New Zealand Complete South Island 17 Days Self-Drive

Duration : 17 Days


Journey through New Zealand’s stunning south island on this incredible 17 days tour. Begin in Christchurch, admiring the resilient city and its immense natural beauty. Drive through the stunning countryside and rolling hills before arriving at Lake Tekapo, with its views of Mount Cook, and venturing onto relaxing Lake Wanaka. See the unique wildlife and visit the Royal Albatross in Dunedin before driving through historic Arrowtown and onto the adventure capital of Queenstown, with its amazing views, fascinating wildlife, and many adventure activities on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. It is an excellent base for exploring the magical Milford Sound Fjord and the jaw-dropping Fox Glacier. After taking in these incredible views, drive on the world’s most scenic coastal highway to Punakaiki, where beautiful limestone formations formed 30 million years ago will be seen. From Punakaiki, we continue our drive to Abel Tasman National Park, known for its stunning landscapes. Head towards Motueka to Marlborough for the world-famous Sauvignon Blanc, fresh seafood, and diverse landscapes. We drive through endless rows of vines from Marlborough to Kaikoura for a memorable marine mammal encounter. Journey back to Christchurch via Kaikoura, where the tour concludes.

Tour Highlights

  • Christchurch Garden City
  • Akaroa & Banks Peninsula
  • Mackenzie High Country
  • Otago Peninsula
  • Queenstown
  • Doubtful Sound
  • Franz Josef Glacier
  • Abel Tasman National Park
  • Marlborough Wine Region
  • Kaikoura Whale Watch

What’s Included

  • 16 nights’ Deluxe accommodations
  • 19 Melas: 16 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 2 Dinners
  • Sightseeing tours, as listed in the itinerary, including entrance fees
  • Rental car incl. unlimited mileage, standard insurance, all prevailing taxes
  • GST and room taxes

What’s Excluded

  • International and domestic flights
  • Gratuities & travel insurance
  • Meals not listed in the itinerary
  • GPS and zero excess insurance
  • Expenditures of a personal nature, such as drinks, souvenirs, and laundry



Upon arrival at Christchurch Airport, meet our local representative for a city orientation tour and transfer to your selected Christchurch City hotel in a luxury vehicle. The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore the ‘Garden City’ as Christchurch is known.

Accommodation: The George Christchurch (Premium room)


Today’s tour to Akaroa, the only settlement attempted by the French in New Zealand, passes through the beautiful landscapes of the Banks Peninsula. This region was formed following violent eruptions of volcanos over 6 million years ago, and the picturesque town of Akaroa sits in an ancient volcano crater. You will travel to Akaroa over the beautiful Banks Peninsula on a high summit route that gives glorious views of farmlands, the Canterbury Plains, and the distant Southern Alps, as well as remote bays indenting the coastline. Boats depart for a Nature Cruise on the harbor from the main wharf in Akaroa. See Hector Dolphins, little blue penguins, fur seals, and local birdlife. Learn more about the local history from your boat skipper and be awed by the volcanic cliffs that act as sentinels to the harbor entrance. You can wander around the charming 175-year-old French harborside village of Akaroa with its museum of settler’s history, art and craft shops, and studios before enjoying lunch at an award-winning café. Stops along the way will include, time and weather permitting, Barry’s Bay Cheese Factory, Little River Art Gallery, and Birdling’s Flat.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: The George Christchurch (Premium room)


After breakfast, pick up your rental car from a nearby station. Today you will experience one of the most scenic days drives one can take in New Zealand. Leave Christchurch on the “Scenic Inland Route” on State Highway 73 & 77 via Waddington to Windwhistle. Here you travel through rich pastures of the crop, dairy, and sheep farming land – the patchwork quilt of the Canterbury Plains. After Windwhistle, cross the Rakaia River and through the scenic Rakaia Gorge. Make sure to stop for a coffee or lunch in quaint Geraldine with its art and craft shops and home to one of New Zealand’s best cheeseries. Continue on State Highway 79 towards Fairlie. After Fairlie, turn right onto State Highway 8 in the direction of Lake Tekapo. From here, the landscape changes as you ascend towards Mackenzie High Country, home to some of the most evocative hill countries in the world. The Mackenzie High Country is different from any other region in New Zealand. Unique weather patterns dry out the soil and grasslands, creating their desert-like landscape. This is a unique and mystical place of outstanding natural beauty, breathtaking backcountry wilderness, surrounded by the majestic Southern Alps.


