Overview

This trip is perfect for those looking for a short holiday that will take them to the South Island of New Zealand. You will begin your self drive adventure in the city of Christchurch. Take the time to explore this fine city and visit attractions like the new ReStart Mall before driving across the Canterbury Plains and on to Lake Tekapo.

Visit the famous Mt Cook before making your way to Te Anau and enjoying a cruise of the breathtakingly beautiful Milford Sound.  Stop off in Queenstown, which is famous for its adventure activities and superb views of Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps.

Christchurch - Lake Tekapo - Te Anau- Milford Sound - Queenstown

Map of 7 Day South Island Express Self Drive
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Arrive Christchurch
Christchurch to Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo to Te Anau
Te Anau to Queenstown via Milford Sound
Queenstown
Queenstown
Depart Queenstown

Day 1

Arrive Christchurch

Day 2

Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Travel Time: 3 hrs 15 mins

Distance: 243 kms

Day 3

Lake Tekapo to Te Anau

Travel Time: 5 hrs 15 mins

Distance: 434 kms

Day 4

Te Anau to Queenstown via Milford Sound

Travel Time: 5 hrs 45 mins

Distance: 406 kms

Day 5

Queenstown

Travel Time: 4 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 404 kms

Day 6

Queenstown

Day 7

Depart Queenstown

Upon arrival in Christchurch, you will collect your rental car from the airport.  Enjoy the afternoon in the city at your own leisure for the remainder of the day.  We recommend that you visit the ReStart Mall in the city, the International Antarctic Centre or the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve.

Overnight Accommodation in Christchurch

Drive across the Canterbury Plains on this day as you make your way to the beautiful town of Lake Tekapo.  Once here, you can take your time to explore and visit such sites as the Earth and Sky Observatory, enjoy a scenic flight over Mt Cook or visit the Church of The Good Shepherd and Collie Dog Memorial.  Included in this self drive package is an entry pass to the Tekapo Hot Pools so take advantage of this while you are here!

Overnight accommodation Lake Tekapo

Leave Lake Tekapo in the morning and travel along the shores of Lake Pukaki to Mt Cook. Enjoy a short walk in the area or sign up for one of the sightseeing activities at the Hermitage Hotel.  Take your pick from various boat cruises on the Tasman Lake that will take you to see the Tasman Glacier. Other activities include ski plane flights, helicopter flights or you could visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre. After your stop at Mt Cook, you can continue over the scenic Lindis Pass and travel through the towns of Twizel and Cromwell as you head for Te Anau.

Overnight accommodation in Te Anau

Depart in the morning and travel along the scenic Milford road to the Fiordland National Park. Make sure that you stop several times along the way to make the most of the many photo opportunities of the Mirror Lakes, Lower Hollyford Track and other sights. Drive through the Homer Tunnel and enjoy a nature cruise at Milford Wharf. 

This cruise around Milford Sound takes 2 hours and your onboard guide will take you to see the best sights including waterfalls and wildlife. After your cruise, you will head back to Te Anau and travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown.

Three nights accommodation in Queenstown

Once in Queenstown, you will have the rest of the day to enjoy as many of the local activities as you can. Jetboat riding on the Shotover River, whitewater rafting, hot air ballooning and visits to the high country farm are some of the most popular activities in the area. The city also has  several ski fields open during the winter months (mid June to early October) so, if you visit during this time, you can enjoy some snow and skiing fun.

You will have an additional day to explore Queenstown and enjoy even more of the local activities. An evening ride on the Skyline Gondola up to Bob's Peak will let you enjoy the very best panoramic views of the city as well as the Remarkables mountain range. Tuck into a buffet dinner at the Skyline restaurant, at the top of Bob's Peak, before enjoying a gondola ride back down.

Enjoy your final day at leisure in Queenstown before returning your rental car and continuing with your trip or returning home. 

Day 1, Arrive Christchurch

Arrive Christchurch

Upon arrival in Christchurch, you will collect your rental car from the airport.  Enjoy the afternoon in the city at your own leisure for the remainder of the day.  We recommend that you visit the ReStart Mall in the city, the International Antarctic Centre or the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve.

Overnight Accommodation in Christchurch

Day 2, Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Travel Time: 3 hrs 15 mins

Distance: 243 kms

Drive across the Canterbury Plains on this day as you make your way to the beautiful town of Lake Tekapo.  Once here, you can take your time to explore and visit such sites as the Earth and Sky Observatory, enjoy a scenic flight over Mt Cook or visit the Church of The Good Shepherd and Collie Dog Memorial.  Included in this self drive package is an entry pass to the Tekapo Hot Pools so take advantage of this while you are here!

Overnight accommodation Lake Tekapo

Day 3, Lake Tekapo to Te Anau

Lake Tekapo to Te Anau

Travel Time: 5 hrs 15 mins

Distance: 434 kms

Leave Lake Tekapo in the morning and travel along the shores of Lake Pukaki to Mt Cook. Enjoy a short walk in the area or sign up for one of the sightseeing activities at the Hermitage Hotel.  Take your pick from various boat cruises on the Tasman Lake that will take you to see the Tasman Glacier. Other activities include ski plane flights, helicopter flights or you could visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre. After your stop at Mt Cook, you can continue over the scenic Lindis Pass and travel through the towns of Twizel and Cromwell as you head for Te Anau.

Overnight accommodation in Te Anau

Day 4, Te Anau to Queenstown via Milford Sound

Te Anau to Queenstown via Milford Sound

Travel Time: 5 hrs 45 mins

Distance: 406 kms

Depart in the morning and travel along the scenic Milford road to the Fiordland National Park. Make sure that you stop several times along the way to make the most of the many photo opportunities of the Mirror Lakes, Lower Hollyford Track and other sights. Drive through the Homer Tunnel and enjoy a nature cruise at Milford Wharf. 

