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South Island In-Depth: Self Drive

Duration
12 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,522

Drive the South Island experiencing all it has to offer. Enjoy whale watching, Abel Tasman National Park and the Glacier Region as well as Queenstown and Scottish influenced Dunedin.


From whale watching in Kaikoura to spectacular Milford Sound, explore the rugged beauty of New Zealand’s South Island on this 12 day journey, available as either a self-drive or coach tour.

Christchurch has become synonymous with tragedy in recent years. Four large earthquakes devastated the city between September 2010 and December 2011. While some areas and attractions remain closed for repairs, there is still plenty for early arrivals to do and see. The Air Force Museum will thrill military history buffs, while the Canterbury Museum provides a fascinating look at New Zealand history. Or take a tour of sites affected by the quakes for a glimpse of a resilient, rebuilding Christchurch.

Journey to Kaikoura for your included whale-watching cruise, then stay overnight before the scenic drive to Nelson. The South Island’s oldest settled city is famed for its arts and crafts, along with its 23 local wineries and nearby Abel Tasman National Park. The park is closed off to vehicles, allowing you to enjoy a full day exploring on foot, by boat or by kayak. Intrepid travelers will be rewarded with sights such as Cleopatra’s Pool and beautiful Cascade Falls.

Head for the West Coast to see Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks, distinctive geological formations formed over tens of thousands of years of pummeling from the Tasman Sea. Spend the night before continuing on to the Glacier Region, where you can base your exploration in either Franz Josef or Fox Glacier.

A Mecca for skiers, Queenstown puts you in the heart of the South Island’s mountain landscape. A highlight of your journey is a day trip to Milford Sound, a breathtaking, 16km long fjord carved by glaciers out to the Tasman Sea. You’ll also have a full day at leisure to explore Queenstown.

Journey back east to Dunedin, which, thanks to the discovery of nearby gold in 1861, was New Zealand’s most populated city until 1900. It’s now a university town proud of its strong Scots heritage. You’ll have free time to explore this ‘Edinburgh of the South’ before your Wildlife Cruise beneath the Albatross Colony.

Please click here for our New Zealand Self Drive itineraries


 

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Duration
12 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,522

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Arrive in Christchurch

Pick-up your vehicle and drive to your accommodation

Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Hotel Montreal By The George

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    Hotel Montreal By The George



    Overlooking Cranmer Square and situated on the edge of tranquil Hagley Park, Hotel Montreal is Christchurch's newest luxury boutique hotel. Unique in design and beautifully finished, Hotel Montreal offers accommodation that is the perfect mix of refined elegance and modern sophistication. Contemporary art, delicious food ...

    Overlooking Cranmer Square and situated on the edge of tranquil Hagley Park, Hotel Montreal is Christchurch's newest luxury boutique hotel. Unique in design and beautifully finished, Hotel Montreal offers accommodation that is the perfect mix of refined elegance and modern sophistication. Contemporary art, delicious food and wine are all carefully orchestrated to provide a remarkable setting for your stay in Christchurch. Hotel Montreal provides an oasis for a calm, relaxed environment with outside areas to sit in the garden, or enjoy a game of croquet.

    Facilities

    • Pool bar
    • Restaurant

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Day 2

Christchurch to Kaikoura 181 kms (112 miles) 2.25 hours

Journey to Kaikoura, and on arrival make your own way to your overnight accommodation. In the afternoon go on a spectacular whale watching cruise.

Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Fyffe Country Lodge

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    Fyffe Country Lodge



    Set in manicured gardens with lush green lawns, the Fyffe Country Lodge Kaikoura is a stunning boutique lodge, offering panoramic views of Mount Fyffe and the Kaikoura seaward ranges. The property is an ideal place to unwind and enjoy the stunning mountain scenery and to ...

    Set in manicured gardens with lush green lawns, the Fyffe Country Lodge Kaikoura is a stunning boutique lodge, offering panoramic views of Mount Fyffe and the Kaikoura seaward ranges. The property is an ideal place to unwind and enjoy the stunning mountain scenery and to sample some of the best Marlborough and New Zealand wines. During your leisure time explore the surrounding attractions and activities available in the neighbouring area.

    Facilities

    • Internet Access
    • Laundry facilities
    • Lounge(s)
    • Parking
    • Restaurant

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    Preferred Hotel
Day 3

Kaikoura to Nelson 242 kms (150 miles) 3 hours

Travel from Kaikoura to Nelson at the top of the South Island, known for it's local wineries and arts and crafts. On arrival make your way to your chosen overnight accommodation.

Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Cambria House Nelson

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    Cambria House Nelson



    An inner city haven, built in the 1880s, on a quiet street within easy walking distance of the town center. This B and B mixes old and new, from the original fireplaces and timber paneling to the freely available high-speed Internet access, including wireless, and ...

    An inner city haven, built in the 1880s, on a quiet street within easy walking distance of the town center. This B and B mixes old and new, from the original fireplaces and timber paneling to the freely available high-speed Internet access, including wireless, and from antiques to up-to-date fabrics and modern conveniences. You can relax with a drink on the sunny garden deck or by the wood-burning fireplace in the guest lounge.

