Adventure in the South

Enjoy adventure and the outdoors in the South Island of New Zealand

14 days of adventure, magical scenery and a little adrenalin in the southern half of New Zealand’s South Island


  • Visit some of the South Island’s most special locations
  • Travel through diverse landscapes, from mountains to fiords to rugged coastlines
  • Get up close to Mt Cook
  • Check out the wildlife in Otago
  • Marvel in the peace of ancient rainforests
  • Enjoy adrenaline activities in Queenstown
  • Hike on a glacier
  • Visit some of New Zealand’s award winning restaurants
  • Relax on the TranzAlpine train as you pass stunning scenery


Christchurch Gondola


Enjoy a leisurely arrival day in Christchurch.  Take a stroll through the Botanical Gardens, enjoy a coffee at the Restart Mall, go punting on the River Avon, or take a city tour. Visit the Transitional (Cardboard) Cathedral, or for impressive views over the city take a ride on the Port Hills gondola.

Suggested Experiences:

  • City Tour
  • Gondola
  • Antarctic Centre
  • Wildlife Parks
  • Punting on the Avon
  • Day trip to Akaroa
Glacier Explorers on Tasman Lake (Photo: Canterbury Tourism)

DAY 2: Drive to Mt Cook

Leaving Christchurch take the Inland Scenic Route through Fairlie and Geraldine  to Tekapo.  Visit the Church of our Good Shepherd, before continuing to Mount Cook Village.  Enjoy short walks around the village, or visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Museum.  If the weather is clear it’s perfect for a scenic flight with a fixed-wing aeroplane or helicopter.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Thermal pools
  • Scenic helicopter  or airplane flight
  • Horseriding
  • Glacier tour by boat
  • Sir Edmund Hillary Museum

Driving time: 4 hours

Moeraki Boulders, Otago

DAY 3: Drive to Dunedin

Head south through the Mackenzie Country and North Otago to the coast, eventually reaching the pretty town of Oamaru.  Wander through the streets and marvel at the white Oamaru Stone, before heading further south with a stop at the Moeraki Boulders.  Lunch or coffee at the world-famous Fleur’s Place, before continuing onto Dunedin.  The city is a lively University Town, with bars, cafes and restaurants, and is steeped in Scottish history.

Driving time: 3 – 4 hours

Yellow-eyed penguin

DAY 4: Dunedin

An action packed day awaits. Horseriding on the beach, 4WD adventures, yellow-eyed penguins and seals. Home to the National Albatross Centre, enjoy a guided tour of this fascinating facility. Other options include a scenic train journey on the Taieri Gorge Railway, a visit to New Zealand’s only castle – Larnach.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Royal Albatross Centre
  • Horseriding on the beach
  • Wildlife Tours
  • 4WD Adventures
  • Taieri Gorge Railway
  • Olveston House
  • Otago Museum

DAY 5: Drive to Te Anau

Take the Southern Scenic Route through the Catlins, for rugged coastline, temperate rainforest and refreshing waterfalls. Alternatively, take the shorter route to get you to Te Anau by the afternoon, giving you time for short walks around the lake, or a visit to the glow worm caves.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Seals at Nugget Point
  • Hector’s dolphins at Curio Bay
  • Glow worms
  • Ata Whenua film
  • Scenic flights

Driving Time: 4 – 6 hours

Kayaking in Milford Sound

DAY 6: Milford Sound

Today you visit the world famous Milford Sound.  Hand over the driving to the experts, who will give you a guided tour, stopping at points of interest on the way.  At Milford Sound enjoy a nature cruise out to the Tasman Sea, and a visit to the underwater observatory.  Alternatively, spend your day kayaking on the water instead, hopefully with a chance to get up close and personal with dolphins and seals.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Milford Sound Nature Cruise
  • Scenic Helicopter Flights
  • Milford Sound Kayaking
Paragliding in Queenstown

