Overview

Journey across majestic mountains and breathtaking alpine lakes on this 7 day Mountains and Lakes South Island family self drive tour from the dynamic city of Christchurch to the Adventure Capital of Queenstown. Experience a unique close up encounter with rare yellow eyed penguins in Dunedin, a trip highlight the kids will surely enjoy.

The adventure continues in Queenstown where you see its mountains and lake from up above riding the Skyline Gondola. Finish off with a cruise across the stunning Lake Wakatipu on your way to Walter Peak High Country Station for a farm tour and kiwi style BBQ lunch. 

Christchurch - Lake Tekapo - Dunedin - Queenstown

Map of 7 Day Mountains and Lakes South Island Family Self Drive
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View itinerary for day 2
View itinerary for day 3
View itinerary for day 4
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View itinerary for day 6
View itinerary for day 7
Arrive Christchurch
Christchurch to Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo to Dunedin
Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula
Dunedin to Queenstown
TSS Earnslaw cruise and Walter Peak Farm tour including gourmet BBQ lunch
Depart Queenstown

Day 1

Arrive Christchurch

Day 2

Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Travel Time: 3 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 257 kms

Day 3

Lake Tekapo to Dunedin

Travel Time: 3 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 315 kms

Day 4

Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula

Day 5

Dunedin to Queenstown

Travel Time: 3 hrs 30 mins

Distance: 282 kms

Day 6

TSS Earnslaw cruise and Walter Peak Farm tour including gourmet BBQ lunch

Day 7

Depart Queenstown

Welcome to Christchurch City!

Christchurch, New Zealand's garden city is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. Take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights - or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY: Hop On Hop Off City Tour - 24 hour ticket

Stay overnight in Christchurch

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains along the inland scenic route the first township of Geraldine offers an ideal refreshment stop before you head into Mackenzie country.

Passing through places such as Beautiful Valley it's not hard to understand where the names originate. Ascending Burkes Pass and onto the high country plateau and the picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, the first of the large Southern Lakes. 

Tekapo Springs Hot Pools

Tekapo Springs offers three adjoining main Hot Pools for you to sit back, relax and enjoy yourself while looking out to the beautiful Two Thumb range and stunning Lake Tekapo. 

Stay overnight at  Lake Tekapo

Today you'll leave Mt Cook National Park and travel past Twizel, Omarama, and Waitaki Valley. Stretch your legs in Oamaru.

Continue south down the coast to Moeraki, and take a detour towards the beach to see the Moeraki Boulders, a unique geological feature well worth a look. As you arrive in Dunedin, take in the city’s Edwardian and Scottish heritage reflected in the buildings around the city centre - The Octagon.

Toitū Otago Settlers Museum

Learn about the people whose character, culture, technology, art, fashion, and transport shaped New Zealand’s First Great City – Dunedin. 

Suggested activity - Otago Museum

Stay 2 nights in Dunedin

Known as the Edinburgh of the South, Dunedin City has a heavy scottish influence. Surrounded by rugged coastal plains and windswept beaches it’s home to an eclectic mix of historical and modern architecture as well as industrial technology. Renowned for its Flemish Baroque-inspired ‘gingerbread house’ Railway Station, this university town is bustling with life. 

Penguin Place Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve

Learn about about the endangered Yellow Eyed Penguin when you visit Penguin Place, a private conservation reserve dedicated to ensuring the survival of this unique species. 

This drive takes you through the heart of the historical Otago Goldfields. The townships of Lawrence, Roxburgh and Alexandra - once booming mining towns in the late 1800's gold rush - now sleepy sun-traps bearing the little resemblance to their bustling past. However, some buildings do remain as do the original shafts and workings. The road follows the South Island's longest river, the Clutha River, and at Clyde you will see one of the largest hydro power stations harnessing its energy before passing through the Gibbston Wine Valley to arrive at your destination today, Queenstown.

Skyline Gondola

Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere - and take in the awe-inspiring views of this spectacular landscape. 

Stay 2 nights in Queenstown

Enjoy a quintessential Kiwi experience - a delicious barbeque lunch and farm tour in a stunning lakeside setting. First take a scenic cruise from Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm on board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw - one of the last remaining fully functional coal-fired passenger ships in the southern hemisphere.

