New Zealand: A two-week road trip along the southern island-our complete itinerary

New Zealand has been on our list of countries that we want to see once with our own eyes, in the leading places, and long before the birth of Emmičky. Once we decided to renew an Australian tourist visa, the trip to Zealand was a clear choice.

In Zealand, we traveled from mid-November to early December. For time reasons, we have chosen a circuit only on the southern island, on which the "True Zealand" nature is (at least according to the views of others).

New Zealand-Basic info

New Zealand consists of two main islands-the North Island and the South Island, which are separated by a 23 km long Cook Strait-and from another approximately 700 small isles. 

The North Island is known primarily for active Vulcans, hot springs, Maorian culture, cosmopolitan towns, vineyards, or beaches. It has a warm climate and lives here approximately three quarters of the total population of New Zealand.

The South Island is well known for its wild nature, amazing lakes, still preserved glaciers and Southern Alps. But here you will find beautiful towns (sea, mountain and inland) with an atmosphere, plus plenty of adrenaline sports to try. The South Island is also more spacious and less populated,


The possibilities of how to move as a tourist in New Zealand is really a lot. 

  • Plane

If you have little time, it is certainly worthwhile to move with air. Domestic air transport is really sophisticated here, and the connections between cities are relatively frequent.

  • By public transport

You can save money by travelling by bus or train. In Zealand, this type of transport is also very well solved. The time is unfortunately the least comfortable. For more information about this type of transport, please visit

  • Car Rental

Apparently the most popular and most widely used among tourists is campervan. Such a residential van, a smaller caravan. We've always met our journey all the time.

In the picture a typical living:)

We also borrowed the car. Specifically, through AirportRentals and we had a really good experience with them. Just be careful when filling in all of your details by selecting the "Insurance" checkbox. This insurance is offered by a mediator. In the event of an accident, this insurance covers you, but not the insurance directly from the rental. In the event of a problem, it is then necessary to pay the rental for an accident and an intermediary, in our case AirportRentals, you will then repay the money back. Fortunately, we didn't have a problem. But for someone it is certainly better to pay for the insurance only afterwards at the rental. We borrowed a personal car (we drove with Philip Mom, so we had a living in the wilderness or in campervan refused to ride around Airbnb and similar accommodation we had in advance).

The car for 15 days even with insurance and child seat was released to about 8.900 CZK, which came to us more than a good price in Zealand:)

Between the main islands there is a regular ferry (about 7x a day), so there is no problem to borrow a car on one island and return it to the other. Most car hire companies offer this option.

New Zealand is also known for the fact that here you will find many bridges with only a riding lane. Who has priority is always marked in front of the bridge, but of course, that here pays common sense.

The highway, as we know it, does not exist in Zealand. You don't have to pay for vignettes either. The maximum allowable speed in the village is 50 km/hour, outside the village 100 km/hour. And don't forget that there's a ride on the left in Zealand!

And now to our itinerary. 

In advance, I note that we did not lose any large tracks, but Zealand is full of all day and several-days tracks, which are definitely worth visiting. In the text I mention occasionally the places we missed to visit, but which I can confidently (on the recommendation of local and other travellers) recommend:)

Day 1

  • Flight to Christchurch 

On the first day we spent the whole trip, renting a car, buying some food and a Zealand SIM card (we bought it mainly because of the Internet, making it easier to navigate).

We slept here: 7Vhouse-Lake side. That's where we slept here just to make sure you stay there, didn't. Dirt, "kitchen" in the garage, the password to the key vault changed the owner just before the arrival, so we could not get in and with the Australian number I did not allow anyone.

Price per night was 1.645 CZK.

