South Island Honeymoon

21 days of romance, luxury and adventure

New Zealand is the perfect choice to escape on your honeymoon. Breathtaking scenery, unique wildlife, hidden waterfalls, and luxurious food and accommodation. Take it easy or enjoy the many experiences on your journey around the South Island.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Gardens of Christchurch
  • Whalewatching & dolphins in Kaikoura
  • World class wines in Marlborough
  • Abel Tasman National Park
  • Fox  & Franz Josef glaciers
  • Relax by Lake Wanaka
  • Get an adrenalin rush in Queenstown
  • Cruise on the serene and beautiful Milford Sound
  • Dunedin’s Scottish heritage combined with unique wildlife
  • Scenic flight over Mt Cook

DETAILED ITINERARY

day:
Transitional Cathedral Christchurch (Photo: Canterbury Tourism)

DAY 1: Arrive Christchurch

Enjoy a leisurely arrival day in Christchurch, known as the Garden City. Take a stroll through the Botanical Gardens, enjoy a coffee at the Restart Mall, hire a punt along the River Avon, or take a city tour. Do not miss a visit to the Transitional (Cardboard) Cathedral, or for impressive views over the city take a ride on the Port Hills gondola.

Suggested Experiences:

  • City Tour
  • Port Hills Gondola
  • Antarctic Centre
  • Wildlife Parks
  • Punting on the River Avon
  • Canterbury Museum
  • Transitional Cathedral
  • Restart Mall

DAY 2: Drive Kaikoura

Take a leisurely drive north to Kaikoura. Stop off on the way for a wine-tasting at the Waipara Hills vineyard, before eventually reaching the spectacular coastline and the pretty town of  Kaikoura.  Famous for the variety of marine wildlife, you’ll have time to visit the seals and enjoy short walks on the Peninsular.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Whale watching
  • Swim with Dolphins
  • Swim or kayak with Seals
  • Albatross Encounter
  • Llama trekking
  • Quad biking
  • Sea fishing
  • Maori Tours
  • Scenic whale watch

Driving time: 2 – 3 hours

Whale-watching Kaikoura (Photo: Canterbury Tourism)

DAY 3: Kaikoura

Enjoy a full day of wildlife!  Whalewatching, swimming with dolphins or seals, or watching the soaring albatross from the safety of a boat. If you’ve time take a hike up Mt Fyffe for spectacular views over the coast and mountains, or for something different try llama trekking. You won’t go hungry if you try your hand at sea fishing, but if you prefer to stay on land Kaikoura is famous for its crayfish dining.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Whale watching
  • Swim with Dolphins
  • Swim or kayak with Seals
  • Albatross Encounter
  • Llama trekking
  • Quad biking
  • Sea fishing
  • Maori Tours
  • Scenic whale watch

DAY 4: Drive to Marlborough

On your journey north, don’t forget to stop off at Ohau Point, a favourite breeding ground for New Zealand fur seals. If the season is right,  get up close to seal pups at their crèche at beneath the waterfall of Ohau Creek.   Arrive in Marlborough just in time for a vineyard lunch or a n afternoon’s wine tour.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Ohau Point seal colony
  • Wine Tours

Driving time: 2 hours

DAY 5: Marlborough

Marlborough is not just about wine. On your doorstop are the beautiful Marlborough Sounds – perfect for a day’s cruising, or a hike along the Queen Charlotte Track. If you missed out in Kaikoura there’s another chance to see dolphins. Or for something completely different a high country a tour gives you an insight into NZ’s high country farming.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Dolphin Tours
  • Boat Cruises & Fishing
  • Hike the Queen Charlotte Track
  • Personalized Wine Tours
  • Trout Fishing
  • Eco Nature Tours
  • Molesworth Tours

DAY 6: Nelson

Drive via the Marlborough Sounds to sunny Nelson, one of the best places in New Zealand to see the sunshine.  Relax on a beach, visit the WOW Museum, or head for the hills on a mountain bike.  You’ve got two days here to enjoy the outdoors and fantastic scenery.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Abel Tasman Cruise
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • WOW Museum
  • Nelson Lakes
  • Heli-fishing
  • Wine tasting