The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure in Tekapo.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Ranginui Luxury B&B Tekapo (Suite)


From the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo, follow State Highway 8 towards Queenstown & Wanaka. You will soon spot the distinctive milky blue waters of Lake Pukaki. Sir Peter Jackson chose this part of the Southern Alps as the setting for ‘Lake Town’ in ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ and a backdrop for major location scenes in all Lord of the Rings Hobbit movies.


Time permitting, turn off State Highway 8 just after the Visitor Center at Lake Pukaki onto State Highway 80 towards Mt Cook. Stop at “Peter’s lookout” for magnificent views of Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain at 12,217 feet. Return to State Highway 8 and turn right towards Queenstown. Stop at Omarama to visit the famous Omarama Clay Cliffs (private land, donations appreciated). These otherworldly formations are made up of layers of gravel and silt, initially formed by the flow from ancient glaciers over a million years ago. From Omarama, turn onto State Highway 83 towards Oamaru and Dunedin. This less-traveled road follows the Waitaki River and past small lakes. The small town of Otemata is a kiwi holiday favorite, famous for its stunning lakeside location and spectacular landscapes. Next is Kurow, the Waitaki Valley wine region specializing in cool climate varieties such as Pinot Noir and Riesling. After another 45 minutes, you reach the seaside town of Oamaru, home to New Zealand’s oldest public gardens and renowned Victorian architecture. From Oamaru, follow State Highway 1 south towards Dunedin. Stop at the picturesque and magical Moeraki Boulders, mysteriously spherical stones scattered across the beach. Each boulder weighs several tons and is up to 6.5 feet high. Scientists explain the boulders as calcite concretions formed about 65 million years ago. Maori legend has it that the boulders are gourds washed from the great voyaging canoe Araiteuru when it was wrecked upon landfall in New Zealand several hundred years ago.


The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure in Dunedin.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Fable Hotel Dunedin (Luxury room)


The Otago Peninsula is home to rare and unique wildlife, including the Royal Albatross, the only place in the world on the mainland where you can view these majestic birds in their natural habitat. This full-day tour takes you on scenic drives across the Peninsula before you stop high on the hills for a self-guided tour at Castle Larnach, New Zealand’s only castle and a much-loved piece of history. Next, join a special one-hour tour at the Royal Albatross Center, where these giant birds soar on 10 feet wingspans and interact around their nests. Following these majestic birds, you will enjoy a 90-minute guided tour at the Penguin Place Conservation Centre, where you can see the rare yellow-eyed penguins and their nesting sites in their natural environment. Your wildlife day ends with a scenic cruise, where you learn more about albatross, fur seals, and other wildlife. At the same time, your skipper expertly navigates the vessel around the spectacular Taiaroa Head. Enjoy uninterrupted views and, with some luck, spot sea lions or dolphins. Return to Dunedin in the late afternoon by boat.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Fable Hotel Dunedin (Luxury room)


Follow State Highway 1 and 8 towards Gabriel's Gully, near Lawrence. In the late 1860s, when the Otago gold rush was in full swing, gold miners from Europe, China, and Australia flooded this land. Visit the old mine site at Gabriel's Gully and try panning for a piece of Central Otago Gold! Continue through Alexandra and take in the rocky landscape before you arrive in Cromwell, where you can visit the town's historic precinct on the shores of Lake Dunstan. Central Otago's brisk cold winters and hot, dry summers have helped create the unique Central Otago terrain, which produces internationally acclaimed wines. Stop by one of the many vineyards around Cromwell and Bannockburn before continuing through the Gibbston Valley before you reach Queenstown.


The charming heritage town of Arrowtown is a quick detour from the main road if time permits. Explore the Chinese miner's settlement by the Arrow River and find a friendly café to soak up the surroundings.