Disembark and take in the picturesque shores of the Station. Relax on the lakeside terrace at the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant and savour the aromas of the best local produce being cooked the grill. The seasonal menu has plenty to choose from - salads, vegetables and succulent meat. If you’re vegetarian, you will be well catered for also. Finish your meal with a scrumptious dessert before joining an entertaining farm demonstration or exploring the beautiful lakeside gardens.

Your final morning in Queenstown before driving to the airport and catching your next flight.

Depending on when your flight departs you might have time for one last Queenstown adventure before dropping your car off at the airport and catching your flight.

Day 1, Arrive Christchurch

Arrive Christchurch

Welcome to Christchurch City!

Christchurch, New Zealand's garden city is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. Take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights - or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY: Hop On Hop Off City Tour - 24 hour ticket

Stay overnight in Christchurch

Day 2, Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Travel Time: 3 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 257 kms

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains along the inland scenic route the first township of Geraldine offers an ideal refreshment stop before you head into Mackenzie country.

Passing through places such as Beautiful Valley it's not hard to understand where the names originate. Ascending Burkes Pass and onto the high country plateau and the picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, the first of the large Southern Lakes. 

Tekapo Springs Hot Pools

Tekapo Springs offers three adjoining main Hot Pools for you to sit back, relax and enjoy yourself while looking out to the beautiful Two Thumb range and stunning Lake Tekapo. 

Stay overnight at  Lake Tekapo

Day 3, Lake Tekapo to Dunedin

Lake Tekapo to Dunedin

Travel Time: 3 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 315 kms

Today you'll leave Mt Cook National Park and travel past Twizel, Omarama, and Waitaki Valley. Stretch your legs in Oamaru.

Continue south down the coast to Moeraki, and take a detour towards the beach to see the Moeraki Boulders, a unique geological feature well worth a look. As you arrive in Dunedin, take in the city’s Edwardian and Scottish heritage reflected in the buildings around the city centre - The Octagon.

Toitū Otago Settlers Museum

Learn about the people whose character, culture, technology, art, fashion, and transport shaped New Zealand’s First Great City – Dunedin. 

Suggested activity - Otago Museum

Stay 2 nights in Dunedin

Day 4, Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula

Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula

Known as the Edinburgh of the South, Dunedin City has a heavy scottish influence. Surrounded by rugged coastal plains and windswept beaches it’s home to an eclectic mix of historical and modern architecture as well as industrial technology. Renowned for its Flemish Baroque-inspired ‘gingerbread house’ Railway Station, this university town is bustling with life. 

Penguin Place Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve

Learn about about the endangered Yellow Eyed Penguin when you visit Penguin Place, a private conservation reserve dedicated to ensuring the survival of this unique species. 

Day 5, Dunedin to Queenstown

Dunedin to Queenstown

Travel Time: 3 hrs 30 mins

Distance: 282 kms

This drive takes you through the heart of the historical Otago Goldfields. The townships of Lawrence, Roxburgh and Alexandra - once booming mining towns in the late 1800's gold rush - now sleepy sun-traps bearing the little resemblance to their bustling past. However, some buildings do remain as do the original shafts and workings. The road follows the South Island's longest river, the Clutha River, and at Clyde you will see one of the largest hydro power stations harnessing its energy before passing through the Gibbston Wine Valley to arrive at your destination today, Queenstown.

Skyline Gondola

Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere - and take in the awe-inspiring views of this spectacular landscape. 

Stay 2 nights in Queenstown

Day 6, TSS Earnslaw cruise and Walter Peak Farm tour including gourmet BBQ lunch

TSS Earnslaw cruise and Walter Peak Farm tour including gourmet BBQ lunch

Enjoy a quintessential Kiwi experience - a delicious barbeque lunch and farm tour in a stunning lakeside setting. First take a scenic cruise from Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm on board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw - one of the last remaining fully functional coal-fired passenger ships in the southern hemisphere.

Disembark and take in the picturesque shores of the Station. Relax on the lakeside terrace at the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant and savour the aromas of the best local produce being cooked the grill. The seasonal menu has plenty to choose from - salads, vegetables and succulent meat. If you’re vegetarian, you will be well catered for also. Finish your meal with a scrumptious dessert before joining an entertaining farm demonstration or exploring the beautiful lakeside gardens.