Driving time: 2 hours

DAY 7: Nelson

An entire day to enjoy the attractions and beauty of Nelson .  You can’t leave the region without visiting the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park. Take a water taxi and do a hike along the coastal path, kayak to the seal colony, or simply relax on one of the many golden beaches.  And if that’s not enough you’ve got wine, lakes, fishing and the famous World of Wearable Art Museum.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Abel Tasman Cruise
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • WOW Museum
  • Nelson Lakes
  • Golden Bay
  • Heli-fishing
  • Wine Tasting

DAY 8: Drive to Hokitika

Leave Nelson reluctantly behind and head towards the wild west coast of the South Island. With only one main road you can’t get lost, leaving you plenty of time to marvel at the rainforest, rugged coastline and wild seas.  Don’t forget to stop at the famous Punakaiki (Panckake Rocks), eventually arriving in time for a stroll on the pebbled beach of Hokitika, home to pounamu or greenstone.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Punakaiki
  • Horseriding on the beach
  • Gold history
  • Wild west beaches

Driving time: 5 hours

 

DAY 9: Franz Josef / Fox Glacier

A relatively short drive today to Glacier Country, either overnighting at Franz Josef or at Fox Glacier.  Both places give you 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 the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, as well as around Mt Cook.  If staying in Franz Josef relax after a hard day’s hiking in the hot pools.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Heli-hike
  • Scenic flights
  • Glacier hike
  • Franz Josef Thermal Pools

Driving time: 2 hours

DAY 10: Wanaka

Before leaving Fox Glacier make sure you stop off at Lake Matheson for views of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman (on a clear day). Then head further south down the remote west coast, eventually reaching the small township of Haast.  If you fancy a short detour, drive to the remote yet picturesque settlement of Jackson Bay. Turning inland stop at the many waterfalls before heading up the twisting road to the summit of the Haast Pass, and descending along on one of the most spectacular roads to Wanaka. Take time to soak up the scenery before arriving at your accommodation in laid-back Wanaka.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Jetboat tours
  • Scenic flights
  • Wine Trails
  • Hiking & short walks
  • Heli-fishing
  • Kayaking

Driving time: 4-5 hours with detour to Jackson Bay.

Lake Wanaka (Photo: Julian Apse)

DAY 11: Wanaka

All day at leisure in Wanaka.  This is the perfect opportunity to 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 and into the forests. Alternatively, enjoy a spot of fly fishing in the lake or a heli-fish to a remote river, 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. If it’s raining head to the Cardrona Hotel for a coffee or a beer.  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, old sofas and an old car.  If you’re a child at heart you can’t miss Puzzling World and its amazing maze.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Paradiso Cinema
  • Scenic helicopter flights over Mt Aspiring
  • Lake Cruises
  • Horseriding
  • Siberia Experience
  • Jetboat & Wilderness Tour
  • Hiking
  • Mountain Biking
  • Wine Tours
  • Canyoning
Arrowtown (Photo: Destination Queenstown)

DAY 12: Queenstown

Depart Wanaka and take the spectacular route over the Crown Range to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand.  There is so much on offer in the town and outskirts that you need to plan your time well to make the most of your time here.  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. On the way, be sure to stop off at Arrowtown, an old gold town complete with fantastic museum, shops, cafes and gold-panning in the river.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Jetboating
  • Bungy jumping
  • Gondola
  • Scenic flights
  • Skyline Luge
  • TSS Earnslaw Steamship & Farm Park
  • Dart River Wilderness Tour
  • Skippers Canyon
  • Wine Tours
  • Garden Tours
  • Fishing

Driving time: 1-2 hours

DAY 13: Queenstown

A whole day to fill and you won’t be short of ideas on how to spend it.  Depending on what interests you take a half day trip to Glenorchy for a wilderness walk and jetboat ride.  If wine tasting is your thing enjoy a half day guided tour of the local vineyards, 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, or if you’re interested in gold, take a 4WD trip to Skippers Canyon.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Wilderness & Jetboat Adventures
  • Helibiking
  • Whitewater rafting
  • Horseriding
  • Wine tasting tour
  • 4WD tour
  • Gold panning in Arrowtown
  • Hiking
  • Lake cruises
  • Cafes & shopping
Cascade Creek Fiordland (Photo: Miles Holden)

