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Southern New Zealand Road Trip

Embark on an unparalleled journey through the South Island, where every turn of the road unveils the spectacular beauty and thrilling adventures this country has to offer. From the enchanting Walter Peak to the awe-inspiring Milford Sound, exhilarating jet boating, and mystical caves, this tour is a curated collection of New Zealand's most iconic experiences.

Package From
Average per person
10 days
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Experience Overview

At a Glance

  • 10 Days & 9 Nights
  • Lake Tekapo, Queenstown, Christchurch, Mt Cook National Park, Milford Sounds, Dunedin, Bluff & Invercargill.
  • Optional add ons include: Bungee Jumping, Helicopter Tours, Onsen Hot Pools, & more


  • 4-star & 4.5-star Hotel Stays
  • Self Drive Car Hire for 10 Days
  • Breakfast Daily
  • Dinner where mentioned
  • Lake Tekapo Star Gazing, TSS Earnslaw Cruise, Milford Sound Cruise, Skyline Luge & Gondola, Wine Tasting, Akaroa Dolphin Cruise, Nature Hikes

Value Proposition

  • Starting from $2,649 (NZD) per person
  • No Set Dates – Travel Anytime
  • Twin Share/Double Occupancy Room Rate
  • Seasonal Rates Available
  • New Zealand Owned & Operated
  • Customisable Itineraries upon request
  • Coach or Private Touring Options Available
Church of the Good Shepherd
Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
Mt Cook Walkway
Mt cook, New Zealand
TSS Earnslaw Cruise
Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand
Wine Tasting in Queenstown
Queenstown, New Zealand
Fiordland National Park
Milford Sound, New Zealand
Banks Peninsula Views
Banks Peninsula, New Zealand


Day 1

Welcome to Christchurch

Begin your New Zealand adventure in Christchurch, affectionately known as the Garden City, renowned for its vibrant culture, rich history, and beautiful green spaces. Today is yours to embrace the leisurely pace and explore the myriad attractions this city has to offer.


Start your day with checking in at your hotel in the heart of Christchurch. Take the morning to relax and settle in, or start exploring the city at your own pace.


After a day of exploration and adventure, return to the hotel for a restful evening. Christchurch's dining scene offers a variety of options, from casual eateries to fine dining, many of which focus on locally sourced ingredients.

The Muse Art Hotel, or equivalent
Walking within Christchurch City
Optional: Dinner
Free Time
Car Hire for 10 Days
Optional: Christchurch Gondola
Day 2

Southern Alps & Lake Tekapo Night Skies

Escape from Christchurch to the stunning Lake Tekapo for a day filled with scenic beauty and celestial discovery. Your drive will take you through the picturesque Canterbury Plains and Mackenzie Country, offering views of dramatic landscapes and vibrant blue waters. Conclude your day with a mesmerizing stargazing experience at the Lake Tekapo Dark Sky Reserve, one of the best places in the world to view the night sky.


Start your day early by departing from Christchurch. The drive to Lake Tekapo takes approximately 3 hours. Travel south across the expansive Canterbury Plains before heading inland towards the Southern Alps. Stop at the small town of Geraldine for a quick coffee and perhaps a visit to the local cheese shop, a great spot to pick up snacks for the road.


Arrive at Lake Tekapo by midday. Enjoy lunch at one of the lakeside cafes, where you can savor local dishes while taking in the breathtaking views of the turquoise lake. After lunch, visit the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd, the most photographed church in New Zealand, set against the stunning backdrop of the lake and mountains. As night falls, prepare for a stargazing tour at the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. This reserve offers some of the clearest skies in the world for stargazing. Join a guided tour that includes the use of telescopes to view distant galaxies, planets, and stars.

Peppers Bluewater Resort, or equivalent
3 Hours Drive
10-12 Hours
Scenic Drives & Lake Tekapo Stargazing Tour
Optional: Tekapo Springs
Day 3

Arrowtown Exploration and Wine Tasting

Enjoy a scenic journey to Queestown via Arrowtown, a quaint and historic gold mining town. As you wind your way past the picturesque Lake Hayes, the allure of Arrowtown's rich history and charming streets await. Spend the day meandering through its vibrant cafes, unique shops, and exquisite restaurants,.The day concludes with a leisurely wine tasting session at the renowned Amisfield Vineyard and Gibston Valley Winery where you can savor the flavors of the region's exquisite wines.


Embark on a captivating exploration of Arrowtown, starting with its enchanting streets lined with historic buildings that tell tales of a bygone era. Visit the Lake District Museum to rent a gold pan and try your hand at gold panning by the Arrow River. Make sure to explore the Chinese Settlement Village for a deeper understanding of the lives of the early Chinese miners.


As the afternoon unfolds, embark on a return journey towards Queenstown, stopping en route at Amisfield Vineyard and Gibston Valley Winery. These prestigious wineries offer a serene setting to relax and indulge in wine tasting, showcasing the best of Central Otago's renowned Pinot Noir and other varietals.

