2-Week Road Trip Driving Itinerary in New Zealand ( South Island)

in travel •  7 months ago

Dear steemit friends,

You might probably remember that I recently traveled through new Zealand (south island) and I want to share our 2 week self drive itinerary. Planning a trip months ahead is one of my favorite activities that I love doing , although at times it can be stressful , because the time were never enough with the activities that you want to do .So in this itinerary I have narrowed down what might be some of the best places that the south island offers.I hope you find this useful if you are planning to visit in the future.

Car Rental

We rented our car through expedia , it was extremely affordable. The company is called Lucky Rental, although the reviews that we found on the internet were not very good, our experience with the car was nice and we were happy with our rental experience.


Since there were 7 of us, we mostly stayed in a rented house ( booked through booking.com). All of the houses had fully equipped kitchen and washing machine etc which was really nice . If you are staying in hostels/holiday parks, the cost of washing machine per wash or dryer is $4 each. Also the accommodation in Zealand can get fully booked very fast as there are not many options , so I recommend to book months in advance.


We traveled at the beginning of March ( end of summer, start of fall season in NZ). Although it was sunny hot most days, at the same time very freezing so I highly suggest to bring layers.

The following itinerary starts and ends at Christchurch which is a city where we flew in and out but this can be done starting from Queenstown to Queenstown or Christchurch to Queenstown vice versa. OR since these are mostly mountain route, you can also cut down a few days on some days and add other places that you would like.

  • Day 1 - Christchurch (one night )
  • Day 2 & 3 - Twizel ( two nights)
  • Day 4 & 5 - Cromwell ( two nights)
  • Day 5 & 6 - Te Anau ( two nights)
  • Day 7 - Kingston (one night)
  • Day 8 & 9 - Queenstown ( two nights)
  • Day 10 & 11 - Glacier( two nights)
  • Day 12 - Greymouth or Arthur pass ( one night)
  • Day 13 - Akaroa ( one night)
  • Day 14 - Christchurch

Day 1-2: Christchurch

We didn't do much on Christchurch as we wanted to have a rest day before we headed for the rest of the places. . Although Christchurch is the main and biggest city in the South Island, there aren't many exciting places or things to do but if you are looking for good views.. you can head out to Christchurch Gondola.

Day 2 & 3 - Twizel

Distance: 285km | Driving time: 3hr 30min

new zeland south island 2 weeks self drive itinerary 1.png

We based ourselves in Twizel town because accommodations around Lake Tekapo/ Pukaki area were very limited/expensive. Although there are tons of lakes around South island and they are all beautiful, the water color of Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki are especially stunning.

Lots of things to see around this area!

new zeland south island 2 weeks self drive itinerary 2.png

TOP THINGS TO DO around Twizel region

  • Rakia Gorge
  • Lake Tekapo
  • The Church of the Good Shepherd
  • Mount John Observatory - $8 per vehicle
  • Lake Pukaki
  • Visit Tasman Lake and Glacier
  • Hooker Valley track
  • Kea point Hike


Twizel Holiday Park

Day 4 & 5 - Cromwell/Wanaka

Distance: 139km | Driving time: 1 hr 30 min

Again we stayed in cromwell because the accomodation in wanaka were double the price . Wanaka is an expensive town like Queenstown because the place being a ski resort. But We love Cromwell , it's a lovely little town and the town center has several food options.

new zeland south island 2 weeks self drive itinerary 3.png

TOP THINGS TO DO around Cromwell

  • Clay cliff
  • Lake Wanaka
  • Lake Hawea
  • The Wanaka Tree
  • Rippon- the vineyard
  • Mt iron trail hike
  • Mt Aspiring national park
  • Wanaka Lavender farm


Gavan Family Apartments

Day 5 & 6 - Te Anu

Distance: 220km | Driving time: 2hr 40 min

Te Anau is the nearest town to the famous Milford Sound. If you are short of time, you can take a day trip from Queenstown to Milford sound. There are a lot of company available to do the Milford sound tour. But it would be a long ass day as the distance between the two is very far for a day trip.

new zeland south island 2 weeks self drive itinerary 4.png


  • Mirror lake
  • Eglinton Valley
  • Hollyford Valley Lookout
  • The Key Summit Track
  • Milford sound
  • Lake Tea Anu lake and glow worm cave
  • Lake Manapouri
  • Doubtful sound


Manapouri Lakeview Motor Inn

Day 7 - Kingston

Distance: 126km | Driving time:1 hr 25 min

Another option for you if you couldn't find accommodation in Queenstown or they are out of your budget! OR just want to break your journey You can get the whole lake Wakatipu to yourself or share the same lake with a whole bunch of others at Queenstown.The only thing is there isn't any supermarket nearby , the nearest is at Queenstown (45 min drive) which can be very scary to drive at night . So I highly recommend to pack lots of food if you are coming from Te Anu or Queenstown.


