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Savour the best of the South Island and stay on a farm with this New Zealand South Island itinerary for 14 days.
Looping around the island, from Christchurch to Christchurch, this itinerary takes in the major highlights of the South Island. Visit Lake Tekapo, Queenstown, Milford Sound, and Kaikoura along the way.
In addition, New Zealand South Island itinerary for 14 days includes numerous activities to help make the most of your time in New Zealand. For example, enjoy the iconic Shotover Jet, cruise on Milford Sound, and spend a leisurely afternoon sampling wines on a Marlborough wine tour.
Finally, escape the bustle of city life with a spectacular farm stay in Wanaka. Immerse yourself in life on a working farm and soak in the views.
Read on for more details on this New Zealand South Island itinerary for 14 days.
Arrive in Christchurch, New Zealand’s Garden City. Collect your rental car from the airport and make your way to your Christchurch accommodation.
Discover the vibrant and picturesque garden city, renowned for its natural beauty, lively entertainment scene, and strong cultural heritage. With its stunning botanical gardens and tree-lined avenues, Christchurch is both a sophisticated city and beautiful place to relax.
Your options include visiting the Canterbury Museum where you can find rare Maori artefacts; the stories behind them will fascinate you. The museum has a frequent range of special exhibitions, a café and a gift shop for you to browse. Other recommended activities include the Christchurch Gondola, Tramway, Punting on the Avon River and the Botanical Gardens Tour.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Driving time Christchurch to Lake Tekapo 230 km / 143 miles, 3 hours
Depart Christchurch and travel south across the Canterbury Plains and inland towards the Southern Alps to reach Lake Tekapo, an amazing turquoise lake. Tekapo presents many world-class attractions, from the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd to scenic flights exploring NZ’s highest mountains and largest glaciers, including Mount Cook, Tasman Glacier, Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier.
Stay 1 night in Lake Tekapo.
Driving time Lake Tekapo to Queenstown 254 km / 158 miles, 3 hours
Travel through the dramatic Lindis Pass, which links the Mackenzie Basin to Central Otago. Arrive in Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand.
First off, get ready for the world’s most exciting jet boat ride! Shotover Jet is the only company permitted to operate in the spectacular Shotover River Canyons. It’s a thrilling ride – skimming past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet ‘Big Red,’ you will twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breathtaking speeds. And a major highlight – hold tight for the world-famous Shotover Jet full 360º spins!
Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.
Enjoy a scenic coach journey through heartland New Zealand to reach Milford Sound, where you will enjoy a 2.5 hour Milford Sound Nature Cruise. Milford Sound is sure to impress! Sheer cliffs, towering snow-capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, hanging valleys, sub-tropical rainforest, marine life… words just don’t do it justice, you have to see it for yourself! After your cruise, relax while your coach drives through stunning scenery before delivering you back to your Queenstown accommodation.
Explore Queenstown today, with the option to add on a must-do Queenstown activity to really make the most of it. Our top picks are TSS Earnslaw Dining Experiences, Jet Boating, Scenic Helicopter Flights, Backcountry Safaris and Wine Tours.
You might also like to make a visit to Arrowtown. You’ll be enchanted by historic Arrowtown, a New Zealand treasure located 20 minutes from Queenstown. Arrowtown is charming and quirky – a delightful gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River.
Driving time Queenstown to Wanaka 70 km / 43 miles, 1 hour
Drive over the beautiful Crown Range, one of New Zealand’s highest alpine roads, and admire the vistas from fantastic viewing points. Be sure to stop at the historic Cardrona Hotel for a refreshment before your arrival into Wanaka, an alpine town boasting panoramic views, a relaxed atmosphere and myriad walking tracks.
Enjoy two nights at a Farm Stay in Wanaka. Criffel Station is much more than a working deer farm. It’s a historic high country station, a place of beautiful views and a place to experience authentic rural life.
Stay 2 nights in Wanaka at a Farm Stay.
Relax and explore the farm further today. There is the opportunity to add on one of the activities on offer at Criffel Station, such as Farm Tours or 4WD Adventure Tours.
