🇳🇿NEW ZEALAND SOUTH

Kepler Track, New ZealandNew Zealand’s South Island is one of the most naturally spectacular places on Earth. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget. Here’s my New Zealand South blog post and here below is your New Zealand South itinerary:

Luxury Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand
1 ✈To Christchurch (Book >) Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2-3 Arr: Morning 🏨The George (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy a relaxing day in Christchurch recovering from your long journey. Stroll in the Botanic Gardens, see the Victoria Clock Tower, admire the ingenuity of the Cardboard Cathedral and see the Antarctic artefacts in the Canterbury Museum. If you’re from a visa waiver country you don’t need to apply until you arrive in New Zealand
4 🚗Christchurch to Kaikoura drive (Hire car >)
🚗Kaikoura to Nelson drive
Dep: 09:30

Dep: 15:30

Arr: 12:00

Arr: 18:45

🏨Parautane Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Arrive in Kaikoura in time to get the 12:45 whale watching boat tour. Sperm whales are resident year-round and so you’re all but guaranteed to get a sighting. Take motion sickness tablets if needed – you’ll be on the sea
5 🚗Nelson to Kaiteriteri drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 10:00 🏨Split Apple Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
A short drive to Kaiteriteri from where you can take a water taxi onto the perfect beaches of Abel Tasman. Spend the day hiking, or maybe hire a kayak for a few hours. There aren’t any shops in the national park so bring food and water.
6 🚗Kaiteriteri to Hokitika drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 17:00 🏨Rimu Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Just over 5 hours of driving, broken up with a visit to Punakaiki where you can admire the pancake rocks and blowholes. Give yourself plenty of time to get between destinations – you’ll want to stop frequently for beautiful views.
7 🚗Hokitika to Franz Josef drive Dep: 12:00 Arr: 14:00 🏨Franz Josef Oasis (Book >) All hotels >
Start your day with a 30 min drive to Hokitika Gorge where you can walk 15 mins to a spectacular swing bridge. In Franz Josef you’ll arrive in time for the 14:15 glacier valley hike (or maybe splash out on a heli hike). Wear plenty of sunscreen – not only is there less ozone above NZ, the snow makes the sun extra strong.
8 🚗Franz Josef to Wanaka drive Dep: 14:00 Arr: 19:00 🏨Lime Tree Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Spend the first part of your day hiking up to the Fox Glacier. Then, on the drive to Wanaka, stop off at the many photogenic spots along the road. The Department of Conversation provides a wealth of info on hiking.
9 A day off from driving to enjoy the glorious hiking around Lake Wanaka. Keep an eye on the weather.
10 🚗Wanaka to Te Anau drive Dep: 07:00 Arr: 10:15 🏨Various trail huts (Book >)
Wake early to get to the start of the Milford or Kepler tracks. Book your place in the trek huts as far in advance as possible.
11-12 Congratulations, you’re on some of the most incredible hikes in the world! You’ll see immense snowy mountains, peaceful lakes and beautiful forests. Read more info here for the Milford Track and here for the Kepler. You can’t buy food on the treks, so think carefully about what to bring (this site gives a good idea).
13 🚗Te Anau to Manipouri drive Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨Acheron Cottages (Book >) All hotels >
See the immense Milford Sound on a fjord cruise (just under 2 hours from Te Anau, last departure is 3pm), then drive to nearby Manipori – just 20 mins from Te Anau. This is another opportunity to add a day to your trip if you want to take it easy post-trek.
14 🚗Manipouri to Invercargill drive Dep: 15:30 Arr: 17:30 🏨The Lodges (Book >) All hotels >
Today you’ll go on an 8-hour (starting at 07:15) exploration of remote Doubtful Sound. Your tour will take you by boat over Lake Manipouri, over Wilmott Pass and then kayak along the sound itself. Invest in a dry bag in which to keep your camera (they’re inexpensive).
15 ⛴️Invercargill to Stewart Island ferry (Book >) Dep: 08:45 Arr: 10:45 🏨Stewart Island Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
From Oban on Stewart Island you have a choice of tours, including to Ulva Island. Be sure to get a ticket that includes the bus to Bluff.
16 ⛴️Stewart Island  to Invercargill ferry (Book >)
🚗Invercargill to Queenstown drive
Dep: 08:00
Dep: 10:30
Arr: 10:00
Arr: 13:00
🏨Queenstown Park Boutique (Book >) All hotels >
 Queenstown is the adventure sports capital of New Zealand. There is a veritable smorgasbord of activities here. Make sure that your insurance covers you for the various adventures sports on offer here.
17 A full day to indulge in any more of the activities here, including some amazing hikes. At night take your car out of town for some breathtaking star-gazing.
18 🚗Queenstown to Twizel drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 11:30 🏨Matuka Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve checked in head to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and walk beneath New Zealand’s highest mountain. Go to the National Park visitor’s centre for a great view from the picture window.
19-20 🚗Twizel to Chirstchurch drive
✈Christchurch to home (Book >)
Dep: 10:00
Dep: Evening
Arr: 13:45
Arr: Morning (next day)
Connect this New Zealand South itinerary with the New Zealand North, Australia or Fiji & Samoa itinerary
Give yourself plenty of time to return the car to Christchurch.
Mid-range Milford Sound, New Zealand
1 ✈To Christchurch (Book >) Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2-3 Arr: Morning 🏨Colombo In The City (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy a relaxing day in Christchurch recovering from your long journey. Stroll in the Botanic Gardens, see the Victoria Clock Tower, admire the ingenuity of the Cardboard Cathedral and see the Antarctic artefacts in the Canterbury Museum. If you’re from a visa waiver country you don’t need to apply until you arrive in New Zealand
4 🚗Christchurch to Kaikoura drive (Hire car >)
🚗Kaikoura to Nelson drive
Dep: 09:30