The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure in Queenstown.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: The Rees Queenstown (1 Bedroom Lake View Apartment)


After an early breakfast, your luxury coach will pick you up from your Queenstown hotel early in the morning. View evolving landscapes, from windswept alpine plains and turquoise lakes to vast mountain peaks and lovely lakeside towns. At Manapouri, just south of Te Anau, you start a cruise across Lake Manapouri, followed by another coach trip over the epic Wilmot Pass through Fiordland's rainforest into the Sound. You will board a purpose-built vessel for a 3-hour cruise on Doubtful Sound, a spectacular pristine fiord. The varied wildlife includes dolphins, fur seals, and the rare Fiordland crested penguins. During the cruise, knowledgeable and friendly guides will share their passion for the region. Return to Queenstown by cruise and coach around 7 pm.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: The Rees Queenstown (1 Bedroom Lake View Apartment)


Today is a free day at leisure in Queenstown. Optional recommended activities are available.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: The Rees Queenstown (1 Bedroom Lake View Apartment)


Following State Highway, you will soon enter Gibbston Valley, known for some of the best Pinot Noir in the world. From here, you pass through the scenic and narrow Kawarau Gorge before arriving in historic Cromwell. We continue on State Highway 6 until just before you reach Wanaka. Turn right and follow State Highway 6 in the West Coast direction. Your next pass is "The Neck," a formation of land that separates two of New Zealand's great South Lakes, Lake Hawea on your right and Lake Wanaka on your left. North of Makarora is the World Heritage list Mount Aspiring National Park. Experience the Blue Pools Walk, a world-renowned 30-minute loop walk through native silver fern to a series of crystal-clear pools carved out of rocks by centuries of erosion. From here, proceed towards Haast, where you reach the South Island's wild and remote West Coast. Haast is one of the most remote settlements in New Zealand, with a population of just 84. The road leads through the thick native rainforest and rich dairy pastures, passing several scenic bridges over alpine rivers before reaching Knights Point lookout, offering spending views over the Tasman Sea. Next up is Bruce Bay, with stunning views over the empty beaches and the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, an ideal spot to stretch your legs for a short stroll. From Bruce Bay, the road reaches inland, and you soon arrive in Glacier Country. Enjoy the evening at leisure in Franz Josef.


The evening is free at your leisure in Franz Josef.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat (Deluxe room)


After breakfast, board your helicopter, and adrenaline levels start to spike as you fly over the jaw-dropping landscape – an opportunity to take in the full panoramic majesty of some of New Zealand's highest mountain peaks. After landing on the glacial ice, your highly trained mountain guide will find the safest and most spectacular route available on the glacier. Because the glacier is so fast-moving, its features are constantly changing – you might find yourself sliding through a narrow crevasse or between towering walls of ice, crawling through blue ice tunnels, hanging out in the ice caves, or witnessing the glacier calving. During your hike, your guide will share the story of Ka Roimata and Hine Hukatere, their knowledge of the glacier and surrounding area, and insight into what makes Franz Josef Glacier unique. A short scenic helicopter flight will bring you back to the helipad. An average fitness level for all participants is required. No Mountain climbing experience is required. Hiking equipment will be provided. The total duration is about three hours, with 2.5 hours on the glacier. Admission to public hot pools after your tour is included. The remainder of the day is free at leisure in Franz Josef.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat (Deluxe room)