Day 2

  • Departure from Christchurch by road number 1 direction to the south
  • Rakaia Gorge Walkway-a hike to the view of the Rakaia Gorge. We originally wanted to go to Rakaia Bridge, but we were late to find that we had to go on another road (No. 72), so we were "satisfied" with this view:) The view would certainly be even better if we stepped out and went further. Unfortunately, Emmička was not really worn at that time, so after this perspective, we "gave up" and returned to the car and continued on the road further south. (Route suitable for small children only with a stretcher)
  • Mayfield-This town was not a completely planned stop. But when we saw that shop from THE car, we had to stop there. We love the rowing shop and this one was huge and beautiful. With a lot of wonderful things that we don't see anymore. So who loves such places, I'm sure to stop here.
  • Route 66-in the Burkes pass and in the village of the same name, there is a smaller "museum" or a public sector, perhaps all together. Definitely worth a visit. If you don't arrive like us late in the afternoon, you'll be able to have some more small snacks there.
  • Lake Tekapo-a lake of glacial origin, the second largest in Zealand, enchyed us at first sight. Its cyan color seemed to us unbelievable. It is a very tourist busy place (we were off season, so tourists there was not yet so much). A part along the eastern shore of the lake, heading north along Lilybank Rd, we drove through the car. There were incredible vistas, and the truth, from this moment on, we had to just split, because we couldn't believe our own eyes. And when we thought that we could not see anything more beautiful, we crossed the hill, crossed the curve, and saw other natural splendor, which we had not dreamed of even the most beautiful dream:).
  • At Lake Tekapo is a very famous church of the Good Shepherd.
  • Pukaki Lake-Pukaki Lake We just passed by the way to Omaramy (we didn't miss the stop on the photo anyway:)

Note: At the end of November and December, the surroundings of the Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki turn into beautiful violet-pink shades, because at this time the wolf-bob Blooms that will give the places an even greater atmosphere. From this period you will find most photos of these places on the internet:).

  • Omarama-We actually came to sleep in the small village of Omarama. We've got the accommodation through HomeAway and we were excited about it. Beautiful house with a fireplace, which really threw, because even though we arrived at the end of their spring, it was cold as in… United. We even experienced snow calamity, and it was freezing at night. So we appreciated the possibility of electric parking (in all accommodation). 

N.B.: It may surprise someone, but they have no central heating anywhere. Despite this great winter and despite the fact that the houses have a wall wide about 10 cm and the winter is in the hut as soon as it cools. So I recommend in search of accommodation to solve if there will be a possibility of heating in your accommodation (fireplace, electric stove, or at least electric blankets).

We were staying in this little house. One night we came to 2.560 CZK for the obejkt. Link to accommodation here.

Day 3

Because we wanted to enjoy a quiet view of Lake Tekapo and look again at the Pukaki Lake, we returned a few kilometres to the lakes the next day. And what places did we miss the third day of our trip?

  • Mt. John Observatory-here in addition to the Observatory and café you will see a magnificent view of Lake Tekapo. The observatory can be reached by car, or a nice hike from the lake towards the Observatory, where the trail leads.
  • Lake Pukaki-from Lake Tekapo, you can reach Lake Pukaki by a different route than just the main road. From the main road Tekapo-Twizel Rd It is necessary to turn right on the road Braemar Rd. It's not about the asphalt road, but every car here will be completely calm in good weather. You can reach the Hayman Rd Road, which runs along the right bank of Lake Pukaki. We turned to the right, and rode a little further north. At one indeterminate place, we stopped and put out lunch. If it hadn't been so cold, we'd have enjoyed a lot more. Even so, it was beautiful, and it had its charm. In nice weather you can see Mt. Cook. After that, we also embraced the lake at Peter's Lookout, where the view was on the Pukaki Lake.

NB: We no longer had so much time, so we missed to go on, but if you continue on the road No. 80 Mount Cook Rd will take you to mount Mt. Cook from the east side and you can walk through a lot of wonderful trails and trails. E.g. Hooker Valley Track (also suitable for families with children), from which you can catch a glimpse of a piece of glacier or Red Tarns Track.

  • Clay Cliffs-from Lake Pukaki we headed to the rocky formations of Clay Cliffs, which resemble a little American westerns. These are deposits of clay and gravel, which during 1-2 million years transformed into such huge spikes. Arriving after the place is a private unpaved road. Because it is a private plot, there is a fee of 5 NZD in the box at the entrance.
    • Suitable only with a stretcher for smaller children.
  • Omarama-from the place of Clay Cliffs drove us a huge wind and a rain, which gradually changed in the snow, so we hastened the "home" and the hamlet of Omarama, unfortunately, we could not get through.

I recommend here to visit the LadyBird Hill Restaurant and the salmon farm, where you can grab your own salmon, which you will then prepare according to your wishes.

