Overview

The “adventure capital” of Queenstown is a fitting starting point for a 9 Day Queenstown to Wellington Adventure Self Drive touring holiday of South Island highlights all the way to Wellington City, the “coolest little capital” of New Zealand across Cook Strait. Immerse yourself in the vast open spaces and stunning wilderness of South Island and enjoy fun-filled activities along the way to make this tour truly unforgettable. 

Itineraries

All itineraries can be done in the reverse direction, amended or combined with other itineraries. Please advise amendments when requesting a quote.

Queenstown - Franz Josef Glacier - Christchurch - Kaikoura - Wellington

Map of 9 Day Queenstown to Wellington Adventure Self Drive
View itinerary for day 1
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
View itinerary for day 8
View itinerary for day 9
Arrive Queenstown
Milford Fly-Cruise-Fly & Dart River Safari
Explore Queenstown
Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)
Explore Glaciers
Franz Josef to Christchurch via Tranz Alpine Scenic train
Christchurch to Kaikoura
Kaikoura to Wellington
Depart Wellington

Day 1

Arrive Queenstown

Day 2

Milford Fly-Cruise-Fly & Dart River Safari

Day 3

Explore Queenstown

Day 4

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

Travel Time: 4 hrs 30 mins

Distance: 350 kms

Day 5

Explore Glaciers

Day 6

Franz Josef to Christchurch via Tranz Alpine Scenic train

Travel Time: 2 hrs 15 mins

Distance: 173 kms

Day 7

Christchurch to Kaikoura

Travel Time: 2 hrs 30 mins

Distance: 179 kms

Day 8

Kaikoura to Wellington

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 137 kms

Day 9

Depart Wellington

Welcome to Queenstown. You will be met from your flight and transferred to your Queenstown hotel.

Renowned for its adrenaline inducing activities 'Queenstown' is synonymous with adventure. Parked on the shores of Lake Wakatipu this small alpine town is nestled below soaring vistas of The Remarkables Mountain Range. While arguably the brightest gem in New Zealand’s crown, Queenstown offers far more than an action-packed getaway.

Stay 3 nights in Queenstown

Experience the magic of the south when you choose this spectacular all day excursion. Take a scenic flight from Queenstown to magnificent Milford Sound for awe-inspiring views of the mountains, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park. You’ll then cruise the length of the sound with its tumbling waterfalls and towering peaks before returning by plane to Glenorchy. Break for lunch before joining Dart River Safaris on an adventure through the untouched wilderness of a World Heritage Area. End your day with a scenic coach trip back to Queenstown.

Collect your rental car 

Explore Queenstown and surrounds 

Head down the Gibbston valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw - to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.

Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka) 

From Queenstown you'll cross the Crown Range - the highest sealed road in New Zealand - to arrive in the Alpine town of Wanaka, gateway to Mt Aspiring national park. Skirting the shores of both Lake Wanaka and Hawea, you will enter the small town of Makarora. Stop at Blue Pools for a ten minute minute walk through native beech forest to a glacier-fed swimming hole. Continue on through the remote seaside settlement of Haast before heading up the wild West Coast - a 600 km stretch of bush and native rainforest. Fox Glacier welcomes you first, then comes your destination for the night - Franz Josef township.

Stay 2 nights in Franz Josef (or Fox Glacier)

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk 

On this relaxing walk you’ll wander through regenerating rainforest alongside the Waiho Riverbed, following the path of the glacier as it winds its way through the landscape. Learn about the glacier’s history and role in shaping this remarkable area. As you approach the terminal face you’ll have the chance to venture beyond the public barriers and see this magnificent river of ice up close. You’ll also have the chance to access exclusive trails and hear the maori legend of Ka Roimata O Hine Hukatere.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight 

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch 

Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island through the Arthur's Pass National Park from the west coast to the east.

From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

On arrival into the Christchurch train station you will be met by a private transfer driver and taken to your accommodation.