Holiday Inn Queenstown, or equivalent
3.5 Hour Drive
5 - 7 Hours
Gibbston Valley Wine Cave Tour
Optional: Half/Full Day Private Wine Tour
Day 4

Queenstown Activity Day

Queenstown, known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, offers a day of leisure where you can indulge in outdoor activities, explore the vibrant downtown area, or simply relax and enjoy the stunning natural beauty. The highlight of the day is an enchanting evening cruise on Lake Wakatipu aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship, culminating in a gourmet barbecue dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm.


Start your day with a thrilling Skyline Luge & Gondola ride. After breakfast, head to the Skyline complex for a fun-filled morning. The Gondola ride offers panoramic views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and the Remarkables mountain range. Once at the top, the luge tracks await, offering a unique and exhilarating way to descend the hill with twists, turns, and tunnels.


As the day transitions to evening, embark on a memorable cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw, affectionately known as the "Lady of the Lake.".

Following dinner, enjoy an entertaining farm show that provides insights into New Zealand's farming practices. The show includes sheep shearing demonstrations and an introduction to the farm's sheepdogs.

Holiday Inn Queenstown, or equivalent
1-2 Hours Boat Ride
Breakfast and BBQ Earnslaw Dinner
6-8 Hours
Skyline Gondola + 3 Luge Rides & TSS Earnslaw Cruise
Optional: AJ Hackett Bungee & Scenic Helicopter Ride
Day 5

Milford Sound Scenic Cruise

Embark on a breathtaking journey to Milford Sound, one of New Zealand's most iconic natural attractions, known for its sheer cliffs, towering peaks, and cascading waterfalls. This day trip offers an immersive experience into the heart of Fiordland National Park, with countless photo opportunities along the way. Make your way afterwards to the Southern most point of the South Island, Invercargill.


After an early breakfast, begin your journey along the stunning road to Milford Sound. This route is renowned for its diverse landscapes, passing through lush farmland, dense beech forests, and the remarkable Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain, where optical illusions make the mountain appear to recede as you approach.

As you approach Milford Sound, you'll pass through the Homer Tunnel, a remarkable engineering feat that cuts through the solid rock of the Darran Mountains.


Upon arrival at Milford Sound, board a cruise to explore this magnificent 22km-long fiord. The cruise offers up-close views of the iconic Mitre Peak, rising more than a mile straight out of the sea, and the chance to see waterfalls cascading down sheer rock faces, some of which are over 1000 meters high.

Ibis Styles Invercargill, or equivalent
10 Hours Drive & Boat Ride
12 Hours
Milford Sound Cruise
Optional: Milford Sound Lunch & Milford Sound Private Tour
Day 6

Southern Excursion: Bluff, and Coastal Delights

Embark on an unforgettable day trip exploring the rugged beauty and coastal charm of Southland, from the iconic Bluff to the hidden gems of Cosy Nook and Gem's Beach. This adventure promises stunning scenery, cultural discoveries, and opportunities for relaxation and exploration.


Depart from Invercargill and make your way to Bluff, a historic port town nestled at the southern tip of the South Island. Visit Stirling Point, marked by the iconic signpost indicating the distance to various international destinations, and capture a photo as a souvenir of your visit.

Continue your journey to Oreti Beach, a vast expanse of coastline known for its windswept beauty and tranquil atmosphere. Take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, breathing in the fresh sea air and soaking in the stunning views of the Southern Ocean.


Drive to Riverton, a charming coastal town steeped in maritime history and Maori culture. Explore the town's quaint shops, galleries, and cafes, and immerse yourself in the relaxed seaside ambiance. Don't miss Taramea Bay and Mitchell's Bay, where you can surf, swim, or simply watch dolphins frolic in the waves.

Journey to picturesque Cosy Nook, a secluded fishing village nestled in a sheltered bay. Explore the village and soak in the tranquil coastal scenery before heading to nearby Monkey Island for panoramic views of the rugged coastline and surrounding ocean.

Conclude your coastal exploration with a visit to Gem's Beach, renowned for its scenic beauty and pristine sands. Take a moment to appreciate the untouched natural surroundings and perhaps dip your toes in the crystal-clear waters.

Ibis Styles Invercargill, or equivalent
3 Hours Drive
7 Hours
Coastal Drive & Beaches
Optional: Shark Cage Diving
Day 7

Coastal Journey: From Catlins to Dunedin

Embark on a scenic self-drive adventure from the picturesque Catlins region to the vibrant city of Dunedin. Your day will be filled with exploration along the stunning Catlins Coastal Heritage Trail, featuring natural wonders, rugged coastlines, and historic landmarks. The rest of your day is at leisure as you travel to Dunedin for your 1-night accommodation.


Begin your day with a detailed self-drive itinerary provided for the Catlins Coastal Heritage Trail. This trail winds through some of the most breathtaking coastal landscapes in New Zealand, offering opportunities to explore hidden beaches, coastal cliffs, and lush forests.

If timing allows and the tide is low, make a stop at Cathedral Caves, a natural wonder formed by sea erosion. Marvel at the towering arches and cathedral-like interior of these impressive caves.