  • Kingston old railway station
  • Lake Wakatipu


Kingston Holiday Park

Day 8 & 9 - Queenstown

Distance: 50 km | Driving time: 45 min

Queenstown is also known as the adventure capital of the world. You can find all sorts of adventurous activities like sky diving, bungee jumping etc here and everyone seemed to love it so much. For me , it was beautiful town and okay probably because I have no interest in all those adventurous activities or the price tag that they came with it! But I highly recommend to book all the activities you want to do in advance as they can get fully booked. Or prepare extra days for the weather if you really must do certain activities as the wind can be pretty unpredictable over there.

new zeland south island 2 weeks self drive itinerary 5.png


  • Drive to Glenorchy
  • Visit Historic Arrowtown
  • Skyline Gondola
  • Try Adrenalin Activities


Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park

Day 10 & 11 - Glacier Country (Franz Joseph + Fox Glaciers)

Distance: 350km | Driving time: 4hr 50 min

You can either choose to say in either Franz Jospeh or Fox Glacier town. Yes the town names are the same with the name of the glaciers. Franz Jospeh is the bigger town of the two but still very small town. Again , the famous and most popular activities is to do Glacier Heli Hiking and it again require advance booking. When we arrived there , the tour was fully booked for the next couple of days ( it was pretty expensive like almost $500) ...

But we went on a helicopter landing ( not the same with Glacier heli hiking ) at last minute and had a great time.

new zeland south island 2 weeks self drive itinerary 6.png

TOP THINGS TO DO around Franz Joseph + Fox Glaciers

Explore the Glaciers
Lake Matheson
Glacier Hot Pools


We stayed at an airbnb house just outside of Franz Jospeh town . As it was last minute booking and didn't really have much option for us, but i wouldn't recommend the place we stayed as I find them to be expensive.

Day 12 - Greymouth or Arthur pass

Distance: 177km | Driving time: 2 hr 25 min

If you are going back to Christchurch from Glacier , you can break the journey at Greymouth or Arthur pass. Initially, I have booked accommodation at Arthur pass but made last minute changes as one of us wanted to stay at a house. Greymouth is just an industrial town and nothing much to see. We also made a visit to Punakaiki Pancake Rocks which is awesome rock formation from the ocean. Westcoast of South island is also wonderful and after traveling many days through mountains, it was finally nice to see the ocean. But water is cold and super windy, just to take note!

new zeland south island 2 weeks self drive itinerary 7.png

Day 13 - Akaroa

Distance: 300km | Driving time: 4hr

Akaroa is a small seaside town and harbor near to Christchurch. It is a historic French and British settlement town and there are lots of cute cafes. But first, it has to drive to drive through mountains because it's New Zealand and there are mountains everywhere.

One of the top activities you can do here is swimming with Hector’s dolphins which are the world’s rarest and smallest dolphins.

new zeland south island 2 weeks self drive itinerary 8.jpg

Day 14 - Christchurch

Distance: 80km | Driving time: 1 hr 25 min

Our journey ended at Christchurch.

Of course, this road trip itinerary doesn’t cover everything New Zealand’s South Island has to offer but I think these are some of the best places in South island and I hope you find this itinerary useful.

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thanks a lot! appreciate your support.

Omg!! You always really amazed me. You deserved a curie vote. I love it. You should invite your colleagues in steemit hehe


thanks a lot! I hope curies find its way like you mentioned. I have told them multiple times.. but they aren't interested on creating contents/ or the thought of engaging. although a few of them created account, but hey steemit require consistency and dedication.


Finally, they approved it!! Really glad, you deserved it. :-)


Today is my lucky day. Thanks a lot and appreciate your support.


Yes, no worries. You also helped me a lot and inspired me to do more. :)


I will reesteem your post and try to submit it to the some of the curies, hopefully they will really like it, I liked it so much, its more complete and detailed post. :-)

Yes, indeed! But as you go along with steemit, you can say to yourself that STEEMIT IS REALLY BEAUTIFUL.

You are one of my inspiration of taking blogs too. As you can see to me lately, I haven’t engage to this kind of posting, but yeah, now I do. ;-)


thanks a lot.. I didn't know you can submit to curies, how can I do that?


