Destinations Itineraries Latest New Zealand road trip

The Perfect New Zealand South Island Route Plan

The perfect South Iceland New Zealand route, which includes 8 stunning stops with all the best things in the area, as well as a tour guide, route planning tips, and more. Perfect for a New Zealand trip! #SouthIsland #NewZealand
Meet Me!

If you’d like nice hikes, numerous blue shades from lakes to deep sapphire, pleasant individuals, and a rugged shoreline, you've come to the suitable place. New Zealand South Island has all the things and more.

The factor is, whenever you begin your research, chances are you’ll find that it is a lot larger than you expected. It all the time occurs, isn't it?

Nonetheless, there’s a lot to see in a short while and get one of the best of your trip. This route plan could make planning much easier for you.

The route starts at Christchurch, but you possibly can simply change it if needed in Queenstown. As well as, this is based mostly on a two-week journey, though there are some other ideas when you have extra time. You may also add days and chill out somewhat and allow rain and windy climate (which is assured to happen sooner or later) in case you have a bit more time. Here's the New Zealand South Island Route Plan:

 New Zealand South Island Route


Most giant flights take you to Christchurch at first. I didn't spend a ton of time right here and looked at it extra as transit points, although there are a selection of issues to do earlier than you make your method forward:

  • Botanical Garden: Christchurch has a huge park with giant and previous timber from everywhere in the world, together with California Redwood, and plenty of hydrangeas, Dalians and roses. Recovering from what is almost certainly an extended flight, it’s a good exercise to maintain you awake without excessive pressure.
  • The Buddhist temple of Fo Guang Shan is close by and has a few of the greatest vegetarian and vegan meals on the town. Additionally it is the right environment for those who need slightly R&R after an extended flight.

Stay: Parkview is close to the park, it has free parking and is near the mentioned temple and natural meals.


 New Zealand South Island Route
Valley Views is a hiding place that the majority vacationers will in all probability move by means of in the event that they weren't recognized. It's a pleasant and complete stop between Christchurch and Mt. Prepare dinner. I felt like I was in Shire, staying in pretty cups.

The foremost home is the place showers, shared kitchen and toilet are situated. It is utterly networked with solar energy and sturdiness. They even feed inexperienced kitchen cuts on chickens!

My favorite half was the outside baths, every of which was beneath the pine timber and overlooking the mountains. I'm an enormous fan of showers and tubs, and cannot keep in mind a time once I might look pines and hear the birds for swimming.

Although it's slightly expensive over 300 NZD / night time, it's a pleasant expertise if it's within your price range.

You can too skip this utterly and go to Lake Tekapo as an alternative.


Wanaka was considered one of my hottest stops in the space. You’re spoiled for selecting lakes, viewpoints and numerous hikes that may be long or brief, difficult or straightforward, relying on what you want. These have been my favourite:

  • Roy's Peak: This is Wana's most well-known hike and the views converse for themselves. Subsequently, it’s simply the world's hottest trekking, and also you want to turn from a photograph perspective. The queues can get quite long in summer time and even at dawn. I had a brief wait once I went to the golden hour and I had a peak to virtually myself at sundown. You may also get every little thing for your self in the fall or winter months. It's an extended uphill climbing, nevertheless it's value it.
  • Isthmus Peak: This can be a nice various to Roy in the event you'd fairly wander the crowds. Correspondingly, it’s troublesome and lengthy uphill climbing and comparable rewarding views. When you attempt to choose between each, I did each and I wrote an entire evaluate right here to decide on.
  • Iron Mountain: This climbing on the town is ideal for an afternoon whenever you're on time. uphill climbing, but nothing aside from the previous two hikes I discussed. Get a terrific view of Wanaka and have the chance to follow one of many hardest hikes if you wish to do one (and you must!).

Keep: I truly lived Airbnb collectively (get a reduction here) Albert City and thought that it was good. It’s just some minutes drive from Wanaka and is a bit calmer and quieter


 New Zealand South Island Route
If you arrive in Queenstown, notice that there is far more celebration and journey tent than in earlier places on this route. It is a ski town within the winter, and there’s also bungee jumping, skydiving and fast boating. There are also many bars and breweries in town and hostels. I stayed only at night time as a result of I want quieter locations, however I nonetheless benefit from the gondola (I noticed that the knees needed a break after Wanakan mountaineering) and the view at sunset.