Following State Highway 6 north towards Greymouth, you will pass idyllic small lakes like Lake Wahapa and Lake Mapourika. From here, you are now leaving Glacier Country. Here, the scenery changes to rich dairy pasture farms and small settlements – Ross, Pukekura, and Harihari. Cross the Arahua River, the birthplace of the precious New Zealand jade, which early Maori settlers were searching for long before the gold rush came to the West Coast. Continue your journey towards Hokitika up the rugged and wild West Coast. Hokitika is an old gold mining settlement. Today, New Zealand's center for jade trade and carving (New Zealand Green Stone or Pounamu in Maori) and a decent selection of handicraft shops and restaurants are ideal for a lunch stop. Time permitting, we recommend a short detour to Hokitika Gorge, famous for its magnificent green and blue waters and a recently upgraded 40 minutes loop track. From the West Coast's main town, Greymouth, it is a mere 45 minutes until Punakaiki. Arguably one of the world's most scenic coastal drives, State Highway 6 offers stunning lookouts over the Tasman Sea, notably from Point Elizabeth lookout and Motukiekie Beach. Upon arrival in Punakaiki, enjoy a leisurely 30-minute walkout to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, beautiful limestone formations that began forming 30 million years ago. The well-formed walkway is a loop track that winds from the main road, through the native rainforest, and out to the spectacular rugged coastline. This evening is free at leisure in Punakaiki.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort (Eco Suite)


Drive on the highly scenic State Highway 6 towards Westport, a small coastal town on the banks of the Buller River. Gold mining initially gave Westport life, but now Coal mining keeps the settlement alive. The coal mining museum provides you with a feel for what it's like to work underground. From Westport, proceed towards Nelson. You pass through the Buller Gorge, home to the Buller Gorge Swingbridge Adventure and Heritage Park, and a good stop for lunch. Time permitting, we recommend a 2hrs detour on State Highway 63 to the picturesque town of St. Arnaud, next to Lake Rotoiti, deep within the Nelson Lakes National Park, and a kiwi holiday favorite during summer. We arrive at Abel Tasman National Park late afternoon for a free evening.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Awaroa Lodge Abel Tasman National Park (Standard Plus room)


Enjoy a day at leisure in Abel Tasman National Park. Optional recommended activities are available.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Awaroa Lodge Abel Tasman National Park (Standard Plus room)


Head towards Motueka, where we recommend taking the more scenic inland route on the Lower Moutere Road, leading you through fruit orchards and vines. Moutere is a quaint, small village and home to New Zealand's oldest pub as well as many artisan producers of food and crafts – definitely worth the slight detour! From Moutere, head back to State Highway 60 right into Nelson. Nelson has some of New Zealand's sunniest weather and an incredible selection of excellent cafés and boutiques, an ideal place to stretch your legs and have lunch. From Nelson, continue on State Highway 60 in the direction of Havelock and Picton. The road will soon gently climb towards the Whangamoa Saddle before you reach the historic town of Havelock – the Greenshell Mussel Capital of the world. Once a gold mining settlement, the town has many quaint colonial buildings that house boutique galleries and eating places today. State Highway 60 will bring you to Marlborough, less than 30 minutes from Havelock. Rest of the afternoon at your leisure in Marlborough.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Marlborough Vintners Blenheim (Outdoor Bath Suite)


Today you join a small, expert-guided "Taste of Marlborough" tour. This is an ideal full-day tour for anyone who loves great wine and wants to learn more about the region, the wineries, the wines, and the people who create them. You will get a "Taste of Marlborough" through a select number of boutique and iconic wineries, a group of wineries selected for their history, fabulous service, and stunning range of wines. They are also a group of wineries where you will meet great people who know wine and love sharing their passion for wine. Wineries regularly included in the tour are Forrest Estate, Cloudy Bay, and Fromm.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Marlborough Vintners Blenheim (Outdoor Bath Suite)


Leaving Marlborough on State Highway 1 towards Kaikoura and Christchurch, the road passes through endless rows of vines. Time permitting, pause at Lake Grassmere, a coastal lake with large pink ponds and mounds that sparkle white against the light-brown hillside pastures and is New Zealand's only locally produced food-grade sea salt that offers a great lookout just off State Highway 1. From here, you pass through a quintessentially rural New Zealand scenery with only small towns along the way. After crossing the Waima River, State Highway 1 becomes a highly scenic coastal road to Kaikoura. Stop at Ohau Point lookout for great views over the Pacific, and with some luck, you can spot resident New Zealand Fur Seals. Rest of the afternoon at your leisure in Kaikoura.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Sudima Hotel Kaikoura (Deluxe room)


This morning, join the last highlight before you leave New Zealand! Embark on a whale-watching cruise that offers you an exciting up-close encounter with the world's largest-toothed predator, the Giant Sperm Whale, in their natural environment at all times of the year. The main focus of your tour is to locate and view the Giant Sperm Whale. The average is between 1-2 whale sightings per tour due to the length of time whales can stay submerged. Around 80% of the world's whale and dolphin species migrate past the coastline of Kaikoura; hence, there is the opportunity for other marine mammals to be sighted, such as Blue, Humpback, Orca, or Orca Bottlenose dolphins. Whale Watch Kaikoura is considered New Zealand's ultimate marine life experience.


