Explore the South Island in 7 days

This itinerary captures the absolute best of the South Island in an action packed week.

Days 1 and 2: Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Start your South Island trip in Christchurch and kick off the morning, taking in the best city highlights, including beautiful parks, the weaving River Avon and numerous iconic structures (some of which are currently being rebuilt due damages from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes).

The next stop is the beautiful alpine village of Lake Tekapo. A winter ski resort that transforms into an aquatic playground in summer, the one thing this town offers year-round is breathtaking scenery.  The majestic Southern Alps surround the sparkling glacial lake, which gets most of its water from ice glaciers that turn into ‘glacial flour’ and hence give the lake an incredible blue hue.  To really give you the opportunity to soak up the views, head to the top of Mt John. Whip out your cameras and capture these natural wonders forever.

Day 3: Queenstown

Rise and shine for day three and New Zealand’s adrenalin capital, Queenstown! A few highlights along the way include views of Lake Pukaki and Mt Cook and more fun stops, including at a salmon farm and perhaps some wine tasting in Otago.  Queenstown provides an amazing natural backdrop no matter where in the city you are.  Skydiving, paragliding, bungy jumping, jet boating and an excursion to Milford Sound are just a few of the things you can fill your day with.

Day 4: Wanaka

The following afternoon, continue to Wanaka, taking the Crown Range Road. This is the highest inland road in New Zealand so get out those cameras again for unmatched views.

Lake Wanaka is fringed by breathtaking mountain ranges, giving an unforgettable alpine panorama. This is another location where you’ll be spoilt for choice on what to do, in winter, this is a skier’s Mecca while in summer water-skiing, lake cruises and wake-boarding are popular activities.

Days 5 and 6: Franz Josef

The drive from Wanaka to Franz Josef is slightly longer, but this just means even more spectacular views and stops on the way! Highlights include the Roaring Billy waterfall and breathtaking ocean views from Haast village.

Watch as the landscape completely changes to lush mountains, stretches of unbroken surf beaches and luxuriant rainforest that characterise the West Coast region.

After a restful night at you can head out for a day on the Fox or Franz Josef glaciers – which are both spectacular and awe inspiring.

Day 7: On board the world famous Tranz Alpine to Christchurch

On the last morning of the trip a visit to the beach and historically significant towns of Ross and Hokitika are on the agenda. Then change tack and take the Tranz Alpine Express Train all the way back to Christchurch. There is no better way to end your 7 days of South Island magic than with the stunning views as you cross from one coast to the other.

Haka Tours have been providing this South Island tour for many years, for guests looking for an intimate small group tour with an expert local guide.   A detailed itinerary is on our website.