Day 7, Depart Queenstown

Depart Queenstown

Your final morning in Queenstown before driving to the airport and catching your next flight.

Depending on when your flight departs you might have time for one last Queenstown adventure before dropping your car off at the airport and catching your flight.

Additional Information

Pricing

 

Cost per Person

 Twin/DoubleFamily Share**
Motel Accommodation from NZ$1,682* per person from NZ$1,164* per person

** Family share is based on 2 adults and 2 children (5-14 years)

* PLEASE NOTE

Price is based on two adults sharing a rental car and accommodation (twin/double-share).

Prices are estimates only, and are subject to availability and exchange rates when booking, seasonal or holiday price surcharges (such as Christmas/New Year and Easter); as well as special events that may be on. Please forward a request and we will be happy to forward a quote.

Payment

  • Deposit: 20% of the package cost or NZ$250 per person (whichever is the greater) at time of booking
  • Full Payment: 45 Days before travel
  • Airfares (if applicable): Paid in full at the time of booking

Cancellation Charges

  • Cancellation Fees up to 100% can apply after booking. Extra deposits or full payment may be requested to cover these charges prior to booking
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Includes

Includes:

6 nights accommodation

  • 1 night Christchurch
  • 1 night Lake Tekapo
  • 2 nights Dunedin
  • 2 nights Queenstown

Rental Car Hire

  • Rental car insurance included: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible.
  • Rental car inclusions: GPS navigation. unlimited kms,airport/ferry terminal fees, additional drivers.

Private airport transfers

Tekapo Springs Hot Pools

Penguin Place, Dunedin

TSS Earnslaw cruise and BBQ lunch at Walter Peak high country farm

Queenstown Skyline Gondola

Options

Itineraries

All itineraries can be amended or combined with other itineraries. Please advise amendments when requesting a quote.

Travel Insurance

If you are going overseas, then travel insurance is a necssity. Compare rates and polices online and get a free travel insurance quote.

Accommodation

There is a choice of accommodation available on all packages, which depending on locations, includes motels, 3 star hotels, 4 star hotels, boutique lodges & hotels and luxury lodges and hotels. We are happy to quote on alternate accommodation requests.

Airfares

International flights can be included from Australia for all Australian residents.

Optional Extras

Discover Christchurch Double-Decker Bus Tour

Discover the true magic of city sightseeing on-board this city tour bus. With a mix of open and closed top buses, you will ride in comfort and style, enjoying spectacular views. Join friendly local guides as they take you on a journey of discovery through Christchurch. Listen to "live" entertaining and informative commentary and learn about the fascinating history, from pioneering days to modern times.

Highlights

Tekapo Springs Hot Pools

Tekapo Springs offers three adjoining main Hot Pools for you to sit back, relax and enjoy yourself while looking out to the beautiful Two Thumb range and stunning Lake Tekapo. Pool temperatures range from forty degrees celsius to thirty-six degrees celsius and each pool offers something different - massage jets to assist in taking away any aches and pains and fountains to splash under.

From Dunedin

Penguin Place

Learn about the endangered Yellow Eyed Penguin when you visit Penguin Place, a private conservation reserve dedicated to ensuring the survival of this unique species. The project is entirely funded by guided tours which allows the conservation team to engage in habitat restoration, predator control, a research program and on-site rehabilitation care for the sick starving and wounded birds.

Cadbury World tour

Discover the inner workings of one of the most known chocolate brands, Cadbury. Learn about how this iconic chocolate is created and sample some of the elements in the chocolate making process. You'll watch chocolate being tempered and also have the chance to make a little creation of your own. The tour concludes in true Willy Wonka fashion as you watch the Cadbury chocolate waterfall.

From Queenstown

TSS Earnslaw cruise and BBQ lunch at Walter Peak high country farm

Enjoy a quintessential Kiwi experience - a delicious barbeque lunch and farm tour in a stunning lakeside setting. First take a scenic cruise from Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm on board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw - one of the last remaining fully functional coal-fired passenger ships in the southern hemisphere.

Skyline Gondola

Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere - and take in the awe-inspiring views of this spectacular landscape. Sit back and relax as you enjoy panoramic views of The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak and Coronet Peak - one of Queenstown's Ski field.

Book now, pay later No credit card required

7 Day Mountains and Lakes South Island Family Self Drive

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