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.