Day 4

  • Omarama-> Kingston

Today we waited for a crossing from the village of Omarama to the village of Kingston near the southern part of Lake Wakatipu. We planned a beautiful weather, because we had the accommodation right by the lake. But the plan did not come out, and on the way from Omarama in the most beautiful places, such as the Lindis Pass, or the Lindis valley, we caught a snow calamity. Even the snow-capped hills had their charm. Only the road was a little uncomfortable. In Queenstown, we were still able to stop at the shop for big jackets, because we weren't counting to Australia, and in truth we weren't counting the calamity in Zealand, where at that time the spring was ending and it was supposed to be the beginning of the summer. I also recommend the Early Zealand summer to count on really low temperatures (mainly in mountainous areas and in the south of the southern island.

We arrived in Kingston in the afternoon, and because it was snowing and it was about 2 degrees, we had to heat up quickly, because the cottage was, of course, nicely frozen and the only way to warm it was to heat the fireplace in the main room. In the bedrooms we had at least the electric blankets in the bed that heated us, otherwise we would probably freeze. 

The accommodation was stylish and if we had better weather, it would be ideal (just off the shores of Lake Wakatipu).

We were staying here: the price was 2.490 CZK/object/night.

Day 5

  • Relaxing Day

We caught all the cold, including Emmičky, it was raining outside and it was about 5 degrees, so we had a rest day, and we sat around the fireplace and watched the fire.

But the plan was to spend all day on Milford Sound. The fact that it didn't work, I was very sorry. Maybe it will work for you:). The road to Millford Sound from Kingston is 3 hours, so it's a really day trip. Also, I recommend you travel by boat in Milford Sound to book ahead. Maybe here.

Day 6

  • Walk around Kingston

We passed Kingston in the morning. 

Kingston is really a small village, where there's a small grocery store (but if you can buy yourself at a larger supermarket in Queensland, otherwise it's pretty expensive). Alternatively, you can walk up the Te Kere Haka Reserve along the trail, where you will have a view of Lake Wakatipu and Kingston (we missed this path for the number of days). 

Kingston's Flyer is a historic steam train that used to travel between the village of Kingston and Gore. You can learn more about it here.

  • Te Anau

The weather was not always the best, so we decided to take a look at Te Anau to the lake of the same name and take a piece towards Milford Sound, where the Fiordland National Park begins.

In Te Anau we walked along the lake and down the small center of the town and headed towards Milford Sound.

We came to the mirrors Lakes, where we went for a while, humped with natural beauty, turned and rode back to Kingston, where we waited last, third night.

Day 7

  • Departure from Kingston-in the morning, we drove from the village of Kingston along Lake Wakatipu towards Queenstown. Along the lake we stopped several times in various places, where there was a magnificent view of the lake.
  • Queenstown-then we went to Queensland, where we parked at the Queenstown Gardens (Botanical Gardens), which we passed up to the very center of Queenstown, which all of us absolutely had. Unfortunately, we have not had much time to spend the next extra day here. Back then I said I had to visit Queenstown again. It is the most beautiful city of all that we have visited on the southern island of New Zealand.

Queenstown offers plenty of activities and beautiful views, which we unfortunately missed. Must:

  • Bob's Peak-the top from which you will have a magnificent view of the Queenstown and Wakatipu. You can get there either by foot or by the Skyline Gondola cable car
  • Water activities, relaxation on the beach-Queenstown offers plenty of water activities, such as a paddle board ride, kayaking, a jet of BoatU, pedal boats and more
  • Food in Ferburger-where you can put the renowned, huge burgers (supposedly they are not the best in Queensland, but are so famous that you do not take it in Queenstown, is a sin)
  • A helicopter on the Milford Sound-who has no time and has a coin for more, it can fly from Queensland to Milford Sound to indulge in bird-eye views.
  • Journey from Queensland to Glenorchy

I read that the journey from Queensland to Glenorchy is one of the most beautiful not only in Zealand, but all over the world, so we had a clear ride through it. And we didn't regret it. The views that came to us on Lake Wakatipu, the snow-capped mountain peaks and the amazing natural scenery were breathtaking. Well, judge for yourself.

  • Journey to Wanaka

Then we headed to Wanaka. Due to bad weather on the day we drove south to Kingston, we decided to go to Wanaka a little detour (detour about 25 min) and pass the Road No. 6 through the Kawarau Gorge.

