Lakes and Glaciers

New Zealand’s Southern Alps form a backbone to the South Island, and this self-drive itinerary will take you from Christchurch on the east coast over the alps to the west coast, where spectacular glaciers crawl slowly down the snow-capped mountains. We have selected some beautiful lodges, tucked away among scenery that will take your breath away. Finishing in Queenstown, this itinerary is the ideal way of seeing the highlights of South Island.


  • Self-drive itinerary taking you from Christchurch on the east coast over the alps to the west coast
  • Remote wilderness landscapes
  • Perfect for repeat visitors who want to delve a little deeper into the country
  • Unearth beautiful lodges tucked away among breathtaking scenery

Day one and two – arrive in Auckland
You will experience the best of both bush and beach on this morning’s guided tour followed by a trip to downtown Auckland and the city’s largest regional park.
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Day three and four – Auckland / Coromandel
You’ll explore Coromandel Peninsula’s natural heritage and scenic beauty alongside your tour guide, Kiwi Dundee. You can enjoy the flora and fauna of the semi-tropical rainforest with giant ferns, kauri trees, beaches and crystal clear streams.
970 Lonely Bay Lodge

Day five and six – Coromandel / Rotorua
Today you’ll journey south from the coast to the volcanic region of Rotorua. You can stroll through the Government Gardens, before moving on to Rainbow Springs Wildlife Sanctuary followed by a tour of Kiwi Encounter and a visit to Te Puia Thermal Reserve. This afternoon, you’ll depart by helicopter to Mount Tarawera where you can enjoy a guided walk at the volcano’s crater.
Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel

Day seven – Rotorua / Christchurch
Today you’ll be driven to the airport for your flight to Christchurch. On arrival, you’ll be met by a representative and driven to your lodge, with sightseeing stops en route.
The George Hotel

Day eight and nine – Christchurch / Mount Cook
Heading west from Christchurch, you’ll drive the scenic route to Mount Cook where you can explore the huge dripping ice face of the Tasman Glacier by boat. You can also take part in an outdoor stargazing tour. Using the naked eye, high powered binoculars and state-of-the-art telescopes, you will tour the Milky Way and beyond.

Day 10 and 11 – Mount Cook / Dunedin
Today you’ll enjoy a leisurely drive from Mount Cook to the city of Dunedin. You’ll spend a full day seeing wildlife delights on the Otago Peninsula with an expert nature guide and encounter some of the world’s rarest wildlife including the royal albatross, Hooker’s sea lions, blue penguins, New Zealand fur seals, yellow-eyed penguins and much more.

Day 12 and 13 – Dunedin / Te Anau / Doubtful Sound
Today head across the South Island to Te Anau, located on the eastern shore of Fiordland before boarding the Fiordland Navigator at Deep Cove for an overnight wilderness cruise experience. Soak up your stunning surrounds and discover the hidden arms of Doubtful Sound – Hall, Crooked and First.

Day 14 and 15 – Doubtful Sound / Queenstown
After breakfast, you’ll head north to Queenstown, where you’ll have two free days to enjoy the stunning surrounds.
The Dairy Private Luxury Hotel

Day 16 and 17 – Queenstown / Lake Moeraki
You’ll continue north from Queenstown for a two-night stay at Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki where you can choose from a wilderness coastline expedition to a nearby seal colony, Fiordland crested penguin watching, rainforest walks, canoe safaris, Moeraki Rapids and the historic Blue Hut.
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki

Day 18 and 19 – Lake Moeraki / Arthur’s Pass
Today you’ll take part in a tree-top adventure high in the ancient Rimu and Kamahi tree canopy before heading from Lake Moeraki to Wilderness Lodge in Arthur’s Pass. Here you can explore amazing limestone caves, canoe on Lake Pearson and visit the Craigieburn Forest Park for a forest restoration project.
Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass

Day 20 – Arthur’s Pass / Christchurch
Today you’ll drive through Arthur’s Pass to Christchurch for an overnight stay.
The George Hotel

Day 21 – Depart Christchurch
You’ll head to the airport today for your return flight.