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Road Trip New Zealand's South Island

Trip duration: 5 Days

Driving distance: 789km

New Zealand is bursting at the seams with activities to do and sights to see. With adventure hidden around every corner, the south island is not to be missed. Known to be extremely popular especially during the peak season in winter, any snow-lover will be in heaven in this beautiful part of the world.

From the beautiful major city of Christchurch to the middle of nature where you are surrounded by nothing but unreal scenery, there will never be a dull moment on this road trip. Get behind the wheel of a car or motorhome rental and see what all the fuss is about for yourself.

Day 1: Christchurch

Christchurch is a city rich in history and located on the east coast of New Zealand's south island. There are a number of activities to partake in before you begin your 5 day road trip in the south island of New Zealand. Get a 360 degree view of Christchurch on the Christchurch Gondola, see some wild animals at the Orana Wildlife Park with the family or see where the road takes you. There is so much to do in this vibrant city. Once you've gotten your city fix, grab a bite to eat at Fiddlesticks and head on to the road to Lake Tekapo!

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Day 2: Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Driving distance: 226km

Time in the car: 2 hours 55 minutes

To wind down from the bustling city life, take a stroll (or hike if you're extra keen) around Lake Tekapo. There are a number of insta-worthy locations, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled so you don't miss out on any! To ensure your body is in fine form for your road trip, head to Tekapo Springs where you can enjoy plunging into three hot pools or relaxing in a steam or sauna room and they even have an Aqua Play Area with two cooler pools for the kids. This place is definitely worth the stop to recharge before hitting the road again.

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Day 3: Lake Tekapo to Lake Hāwea

Driving distance: 226km

Time in the car: 2 hours 55 minutes

Lake Hāwea is located in the Otago region and is New Zealand's ninth largest lake! Take in all of the surrounding beauty in one the many fabulous lookouts including the Lake Hawea Lookout or Sentinel Peak which is to the north-east of "The Neck". If you want to get your steps up there are a number of trails surrounding the lake ranging from beginner level to more intermediate/advanced levels of fitness. Gladstone Track is an easy walk (or bike ride) which covers 6.5km and can take a leisurely 1.5-2 hours that follows the Lake Hāwea foreshore before travelling through the open farmland of Johns Creek.

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Day 4: Lake Hāwea to Queenstown

Driving distance: 82km

Time in the car: 1 hour 20 minutes

Queenstown is undoubtedly the most infamous city in the south island and when it hits winter, it's easy to see why. Powdery snow hits the slopes during the peak season and the town turns into a bustling city in its own. Cosy up in a chalet by a fire and make sure to hit up the famous Fergburger where you will taste some of the best burgers in the country - you will realise why people travel all over the world just to take a bite. Be warned, you will most likely be lining up to get a taste, but it'll definitely be worth the wait!.

If you're travelling in winter then you'll be spoilt for choice with a number of ski fields at your disposal, the choice is yours. Take a stroll around Lake Wakatipu, take the leap of faith at the Shotover Canyon Swing or sip some tasty wine and indulge in gorgeous food at Amisfield Restaurant and Cellar Door, there's something for every traveller here.

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Day 5: Queenstown to Dunedin

Driving distance: 278km

Time in the car: 3 hours 33 minutes

Filled with Victorian and Edwardian architecture and located on the Otago Harbour on the South Island’s southeast coast lies the town of Dunedin. If you're lucky enough you'll be able to spot a variety of sea creatures including sea lions, albatross and rare yellow-eyed penguins along the Otago Peninsula. Marvel in the sights of Larnach Castle, take a scenic ride on the Dunedin Railways or indulge in some delicious food at The Esplanade. Set up camp or treat yourself to a well earned hotel, your NZ south island adventure is complete.

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Queenstown Scenery

Tour New Zealand with these additional top drives. If you would like to book car hire or motorhome rental in New Zealand, simply use our online booking engine above or contact our friendly reservations staff.