Stay overnight in Christchurch 

Collect your rental car 

The drive north from Christchurch to Kaikoura takes you through the rolling hills of North Canterbury's major wine region, the Waipara Valley. Allow time for a detour and visit Hanmer Springs for a dip in the mineral hot pools. Continue on and cross the Hawkswood Range before descending to the spectacular Kaikoura coastline - where the road hugs the ocean for the last leg of the drive.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Whale Watch Kaikoura

Stay overnight in Kaikoura

Today follow the coast to Picton, located at the top of the North Island. 

Interislander ferry Picton to Wellington 

The 92 km journey between Picton and Wellington takes around 3 hours and has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'. Around one hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds. 

From the Cook Strait, spectacular views of the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island can be enjoyed and often dolphins and sea birds are seen. After crossing the strait you approach Wellington Harbour and pass many interesting points.

You will be met on arrival into Wellington and transferred to your hotel.

Stay overnight in Wellington

Private transfer Wellington hotel to Airport 

You will be collected from your Wellington hotel and transferred to the airport.

Day 1, Arrive Queenstown

Arrive Queenstown

Welcome to Queenstown. You will be met from your flight and transferred to your Queenstown hotel.

Renowned for its adrenaline inducing activities 'Queenstown' is synonymous with adventure. Parked on the shores of Lake Wakatipu this small alpine town is nestled below soaring vistas of The Remarkables Mountain Range. While arguably the brightest gem in New Zealand’s crown, Queenstown offers far more than an action-packed getaway.

Stay 3 nights in Queenstown

Day 2, Milford Fly-Cruise-Fly & Dart River Safari

Milford Fly-Cruise-Fly & Dart River Safari

Experience the magic of the south when you choose this spectacular all day excursion. Take a scenic flight from Queenstown to magnificent Milford Sound for awe-inspiring views of the mountains, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park. You’ll then cruise the length of the sound with its tumbling waterfalls and towering peaks before returning by plane to Glenorchy. Break for lunch before joining Dart River Safaris on an adventure through the untouched wilderness of a World Heritage Area. End your day with a scenic coach trip back to Queenstown.

Day 3, Explore Queenstown

Explore Queenstown

Collect your rental car 

Explore Queenstown and surrounds 

Head down the Gibbston valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw - to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.

Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

Day 4, Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

Travel Time: 4 hrs 30 mins

Distance: 350 kms

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka) 

From Queenstown you'll cross the Crown Range - the highest sealed road in New Zealand - to arrive in the Alpine town of Wanaka, gateway to Mt Aspiring national park. Skirting the shores of both Lake Wanaka and Hawea, you will enter the small town of Makarora. Stop at Blue Pools for a ten minute minute walk through native beech forest to a glacier-fed swimming hole. Continue on through the remote seaside settlement of Haast before heading up the wild West Coast - a 600 km stretch of bush and native rainforest. Fox Glacier welcomes you first, then comes your destination for the night - Franz Josef township.

Stay 2 nights in Franz Josef (or Fox Glacier)

Day 5, Explore Glaciers

Explore Glaciers

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk 

On this relaxing walk you’ll wander through regenerating rainforest alongside the Waiho Riverbed, following the path of the glacier as it winds its way through the landscape. Learn about the glacier’s history and role in shaping this remarkable area. As you approach the terminal face you’ll have the chance to venture beyond the public barriers and see this magnificent river of ice up close. You’ll also have the chance to access exclusive trails and hear the maori legend of Ka Roimata O Hine Hukatere.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight 

Day 6, Franz Josef to Christchurch via Tranz Alpine Scenic train

Franz Josef to Christchurch via Tranz Alpine Scenic train

Travel Time: 2 hrs 15 mins

Distance: 173 kms

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch 

Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island through the Arthur's Pass National Park from the west coast to the east.

From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

On arrival into the Christchurch train station you will be met by a private transfer driver and taken to your accommodation.

