Christchurch (Point J on Map)
On arrival collect your campervan, motor home or rental car from one of the many providers situated close to the international airport. It is now time to explore the tree lined streets and riverbeds of this stunning city. Internationally famed as the ‘Garden City’, Christchurch’s well established parks and gardens provide much for the eager traveller to explore. Being the largest city in the South Island, Christchurch hosts many cosmopolitan shopping and dining districts alongside a rich history of early European settlement. It is easy to get lost following the main Avon river as it winds itself through the city’s parks, but take time to note the new buildings which will revolutionise this city after the earthquakes of the past.
Christchurch acts as the gateway for all Antarctic exploration, and as a result offers an exciting and invigorating icy experience for travellers at the local Antarctic Centre. The Christchurch Museum, which is framed by the stunning Botanical gardens is well worth a visit. Learn about this city’s unique past and promising future direction within the inviting exhibits. Christchurch hosts many popular cultural events throughout the year including; the International Buskers Festival, Ellerslie Flower Show and the Winter Carnival. These events capture the true imaginative essence of the locals and allow you to immerse yourself in the charm of this city.
Lake Tekapo (Point B)
A breathtaking drive through rugged inland Canterbury will deliver you to your next destination – Lake Tekapo. The quaint township sits nestled on the edge of this richly turquoise coloured lake, and faces the stunning mountainous allure of the Southern Alps. Take time to explore the beautiful scenery at the lakes edge, using one of the many walking tracks which guide you to experience the views of the Mackenzie basin.
The intensely stunning scenery of Lake Tekapo is equally matched by the interesting history of the area and its first inhabitants. Used primarily for sheep grazing, the mountainous landscape played an important role in the country’s agricultural history. Make sure you visit the infamous sheepdog monument which pays its respects to the hard working dogs who helped to pioneer this agriculture movement.
Wanaka (Point C)
Wanaka offers the eager traveller an opportunity to embrace the great outdoors or slip into a state of pure relaxation. The township of Wanaka lies on the shores of the dramatic lake which, surrounded by mountains and untouched forest, provides the perfect backdrop for an adventure into the wilderness to begin. Fishing and boating on this crystal lake is a favourite experience for both locals and tourist alike, while the more adventurous enjoy spectacular scenery from a free fall sky dive! Venture into the native bush on horse back, or try your hand at skiing on one of the two closely situated mountain slops.
Lake Wanaka also hosts many inviting local shops, cafes and restaurants. The fresh cuisine offered by the locals will tantalise and excite your taste buds. Plan your holiday around this township’s world renowned air show – War Birds Over Wanaka – which will take you back in time and provide you with new memories that will last a life time.
Day Four and Five
Queenstown (Point D)
Welcome to one of New Zealand’s top tourist destinations! Queenstown offers both breathtaking natural scenery and adrenaline pumping excitement for those thrill seekers among us! Situated on the shoreline of the idyllic Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is sheltered by the sheer rugged beauty of the Remarkable mountain range.
The lake and mountainous natural environment make this town a perfect match for all kinds of adventure. Jump head first into one of the area’s spectacular rivers in an exhilarating bungy jump, river raft through the rocky outcrops, swing from each side of the canyon, and finish with an incredible ski down the mountain’s edge. If hardcore adventure isn’t for you, Queenstown has plenty of more subdued options to explore. There are walking tracks, sightseeing tours, boat trips that take you lazily across the lake or spoil yourself with indulging in spa treatments and boutique shopping sprees.
Te Anau (Point E)
The stunning glacial lake of Te Anau laps at the shore of this small township. The lake itself, is the largest of all southern lakes and is placed in between rolling hills and dramatic mountains. Te Anau offers the traveller an opportunity to explore this beautiful aquatic wonderland by canoe or boat. Te Anau is also your first taste of the rich Fiordland National Park, which hosts many endangered native bird species and truly magnificent flora and fauna. Take time out to delve into the cool caves set in the ancient rocky peaks and discover glow worms which will delight all members of the family. Te Anau is truly a place of pure relaxation amongst the most idyllic scenery.
