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Explore the lesser-known wonders of the deep south on this unforgettable South Island road trip.
From Fiordland National Park to Stewart Island, the southernmost region of New Zealand’s South Island is a very special place. Here you will find untouched wilderness, abundant native wildlife, and awe-inspiring views.
This South Island road trip is designed to take you off the beaten path to see some of the true highlights of New Zealand.
Read on for the full details of the 10 Day Deep South Holiday Package.
Arrive in Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital. Collect your rental car from the airport and make your way to your accommodation.
In the evening, relive the elegance of turn-of-the-century travel with a cruise aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw. This is the only coal fired passenger vessel still operating in the southern hemisphere. Step aboard – watch the stokers fueling the fireboxes and hear the hiss of the steam engines working as the TSS Earnslaw takes you on a nostalgic cruise over beautiful Lake Wakatipu. Disembark at Walter Peak High Country Farm, where you will enjoy a stunning four course meal. An entertaining after-dinner farm show provides a glimpse into high country farming life. On your return cruise, relax with a drink from the bar or join a fun sing-along with the ship’s pianist.
Stay 2 nights in Queenstown.
Relax and explore Queenstown, with the option to visit the Kiwi Birdlife Park, the Underwater Observatory, or the Ivan Clarke Gallery; ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for panoramic views over the Wakatipu Basin,
Driving time Queenstown to Te Anau 172 km / 106 miles, 2.5 hours
Journey alongside Queenstown’s stunning Lake Wakatipu and then through lush green farmland to reach Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park.
In the afternoon, take the magical Te Anau Glowworm Caves Tour. Explore a mysterious underground world of rushing water before drifting in silent darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of thousands of glowworms. Your Te Anau Glowworm Cave adventure begins with a cruise across beautiful Lake Te Anau. Board the catamaran Luminosa to cross to the western side of the lake. On arrival, there is time to view the interesting displays at Cavern House before your friendly guides accompany you underground in small groups. As you explore by path and small boat, your senses will be overwhelmed. In this mysterious underground world, discover fossils and rock formations, and view rushing waterfalls and whirlpools. Learn how the caves are still being carved out by the incredible and relentless power of nature. Finally, glide through silent darkness to the glowworm grotto. The delicate incandescence of thousands of tiny glowworms is a magical sight!
Stay 2 nights in Te Anau.
Driving time Te Anau to Milford Sound 119 km / 75 miles, 2.5 hours
Experience Milford Sound with an unforgettable Milford Sound Nature Cruise! The Milford Road (between Te Anau and Milford) is one of the finest alpine drives in the world. The scenery is exceptional, ranging from broad grassy flats, dense rainforest, and towering mountains through to glacial lakes and alpine herb fields. No other road in Fiordland offers such a diverse glimpse into New Zealand’s alpine zone.
Upon reaching Milford Sound, you will enjoy a 2.5 hour Milford Sound Nature Cruise. With specialist nature guides on board, Real Journeys Nature Cruises offer a close-up experience of Milford Sound’s rainforest, soaring rock walls, and wildlife. Throughout the cruise, the guides share stories of the fiord’s history and are happy to answer your questions.
Relax and explore Te Anau for the afternoon.
Driving time Te Anau to Invercargill 158 km / 99 miles, 2 hours
Flight time Invercargill to Stewart Island 36 km / 22 miles, 20 minutes
Travel to Invercargill, where you will catch a scenic flight to Stewart Island, New Zealand’s ultimate eco-tourism destination. Its densely forested hills, untouched coastline of rocky outcrops, and creamy golden sand beaches make Stewart Island a haven for native marine and bird life.
Stay 2 nights on Stewart Island.
Relax and enjoy Stewart Island for the day. You have the option to enjoy one of the popular local walking tracks, or simply relax and take in the quaint small-town lifestyle of the Island.
Flight time Stewart Island to Invercargill 36 km / 22 miles, 20
Discover the Catlins Coast, an attraction in itself, whilst travelling to Dunedin, one of the best
Stay 2 nights in Dunedin.
Today, join the Taieri Gorge Railway for one of the world’s great train trips, an experience not to be missed. Departing from Dunedin’s beautiful railway station, the Taieri Gorge Railway begins its scenic journey into some of New Zealand’s most rugged, ever-changing scenery. The train travels into the Taieri Gorge, a narrow and deep canyon carved out over aeons by the ancient Taieri River. The train negotiates the gorge with ease as it travels through ten tunnels and over countless bridges and viaducts. At various scenic points along the way, the train will stop or slow down, and you will get the chance to take photos or disembark to look around. Stand on the open-air platforms while the train moves, or enjoy a quiet drink and food from the onboard café while the train manager tells the story of the nature and history of the area.
Driving time Dunedin to Wanaka 275 km / 170 miles, 4 hours
Drive through historic Central Otago – past farmland, orchards and vineyards – to reach Wanaka, an alpine paradise with views so good it’s hard to put down your camera. Explore Wanaka in the afternoon, then sit back and relax with a glass of local wine or beer at a waterfront restaurant.
Stay 2 nights in Wanaka.
Relax and explore Wanaka – you may want to visit Puzzling World, Wanaka’s illusional attraction, or the National Toy and Transport Museum. Other options include strolling along one of Wanaka’s stunning walking tracks, relaxing on the lake’s edge or browsing through Wanaka’s boutique shops.
You could also visit Rippon Vineyard and Tasting Room to sample local wines, or catch a film at Cinema Paradiso, Wanaka’s quirky local theatre.
Driving time Wanaka to Queenstown 69 km / 43 miles, 1.5 hours
Drive over the beautiful Crown Range, one of New Zealand’s highest alpine roads, and admire the fantastic views along the way. Be sure to stop at the historic Cardrona Hotel for a refreshment before your arrival back into Queenstown. Drop off your rental car at Queenstown Airport and depart Queenstown.
This popular South Island itinerary is a great option for couples, families, and travellers of all ages.
In addition, this South Island road trip is fully customisable. In other words, we can add, swap out, or remove activities to match your preferences. We can also change the schedule to suit your preferences.
You may also wish to browse our range of South Island holiday packages for further inspiration.
Contact New Zealand Travel Organiser today to begin planning your unforgettable New Zealand holiday.
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