Stay overnight in Christchurch 

Day 7, Christchurch to Kaikoura

Christchurch to Kaikoura

Travel Time: 2 hrs 30 mins

Distance: 179 kms

Collect your rental car 

The drive north from Christchurch to Kaikoura takes you through the rolling hills of North Canterbury's major wine region, the Waipara Valley. Allow time for a detour and visit Hanmer Springs for a dip in the mineral hot pools. Continue on and cross the Hawkswood Range before descending to the spectacular Kaikoura coastline - where the road hugs the ocean for the last leg of the drive.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Whale Watch Kaikoura

Stay overnight in Kaikoura

Day 8, Kaikoura to Wellington

Kaikoura to Wellington

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 137 kms

Today follow the coast to Picton, located at the top of the North Island. 

Interislander ferry Picton to Wellington 

The 92 km journey between Picton and Wellington takes around 3 hours and has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'. Around one hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds. 

From the Cook Strait, spectacular views of the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island can be enjoyed and often dolphins and sea birds are seen. After crossing the strait you approach Wellington Harbour and pass many interesting points.

You will be met on arrival into Wellington and transferred to your hotel.

Stay overnight in Wellington

Day 9, Depart Wellington

Depart Wellington

Private transfer Wellington hotel to Airport 

You will be collected from your Wellington hotel and transferred to the airport.

Additional Information

Pricing

Cost per Person

 Twin/Double
Motel Accommodation from NZ$3,021* per person

* 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:

9 nights accommodation

  • 3 nights Queenstown
  • 2 nights Franz Josef
  • 1 night Christchurch
  • 1 night Kaikoura
  • 1 night Wellington

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

Milford Fly-Cruise-Fly and Dart River Safari

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

Tranz Alpine Scenic Train Greymouth to Christchurch

Interislander Ferry Picton to Wellington

Options

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.

Highlights

Milford Fly-Cruise-Fly and Dart River Safari

Experience the magic of the south when you choose this spectacular all day excursion. Take a scenic flight from Queenstown to magnificent Milford Sound for awe-inspiring views of the mountains, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park. You'll then cruise the length of the sound with its tumbling waterfalls and towering peaks before returning by plane to Glenorchy. Break for lunch before joining Dart River Safaris on an adventure through the untouched wilderness of a World Heritage Area. End your day with a scenic coach trip back to Queenstown.

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

On this relaxing walk, you'll wander through regenerating rainforest alongside the Waiho Riverbed, following the path of the glacier as it winds its way through the landscape. Learn about the glacier's history and role in shaping this remarkable area. As you approach the terminal face, you'll have the chance to venture beyond the public barriers and see this magnificent river of ice up close. You'll also have the chance to access exclusive trails and hear the Maori legend of Ka Roimata O Hine Hukatere.

With 1 guide for every 13 guests, this 3 hour trip ensures you gain an in-depth knowledge about this unique region.

Tranz Alpine Scenic Train Greymouth to Christchurch

Considered one of the worlds great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train trip operates between Christchurch and Greymouth and vice versa. Crossing from the Tasman Sea through to Arthur's Pass National Park. From your carriage enjoy views of the lush rain forest of the West Coast to the spectacular mountains of the Southern Alps. Travel through gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River.

Interislander Ferry Picton to Wellington

The 92 km journey between Picton and Wellington takes around 3 hours and has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'. Around one hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds. This region of bush covered mountains, small islands, crystal clear waters and secluded bays is a true photographic opportunity. From the Cook Strait spectacular views of the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island can be enjoyed and dolphins and many sea birds are often seen. After crossing the strait you approach Wellington Harbour and pass many interesting points such as Pencarrow Head on top of which is New Zealand's oldest lighthouse (1859). Red Rocks is home to a seal colony and Oterangi Bay is the site which recorded the countries highest ever wind speed of 268 kph (167 mph).

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9 Day Queenstown to Wellington Adventure Self Drive

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