Te Waipounamu is the Māori name for the larger of New Zealand's two main islands. The South Island, affectionately referred to as the Mainland by its inhabitants, is nearly one third larger than the North however less than one-quarter of the population lives there. We've handpicked all the must-see spots and most popular attractions for your driving holiday itinerary in the South Island. And remember, all our tour itineraries are infinitely customisable free of charge. So, you'll see everything you want to see regardless of how long you have. Take a look at our South Island New Zealand Self Drive Tours and start the road trip of a lifetime now. Refine your search by using the 'Tour Finder' on the left hand side.
Don't miss this stunning short-stay South Island wildlife encounter: you'll discover the very best spots to see New Zealand's whales and dolphins frolicking in the wild. Get up close and personal with the ultra-rare Hector's Dolphin in Akaroa and watch giant whales in beautiful Kaikoura, where the mountains meet the sea.
This sophisticated all-season town enjoys the best of both worlds offering bespoke and authentic luxury experiences in beautifully natural settings hosted by our warm and welcoming people. Here is a suggested five days in Queenstown that won't disappoint!
Be seduced by Fiordland’s most awe-inspiring and diverse landscapes on the ultimate New Zealand walking package. Get to know the Milford, Routeburn and Kepler Tracks plus beautiful Lake Marian on this unforgettable, fully-guided 4 day South Island Great Walk adventure. Our alpine vistas, native forests, giant lakes, roaring rivers and vast fiords will leave you spellbound!
Picturesque views, endless snow-capped mountains and world-class resorts – a skier’s paradise! Let your hair down in New Zealand's adventure capital. Cruise Milford Sound, take a gondola ride for panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu and get your adrenaline pumping on a jet boat ride, all with spectacular scenic backdrops.
From ancient Maori cave paintings to 19th century Gold Rush towns, the South Island boasts a wealth of New Zealand history and culture. Step back in time with us to pan for gold in Arrowtown, explore New Zealand's only castle, and meander along Queenstown's Lake Wakatipu in a vintage steamship.
Watch Kaikoura's whales breach the ocean surface, cruise the golden bays of Abel Tasman National Park, unwind in Punakaiki's coastal rainforests and traverse the Southern Alps by train on the world-renowned TranzAlpine scenic railway. This superb 7 day itinerary showcases the amazing contrasts to be found at the top of New Zealand's South Island.
For a tantalising taste of alpine splendour, you can't go wrong with our 7 Day Southern Alps Circuit Itinerary. Discover two of our most celebrated glaciers, journey through magnificent mountain passes, and bed down in our prettiest alpine towns each night! A spectacular Tasman Glacier flight (complete with snow landing) will make you feel on top of the world, and an included hot pool excursion will warm up your fingers and toes in a flash.
Short of time but want to maximize your experience in New Zealand's South Island, well without going over the top and leaving you breathless at the end of your journey, we have compiled a couple of New Zealand Short Break self-drive itineraries that allow you to see and do those iconic New Zealand site-seeing and activities New Zealand is famed for - the Must-dos.
Rugged coastlines, snow-capped peaks, jewel-toned lakes, and towering fiords are a feast for the senses on this scenery-filled 7 day South Island journey. From the harbourside charm of historic Akaroa to the lonely majesty of Milford Sound, every day reveals another facet of New Zealand's astounding natural diversity.
The New Zealand Winter Family Holiday is designed for family fun, with an interesting array of activities and experiences to keep your kids engaged, while also keeping it enjoyable for parents. Family adventures both off and on the snow that have been tried and tested for years by own children.
It took two years to film the LoTR trilogy, but many millions of years to build the sets.....This 7 Day LoTR New Zealand Self Drive Itinerary gets you up close and personal with the grand landscapes that inspired Director Peter Jackson to make the majority of the Trilogy in New Zealand's South.
Enjoy Queenstown’s very best alpine vistas, tranquil lakes, and award-winning championship golf courses. From lakeside Jacks Point to the mountain backdrop of Millbrook, each course is an experience in itself. With a full day free in Queenstown, a flight to Milford Sound, and one of the top scenic drives in the country, this tour truly has it all.
Routeburn and Milford Tracks, Glaciers & More. The South Island of New Zealand is a haven for walkers and hikers. This self-drive New Zealand itinerary focuses on easy going guided walks for hikers of modest fitness who love being in the bush and the natural environment. No hiking experience is necessary.
Just relax and enjoy, feel like you have really had a holiday – no rushing around on this itinerary. The South Island Relaxing Journey is designed for those needing space and relaxation. Enjoy exceptional scenery, stunning lakes, wild rivers and our remote Southern Alps.