  • Thrilling Activities: When you have some adrenaline rush, attempt jet-boat adventure, kayaking, parachuting, ziplining and / or bungee leaping that can be reached at the prime of the gondola
  • Gondola + Ben Lomond: You possibly can take the gondola up at sundown or take it step ahead and walk to Ben Lomond's peak. If I had recognized it, I might have achieved it for positive. I heard nice issues about it. You additionally get extra personal and unobstructed sunsets.

Stay: I lived in Airbnb again (get a reduction right here) with a gorgeous lake view and quick access to the water.

Milford Sound by means of Te Anau

 Milford Sound
This can be a vital deviation from the route that requires you to return later, however it is value it. Milford Sound and Fiordland Nationwide Park are nice and the Gertrude saddle hike is value a walk for you in Anauhi.

Alternatively, for those who really don’t need to take an extended drive, you possibly can take a bus and boat journey from Queenstown (understand that it is 4 hours a day on the bus in at some point) or take a helicopter + boat journey that’s in all probability greater than a day on the day .

As a result of I needed to stroll as an alternative of the boat, I drove to Ana, I lived for a few nights, and drove off the street to Milford Sound and then retraced my steps a bit of to make the Gertrude saddle.

 Gertrude Saddle
Listed here are a couple of extra choices and details concerning the Gertrude Saddle:

  • Key Summit or Lake Marian: If it's wet or too foggy for Gertrude Saddle, take a look at one in every of these lovely scenery and views.
  • Boat Trip: You’ll be able to drive to Milford Sound, stop whenever you need and take the boat to the boat
  • Gertrude Saddle: This can be a steep hike that may be natural in dangerous climate. It additionally requires some route discovering, however in case you are positive it is likely one of the greatest day trips that I have made. Learn extra right here.

Stay: I lived in Airbnb once more (get a reduction right here) with a totally outfitted kitchen. I really like this in New Zealand!

Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers

 Franz Josef Glacier
Like many places in New Zealand, this won’t be fast or straightforward to succeed in and you have to return your steps all the time to Wanha (perhaps stop another hike there) ) and proceed up the west coast. In distinction, it has an exquisite position in the countryside and plush a part of the island, and the glaciers are superb to see!

  • Helicopter Driving and Snowboarding: Typically whenever you're in New Zealand, you've simply opened a wallet and made a helicopter. You see so much extra up and you get the prospect to get to the glacier with out mountaineering there. I did this last time I visited New Zealand and it was breathtaking. You’ll be able to ebook right here:
  • Go Climbing: There are such a lot of hikes you can select from for various lengths and difficulties that you possibly can stay for weeks and wouldn’t end. Take a look at this listing and choose your favorite.

Keep: E-book your lodge right here.

MB. Prepare dinner

 New Zealand South Island
Once again, you will come again to your steps to get to Mt. Prepare dinner. It might be an extended drive to do all of it at one time, so it is perhaps value stopping Wanaka again to break it. It is crazy because when the stem is flying, it seems to be like it might be right next door if there wasn't an enormous mountain range!

The drive is scenic, on the same magnificent west coast and then up and along Lake Pukaki. On a transparent day it is best to stop from the attitude and stroll to the seashore to admire the child's blue water.

 New Zealand South Island Route
Listed here are some great excursions to the world, making an allowance for that Mt. The chef experiences a whole lot of rain and crazy wind. For those who can spend your time originally or end of a journey from or to Christchurch, see in the event you can see a transparent climate:

  • Mueller Hut: I needed to do this so badly! Nevertheless, the wind was at its highest at 100 km / h the day I might go, so it might shut it off. It stated it was a difficult, exposed, steep hike that could possibly be executed in in the future or overnight at the cottage. The ladders offer you epic views of dawn and sundown. You must reserve a spot prematurely for what you can do right here.
  • Hooker Valley: This can be a good and straightforward stroll that’s virtually flat and leads you through the valley, several bridges and the glacier to a lake with a number of icebergs. It's a pleasant rest from the in any other case steep tempo in this listing, and it has superb views!