Dep: 15:30

Arr: 12:00

Arr: 18:45

🏨The Sails Nelson (Book >) All hotels >
Arrive in Kaikoura in time to get the 12:45 whale watching boat tour. Sperm whales are resident year-round and so you’re all but guaranteed to get a sighting. Take motion sickness tablets if needed – you’ll be on the sea
5 🚗Nelson to Kaiteriteri drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 10:00 🏨Kimi Ora Eco Resort(Book >) All hotels >
A short drive to Kaiteriteri from where you can take a water taxi onto the perfect beaches of Abel Tasman. Spend the day hiking, or maybe hire a kayak for a few hours. There aren’t any shops in the national park so bring food and water.
6 🚗Kaiteriteri to Hokitika drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 17:00 🏨Stopforths Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
Just over 5 hours of driving, broken up with a visit to Punakaiki where you can admire the pancake rocks and blowholes. Give yourself plenty of time to get between destinations – you’ll want to stop frequently for beautiful views.
7 🚗Hokitika to Franz Josef drive Dep: 12:00 Arr: 14:00 🏨Franz Josef Oasis (Book >) All hotels >
Start your day with a 30 min drive to Hokitika Gorge where you can walk 15 mins to a spectacular swing bridge. In Franz Josef you’ll arrive in time for the 14:15 glacier valley hike (or maybe splash out on a heli hike). Wear plenty of sunscreen – not only is there less ozone above NZ, the snow makes the sun extra strong.
8 🚗Franz Josef to Wanaka drive Dep: 14:00 Arr: 19:00 🏨West Meadows Motel (Book >) All hotels >
Spend the first part of your day hiking up to the Fox Glacier. Then, on the drive to Wanaka, stop off at the many photogenic spots along the road. The Department of Conversation provides a wealth of info on hiking.
9 A day off from driving to enjoy the glorious hiking around Lake Wanaka. Keep an eye on the weather.
10 🚗Wanaka to Te Anau drive Dep: 07:00 Arr: 10:15 🏨Various trail huts (Book >)
Wake early to get to the start of the Milford or Kepler tracks. Book your place in the trek huts as far in advance as possible.
11-12 Congratulations, you’re on some of the most incredible hikes in the world! You’ll see immense snowy mountains, peaceful lakes and beautiful forests. Read more info here for the Milford Track and here for the Kepler. You can’t buy food on the treks, so think carefully about what to bring (this site gives a good idea).
13 🚗Te Anau to Manipouri drive Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨Acheron Cottages (Book >) All hotels >
See the immense Milford Sound on a fjord cruise (just under 2 hours from Te Anau, last departure is 3pm), then drive to nearby Manipori – just 20 mins from Te Anau. This is another opportunity to add a day to your trip if you want to take it easy post-trek.
14 🚗Manipouri to Invercargill drive Dep: 15:30 Arr: 17:30 🏨Tower Lodge Motel (Book >) All hotels >
Today you’ll go on an 8-hour (starting at 07:15) exploration of remote Doubtful Sound. Your tour will take you by boat over Lake Manipouri, over Wilmott Pass and then kayak along the sound itself. Invest in a dry bag in which to keep your camera (they’re inexpensive).
15 ⛴️Invercargill to Stewart Island ferry (Book >) Dep: 08:45 Arr: 10:45 🏨Bay Motel (Book >) All hotels >
From Oban on Stewart Island you have a choice of tours, including to Ulva Island. Be sure to get a ticket that includes the bus to Bluff.
16 ⛴️Stewart Island to Invercargill ferry (Book >)
🚗Invercargill to Queenstown drive
Dep: 08:00
Dep: 10:30
Arr: 10:00
Arr: 13:00
🏨Queenstown Park Boutique (Book >) All hotels >
Queenstown is the adventure sports capital of New Zealand. There is a veritable smorgasbord of activities here. Make sure that your insurance covers you for the various adventures sports on offer here.
17 A full day to indulge in any more of the activities here, including some amazing hikes. At night take your car out of town for some breathtaking star-gazing.
18 🚗Queenstown to Aoraki/Mt Cook drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 12:15 🏨Aoraki Court (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve checked in head out into Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and walk beneath New Zealand’s highest mountain. Go to the National Park visitor’s centre for a great view from the picture window.
19-20 🚗Aoraki/Mt Cook to Chirstchurch drive
✈Christchurch to home (Book >)
Dep: 09:15
Dep: Evening
Arr: 13:45
Arr: Morning (next day)
Connect this New Zealand South itinerary with the New Zealand North, Australia or Fiji & Samoa itinerary
Give yourself plenty of time to return the car to Christchurch.
Budget Mount Cook, New Zealand
1 ✈To Christchurch (Book >) Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2-3 Arr: Morning 🏨Dorset House Backpackers (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy a relaxing day in Christchurch recovering from your long journey. Stroll in the Botanic Gardens, see the Victoria Clock Tower, admire the ingenuity of the Cardboard Cathedral and see the Antarctic artefacts in the Canterbury Museum. If you’re from a visa waiver country you don’t need to apply until you arrive in New Zealand
4 🚌Christchurch to Kaikoura bus (Book >) Dep: 07:00 Arr: 09:50 🏨Albatross Backpackers Inn (Book >) All hotels >
Arrive in Kaikoura in time to get the 10:00 or 12:45 whale watching boat tour. Sperm whales are resident year-round and so you’re all but guaranteed to get a sighting. Later in the afternoon hire a kayak or walk along the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway. Take motion sickness tablets if needed – you’ll be on the sea
5 🚌Kaikoura Blenheim bus (Book >)
🚌Blenheim to Nelson bus (Book >)
Dep: 10:30
Dep: 13:30
Arr: 12:25
Arr: 15:15
🏨Bridge Backpackers (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy the quaint city of Nelson or walk to dramatic Harwoods Hole. This blog post has good advice on Nelson cheap eats.
6 Take the 07:30 bus to Marahau and enjoy several hours of hiking or kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park. The bus returns at 16:10. There aren’t any shops in the national park so bring food and water.
7 🚌Nelson to Franz Josef bus (Book >) Dep: 07:15 Arr: 17:04 🏨Glow Worm Accommodation (Book >) All hotels >
Relax on the coach and watch the wild West Coast scenery fly by. Remember to pack some lunch and snacks – the coach may stop at expensive rest stops.
8 You have a full day in which to enjoy the hikes around Franz Josef Glacier. Wear plenty of sunscreen – not only is there less ozone above NZ, the snow makes the sun extra strong.
9 🚌Franz Josef to Wanaka bus (Book >) Dep: 08:00 Arr: 14:46 🏨YHA Wanaka (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy a spectacular journey then take yourself out on one of the many hikes around Lake Wanaka. The Department of Conversation provides a wealth of info on hiking.
10 🚌Wanaka to Queenstown bus (Book >) Dep: 10:00 Arr: 11:50 🏨Adventure Queenstown (Book >) All hotels >
Work your way through the large list of adventure sports around Queenstown, including some amazing hikes. Make sure that your insurance covers you for the various adventures sports on offer here.
11 🚌Queenstown to Te Anau bus (Book >) Dep: 06:45 Arr: 09:10 🏨Various trail huts (Book >)
Wake early to get to the start of the Milford or Kepler tracks. There are also coaches at 07:05 and 07:20. Book your place in the trek huts as far in advance as possible.
12-13 Congratulations, you’re on some of the most incredible hikes in the world! You’ll see immense snowy mountains, peaceful lakes and beautiful forests. Read more info here for the Milford Track and here for the Kepler. You can’t buy food on the treks, so think carefully about what to bring (this site gives a good idea).
14 🚶/🚌To Milford Sound hike/bus (Book >)
🚌Milford Sound to Te Anau bus (Book >)
Dep: 10:00

