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.
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.
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.
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.
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.