 South New Zealand

  • Tasman Glacier: Even simpler and shorter walking than the Hooker Valley Monitor, Truthfully, this might additionally fix this. It only takes an hour or less, a round journey and has an awesome view on the end.

Keep: I stayed at each the Hermitage Lodge and Aoraki Courtroom Motel and I simply need to inform you that Aoraki Courtroom Motel is a a lot better value. The rooms are of the same quality, IMO, and have a kitchen and a bigger suite. There isn’t a view of the upper rooms of the Hermitage Lodge.

Lake Tekapo

 New Zealand South Island Route
In case you have seen footage of unimaginable lupine south of New Zealand Archipelago are those that have been taken at Lake Tekapo. It’s a magnificent lake with a fantastic view on the opposite aspect of Mt. Prepare dinner, but it isn’t the same magic for those who depart the lupine season (which is from late November to late December). It is still an exquisite lake, however chances are you’ll favor to prioritize an extra day elsewhere if you want.

Keep: I lived in Airbnb once more (get a discount here).

Here’s a map. As you possibly can see, the roads in New Zealand are usually not probably the most logical driving directions, however the stations are so fantastic that it's exhausting to complain. Browse some variations and add-ons:

Bonus Journeys:

Although the above ideas are personally tried, there are such a lot of variations you can also make. Listed here are some locations I want to take a look at and advocate that you simply attempt to agree if in case you have more time otherwise you stop one of the above locations:

Marlborough Sounds: When you determine to maintain the North after Fox Glacier, it's an extended drive, however you'll be rewarded with a tremendous Marlborough voice. They make dolphin swim and boat cruises there, despite the fact that my sightseeing locations can be set for climbing trails that take you properly past the superb sunset and dawn.

Nugget Point: For those who determine to go south and then again east after the coast of Te Anau, not only will the drive look superb, but you'll stop at Nugget Point, which as a photographer was considered one of my dream locations. Should you're watching a photo, look it up and see if it's value it to cease you!

Dunedin: Dunedin has cultural facilities, a rugged shoreline on the arches of the tunnel and the Otago Peninsula, the place there could also be penguin observations. It's a university city I've by no means heard of but, however I heard good things.


 New Zealand South Island Route
Most of New Zealand's streets are simply two lanes and as long as you're snug strolling to the left (which is straightforward to get pretty quick, at the least for me), it's pretty straightforward and easy. I recommend choosing up a rental automotive from the airport or going to a motorhome much more simply and flexibly.

I hope it helps to chop some decisions. When it came to planning a trip to New Zealand, I shortly realized that it was much bigger than it seemed, and there’s a lot to see in just some weeks, however it's an enormous world, we have now a lot time, and this route helps maximize it .

Joyful to journey!

  Planning for South New Zealand Road Traffic? This route plan covers 8 great stops, each with unique things, as well as a tour guide, route planner tips and more pictures that will inspire you to start planning the perfect South Island route! #SouthIsland #NewZealand Pin me!


* Some hyperlinks on this submit are affiliate links. All of your bookings help this website at no additional value. I recommend only those corporations that I've truly used, and the locations the place I have lived. Thanks on your help!

! Perform (f, b, e, v, n, t, s)
If (f.fbq) returns; n = f.fbq = perform () n.callMethod?
n.callMethod.apply (n, arguments): n.queue.push (arguments);
if (! f._fbq) f._fbq = n; n.push = n; n.loaded =! 0; n.model = 2.0 t
n.queue = []; t = b.createElement (e); t.async =! zero;
t.rc = v; s = b.getElementsByTagName (e) [0];
s.parentNode.insertBefore (t, s) (window, document, script),
& # 39; Https: //join.fb.internet/en_US/fbevents.js
fbq (& # 39; init & # 39 ;, & # 39; 553786848103720 & # 39;);
fbq (monitor), & # 39; PageView & # 39;);