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SELF DRIVE TOURS - South Island Experience Tour

Select a start city to view interesting and valuable advice and information Self drive tours from Auckland - North Island of New Zealand Self drive tours from Christchurch - South Island of New Zealand




South Island Highlights Tour
9 days
Explore the highlights of the South Island in 9 days and some of the best driving in the region.

South Island Experience Tour
13 days
All of the South Island in 13 days spectacular days.


Twin Island Tour
14 days
Christchurch to Auckland via all the most spectacular scenery and driving roads of the South and North Islands in 14 days.

Ultimate Islands Tour
21 days
The best of the best. See all of the best of what New Zealand has to offer!


  • Great accommodation in nice 3.5 to 4 star B&Bs / motels / hotels

  • Google Maps links showing you the exact route to take for each day’s drive

  • Official hard copy road maps of the areas you’ll be passing through

  • A thorough and very detailed itinerary document incorporating:

  • Daily trip sections
    The background to each area
    Places of interest and where to visit

Please note: We don't include the car in the prices as there are so many choices. You can either book your own car or we'd be pleased to do it for you.

Christchurch and the South Island of New Zealand
South Island Experience Tour

Eleven days of breathtaking alpine passes, snow covered mountains, massive valleys, rugged coastline and cool, shaded rivers. View the imposing South Island glaciers after experiencing the 'adrenaline capital of the world' and then visit delightful bays, islands and waterways in the north.

13 day tour

NZ$ 2,537 BOOK NOW

Includes: 12 nights accommodation plus:
Allows full days at Queenstown, Fox Glacier and Kaikoura, excursions optional.

Terms & Conditions for this tour

Experience the South Island and enjoy some of the best driving to be found anywhere on the planet...

The straightest road in NZ (Photo by Andras Ikladi)

Mt Cook approach (Photo by Mark Edwards)Christchurch - Designed to reflect ordered English class structure instead of being just another shabby colonial outpost, Christchurch is the most 'English' of NZ's cities. Stroll through exquisite gardens, punt on the Avon River, ride a tram or people-watch in Cathedral Square.

Mt Cook - The first day's drive gets you in the mood for the brilliant roads to follow as it twists over mountain passes and along turquoise lakes with snow-capped mountains in the background. The mighty Mt Cook is the highest peak in Australasia and a must-see. You can add an optional day to explore Mt Cook National Park.

Dunedin street scene (Photo by Mark Edwards)Mt Cook to Dunedin
Today's drive via Lindis Pass and back to the East Coast brings diverse scenery and more great roads through Central Otago. The very Scottish city of Dunedin (meaning 'Edinburgh' in Celtic) is the second largest on the South Island. As the home of the oldest university in New Zealand, it's lively and interesting with plenty of entertainment like theatres and live music clubs and grand Victorian architecture. Take a walk up Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world with a 1 in 1.266 gradient or take a tour of a local brewery with some free beer tasting! Dunedin also reputedly has the best night life on the South Island and you'll have a great time finding out if it's true!

Milford Sound (Photo by Andras Ikladi)Fiordland - More superb roads and scenery brings you to Fiordland National Park. This indescribably beautiful area is on every tourist's agenda and you'll quickly discover why. You'll have an extra day here to visit Milford Sound for a spectacular cruise and do some driving in the area. There is only one road in and out but you won't mind, it's as scenic as they come. No matter how you say “steep ravines, deep fjords, blue shimmering crevasses, snow-covered Alps, blue seas and thundering waterfalls” the words just cannot do this area justice. Take a look at the pictures and you'll see what we mean!

Queenstown - The 'adrenaline capital of the world' has plenty to keep you busy. Choose from bungy jumping, jet-boating, white-water rafting, river surfing, white-water sledging, paragliding, parachuting, canyoning, mountain biking and aerial sightseeing! Still not enough? Add fishing, water-skiing, windsurfing, yachting, horseback riding and rock climbing. You have an extra day here to make the most of the activities on offer. For the not-so-active it has some of the best restaurants on the South Island in one of the most scenic spots in the world on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Or you could simply collapse onto a sofa....

Westland National Park - If Queenstown didn't provide enough adrenaline, the shortcut via Cardrona to Wanaka will! Then drive over the Alps via the beautiful Haast Pass. The road winds along steep slopes with huge views over the glacier lakes Hawea and Wanaka and down to the same named town. After a great drive you'll arrive at two of the most prolific glaciers in the world - Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier are tumbling rivers of ice streaking down the valleys towards the sea. There are plenty of great walks in the area but the best way to see the glaciers is via helicopter.

Walking on Fox Glacier (Photo by Andras Ikladi)

West Coast beach (Photo by Andras Ikladi)The West Coast - Incredibly rugged with wild rocky beaches and a backdrop of high mountain peaks, this area experienced its own gold rush in the late 19th century. Largely untamed, wildlife and birds are plentiful. You’ll be amazed at how thousands of years of rain, wind and saltwater have formed the Pancake Rocks and the gigantic Blowholes at Punakaiki.

Abel Tasman National Park - Once little know outside the immediate area, now very popular with hikers and nature lovers. Dotted with caves, potholes and limestone hills and with golden beaches washed by crystal blue waters it's little wonder the park is now so popular. You'll overnight at one of the most beautiful beaches in the area.

Marlborough - Convoluted waterways, delightful bays and islands and a beautifully surfaced, twisty, scenic coastal road - what more could you ask for? Wine, that's what. Marlborough is New Zealand's largest wine producing area, known for its sauvignon blancs and chardonnays. Stay off the wine if you're driving though!

Kaikoura - The coastal highway brings you to Kaikoura, where snow-capped mountains spill towards the ocean. Eco-tourism abounds here. Whale-watching was once dominant but these days you can also swim with wild dolphins and snorkel with seals. Get there early and get on a boat or spend an optional extra day to give yourself enough time to do it all.