Alpine Lakes Itinerary

7 DAYS

600 km

Caractéristiques

  • New Zealand's highest peak
  • An ultimate outdoor utopia
  • The adventure capital

Proximity

INCLUDES CAR-FREE TRAVEL OPTIONS

Walk beneath New Zealand’s highest mountain, climb to towering waterfalls and take a thrilling jet boat ride through narrow river canyons. An Alpine Lakes Journey in the South Island is packed with adventures you won’t find anywhere else.

Day 1: Spend the day in Christchurch

Christchurch - Canterbury
Lyttelton Coffee Co, Christchurch - Canterbury

By ChristchurchNZ

Christchurch - Canterbury

CANTERBURY

Stretching from the ocean to the Southern Alps.

Caractéristiques

  • Explore the port town of Lyttelton
  • Go walking or cycling in the Port Hills
  • Visit the International Antarctic Centre

TOP EXPERIENCES IN CHRISTCHURCH

Relaxing natural environment and thrilling adventure activities.

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Start your journey in the vibrant city of Christchurch, the largest centre in the South Island, where old English gardens contrast with pop-up bars and fascinating street art.

Christchurch offers an amazing array of activities, try punting down the Avon River, biking in the surrounding Port Hills, or take an early morning ride in a hot air balloon.

The city is also home to several fascinating museums and galleries, including the International Antarctic Centre.

For something a little further afield, visit the historic port town of Lyttelton or enjoy French culture in Akaroa.

Day 2: Christchurch - Lake Tekapo

Christchurch - Canterbury
Church of the Good Shepherd, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Sergio Del Rosso

Caractéristiques

  • Stargazing in the Dark Sky Reserve
  • Soak in natural hot pools
  • Cycling around Lake Tekapo

Proximity

  • By car: 3 h | 228 km via SH1 & SH79
  • By car: 3 h 30 min | to Tekapo by Intercity
  • By : Christchurch iSITE for local activities

STARGAZING IN NEW ZEALAND

Discover some of the world's best stargazing experiences

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As you travel through the patchwork fields of the Canterbury Plains, take time to visit some of the small towns along the way.

With its stunning turquoise water, Lake Tekapo offers a magnificent spectacle year-round. There are so many ways to enjoy this part of the country – hiking, fishing or relaxing in hot pools while gazing at the lake.

The sheer grandeur of the place truly comes alive at night. With clear skies and remarkably dark nights, this area is home to world's largest Dark Sky Reserve and one of the best places to view the Southern Lights.

Head to the Mount John Observatory and take in unobstructed views of a star filled sky.

 

Day 3: Lake Tekapo - Aoraki/Mount Cook

Christchurch - Canterbury
Mt Cook - Aoraki, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Julian Apse

Christchurch - Canterbury

AORAKI MT COOK

Alpine landscapes, glaciers and lakes.

Caractéristiques

  • Aoraki New Zealand's tallest mountain
  • Tasman Glacier
  • Hooker Valley Track

Proximity

  • By car: 1 h 15 min | 105 km via SH8 & SH80
  • By bus: 1 h 35 min | by GreatSights

From Lake Tekapo head to Mount Cook Village, at the foot of the country's highest peak.

This region is a mountaineer's dream, offering some of the best climbing experiences in Australasia. For the less adventurous, choose from the array of shorter walks and take in the stunning alpine landscapes of herb fields, morraines, glaciers and cheeky kea. 

Mount Cook National Park is also the home of New Zealand's longest glacier. Get up close with a Tasman Glacier boat trip, or for something a little different take a scenic flight and view the glacier from above aboard a ski-plane or helicopter.

 

Day 4: Aoraki/Mount Cook - Wanaka

Wanaka
Mt Burke, Wanaka

By Jay French

Wanaka

WANAKA

Tranquil lakeside town and epic outdoor adventures.

Caractéristiques

  • Hiking and mountain biking trails
  • Wineries and a whiskey distillery
  • Skiing and snowboarding in winter

Proximity

  • By car: 2 h 30 min | 210 km via SH8
  • By bus: 3 h 20 min | by Intercity
  • By : Visit the Wanaka iSITE for local activities.

Travel past turquoise lakes and rivers to the lakeside resort town of Wanaka. Set alongside the renown Mt Aspiring National Park, Wanaka is the ultimate outdoor utopia.

Hiking, biking both on and off road, water activities, airborne adventures and climbing there is something for all, no matter your flavour of fun.

Day 5: Wanaka - Queenstown

Queenstown
Queenstown's Shotover Jetboat, Queenstown

By First Light Travel

Queenstown

QUEENSTOWN

The adventure capital of New Zealand

Caractéristiques

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

Proximity

  • By car: 1 hr 10 min | 74 km via SH6A
  • By bus: 1 hr 50 min | by Intercity
  • By : Visit the local iSITE for tours & activities

From Wanaka it is a short journey across to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand.

Thrill yourself with a huge choice of adrenaline activities including jetboating, bungy jumping, white water rafting and skydiving – all guaranteed to get your blood pumping!

For those looking to relax, Queenstown is also a great destination for luxury and indulgence with gourmet food and wine, spa treatments and world-class golf courses.

Day 6 -7: Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Queenstown
Arrowtown en automne, Queenstown

By Tourism New Zealand

Caractéristiques

  • Gold-mining heritage in Arrowtown
  • Horse treks, jet boats and kayaking
  • Middle‑earth filming locations

Proximity

TOP EXPERIENCES IN QUEENSTOWN

Explore wineries, epic film locations, adventure activities or spoil yourself with a trip to a spa.

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An easy drive from central Queenstown, Arrowtown is a perfectly preserved piece of gold rush history.

Explore the Chinese gold miners’ settlement by the Arrow River, visit the Lakes District Museum, then find a convivial café to soak up the surroundings.

Those looking for more adventure can try horse riding in Glenorchy. Don't forget to check out some of the Lord of the Rings filming locations while you're there.

Or, for something a little further afield take the full day and book a scenic flight and boat cruise in Milford Sound.

Driving in New Zealand

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

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Explore other South Island itineraries

Southern Scenic Itinerary →

TranzAlpine Itinerary →

Nature and Heritage Itinerary →