DAY 14: Te Anau

Today you leave Queenstown behind and drive to the beautiful lakeside town of Te Anau, the stepping stone to Milford and Doubtful Sounds. If you arrive in the afternoon, you’ll have time for short walks around the lake, a scenic flight over the mountains, or a visit to the glow worm caves.  Don’t miss a visit to the cinema to watch the 30 min film on the Fiordlands – Ata Whenua. Alternatively, choose to spend the night on an overnight cruise on Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound, waking up on the water to the sound of silence.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Glow Worms
  • Ata Whenua Film
  • Scenic Flights
  • Guided Walks

Driving time: 2 – 3 hours

DAY 15: 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

DAY 16: Dunedin via the Catlins

Drive through the farmland of Southland to the lively town of Dunedin, steeped in Scottish history and famous for its Gothic architecture. If you’re happy to make a long day of it, take the Southern Scenic Route through the Catlins, for rugged coastline, temperate rainforest and spectacular waterfalls. Take a detour to the southernmost point of New Zealand, Slope Point. And at Curio Bay you might be lucky to spot penguins or the rare Hector’s dolphins.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Purakaunui Falls
  • Seals at Nugget Point
  • Slope Point – southernmost point of NZ
  • Hector’s dolphins at Curio Bay

Driving time: 4 – 6 hours

DAY 17: Dunedin

Good planning is needed to pack in all that Dunedin has to offer you today. Choose from horseriding on the beach, to a 4WD adventure tour to see yellow-eyed penguins and seals. Home to the National Albatross Centre, enjoy a guided tour of this fascinating facility. Stadium.  Other options include a half day scenic train journey on the Taieri Gorge Railway, a visit to New Zealand’s only castle – Larnach, or learning more about the early settlers at the Otago Museum.  If chocolate and beer are your passions, take a tour of the Speight’s Brewery or visit Cadbury World.

Suggested Activities:

  • Royal Albatross Centre
  • Speights Brewery Tours
  • Cadbury World
  • Horseriding
  • Wildlife Tours
  • 4WD Adventures
  • Taieri Gorge Railway
  • Olveston
  • Otago Museum
  • Chinese Gardens

DAY 18: Mt Cook

Time to head North towards Oamaru.  But not before coffee or even lunch at the world-famours Fleur’s Place, before marvelling at the Moeraki Boulders nearby.   Head further to Oamaru, famous for the beautiful white stone and beautiful architecture.  Then head inland along the Waitaki River to Omarama.  If you’ve time it’s worth taking a short detour to visit the interesting rocky outcrops – the Clay Cliffs. Your journey takes you past the hydro lakes near Twizel as Mt Cook looms in the distance, your destination for the night.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Moeraki Boulders
  • Fleurs Place
  • Clay Cliffs Omarama

Driving Time: 3 – 4 hours

DAY 19: Mt Cook

All day to enjoy the beauty of Mt Cook and the surrounds. If the weather is clear, take a once in a lifetime scenic helicopter or fixed wing flight around Mt Cook with a snow landing. Or get up close to the Tasman Glacier on cruise on the glacial lake. Horseriding, hiking or simply taking in the views are all highlights.

Suggested Experiences: 

  • Scenic flights with snow landing
  • Horseriding
  • Hikes – short & long
  • Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre
  • Kayak or cruise on the glacial lakes
  • 4WD tours

DAY 20: Drive to Christchurch

Leaving the beautiful Mt Cook behind you, drive to the beautiful Lake Tekapo, stopping to visit the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd and the bronze statue of a sheepdog in tribute to the working dogs that have helped farmers in this region over the years. Drive up and over Burke’s Pass to the delightful small towns of Fairlie and Geraldine, before arriving at Christchurch late afternoon.

Suggested Experiences:

  • Church of the Good Shepherd
  • Tekapo  Springs
  • Scenic Helicopter Flights

Driving time: 4 hours

Restart Mall Christchurch (Photo: Canterbury Tourism)

DAY 21: 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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