in town.

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