We didn't miss the view of Cromwell at Arrow Junction.

We arrived in Wanaka late in the afternoon, so we accommodated and gathered forces for the next days, where we waited for a crossing along the entire West Coast to the north to the city of Nelson.  But let's not premiss it

Our accommodation in the town of Wanaka: Wanaka Kiwi Holiday Park & Motels (Price/night 2.640 CZK)

Day 8

  • Wanaka

In the morning we went through the town of Wanaka and the beach to the well-known abandoned tree in Lake Wanaka (be prepared for the fact that this tree will want to take pictures of other people's crowds, so you will surely not be there). 

At Wanaky you can make a total of 1.5 hours (back and forth) a long hike within Mt. Iron Track.

  • The road to Haast-even though the road from Wanaka to Haastu takes less than 2 watches, there are lots of places along the way that we didn't want to miss and I recommend stopping for others. We've planned this two-hour trip to Haast as a full-day crossing.

And where did we stop?

  • Lake Hawea-Here are more places to stop. We stopped right on the southern edge and then on the marked view of the "Lake Hawea Lookout"
  • The Neck-The narrowest point between the lakes of Wanaka and Hawea, a wonderful place
  • Wanaka Lookout
  • Blue Pools-A few minutes walk from the parking lot and you will see such beauty in the form of emerald ponds. The place is a breath-taking, none of it. What had disturbed us a little to enjoy the splendour, were the sand flies that were very humbled by us as they could. Even in spite of the fact that we were sprayed with a spray intended just against these little creatures. But I would have visited this place again!

  • Fantail Falls-again a few meters walk to the smaller Fantail waterfall
  • Thunder Creek Falls-a 10-minute walk to the big Thunder Creek waterpoachers
  • Arrival and accommodation in the village of Haast

Haast is a small village on the west coast of the Te Wāhipounam World Heritage Site.  The area is known for tramping and hunting. You can also use helicopter flights and boat tours. From Haast you can make a trip to the colonies of penguins or sea lions. Or you go fishing. The possibilities are a lot.

As for some amenities, Haast has one smaller supermarket connected with fast food and one more expensive restaurant. So be prepared for that:) But you can get the doctor here if you need it.

Our accommodation in the village Haast: Haast River Motels & Holiday Park (Price/night 2.500 CZK)

Day 9

  • Crossing into the town of Hokitika-the ninth day we planned a crossing into the sod of Hokitika, which is 3.5 hours away from Haast. In the morning we took a look at the beach in Haast, and we were already driving northwards.


  • Ship Creek Walk-two magnificent trails that can be explored
  • View-random view:)
  • Knigths Point-Another spectacular view
  • Bruce Bay-Our food stop
  • Peak View Point-View of Fox Glacier-Glacier about 10 km from the town
  • Lake Matheson-A walk along the lake (here we abstained in a café and decided to no longer walk along the lake we will not go)
  • Track to the Glacier Franz Josef (Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere Walk)-We unfortunately did not get to the edge of the iceberg, but we saw the glacier relatively close and it was worth it. If this view is enough and you don't need to climb up to the glacier, the road is even for the stroller. However, it is still quite uneven, rocky surface and it is definitely not recommended with the stroller.

Then we arrived in Hokitika, which is known for the production of jewellery and Maoran talismans from Jade, bought some food in the supermarket, unpacked, wrapped and went to sleep for the next day.

Our accommodation in the town of Hokitika: Jade Court Motor Lodge (Price/night 2.340 CZK)

Day 10

In the morning we went to the ocean and looked at the beach, where there is also a well-known wooden inscription Hokitika, which is often depicted for example on postcards.

  • Crossing to Westport

Then we rode again north along the West Coast. Our goal was the village of Carters Beach. And even if the crossing would take less than 2 hours without stopping, we had to reserve it all day.

We had a few wonderful stops waiting for us on the way. What were they?