Dep: 15:25

Arr: 13:10

Arr: 17:00

🏨YHA Te Anau (Book >) All hotels >
If you’re on the Milford Track you’ll walk in to Milford Sound, if you’re on the Kepler then you’ll need to take the coach from Te Anau. See the immense Milford Sound on a fjord cruise. This is another opportunity to add a day to your trip if you want to take it easy post-trek.
15 🚌Te Anau to Queenstown bus (Book >) Dep: 17:20 Arr: 19:35 🏨Adventure Queenstown (Book >) All hotels >
Today you’ll go on an 8-hour (starting at 07:15) exploration of remote Doubtful Sound. Your tour will take you by boat over Lake Manipouri, over Wilmott Pass and then kayak along the sound itself. Invest in a dry bag in which to keep your camera (they’re inexpensive).
16 A full day to indulge in more of the activities in Queenstown. The weather can effect which activities are running.
17 🚌Queenstown to Mt Cook bus (Book >) Dep: 07:30 Arr: 12:15 🏨YHA Mt Cook (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve checked in head out into Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and walk beneath New Zealand’s highest mountain. Go to the National Park visitor’s centre for a great view from the picture window.
18 🚌Mt Cook to Christchurch bus (Book >) Dep: 14:45 Arr: 19:20 🏨Dorset House Backpackers (Book >) All hotels >
Get in your last hike in New Zealand before journeying back to Christchurch. Make sure that your insurance covers you for the various adventures sports on offer here.
19-20 ✈Christchurch to home (Book >) Dep: Evening Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this New Zealand South itinerary with the New Zealand North, Australia or Fiji & Samoa itinerary
The bus to the airport takes 30 minutes.

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