An unforgettable winter wonderland awaits you in Queenstown and Wanaka. You'll play at four of New Zealand's top ski areas by day, coming home to 5-star hotel luxury every night. For the ultimate thrill, take an exhilarating heli-ski trip to find untouched powder in the beautiful backcountry of the Southern Alps.
Enjoy South Island's very best alpine vistas, tranquil towns, and award-winning championship golf courses. From the spring-fed lakes of Clearwater, to the mountain backdrops of Jacks Point, each course is an experience in itself. With a full day in Queenstown, a flight to Milford Sound, and one of the top scenic drives in the country, this nine day tour truly has it all.
This tour will delight the traveller who is interested in New Zealand's varied alpine and marine environments. Explore the wild West Coast, the top portion of the Southern Alps and the beautiful Marlborough Sounds - and return via Kaikoura to Christchurch.
Want to bask on secluded beaches in a National Park forest? Sip world-class wines in picturesque Marlborough? Watch whales spouting seawater as they surface in Kaikoura? Marvel at Milford Sound's towering fiords? In ten unforgettable days the incredible variety of this South Island honeymoon is guaranteed to win your heart.
This is a moderate to easy 9-day walking and/or kayaking adventure (you have option) with the best accommodation available in these remote regions. Enjoy spectacular scenery & wildlife and the well groomed coastal tracks of the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park and the magnificent Queen Charlotte Sound.
See New Zealand like the locals do: a South Island Campervan adventure is as "Kiwi" as it gets. In your comfortable Motorhome you'll sleep under the starry skies of Mt Cook National Park, wake up to Wanaka's astonishing mountainscapes and slumber next to glorious glacier views that no hotel could possibly offer. Pure, untouched New Zealand at its best.
Fall in love with the South Island's magnificent mountains, giant glaciers, untouched wilderness and delectable cuisine. With romantic hideaways, jaw-dropping views and welcoming locals, this unique honeymoon destination is guaranteed to win your heart.
We are often asked to create walking itineraries that cover the diverse spectrum of New Zealand's unique and natural environments, within a manageable time frame. Experience the magical Hollyford Valley and the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound – Both considered 'A'-list New Zealand hiking experiences.
This 12 day New Zealand relaxed adventure itinerary will provide you with unspoilt landscapes both at the unique properties chosen and the locations experienced. We purposely keep you away from the tourist traps, allowing you to savour the peace and tranquility that New Zealand is famed for.
Embark on a journey into some of New Zealand's finest scenic destinations, secluded in the great wilderness areas of the West Coast and mighty Southern Alps of the South Island. This is a camping and adventure tour for intrepid lovers of nature as well as those seeking a unique snapshot of our great outdoors.
This is a world-class scenic landscape and a treasure trove of awesome geology, rare flora and fauna. Walk, fully guided, the Milford Track. Then explore the Wild West Coast experiencing its glaciers, forests and wildlife.
Our South Island Fly Fishing Itinerary is every angler's dream come true. Spend your days stalking our king-sized brown and rainbow trout in remote backcountry rivers, winding down each night in luxurious lodges with views to die for. Hand-picked local guides reveal the secrets of our remote Fiordland rivers, Otago alpine streams, and the legendary sighted brown trout fisheries of the Upper South Island.
Grab your hiking boots and swap everyday life for the towering mountains, high country lakes, and ice-carved fiords of New Zealand's iconic backcountry. Featuring spectacular day hikes on the Milford and Hooker Valley Tracks, plus a fully guided three-day Routeburn Track adventure, this South Island itinerary takes you to the beating heart of the New Zealand wilderness.
In June as the summer in South East Asia starts to heat up, it's time to adventure down to New Zealand’s South Island and enjoy our exhilarating pristine powder paradise. If you really want diversity when carving up the white stuff, it is here you will undoubtedly experience heaven.
Off-Piste Back Country, Snow-Shoeing, Boarding with APRES-SKI
Tour the finest Luxury Lodges of New Zealand's South Island, where you will bask in outstanding locations with onsite and local activities to delight any luxury-lover. World-class cuisine and exceptional Kiwi hospitality will greet you wherever you go. With plenty of time in the itinerary to relax and enjoy our beautiful country, you'll never want this sensational self-drive holiday to end.
This classic South Island Road Trip is what Motorhomes were made for. Wind your way through scenery as pretty as a postcard, bedding down in your comfortable campervan with New Zealand's natural wonders at your door. Wake up to mountain landscapes, ice-carved fiords, golden bays and vast blue lakes: you'll be pinching yourself to check if it's real.