One Week In New Zealand | South Island Itinerary

Length: 9 Days

Location: South Island: Christchurch, Tekapo, Mt Cook, Dunedin, Queenstown.

Best Months for this Tour: November, February or April

Suggested For: Families, Couples and Groups of Friends

Natural Attractions: Grass Plains, Glacial Fed Lakes, Rugged Beaches, Glaciers, Rocky Outcrops, Wildlife

Day 1 - Christchurch

Arrive in the beautiful garden city and gateway to the South Island. When you fly in, if there are clear skies, be sure to look out your window and you will see the breath taking Southern Alps marking the spine of the South Island. Closer to Christchurch you will witness the Canterbury Plains with its unmistakable irrigation circles.

Collect Transport: Whether you've chosen a self-drive or privately guided tour, a Cloud Travel representative will always be waiting in Christchurch, our home town, to welcome you like an old friend.

Suggested Activities:

  • Check in to your accommodation and put your feet up; you just flew a long way, it's time to recover.


Accommodation – Customer Favourites:


For the Love of Food:

Day 2 – Christchurch – Akaroa – Christchurch (Drive Time – 3 Hours Return)

Road Trip Highlights: Birdlings Flat, Little River, Hilltop Tavern

Akaroa is a beautiful French Settlement located on Banks Peninsula. After going past Birdlings Flat and searching through the pebbles for gemstones of all different colours, you can head to Little River and enjoy a mid-morning coffee. Then back into your chariot and head over the volcano wall of Banks Peninsula into the beautiful seaside settlements. Take a stop at Barrys Bay Cheese to purchase some locally made blocks of cheese for the rest of your journey. You will then follow the road around the bays until you arrive in quaint Akaroa. Check out the Giants House, walk along the waterfront, browse for handcrafted goods in the local stores, or pop over to the lighthouse for some amazing photos.

Suggested Activities:


Suggested Walks:

  • Onawe Peninsula: Sacred Maori Site – 1 hr (please respect Maori Culture and do not eat on the site, also avoid High Tide)


Accommodation – Customer Favourites: Make it an overnight stay.


For the Love of Food:

Day 3 – Tekapo (3.5 Hours Drive)

Road Trip Highlights: Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo is based in the Mackenzie Basin of the South Island and is infamous in the New Zealand history books. James Mckenzie was a shepherd, and he was very good at it to. With the help of his trusty sheep dog named Friday, he managed to steal 1,000 sheep from a station in Canterbury, from there he made a run for Otago, all the while discovering the most effective route through the centre of the South Island and taking part in a Hollywood…New Zealand style chase. After initially getting caught around Lake Tekapo, Mckenzie managed to escape his captors' multiple times this led to him becoming a local folk hero and he was finally set free. Tekapo is now known for its pristine blue lake and amazing star gazing – a tip, on a clear starry night find somewhere dark and watch one spot in the sky for at least 5 minutes and you'll be almost guaranteed to see a shooting star!

Suggested Activities:

  • Air Safaris: Take to the sky and traverse the Southern Alps of New Zealand, taking pictures of the eye candy this stunning mountain range has on display all year round. Snow Capped Mountains…always.
  • Star Gazing Tour: Take a more professional approach to looking at the stars and head to the mountains.


Suggested Walks:


Accommodation – Customer Favourites:


For the Love of Food:

Day 4 – Tekapo – Mount Cook – Tekapo (2.5 Hours Return)

Road Trip Highlights: Lake Pukaki, Mount Cook, Hooker Glacier or Tasman Glacier

Mount Cook National Park holds a special place in the heart of all locals, to the Maori people it goes by the name of 'Aoraki', the tallest of the three brothers that are the sons of the Earth Mother and Sky Father that created this world. In English, it is named after James Cook, who is considered to be the founder of the European colonies that settled this majestic land. Apart from being steeped in history, it's natural beauty is truly supernatural, with glaciers on either side that make for unforgettable walks and Lake Pukaki resting at its feet, this sacred site will leave you speechless.

Note: Fill with gas on this day.

Suggested Activities:

  • Glacier Explorer: Leaving from the Hermitage Resort at the foot of Mount Cook, you will spend around an hour scooting along the ice white lank at the foot of the Tasman Glacier.
  • Tasman Glacier Heli Hike: Don't just view the glacier from below, fly up there in a helicopter and spend 2 hours exploring the blue ice caves and the ever changing glacier landscape.
  • Helicopter Ride with Snow Landing: Glentanner or Mount Cook Airport - Take the ride of a life and land at the top of the glacier in the snow, enjoy panoramic views from the middle of the Southern Alps and maybe even throw a snowball or two.


Suggested Walks:


Accommodation – Customer Favourites: Make it an overnight stay.