You also have the option to venture into the lakeside town of Wanaka, where you can visit the boutique shops, enjoy a stroll along the lakefront, or visit Rippon Winery.
Driving time Wanaka to Franz Josef 285 km / 177 miles, 4 hours
Discover the Haast Pass Highway, where there are many short walks and natural attractions to view along the way. Continue north, through dense rainforest broken by rugged coastal vistas, towards New Zealand’s most famous glaciers.
In the afternoon, you have the option to add on a scenic helicopter flight sweeping above Westland National Park as you explore Franz Josef Glacier before landing in the snow.
Stay 1 night in Franz Josef.
Driving time Franz Josef to Hokitika 136 km / 85 miles, 1.5 hours
Discover more West Coast beauty as you travel to Hokitika, famous for its arts and crafts. Watch a masterpiece being crafted from gold, molten glass, paua or bone or carve your own creation from wood or jade (pounamu). Take in Hokitika’s natural beauty, enjoy its expansive beach or venture down one of the many walking and mountain biking tracks.
Stay 1 night in Hokitika.
Driving time Hokitika to Abel Tasman 359 km / 223 miles, 4.5 hours
Journey towards the Abel Tasman, an area renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, unmodified estuaries, long sunshine hours and the world-famous Abel Tasman Coast Track. In the afternoon, relax on one of the many golden beaches.
Stay 2 nights in Abel Tasman.
In the morning, enjoy a boat cruise into the Abel Tasman National Park where you can relax on the hot golden sand, enjoy a day walk or simply enjoy a return boat cruise without having to leave the boat. This trip allows you to explore sections of the Abel Tasman Coast Track; the boat will stop at scenic points along the way where you can get off and walk a section of the track, the boat will then collect you later in the day. Or you may just want to pack a picnic lunch, beach towels and laze on the beach for the day.
Driving time Abel Tasman to Blenheim 159 km / 98 miles, 2.5 hours
Today, meander around the coast to reach the Marlborough wine country. Marlborough is recognised internationally for its distinctive, herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc. As New Zealand’s largest winemaking region, Marlborough is home to about 65 wineries, 290 grape growers, and over 4,000 hectares planted in grapes, mainly Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer.
Stay 2 nights in Blenheim.
Experience the famous wines of the region on a Gourmet Wine Tour. As you enjoy plenty of tastings, you will quickly fall in love with this fantastic wine region. Learn more about the winemaking process, and taste the subtle differences between different vintages and different soils. This tour is a must-do for any wine aficionados.
Driving time Blenheim to Kaikoura 129 km / 80 miles, 2 hours
Journey through Marlborough today and along the South Island’s stunning East Coast to reach Kaikoura.
Kaikoura is a coastal town on the South Island of New Zealand. It’s known for its abundant wildlife and its sperm whale population. The Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway winds from the town centre to lookout points at Point Kean. Close by, the rock platforms are home to a colony of New Zealand fur seals. The 1800s Fyffe House is a cottage built on a foundation of whalebones, with displays on the town’s whaling past.
As an important fishing port, Kaikoura is a mecca for seafood lovers. Local special
You might like to add on a scenic whale flight on your arrival into Kaikoura today.
Stay 1 night in Kaikoura.
Driving time Kaikoura to Christchurch 180 km / 111 miles, 2.5 hours
Travel to Christchurch at your leisure, drop your rental car off at Christchurch Airport and depart Christchurch.
When planning your New Zealand holiday, our packages make the process simple and cost-effective. Our holiday packages include all activities, accommodation, and rental car for ultimate convenience.
In addition, our holiday packages are fully customisable. This means we will work with you to ensure the itinerary matches exactly what you want.
We offer a range of farm stay holiday packages, which you can use for inspiration:
For more information about New Zealand Farm Stays, read our informative blog: What is the best farm stay in NZ? New Zealand Travel Organiser can custom-design the perfect New Zealand holiday inclusive of your choice of farm stays.