This cruise around Milford Sound takes 2 hours and your onboard guide will take you to see the best sights including waterfalls and wildlife. After your cruise, you will head back to Te Anau and travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown.

Three nights accommodation in Queenstown

Day 5, Queenstown

Queenstown

Travel Time: 4 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 404 kms

Once in Queenstown, you will have the rest of the day to enjoy as many of the local activities as you can. Jetboat riding on the Shotover River, whitewater rafting, hot air ballooning and visits to the high country farm are some of the most popular activities in the area. The city also has  several ski fields open during the winter months (mid June to early October) so, if you visit during this time, you can enjoy some snow and skiing fun.

Day 6, Queenstown

Queenstown

You will have an additional day to explore Queenstown and enjoy even more of the local activities. An evening ride on the Skyline Gondola up to Bob's Peak will let you enjoy the very best panoramic views of the city as well as the Remarkables mountain range. Tuck into a buffet dinner at the Skyline restaurant, at the top of Bob's Peak, before enjoying a gondola ride back down.

Day 7, Depart Queenstown

Depart Queenstown

Enjoy your final day at leisure in Queenstown before returning your rental car and continuing with your trip or returning home. 

Additional Information

Pricing

Cost per person

May to September 2019

 Twin/Double
Standard 3-3.5 Star Accommodation From AU$2,304* per person
Superior 4 Star Accommodation From AU$2,790* per person

* PLEASE NOTE *

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.

Car Hire

  • Car hire excess fees of NZ$3500 + GST applies. This will be imprinted on a credit card upon collecting the vehicle. Excess reduction options are available at an additional cost per day. 
  • Airport/Ferry pick up fee of NZ$45+ GST applies. This must be paid direct in New Zealand. 
  • Car parking fees may apply in some locations.

Payment

  • Deposit: $200 per person at time of booking
  • Full Payment: 60 Days before travel
  • Airfares (if applicable): Paid in full no more than 6 days after 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
  • 1 Night Te Anau
  • 3 Nights Queenstown

6 days car hire (C/CDAR Toyota Corolla or Similar)

Entry to the Tekapo Hot Pools

Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Skyline Gondola and Buffet Dinner

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.

Airfares

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

Optional Extras

Exlore Christchurch

International Antarctic Centre

An incredible Antarctic experience, snow, ice and blizzard conditions with static displays including Snowcats, sled and clothing, tracing the history of exploration through to interactive data covering on-ice research as it is happening now, focusing on conservation and preservation.

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve is dedicated to preserving and promoting wildlife conservation within New Zealand. Willowbank is not a zoo, rather a reserve where you will find a wide range of New Zealand wildlife up close. It is also home to New Zealand's largest and most accessible kiwi viewing area where you can see these fascinating birds in a natural environment. Much of the other wildlife wanders free and is able to be petted and fed in natural bush surroundings.

Explore Lake Tekapo/Mt Cook

Mt Cook Scenic Flight

A “once in a lifetime” flight covering 200 kilometres of absolutely breathtaking scenery, the milky blue waters of Lake Tekapo, the Godley River, New Zealand’s highest mountains and snowfields with 12 major glaciers. Cross the Southern Alps, the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, pass close by Mt Cook and the Caroline Face then over the Tasman Glacier and Lake Pukaki before returning to Lake Tekapo.

Explore Queenstown

Hot Air Ballooning

Experience sunrise over the lakes and mountains from the serenity of a hot air balloon. Share an incredible morning with the whole family. You'll float gently with the breeze, enjoying incredible panoramic views. In-flight photos are taken during the flight & are available for purchase during a champagne style breakfast at your landing spot.

Shotover Jet

Shotover Jet is New Zealand’s most popular and instantly identified visitor activity. Nothing you have experienced will have you prepared for the excitement of a Shotover Jet ride. From the moment the accelerator hits the floor your adrenaline hits the roof as you speed through the towering, rocky canyons of the famous Shotover River. Your driver skillfully whips the boat past rocky outcrops, and skims around crags and boulders, rock faces blur in your peripheral vision, white crystals of water spray with every turn, you grip the safety rail for reassurance and let out a whoop of excitement as the driver spins the boat around in its own length and you experience the 'trademark' Shotover Jet 360° spin.

TSS Earnslaw Cruise and Walter Peak Station

Take a TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak High Country Farm - join a fascinating farm tour and enjoy a delicious morning or afternoon tea. Tour departs 10.00am, 12.00 noon and 2.00pm.

Highlights

Tekapo Hot Pools

Tekapo Springs offers 3 adjoining hot pools for you to sit back, relax and enjoy yourself while looking out to the stunning Lake Tekapo. After relaxing in the hot pools, be sure to visit Tekapo Springs' day spa, skating rink, tube park & cafe.

Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Get up close & personal with Milford Sound on this leisurely nature cruise. Experience the spray of a waterfall as you cruise close to sheer rock faces or watch out for dolphins, seals and in season, the rare Fiordland blue crested penguins.

Skyline Gondola Ride & Buffet Dinner

A great night out is to enjoy a dinner up the top of the Skyline Gondola at the Stratosfare, which serves up a mouth-watering buffet of legendary proportions. After dinner, set back & relax with a drink or cocktail fron the bar and take in the spectacular scenery before returning to Queenstown on the Gondola.

Book now, pay later No credit card required

7 Day South Island Express Self Drive

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