For the Love of Food:

Day 5 – Tekapo – Dunedin (4.5 Hours Drive)

Road Trip Highlights: Salmon Farm, Oamaru Art Street, Moeraki Boulders, University of Otago

Made rich by the Otago Gold Rush, Dunedin is the largest city in the Otago region. Home to New Zealand's first University, some outstanding Scottish architecture and great food all around, Dunedin is a diverse city to spend a couple of nights in. On top of that, it boasts the impressive and everchanging scenery of the Otago Peninsula, home to some of the world's rarest species. These, not always little, creatures scatter the beaches during dusk and dawn.

Suggested Activities:

  • Probably best to rest and check out the city, plus try out one of the restaurants we have listed below.


Suggested Walks:


Accommodation – Customer favourites:


For the Love of Food:

Day 6 – Dunedin


Suggested Activities:


Suggested Walks:

  • Sandfly Bay Track: The world's rarest Sea Lions and Penguins meet on desert like sand dunes and rough coastline. Hold onto your hat! Please Note: do not feed these guys, or touch them. They are wild and we like them that way.
  • Tunnel Beach Track: A tunnel carved in a cliff by a loving father for a daughter that wanted her own beach.
  • St Clair Beach: For the best sunrise in NZ followed by some outstanding breakfast options.


For the Love of Food:

Day 7 – Dunedin – Queenstown (3.5 Hours Drive)

Road Trip Highlights: Roxburgh, Cromwell, Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables

The Crown Jewel of New Zealand tourism, Queenstown holds this title for a reason, driving in you will pass internationally renowned wineries on one side and on the other international standard golf courses, surrounded by the soaring indigo heights of the Remarkables and framed with the ever-curious coves of Lake Wakatipu.

Explore your crazy side and jump from a plane, or a bridge. Otherwise, be prepared for absolute relaxation and enjoy the cosmopolitan restaurant and arts scene that graces this year-round hotspot. For the more private soul, find a lake side bench and enjoy the light show at both dawn and dusk, or escape from the hustle and bustle completely and explore the Glenorchy wilderness, home to 'Lord of the Rings'.

Suggested Activities:

  • Off Road Adventures: Take a spin in a 4WD on one of the many routes, or drive yourself around a private station on a Quad bike/Motorbike.
  • Hydro Attack: Become a shark for 15 minutes and prowl Lake Wakatipu, this is a one of a kind activity.
  • Skyline Queenstown Gondola, Restaurant & Luge: Enjoy awe-inspiring views of Queenstown and an abundance of entertainment and adventure for the whole family.


Suggested Walks:

  • Queenstown Town Centre: Take a walk around the centre of town and enjoy a bit of shopping.
  • Queenstown Gardens: Situated on a small peninsula.
  • Queenstown Hill: 3 hours return for a 360-degree view of Queenstown and surroundings, jaw dropping, you can literally see everything.
  • Tiki Trail: 2 hours return up to the Queenstown Gondola and back, enjoy city views and a full-frontal view of The Remarkables.


Accommodation – Customer Favourites:

  • Lakeside Holiday Home: Only 10 minutes' walk from town this newly built 6-bedroom (all ensuite) house has all the facilities to spend a week in Queenstown with friends or family. Plus, the view…. wow. (Enquire below for more info)
  • Novotel Lakeside: Great location, International Hotel Standards.
  • Blue Peak Apartments: A great mix between a motel and hotel.


For the Love of Food:

  • Aimsfield: A highly rated and well worth it degustation experience mixed with world renowned wine matches.
  • Blue Kanu: Fresh and Exotic Asia cuisine with a Pacific Island influence. The abalone dish is great!
  • Botswana Butchery: Put a collared shirt on and get some amazing service with a great steak. Bookings recommended.
  • Flame: South African style food presented in a no fuss manner. Roll up your sleeves and enjoy the pork ribs, great value for money.

Day 8 – Queenstown – Arrowtown – Queenstown (45 Mins Return)

Road Trip Highlights: Arrowtown

A Gold Rush paradise steeped in local legend. Great food scatters this one street town and history is all around. Take a stroll through the Chinese Village and see some remnants of how settlers' conditions used to be.

Suggested Activities:

  • Shotover Jet: Take a spin on New Zealand's most iconic Jet Boat, even the British Royals had this on their list.


Suggested Walks:

  • Stroll along the meandering Arrow River until you have had enough, then turn around and walk back. Keep your eyes open for some gold…


For the Love of Food:

Day 9 – Queenstown – Fly Home

Unfortunately, it is time to go home for this itinerary, but if you are enjoying yourself that much, check out our 16 Day South Island Itinerary that carries on from here. Or send one of our Itinerary Advisors a message below to customise this itinerary perfectly for you!

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