After a morning of exploration in the Catlins, enjoy a leisurely drive to Dunedin, soaking in the scenic beauty of the coastal landscapes and rolling hills along the way.

Check into the Hotel in Dunedin, your accommodation for the night. Take some time to unwind and relax after your drive, perhaps exploring the city's vibrant downtown area or enjoying a stroll through one of Dunedin's beautiful parks.

4-4.5 Star Accommodation
4 Hours Drive
7 Hours
Coastal Drive & Cathedral Coves
Optional: Packed Lunch
Day 8

Scenic Drive from Dunedin to Christchurch

Embark on a scenic drive from Dunedin to Christchurch, tracing the footsteps of Scottish immigrants and uncovering the natural wonders of New Zealand's South Island. Along the way, immerse yourself in Dunedin's rich cultural heritage before traversing the picturesque landscapes of the Southern Scenic Route.


Begin your day in Dunedin, known for its strong Scottish influence and impressive architecture reminiscent of Edinburgh. Explore museums such as the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, offering insights into the city's pioneering past, and the Otago Museum, showcasing natural and cultural history.


Hit the road and travel northward from Dunedin to Christchurch via the Southern Scenic Route. As you drive, soak in the breathtaking coastal scenery and pass by iconic landmarks such as the Moeraki Boulders, large spherical rock formations scattered along Koekohe Beach.

The Muse Christchurch, or equivalent
4 Hours Drive
7 Hours
Southern Scenic Route
Optional: Orokonui Ecosanctuary
Day 9

Discovering Banks Peninsula and Akaroa

Embark on a picturesque drive to Banks Peninsula, where the stunning landscapes of rolling hills and coastal vistas await. Your destination, Akaroa, is a quaint town renowned for its French heritage, nestled in the heart of an ancient volcanic crater. Here, you'll immerse yourself in the charm of rural New Zealand, from its historic streets to the vibrant marine life in the harbor.


Your day begins with a scenic drive through the breathtaking countryside of Banks Peninsula. Upon arrival in Akaroa, take a leisurely stroll through the town, soaking in the serene atmosphere and marveling at the well-preserved colonial architecture. Visit the local cafés for a taste of the region's culinary delights, and don't miss the opportunity to learn about the area's rich history at the Akaroa Museum.


In the afternoon, embark on the Akaroa Dolphin Watching Tour, a highlight of your visit. This eco-friendly cruise offers a unique opportunity to spot the Hector's Dolphin, the world's smallest and rarest dolphin, in its natural habitat. The tour also provides chances to see other marine life, including blue penguins and New Zealand fur seals.

The Muse Art Hotel, or equivalent
3 Hours Drive
6-7 Hours
Akaroa Dolphin Watching Tour
Optional: Swim with the Dolphins
Day 10

Farewell from New Zealand: Homeward Bound

As your unforgettable journey through New Zealand comes to a close, take a moment to savor the memories and experiences that have made this trip truly exceptional. Enjoy a leisurely final breakfast at the hotel reflecting on the adventures and discoveries of your time in this beautiful country.


Your final day in Christchurch starts with a sumptuous breakfast at The Muse Art Hotel, where you can savor a diverse range of breakfast delicacies, ensuring a delightful start to your morning.


Ensure all personal belongings are packed, and travel documents are ready. Check out of your hotel and proceed to Christchurch Airport for your departure. We recommend arriving at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight to ensure a smooth check-in process..


Terms & Conditions

10 Day Tara Travel New Zealand, South Island New Zealand Road Trip Tour 24/25

Note: Instant quotes are subject to availability of specific accommodation and other inclusions. Our NZ touring experts will be in touch with you regarding this. Costs quoted in currencies other than New Zealand dollars (NZ$) are based on todays exchange rate and are subject to change. Refer to our terms and conditions.

Travel Insurance -

We strongly recommend that all travellers secure comprehensive travel insurance covering trip cancellation, medical emergencies, travel delays, and lost luggage to ensure peace of mind during your journey.

Health and Safety -

Travelers are advised to consult with a healthcare professional for recommended vaccinations and health precautions. We urge all clients to adhere to safety guidelines and instructions provided during activities and excursions.

If you have chosen to hire a rental car then you may incur a one way fee if a portion of your hire is under 7 days in total. Your sales consultant can confirm this on booking.

Remember - we can create this itinerary with any style of accommodation or customise to suit your interests and timeframe. Get in touch to build your dream holiday with us.

All indicative prices are in NZD and inclusive of GST

Cancellation and Refund Policy -

Cancellations by the client must be made in writing and are subject to the following charges:

More than 45 days prior to departure: 80% of the total booking is refunded to the client

30 -45 days prior to departure: 50% of the total booking is refunded to the client

Less than 30 days prior to departure results in no refund available.

Cancellations made by Tara will result in a full refund of any payments made specifically for the cancelled service.

Payment Terms -

A deposit of 50% is required at the time of booking, with the full balance due 45 days prior to departure. Acceptable payment methods include direct bank transfer, and credit card. Failure to make final payments by the deadline may result in the cancellation of your booking without refund.