Leaving Kaikoura on State Highway 1, the road perched between the cliffs and the ocean. This part of the road was completely damaged in the 2016 Kaikoura earthquakes and has been closed for 13 months, cutting the lifeline of the South Island and the main arterial route between Christchurch and Picton. Continue south towards Christchurch. You arrive in Waipara wine country. The Waipara is a small boutique wine-growing region and home to 90+ wineries, most of them independently owned by local families. Head south and cross the mighty Waimakariri River at Kainga. From here, you will travel through rich pastures of the crop, dairy, and sheep farming land – the patchwork quilt of the Canterbury plains before you arrive in Christchurch. Return your rental car to Christchurch Airport before boarding your flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

Dates & Prices

Departure Dates Tour Cost More Info  
01 Dec 23 - 07 Dec 23 USD $7799 Twin/Double BOOK NOW
02 Jan 24 - 31 Jan 24 USD $7799 Twin/Double BOOK NOW
01 Feb 24 - 29 Feb 24 USD $7799 Twin/Double BOOK NOW
01 Mar 24 - 15 Mar 24 USD $7799 Twin/Double BOOK NOW
01 Dec 23 - 07 Dec 23 USD $7599 Triple BOOK NOW
02 Jan 24 - 31 Jan 24 USD $7599 Triple BOOK NOW
01 Feb 24 - 29 Feb 24 USD $7599 Triple BOOK NOW
01 Mar 24 - 15 Mar 24 USD $7599 Triple BOOK NOW


