Wellington to Queenstown via Aoraki Mount Cook

4 DAYS

1119 km

Daya tarik

  • Whale watching
  • New Zealand's highest mountain
  • The adventure capital

Kedekatan

CAR-FREE TRAVEL OPTIONS

Includes a ferry across Cook Strait

Experience some of New Zealand’s most impressive landscapes on this 4-day journey. 

Soak up art and culture in Wellington before crossing the Cook Strait for wine and waterways in Marlborough. Encounter whales in Kaikoura, beautiful gardens in Christchurch and New Zealand's highest peak in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. End your trip in Queenstown, the adventure capital.

Day 1: Wellington to Kaikoura

Christchurch - Canterbury
Whale watching, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Tourism New Zealand

Christchurch - Canterbury

KAIKOURA

Get up close to marine wildlife in this coastal town

Kedekatan

  • By ferry: 30 h 30 min | Wellington to Picton
  • By car: 2 h 20 min | 156 km from Picton via SH1
  • By bus: 2 h 25 min | from Picton by Intercity.

TOP EXPERIENCES IN KAIKOURA

Stunning scenic flights, whale watching and other wildlife encounters.

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Nestled between the harbour and the hills, Wellington's downtown is ideal for explorations on foot. Explore the many cafes, restaurants, museums and galleries scattered throughout the city.

The ferry from Wellington to Marlborough in the South Island is one of the most scenic ferry trips in the world. This region is known for its wine and beautiful waterways. Blenheim, the region's centre is a great place to stop for lunch. From here, you'll travel down the coast to Kaikoura. This seaside town is a base for wildlife experiences of all kinds, watch whales mixing it with dolphins and orcas or walk along the peninsula to see fur seal colonies resting on the rocks.

Day 2: Kaikoura to Christchurch via Hanmer Springs

Christchurch - Canterbury
Hanmer Springs, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Miles Holden

Christchurch - Canterbury

CHRISTCHURCH - CANTERBURY

Stretches from ocean to the Alps

Kedekatan

  • By car: 1 h 50 min | 134 km via SH7 & SH1
  • By bus: 3 h | direct to Christchurch by Intercity

TOP EXPERIENCES IN HANMER SPRINGS

Discover the best of adventure and relaxation.

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Today take the scenic inland route to Hanmer Springs, a destination for relaxation and indulgence. Soak in the hot springs or treat yourself to a range of spa therapies. There is also a range of outdoor activities you can choose. Continue through the towns of Waipara, Amberley and Waikuku towards Christchurch. Farmland, vineyards and olive groves characterise this region. Waipara, in particular, is known for its wine, making it an excellent place to stop for lunch.

In Christchurch, old English gardens contrast with funky bars and innovative art. Favourite activities include punting on the Avon River, biking in the Port Hills or visiting the French colonial settlement of Akaroa.

Day 3: Christchurch to Aoraki/Mount Cook via Lake Tekapo

Christchurch - Canterbury
Mt Cook - Aoraki, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Julian Apse

Christchurch - Canterbury

AORAKI MOUNT COOK

Alpine landscapes, glaciers and lakes

Daya tarik

  • New Zealand's highest mountain
  • Tasman Glacier
  • Hooker Valley track

Kedekatan

  • By car: 4 h 15 min | 333 km SH1, SH79 & SH8
  • By bus: 5 h 35 min | by Great Sights

The settlement of Lake Tekapo is at the southern end of the lake. Fine rock particles held in suspension create the lake's exquisite opaque turquoise colour. Fishing, kayaking, bike riding, horse trekking and skiing are just some of the things you can do here.

The road to Mount Cook Village takes you through high country tussock and alongside beautiful Lake Pukaki. Home to Australasia's highest peak (Mt Cook - 3755m), Aoraki Mount Cook National Park attracts mountain climbers, hikers and scenery fanatics. Heli-skiing, heli-hiking and aerial sightseeing are popular activities. The region is also famous for its spectacular night sky.

Day 4: Mount Cook Village to Queenstown

Queenstown
Queenstown's Shotover Jetboat, Queenstown

By First Light Travel

Queenstown

QUEENSTOWN

The adventure capital of New Zealand

Daya tarik

  • Jet boats, bungy and skydiving
  • Stunning hiking trails
  • World-class food and wine

Kedekatan

  • By car: 3 hr 15 min | 264 km via SH8 & SH6
  • By bus: 54 h | by Great Sights

Your journey today takes you through the town of Omarama, famous for its Northwest Arch, a thermal that can take the glider pilots to 10,000 metres.   

Lake Dunstan is a fine place for a picnic before you explore the restored heart of Cromwell. Take a detour to Bannockburn if you’re interested in old gold workings. 

The alpine resort of Queenstown is exciting, sophisticated and fantastically scenic. Spend the last day of your journey experiencing all the region has to offer from bungy, jet boating and horse trekking to rafting and river surfing. For something more relaxing, there are plenty of luxury experiences – gourmet food and wine, spa treatments or leisurely games of golf.

Driving in New Zealand

Important things you need to know about driving in New Zealand.

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