DAY 7: Queenstown

Depart Te Anau and take the beautiful route to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand.    If you arrive in time for lunch you’ve got all afternoon free, perhaps for a leisurely ride in the gondola, a scenic flight, a quick bungy jump or jetboat ride, or just relax in the cafes and shopping of Queenstown.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Shotover Jet
  • Bungy jumping
  • Gondola
  • Kawerau Jet
  • Scenic flights

Drive time:  2 – 3 hours

Shotover Jet (Photo: Ngai Tahu Tourism)

DAY 8: Queenstown

A whole day to pack full of adventure. Take a half day trip to Glenorchy for a wilderness walk and jetboat, or a 4WD trip to Skippers Canyon. If you enjoy wine a half day guided tour of the local vineyards is a must, and if you’re into the maximum in adrenalin rush, take a combi of jet boat, helicopter and white water rafting.  If you love mountain biking why not do a helibike tour.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Dart River Adventures
  • Helibiking
  • Whitewater rafting
  • Canyon Swing
  • Horseriding
  • Wine tasting tour
Matukituki River (Photo: Camilla Stoddart)

DAY 9: Wanaka

Drive via Arrowtown over the spectacular Crown Range Road to picturesque Wanaka, stopping for a coffee or a pint at the Cardrona Hotel.  Chill out at the many cafes, take a stroll along the lakeside or fly over Mt Aspiring in a helicopter.  Make sure you visit the quirky Paradiso cinema, complete with bean bags and old sofas.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Paradiso Cinema
  • Cardrona Pub
  • Scenic flights
  • Lake cruise
  • Horseriding

Driving time: 1 hour

Mountain biking in Wanaka

DAY 10: Wanaka

Get your hiking boots on and do one of the many hikes in this region – Rob Roy Glacier is to be recommended.  Mountain biking is a dream – hire a bike and take yourself off around the many trails around the lake. Alternatively, enjoy a spot of fly fishing or take an all-day multi-activity trip of a scenic flight, hike and a jetboat.  Canyoning and kayaking are also popular, as is horseriding.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Siberia Trip
  • Wilderness Journeys
  • Canyoning
  • Fishing
  • Mountain biking
  • Scenic helicopter flight
Photo: Franz Josef Glacier

DAY 11: Franz Josef

Leave Wanaka reluctantly behind and drive over the Haast Pass to the wild West Coast. Stop at the various waterfalls along the way,  and if you’ve time and the weather is good take a detour to the remote settlement Jackson Bay, before returning and driving north to Fox Glacier.  Make sure you take time to visit the glacier, then drive to Lake Matheson for views of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman.  Your overnight accommodation is in Franz Josef.

Drive time:  3 – 5 hours

Glacier Trek

DAY 12: Franz Josef

All day in Franz Josef, and the perfect opportunity to enjoy a guided hike on the glacier.  If you haven’t already taken a helicopter, now’s the time  to make the most of a fantastic trip over not only the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, but also around Mt Cook.  Relax after a hard day’s hiking in the hot pools.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Heli-hike
  • Scenic flights
  • Glacier Hike
  • Franz Josef Thermal Pools
(Photo: TranzAlpine)

DAY 13: TranzAlpine to Christchurch

Drive north, stopping first in the capital of greenstone or pounamu, Hokitika.  Take time to embrace the sea air of the wild west beaches with rolling surf, before dropping your car off at Greymouth train station, in time to take the beautiful TranzAlpine train to Christchurch.  The scenery will amaze you – tunnels, gorges, high peaks and alpine splendour.  Arrive in Christchurch in time for a well-earned farewell dinner.

Suggested Experiences:

  • TransAlpine Train

Driving time: 2 – 3 hours

Transitional Cathedral Christchurch (Photo: Canterbury Tourism)

DAY 14: Depart Christchurch

Depending on your flight departure time you might still have time for last minute shopping in the Restart Mall, or a stroll through Hagley Park.  Or enjoy a couple of hours at the Antarctic Centre just next to the airport.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Restart Mall
  • Hagley Park & Botanical Gardens
  • Antarctic Centre


At Greenstone Travel we offer total flexibility. All our vacations are tailored to include accommodation and experiences that appeal to you. This sample itinerary is a great starting point, so please contact us so we can customize it according to your individual preferences.

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