This South Island Road Trip captures the iconic and spectacular South Island scenery and is the ideal way to see snow-capped mountains, bright turquoise coloured lakes, waterfalls, glaciers surrounded by rainforest and rugged beaches. Experience the incredible natural beauty and the hidden gems like Stewart Island! This amazing islands is a haven for brown kiwi or Tokoeka, which outnumber humans on the island and are active day and night. Blue penguins and the rare yellow-eyed penguins waddle among the rocks. The perfect journey to explore this pristine country!
Find here the itinerary and daily details of your New Zealand tour.
This tour package can be customized to suit your requirements precisely. All our self drive tours can also be booked with a chauffeur/tour guide as a private tour option! Please let us know your special requests.
Real Journeys - Bluff to Stewart Island Return Ferry and Transfers
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The following summary lists driving information for each major driving day of your itinerary. Times and distances are based on ideal conditions without stops. Plan to take longer to allow time to explore and enjoy some stops. While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support – details on how to contact us at any time will be well documented.
You will drive along the turquoise-colored Lake Pukaki, in which the snow-covered peaks of the 3000m Southern Alps are reflected. From here you have an ideal view to the Aoraki/Mount Cook, the highest mountain of New Zealand (3754m). The journey continues via Oamaru to Dunedin, the impressive Scottish-founded university town. Landmarks of this city are the Railway Station, the old castle and Dunedin is also the home of the steepest street in the world. Surrounded by pristine nature you can experience Albatrosses, penguins, seals and incredible landscapes.
Stewart Island is a paradise for ornithologists. Many birds that are extinct or endangered on the main islands live here. Even in and around Oban, the main town of Stewart Island (400 inhabitants!), you can hear and see numerous forest parrots (Kaka), bellbirds (Bellbird), Tui, wood pigeons (Kereru), gray fantails (Fantail) and various cuckoo species. Stewart Island is one of the best places to see a kiwi in the wild!
After the ferry crossing back to Bluff, you will continue your journey to Fjordland National Park, New Zealand’s largest and most undeveloped National Park. Hardly any landscape embodies the term wilderness better than Fjordland. In the west, 14 fjords penetrate deep into the primeval forests of a rugged alpine world. Not far away, snow-capped mountain rise above alpine grass mats to 2700 meters. You will drive to Te Anau, the gateway to this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Today you will drive on the most beautiful mountain road in New Zealand to Milford Sound (optional). You’ll pass Mirror Lakes and the gloomy Homer Tunnel. Once at Milford Sound, board an excursion boat that will take you through the Sound almost out to the Tasman Sea (optional). Enjoy the wildl romantic scenery, which is dominated by almost vertical rocks like Mitre Peak with incredible waterfalls.
Afterwards your journey continues to Queenstown. Due to its beautiful mountain location on the shore of Lake Wakatipu, the small resort town of Queenstown has developed into a popular tourist center. The elongated lake stretches between steeply rising mountain ranges.
Today is at your free leisure.
Take a short walk through the arcades or along the lakeshore. Relax with a ride on the steamboat „TSS EARNSLAW“ while crossing Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station (optional). Here you can have a grilled lunch and join a farm tour if you wish.
You have the possibility to drive with rapid speed on the Shotover River through a narrow gorge or you can take a gondola ride to Bob’s Peak. If you want, choose one of the adrenaline activities like a bungy or thrilling downhill mountain bike trails.
From Queenstown you’ll cross the Crown Range – New Zealand’s highest sealed road – to the alpine town of Wanaka, gateway to Mt. Aspiring National Park. On your way you will pass the Cardrona Hotel, known from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Enjoy this impressive alpine scenic route. The area arounf Wanaka is a hiker’s paradise with trails of varying length and difficulty and outstanding beautiful scenery. Another landmark of Wanaka ist the Wanaka tree, growing in the pristne waters of Lake Wanaka.
Lake Hawea is the first scenic highlight of your journey. At Makarora you can fuel up and refresh before you take on the dramatic twists and turns of the Haast Pass scenic route. Enjoy waterfalls and stunning river scenery as you arrive in the rainforest wilderness where you face the glaciers up-close.
This morning you have the opportunity to take a helicopter flight with a glacier landing (optional). From the air you will have an impressive view of the glacier reaching down into the valley. You will then follow the west coast further north, traveling through rainforest, deep blue lakes and turquoise glacial rivers, rugged coastline and former gold mining settlements to Hokitika. Along the way, there are numerous opportunities to photograph this wildly romantic landscape.
Hokitika is a cozy little town right on the ocean and a beach peppered with driftwood in bizarre shapes. You can visit a jade factory (Greenstone) and make a side trip to Punakaiki to see the famous „pancake rocks“.
Today you will leave the West Coast and travel eastward via Arthur’s Pass through the majestic Southern Alps, crossing the highest and most impressive route in the Southern Alps. As you drive through spectacular gorges and river valleys, you can marvel at the snow-capped Southern Alps and the fascinating changes in landscape from rainforest to high mountain region to farmland.
Destination is Christchurch. Here you have the opportunity to explore the inner city core by the historic tram. The tram also has a restaurant where you can end your last evening in New Zealand with a stylish dinner (optional).
Unfortunately, your round trip through New Zealand ends today. Depending on your departure time, you still have the opportunity to admire the beautiful gardens and impressive old trees in the Botanical Garden. Please drive to Christchurch airport in time and drop off your rental car here. From here you will start your home journey. We wish you a good flight!
Please take a look at our other New Zealand self-drive tours and if you can’t find the right tour- no problem! We are happy to advise you individually to offer you the perfect New Zealand holiday. That’s why we are winner of the „Bespoke Tour Operator of the year“ LTG-Award – New Zealand 2018, 2019″.
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