Yeah!! You're welcome. Do you have a discord account? I will invite you to their group. :)

Wow!!! So wonderful places. Beautiful clicks mam. 😍 You enjoyed your vacation a lot it's clearly shown. you are looking really cute mam. be happy & keep smiling.☺

Wow this looks like an epic trip! NZ is high on my list and this was a great guide to get started with planning. Also, absolutely beautiful images :)


hello chase! appreciate coming from you. New Zealand is a very beautiful country..

We LOVE your photography!

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Wow 2 week Road trip in amazing NZ. You are so lucky to witness beautiful nature. By the way you crafted this post so good that I got mermerized!


thanks a lot and appreciate your kind words..

wow ,you have described it perfectly.i would like to plan the similar trip.
seems you have enjoyed alot


thanks and glad u find it useful.


it is usefull
it will give an idea to plan a beautifull trip as i haven't visited any foreign country yet

Newzealand looks like the heaven in the world. I really amazed to see it's beauty and I appreciate your choice to choose Newzealand for travelling. The natural beauty of Newzealand is really amazing. If I get a chance there visit here.


It's very beautiful country.

wow this is sound like one of the best trips

thank you very much for sharing all this info , wonder if i will ever get to New Zealand


it's a country very far away .. except from Australia. don't worry there are lots of other beautiful countries.. if you want to go.

I am amazed after watching so beautifull pictures where you really visited 😊. Stay blessed and have fun.


thank you for the well wishes. Have a nice day.

I have always (after LOTR at least🙈) wanted to travel to NZ! The nature and views are so beautiful there.

The biggest problem is, that the distance between Finland and NZ is soooo long (flight lasts minimum 24h) so it's really expensive to travel there; flight tickets from HEL to AKL cost atleast 1000€ and more if you want a shorter flight that 30-50h.

Anyways, if I would ever be able to travel there, these tips would sure be useful. I always like to get to know the destination before going there by reading these kinds of travel posts.


I totally understand, nz in generally is very expensive to fly into as its location is so far. Hope you get to visit there and likewise for me I want to visit Finland.


I suggest that if you ever travel here, you should come in the summer when the nature is the most beautiful! Or if you neccessarily want to see the winter and snow, go to Lapland, since it's never sure if we'll get snow or not in southern parts.

All these places are so beautiful! A well deserved roadtrip for any traveler 💚


that's for sure!

Awesome your photography with nature,,,,,
i love traveling...I appreciate your choose Newzealand for travelling.
Thanks for sharing...


thank you for taking your time to read.

Wow I can't get over the colour of that sea !! Its so turquoise, it looks idyllic!


yeah it was so beautiful but the wind can be also scary..


True! Amazing place, would love to go!

A very enjoyable trip. I am curious How much money do you spend to make a trip like this.


thank you.. not gonna lie, it is indeed expensive...

Awesome your photography. i love traveling Thanks for sharing


What a nice place .. your photos always make me wanna go there 😫

New Zealand is a beautiful country. But I did not know that it would be beautiful. I'm pretty surprised to see your posting pictures. Mam is so beautiful a place for you.


wow really nice place. amazing photography. enjoy your travel. have a great day. thanks for @aburmeseabroad

Very great travel report! Thank for this detailed road trip review and your amazing pictures. New Zealand is on our bucket list, so we like to read about this mysterious island.

Kindly greetings from the Van


Hope you get to make it there very soon. And thank you for checking my blog.

Wow the South island definitely gives a different vibe from the North! So many useful tips ! If by any chance we can go back and do the South we will definitely use your post :D


I have heard they both offer different experiences.

really beautiful lake blue water pukaki make everyone interested, my @aburmesbroat congratulate on the way greeting steemit for friends here


the blue water is so unreal!

The landscapes are amazing, you offered very useful tips. I am glad you had a wonderful time there. Best wishes, my dear!


hope you are enjoying your holidays, s weet!

Hello sis very long time i am go away now i come back for you ...thanks for all sis


hey thanks for checking it out and taking ur time to comment.

Nice pictures! it has always been my dream to go to New Zealand..thanks for sharing!

I do not read any of your writing anymore, but I focus on looking at your beautiful photos and beautiful and very beautiful place, between your beauty with the place is very suitable

Good post

Very nice place in South Africa's South bip. Your posting pictures are very nice. I want to go one day to thank you for sharing it with us.

သမီးေလးကို vote ေပးပါ Number 3 https://steemit.com/steem/@kengtong/please-vote-for-candidate-number-3 thank you 🙏 very very much


You have a minor misspelling in the following sentence:

Again we stayed in cromwell because the accomodation in wanaka were double the price .
It should be accommodation instead of accomodation.