Day Seven and Eight
Milford Sound (Point F)
Your journey to this enchanting town sets the scene for what is to come. The road winds itself through deep forest, dramatic mountain ranges, and passes crystal clear lakes ending in the approach to Homer Tunnel. Milford Sound awaits your arrival on the other side of this rugged mountain passageway. This tiny but beautiful township is known as the gateway to the Fiordland National Park, an area of untouched, pristine native forest. Explore this natural wonderland by boat in one of the many cruises which operate from the town jetty, or, opt for an aerial view in a flight seeing experience you will never forget. Whatever mode of transport you select, you can be assured that you will encounter natural delights, the likes of which you have never seen before. Powerful waterfalls, impressive mountainous peaks and sheer rock faces that drop into the deepest corners of the fiord all await you.
Milford Sound is also host to what has been described as the finest walk in the world. The Milford Track takes you into the depths of the forest and leads you to discover the most remarkable and untouched beauties of this National Park.
Queenstown (Point G)
Your return to the adrenaline capital of New Zealand provides you with an opportunity to explore some of the nearby townships which offer a rich range of experience to discover. If you’re a fan of the Lord of the Rings don’t miss out on an opportunity to journey into the depths of Middle-earth. Take a guided tour and traverse some of the magnificent hills and rocky outcrops that were in the films.
Just twenty minutes from Queenstown, the tree lined township of Arrowtown allows you to be immersed in a rich gold mining history. Discover the deeply interesting past of this area at the museum or try your hand at gold panning!
The area surrounding the city of Queenstown also hosts many wineries which make for a delightful day out. Enjoy some of New Zealand’s best produce while taking in breath taking views from these hill top vineyards.
Day Ten and Eleven
Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers (Point H)
Known as the most accessible glaciers in the world, Fox and Franz Joseph are awarded the additional honour of being a part of the Westland National Park. This area is rich in both rainforest and native bush, housing endangered birds, diverse plant life and of course the dramatic icy splendour which is these glacial wonders.
The longest of all West Coast glaciers, Fox and Franz Joseph’s mighty rivers move ice from the dramatic Southern Alps right to a keen travellers doorstep. Base yourself in either of these small, but delightful townships and set yourself ready for an encounter which you shall never forget. Explore the icy peaks and fiords through a guided walk, heli-hike or scenic flight experience.
Greymouth (Point I)
Situated on the rugged West Coast, the city of Greymouth holds a rich history. The largest of all West Coast townships, Greymouth was the base for many goldminers in the historical Gold Rush era. Visit the local museum or nearby Shantytown which takes visitors back in time and allows them to explore the gold mining techniques of yesteryear. Greymouth also has a tradition of brewing beer and the local brewery is legendary within New Zealand. Enjoy a tasting tour and sample some of the traditional ales.
Day Thirteen and Fourteen
Christchurch and Akaroa (Point J)
Head back though the Southern Alps to Christchurch to further immerse your self in this city’s charms. Take an early morning visit to the local farmers and produce markets which are held throughout the city, but namely in the port of Lyttelton. Sample New Zealand’s finest cheeses, wines and fruit while enjoying the company of the city’s locals.
A trip to the Christchurch region is not complete without a journey to the Peninsula. The stunning rocky hills hide secluded bays, areas of rich native bush, and walks which will take the visitor on a spectacular visual adventure. One of the bays of the Peninsula which is well worth a visit is Akaroa. Situated on the edge of a striking harbour, inside an extinct volcano, Akaora is the most French town in New Zealand. Settled by French settlers in 1840, the town is elegantly set amongst historic buildings and restaurants with a focus on French cuisine. Enjoy the harbour on board a boat cruise where you may spot dolphins, penguins and seals.