An upper South Island itinerary

Take a short break away and check out the upper South Island of New Zealand in a campervan.

Try this itinerary on for size.

Starting in Christchurch

Christchurch City - "The Garden City" - has a truly relaxed pace and heritage heart. The Arts Centre’s architecture and central Cathedral Square are key tourist attractions. The city historic tramway operates a 2.5km central city heritage loop which is a great way to take a look around the city. Further out the Lyttleton Road Tunnel between Lyttelton and Christchurch connects travellers to the Port of Lyttelton which is a regular destination for cruise liners, and is the South Island's principal goods transport terminal.

Move on to Hanmer Springs

The small alpine town of Hanmer Springs has become a popular tourist destination for its natural hot spring and alpine surroundings. The town is frequented by skiiers in the winter months who visit the two skifields in the Hanmer Springs area: the Hanmer Springs Ski Area and Mt Lyford. Jet boating, white water rafting and bungy jumping in the Waiau Gorge, mountain biking and bush walking are common tourist activities

Then on to the seaside town of Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a popular tourist destination, mainly for whale watching by air or sea, (Sperm Whale watching is perhaps the best and most developed in the world) and swimming with dolphins and seals. There is also a large colony of Southern Fur Seals at the eastern edge of the town. At low tide, better viewing of the seals can be had as the ocean gives way to a rocky base which is can be easily navigated by foot.


The Marlborough region of New Zealand is located at the north east tip of the South Island. Marlborough is known for its dry climate, the picturesque Marlborough Sounds, and award winning wines. The Marlborough wine region represents 62% of the total vineyard area in New Zealand.Blenheim, situated on the Wairau Plain, is the regions capital and is the focal point for the Marlborough wine growing region. A number of wineries are located on the towns edges, with many more just a short drive away. The Blues, Brews and BBQ's festival which comprises of Blues and Jazz music, food and a variety of beer and wine is held in Blenheim every February, as it the Marlborough Food & Wine Festival, NZ's longest running and most popular wine festival. Picton is the arrival and departure point of the Interislander ferries from Wellington, and Picton also serves transport to and from the Marlborough Sounds.

Nelson / Tasman

The Nelson region covers five distinct geographic areas: The urban centres of Nelson & Richmond.The highways of Mapua, Motueka, Moutere, through rolling horticultural land .The idyllic coastline of Abel Tasman National Park The heart of the parks, Golden Bay between Kahurangi and Abel Tasman national parks The alpine lakes and rivers around St Arnaud - Nelson Lakes & Murchison including Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi national parks.


West Coast - South Island

The West Coast area is full of natural wonders which include the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki and the ancient glaciers of the southern alps at Franz Josef and Fox Glacier. The Tranz Alpine train runs a daily return service from Christchurch through the Arthurs Pass to Greymouth. This scenic train journey takes in a wide range of amazing scenery. The train trip offers the option to return by train, daily shuttle or by rental car which enables travellers to stop and take in the beautiful surroundings.

Christchurch / Canterbury / Akaroa

Christchurch and Canterbury have an Ocean to Alps backdrop - a spectacular coastline, snow-capped mountains and the hidden bays of an ancient volcanic peninsula. This region is one of the only places in the world where, within two hours of an international airport, you can ski at a world class alpine resort, play golf, bungy jump, go rafting, mountain bike, wind surf, whale watch and visit world-class vineyards and gardens.