The South Island
You are ready to explore the South Island, a true New Zealand treasure. A road trip in New Zealand is perfect for you! Here's what awaits you on your journey.
Explore Queenstown, the island's flagship city, renowned for its thrilling activities. Don't miss the stunning Lake Pukaki, with its breathtaking waters.
Go hiking in the majestic Taranaki National Park. Dive into the crystal-clear waters of Cathedral Cove and discover its breathtaking landscapes.
Make the most of the best times to travel in New Zealand and plan your trip accordingly. Relax in the free campsites scattered throughout the South Island. Experience the unique natural phenomenon of Hot Water Beach, where you can relax in natural hot springs.
Explore the beautiful beaches of the South Island and immerse yourself in their serenity. Prepare to be amazed by the beauty of this country and create unforgettable moments. Continue reading to discover all the details and tips for fully enjoying your trip.
Christchurch, known as the "Garden City," is filled with parks. So, it's inevitable to visit Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens!
The Botanic Gardens were established in 1863 to celebrate the marriage of Prince Albert and Princess Alexandra of Denmark. A visit to the Cardboard Cathedral, constructed with shipping containers, is also a must.
In the same spirit, continue to the Re-Start Container Mall, a space housing shops and cafes. The city is also worth exploring for its street art.
Timaru is located 160 km from Christchurch. It's a major port city worth a quick stop for lunch and a visit to Famlan Farm Park, particularly enjoyable for children. Then, head about forty minutes to the famous Lake Tekapo to admire its starry sky (the region is located under one of the world's five starlight reserves).
It's also recommended to visit the behind-the-scenes of the Mount John Observatory. You can explore the sky through one of the telescopes at the Cowan Observatory.
Towards Mount Cook
The country's highest peak at 3,724 meters. Numerous hikes are possible and recommended.
The landscapes are breathtaking. You can also fly over the entire area by plane. Simply sublime!
All tourist flights to Mount Cook depart from Lake Tekapo Airport.
Wanaka, the city of grand landscapes
The journey continues to Wanaka, a city of 100,000 inhabitants founded in the 19th century during the gold rush. Grandiose landscapes await you here too. The lake offers various activities: paddleboarding, kayaking, boat tours...
A must-see? The Wanaka Tree, at the extreme north of Roys Bay. For antique car enthusiasts, head to the Transport and Toy Museum.
Finally, a family activity you must do is Puzzling World. Illusion is everywhere!
Queenstown, the paradise of outdoor activities
During your visit to Queenstown, don't miss the numerous ski resorts just a few kilometers from the city, ideal for family vacations in winter.
A cruise on Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Farm is a must-do experience, especially with young children. A ride aboard the TSS Earnslaw, a vintage steamship, offers an authentic experience.
The ascent of Skyline Gondola, a charming cable car, provides panoramic views of the city and the lake from the top of Bob's Peak.
Visit the Kiwi Birdlife Park, where you can observe local birds, including the famous kiwis. Explore hiking trails and bike rides in the surrounding areas. Exciting activities for teenagers, such as jet boating, bungee jumping, rafting, or a visit to the Fear Factory (Haunted House). Queenstown offers a multitude of options for all family members, ensuring an unforgettable stay in New Zealand.
Hikes and Bike Rides
Take advantage of being in Queenstown to plan a day trip to Milford Sound. You can choose between a bus and boat tour or a plane and boat tour. The cruise is magnificent: majestic waterfalls, dolphins, seals basking in the sun...
It's a feast for the eyes. Allow 12 hours for the bus package and 5 hours for the plane package. The adventure continues to Invercargill, one of the southernmost cities in the world, and the main shopping center of the Southland region.
Enjoy some shopping and explore the city before taking the stunning Southern Scenic Route that will lead you to Dunedin. It's the oldest tourist route and one of the most spectacular in New Zealand.
Excursion to Milford Sound
Discover the wonders of the Catlins, a spectacular region of New Zealand's South Island, located in the southern hemisphere. As you travel through the region between Invercargill and Balclutha, you'll be amazed by the natural and cultural treasures that surround you. Explore the Catlins, a "national park" offering breathtaking landscapes and remarkable biodiversity.
Don't miss the impressive McLean Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in the region. In just fifteen minutes of walking, you can reach the first level of this majestic waterfall.
Near the road, don't miss the Matai Falls, nestled in the scenic reserve of Table Hill. A short walk will allow you to admire them.
Make an essential stop at Nugget Point Lighthouse, offering an exceptional panoramic view. Although the lighthouse is closed to the public, an observation platform will allow you to admire the stunning landscape. This journey through the Catlins will immerse you in the heart of New Zealand's natural beauty. Additionally, don't forget that this region has been marked by earthquakes, adding to its unique character. There are so many beautiful things to admire in the Catlins region that it's impossible to list them all.
Kaikoura, Whale Watching Hub
200 km north of Christchurch, you arrive in Kaikoura, the ideal spot for whale watching. These whales leave Antarctica to reach the subtropical waters of the Pacific Ocean, passing near Christchurch and taking advantage of the Kaikoura Peninsula. By boat, plane, or helicopter, you have plenty of choices to admire these beauties.
Another 200 km further north lies the Nelson region. Nestled between the sea and mountains, it enjoys a very high rate of sunshine.
This is fortunate because there are numerous activities: boat trips, vineyard tours... Abel Tasman National Park offers hiking, kayaking, and more.