Can I add airfare to the land package?
Yes, you can add airfare to a package. Let us know at the time of your reservation. Please note pricing and availability is always subject to change Prior to ticket issuance.
Can I change my reservation if I've made a mistake?
There is a $75 change fee (per person, per change) for any changes made to a reservation after it has been confirmed.  Any passenger name change made to a booking reservation after it has been confirmed will result in a $100 per person per name change fee and is subject to availability, additional airline change, and/or cancellation fees. Additional fees may apply.  For more details, please contact us.
Can I extend or modify my trip?
We will do our best to accommodate your request. Any modification must be arranged before the deposit is made and subject to availability.
Can I opt-out of certain activities on the trip?
While any unused portion of the trip is non-refundable, you can opt-out of certain included activities if you do not wish to participate in them. Please be sure to notify us prior to your departure date and notify your tour guide upon arrival. You will be responsible for any expenses incurred should you deviate from the tour during the scheduled tour itinerary. If you choose to deviate from the tour group on a day we are transiting from one city to another. You will also be responsible for your own transportation and expenses incurred. 
Can I request adjoining rooms?
We can request adjoining rooms, however, requests cannot be guaranteed as it is based on hotel availability.
Can I select my seats on my flight during the booking process?
Seat assignments on your flight can be done directly via the airline. You can either select your seats at the airline check-in counter on the day of your flight, or after we issue your tickets, you may call the airline directly and pay the fee for pre-assign seats.
Can we book a triple room?
Triple rooms are available upon request for select tours. Please note hotels will provide a rollaway bed for the third traveler in a double room. 
Do you offer and/or suggest travel insurance?
We recommend you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected.  
Do you work with Travel Agents?
To be one of our partner agents, please email We welcome the opportunity to serve you.
How do I make a reservation?
Click the “Book Now” button on our website, or you may send us an email to
How much time will I get to myself?
Each program is different. Whenever possible, we offer to modify the program to fit your requirements.
I am a solo traveler, can you match me with other solo travelers on my tour?
For privacy reasons, we do not pair solo travelers with one another.  A single supplement fee will apply for solo travelers.
I have special dietary requirements, can you accommodate them?
Meals provided during your tour are based on local cuisine and menus. We can generally assist guests in communicating special meal requests to airlines, hotels, and restaurants but please be aware that they are not guaranteed. Please let us know at the time of booking your trip. We will notify our tour guides of any food allergies, but please note meal alternatives are subject to confirmation as they are based on the availability of the providing restaurant. For those with strict dietary needs, we recommend bringing pre-packaged food alternatives for your trip.
My outbound flight has been cancelled by the airline; what do I do now?
If your flight has been canceled, please liaise with the airline directly to book the next available flight. If, for any reason, you are unhappy with the alternate flight offered by the airline and decide to book a new outbound flight on your own, please note that the original return flight(s) will automatically be canceled if you are a no-show on your original outbound flight.
My package includes the arrival transfer, how do I know when/where to meet up with my driver?
Information on how /where to meet up with your driver is included in your travel documents. On arrival at the airport, please collect your luggage, make your way through customs, and enter the arrivals hall, where the driver will be waiting for you. Should luggage be very slow coming through, or should you have any issues with damaged or lost luggage, please make sure that you complete the necessary documentation within the luggage area. ONE MEMBER of the party should go through customs and into the arrivals hall to advise the driver of the delay. Please note that this person will not be allowed access back into the luggage area. You could also contact our local representative. Extra costs may apply if meeting your driver is delayed more than one hour following your scheduled flight arrival time.  
What are the visa requirements?
Visa requirements for each destination are indicated in our Essential Travel Information on our website. Information is also available at the US Department of State website at It is the responsibility of travelers to obtain proper visas in a timely manner prior to the trip departure date.  
What does Land Only means?
Land-only is a package tour without International and local airfare.
What does per person, double occupancy mean?
Per person, double occupancy means the price each guest pays when sharing a room.
What if I miss my flight or my flight is delayed, and I miss the beginning of my trip?
If your flight is delayed or you miss your flight, please notify us or our local representative (contact information is included in your travel documents) as soon as possible so we may inform our local representative of your updated arrival. Additional costs for airport transfer service may apply if you arrive later than the scheduled arrival date/time.  If you arrive later in the itinerary and the group has moved to a different destination, it will be your responsibility to catch up and meet the group at that destination.  We will provide you with the most up-to-date meeting information.  Please note that Globotours cannot reimburse you for any unused portion of the trip.
What is included in your pricing?
Included features are specified in each tour.
What is not included in your pricing?
Anything that is not mentioned in the included features.
What is single supplement surcharge?
Single supplement is the additional cost to occupy the room alone.
What is your payment schedule?
Most packages require a non-refundable deposit, as indicated in the program to confirm the reservation, which will be applied towards the cost of your package. Your account balance is due 60-75 days prior to the trip departure date. Certain tours may require an additional non-refundable airline deposit at the time of booking. This is indicated during the booking process. More information can be found in our Terms and Conditions.  
What level of physical fitness is required for the tour?
Depending on the program, expect a decent amount of walking and an occasional flight of stairs or some steps. We recommend you carefully consider your ability to meet the tour's physical demands. If you have any questions or concerns about your ability to meet the trip's requirements, we urge you to consult your medical practitioner.
What types of payments do you accept?
We accept Mastercard and Visa, bank transfers, and personal checks. When paying your balance by personal check, all checks must be received in full prior to the due date. Please make the check payable to Globotours and mail the check to the below address before your balance due date. Globotours 2705 S. Diamond Bar Blvd., Suite 228, Diamond Bar, CA 91765
What’s the cancellation and refund policy?

Fees will be assessed per person when you cancel your reservation. More information can be found in our Terms and Conditions.

When do I receive my travel documents and what it will include?
Travel documents will be mailed or e-mailed to you approximately 21 days prior to the trip departure date. It usually takes about 7 – 10 business days. You may access your booking confirmation page anytime by logging into your Globotours account on our website.

New Zealand Complete South Island 17 Days Self-Drive


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