    Facilities

    • Internet Access
    • Laundry facilities
    • Parking

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    Preferred Hotel
Day 4

Nelson

Today is at leisure to explore Nelson, or perhaps explore the Abel Tasman National Park on foot or by kayak.

Day 5

Nelson to Punakaiki 247 kms (153 miles) 3.5 hours

Drive to Punakaiki, home to the scenic Pancake Rocks. On arrival make your way to your accommodation.

Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Punakaiki Resort

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    Punakaiki Resort



    The Punakaiki Resort is an eco-tourism hotel located in the Buller district between Greymouth, 30 minutes to the south and Westport which is 45 minutes to the north. Carefully designed to complement the stunning natural setting, it is situated close to Pancake Rocks and Blowhole ...

    The Punakaiki Resort is an eco-tourism hotel located in the Buller district between Greymouth, 30 minutes to the south and Westport which is 45 minutes to the north. Carefully designed to complement the stunning natural setting, it is situated close to Pancake Rocks and Blowhole at Punakaiki and adjacent to Paparoa National Park. This hotel is a perfect choice for a leisure stay.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Daycare/Babysitting Service
    • Laundry facilities
    • Parking
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Wheelchair Accessible Rooms

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    Preferred Hotel
Day 6

Punakaiki to Glacier Region 217 kms (135 miles) 2.45 hours

Drive down to the Glacier Region, and make your way to your accommodation in Franz Josef or Fox Glacier.

Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Distinction Fox Glacier Te Weheka Boutique Hotel

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    Distinction Fox Glacier Te Weheka Boutique Hotel



    Distinction Hotel Fox Glacier is the ideal hotel accommodation in Fox Glacier village, a charming township in the beautiful alpine West Coast region of New Zealand's South Island. The hotel's location provides a real sense of privacy and peaceful seclusion, while being only a short ...

    Distinction Hotel Fox Glacier is the ideal hotel accommodation in Fox Glacier village, a charming township in the beautiful alpine West Coast region of New Zealand's South Island. The hotel's location provides a real sense of privacy and peaceful seclusion, while being only a short stroll to the main street of the Fox Glacier village. It offers a beautifully appointed, modern Fox Glacier accommodation at the foot of the Southern Alps and very close to the magnificent New Zealand glaciers. A quiet boutique hotel, Distinction Hotel Fox Glacier presents just 20 rooms - so you'll enjoy a peaceful and private South Island experience.

    Facilities

    • Internet Access
    • Laundry facilities
    • Library
    • Lounge(s)
    • Parking
    • Restaurant(s)

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    Preferred Hotel
Day 7

Glacier Region to Queenstown 350 kms (217 miles) 4.5 hours

Continue on to Queenstown and your accommodation.

Duration3 Nights
Accommodation

Browns Boutique Hotel

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    Browns Boutique Hotel



    This stylish European inspired Bed and Breakfast lodge is the perfect holiday accommodation for a vacation or ski holiday. This boutique hotel is superbly situated in the heart of Queenstown, in a quiet location with stunning views overlooking the town and mountains, just a 2 ...

    This stylish European inspired Bed and Breakfast lodge is the perfect holiday accommodation for a vacation or ski holiday. This boutique hotel is superbly situated in the heart of Queenstown, in a quiet location with stunning views overlooking the town and mountains, just a 2 minute walk to shops and restaurants. Browns Boutique Hotel combines an intimate, timeless feel with genuine New Zealand hospitality to ensure that guests feel completely at home.

    Facilities

    • Internet Access
    • Lounge(s)
    • Parking

    More Details

    Preferred Hotel
Day 8

Queenstown

A highlight of your trip is a spectacular day trip to Milford Sound, including a cruise in this scenic location.

Meal Plan Lunch
Day 9

Queenstown

Today is at leisure to explore.

Day 10

Queenstown to Dunedin 282 kms (175 miles) 3.5 hours

Journey to the Scottish town of to Dunedin. On arrival in Dunedin, make your way to your accommodation.

Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Scenic Hotel Southern Cross Dunedin

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    Scenic Hotel Southern Cross Dunedin



    Dunedin's largest hotel proudly stands in the heart of the city. Dating back to 1883, this landmark building now blends Dunedin's distinctive charm and heritage with the modern day comforts guests demand. The uniqueness of the historic parts of the hotel, and their commitment to ...

    Dunedin's largest hotel proudly stands in the heart of the city. Dating back to 1883, this landmark building now blends Dunedin's distinctive charm and heritage with the modern day comforts guests demand. The uniqueness of the historic parts of the hotel, and their commitment to excellent customer service will ensure you have a memorable stay.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Business Centre
    • Conference Facilities
    • Daycare/Babysitting Service
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry facilities
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Parking (Paid)
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Wheelchair Accessible Rooms

    More Details

    Preferred Hotel
Day 11

Dunedin

This morning is at leisure. This afternoon depart on your Wildlife Cruise beneath the Albatross Colony.

Duration1 Night
Day 12

Dunedin to Christchurch 361 kms (224 miles) 4.45 hours

Drive North to Christchurch where you return your vehicle and end your self-drive vacation.

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

Daily.

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 11 nights accommodation
  • 12 day car rental
  • Tours as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel Insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not specifically indicated
  • Optional excursions
  • Park fees unless stated
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please enquire.

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19 Mar 2020
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