Skip to content
Please select your location:

New Zealand's South Island self-drive

18 days from $10,115pp

What is tailor made? 100% custom | Exceptional experiences | Hand-picked guides | Lodging with character | Designed to your schedule, budget & interests

Itinerary highlights

  • Stroll along surf beaches around Christchurch - New Brighton and Sumner - then enjoy the view from a nearby coffee shop.

  • Experience the golden sands and turquoise waters of the Abel Tasman National Park.

  • Enjoy the scenic drive all the way down the west coast - from Westport to Haast, where the forest meets the ocean - this rugged coastline is atmospheric and beautiful.

Price includes

Fully insured vehicle rental
/svg> All accommodations
  • Christchurch
  • Kaikoura
  • Abel Tasman National Park
  • Punakaiki
  • Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers
  • Lake Wanaka
  • Milford Sound
  • Dunedin

Itinerary idea in detail

Open all Close all

Ask us if you would also like us to arrange your international flights at our preferred rates.

Day 1 Christchurch


Arrive in Christchurch today where you will be welcomed by one of our representatives and transferred to your accommodation for the next two nights. Relax, unwind and recover from your flight, there is plenty to do in Christchurch within an easy stroll of your accommodation.

Day 2 Christchurch


Enjoy the day at leisure in Christchurch. The nearby beach suburbs of New Brighton and Sumner are well worth a visit - here you can enjoy a coffee whilst watching the surf roll in.

Day 3 Kaikoura

Christchurch , Kaikoura

Take a taxi to the airport to collect your car this morning and make your way north from the city today and head north to the coastal town of Kaikoura. Enjoy an afternoon exploring the mountainous and ocean town of Kaikoura, before making your may to your unique Purepod accommodation.

Day 4 Kaikoura


Spend the day around Kaikoura. You can spend the day exploring the mountain trails or the sea side town.

Day 5 Abel Tasman National Park

Kaikoura , Abel Tasman National Park

Continue north along the coastline to Blenheim, the famous wine region of the South Island, before heading west to the Kaiteriteri, on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. From here you will take a water taxi to your accommodation where you will spend the next three nights.

Day 6 Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park

Today you get to explore this pristine area from the water and on foot. Start with a kayaking trip around the edges of the National Park, paddling gently with the breeze. Then, enjoy a cruise along the coast to a beautiful beach where you are dropped off to enjoy a short walk on one of the tracks here.

Day 7 Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park

Spend the day at leisure today. We recommend exploring the national park more or relaxing at your accommodation.

Day 8 Punakaiki

Abel Tasman National Park , Punakaiki

Once you collect your car, you will head southwest through the highlands before reaching the rugged West coast of the South Island. You will spend one evening in Punakaiki so you can explore the Pancake Rocks.

Day 9 Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers

Punakaiki , Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers

Make your way south along the wild West Coast to Franz Josef, the scenery on this drive is fabulous! The rest of the day is at leisure, perhaps visit Te Koha Gallery where you can try your hand at jade carving.

Day 10 Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers

Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers

Today is at leisure to explore Franz Josef, you might like to visit Lake Matheson for stunning views of nearby Fox Glacier and Mount cook, take a glacier valley walk up to the Franz Josef Glacier or arrange for a helicopter or light aircraft flight over the glaciers.

Day 11 Lake Wanaka

Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers , Lake Wanaka

Another mountainous drive down the coast and inland to Lake Wanaka. There are lots of lovely spots to stop and go for short walks; each with something fascinating to see and photograph, along the way. In the afternoon, you will arrive in Wanaka, where you will spend the next three nights.

Day 12 Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

This morning you will collect e-bikes before being transfered to Clutha, where you will start your private biking tour. Your guide will teach you about the region while you spend the next few hours taking in the mountains and biking back to Wanaka.

Day 13 Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

Today you join a delightful 4WD eco-tour to a privately owned high country station. You will see deer, sheep and cattle, learn a little about the station and take in some of the most magnificent views that Wanaka has to offer. To top it off you'll enjoy a lovely cup of tea served on top of one of Wanaka's wild hills with probably one of the most beautiful views in New Zealand.

Day 14 Milford Sound

Lake Wanaka , Milford Sound

Drive to the Milford Sound today, where you will board an overnight cruise. Spend the night exploring the fiord on this peaceful reserve. You will have a chance to take in the large waterfalls and spot local marine wildlife that frequents the area. In the evening, enjoy dinner on the cruise before you head to bed.


Day 15 Dunedin

Milford Sound , Dunedin

This morning wake to a filling breakfast on the boat before you disembark and drive to Dunedin. Stay three nights in Dunedin to explore the Otago Peninsula and the bird life.

Day 16 Dunedin


Spend the morning on a half day exploring Dunedin to learn about the city's history and wildlife that surrounds the town. The afternoon is at leisure to explore the town or to relax.

Day 17 Dunedin


Today is at leisure. We recommend driving south to the Catlins to see the rugged coastline and to hike around the variety of rock formations.

Day 18 Return home


Today please make your own way to the airport in time for your onward flight.

Audley Travel specialist Haley
Great Barrier Reef

Contact a specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to New Zealand will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip. Your dedicated specialist will take the time to understand your preferences and build them into an itinerary to match, working to your budget. He or she will keep perfecting it until you’re completely happy and ready to book.

Find out what sets us apart ›

When to go

Drag the slider to see monthly temperature and rainfall for this itinerary

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily Max Temperature Monthly Rainfall
Abel Tasman National Park
Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers
Lake Wanaka
Milford Sound

Other itineraries you may be interested in