  • View of Greymouth
  • Coal Creek Falls Walk-walk to the smaller waterfalls. The way back and forth took about 1 hour. Suitable only for stretcher.
  • Nine Mile-Spectacular views
  • Punakaiki/Pancake Rocks (Paparoa National Park)-approx. 20-30 minute circuit in the Paparoa National Park, the sum of which are Pancake Rocks at the village of Punakaiki. It is one of the biggest attractions on the west coast of the southern island. They are limestone rocks that arose about 30 million years ago from fragments of Dead Sea creatures and plants that settled several kilometers below the surface of the seabed. The eruptions were then pushed to the surface in this form. At the tide there are also so-called. Blowholes, holes through which the water is spiced high to the height and thus the water geysers are formed.
  • Truman Walk-a piece behind Punakaiki we passed the Truman Walk. Approx. 30 min. back and forth. The forest trail can be reached to the lookout for the wild ocean. You can also descend to the beach. We decided to look down. Well, there was a little soul in me when I heard and saw the enormous power of water. We walked quickly down the beach and hurriedly back.
  • Then still about two stops on the photo on the way and we were already in Carters Beach

We were accommodated via Airbnb here: Carters Beach Cottage (Price/night 2.290 CZK)

Day 11

We were expecting a crossing into the city of Nelson. We had planned some places we wanted to visit.

Like this:

  • Kawatiri River Trail and Kawatiri Beach
  • Maruia Falls
  • Murchison Skyline Walkway

Unfortunately the weather was spoiled again, so we only went to the city of Nelson (about 3 hours of travel) and stayed for two nights, again via Airbnb, here: Twin Peaks Mountain and Sea View Suite (Price/night 2.270 CZK). The hotel was amazing.

Day 12

The plan was an insight into Abel Tasman National Park, where you'll find everything. Numerous woods, hills, coastal rocks, waterfalls, caves and mysterious coves. We already had a printed ship to which we would be able to handle Emmius.

Unfortunately the weather decided to go against us, so we chose only a quick walk at the beginning of the park, before the rain flushed us. Definitely but for the more active of you I recommend to go through the possibilities of this park and go through some tracks. It is one of the most beautiful national parks of Zealand. 

We headed back to Nelson and went through the center. For me the second most beautiful city right after Queenstown.

In Nelson, we visited Queens Gardens, Miyazu Japanese Gardens, or Christ Church Cathedral

Also, don't miss the Centre of New Zealand, from which there is a magnificent view of the city and its surroundings (although it is not a geographic centre, see info here. The beginning is in Hardy Street.

Day 13

We drove the thirteenth day from Nelson to Kaikoura (about 4 hours). We haven't had any idea that this day will stretch out and be one of the most demanding of us in Zealand.

In the morning we drove about half-past 10 from Nelson towards Picton. On the way we had these stops:

  • Cullen Point Lookout-This is a 20 minute or an hour walk, which I think is not worth it completely. In November 2018, unfortunately, the view was so bad thanks to the growing vegetation that the road views were many times better. 
  • A couple of beautiful places on the road to Queen Charlotte Dr.
  • Picton-Unfortunately the weather was not ideal again, so we have not stayed here
  • Blenheim-Here we set out for a quick late lunch, were 3 hours in the afternoon and to the destination (to Kaikoury) we had less than two watches travel.

And here our relatively relaxed day broke. There was a sign in front of us, saying that the road to Kaikoury is closed (two days before, there were frequent landslides between Picton and Christchurch since there were already mentioned major earthquakes, and therefore such closures are not Sporadic). The only way to get to Kaikoury was a detour. But that was not an hour, not a two-hour, but six-hour straight. If we hadn't had the accommodation in Kaikoura, we'd probably wait until dawn in Blenheim. Philip decided to take it away, so we headed off. In addition, the road made us very heavy rain. Finally we take the place at 5 o'clock, got to Kaikoury in the 10th. It was demanding, but fortunately Emmička was golden, so we managed it relatively quietly!

Therefore, from our experience I recommend to check roadways and plan the trip accordingly. It would save us enough time. Official site of the transport company here.

Our accommodation for two nights was over here. Price/night 1.820 CZK.

Day 14

  • Kaikoura 

In the morning we went to see the beach and the seal colony. It was for me one of the most interesting experiences in Zealand. See Seals with your own eyes in the wild.

On the road we gave the famous seafood. They were excellent!

We could not even miss the view of the town and the Tour "center".

Day 15

  • Journey to Christchurch

Our stay was coming to an end, so we headed for our last trip to Christchurch, from which we flew back to Brisbane, Australia.

  • Cathedral Cliffs

It's not that difficult to visit this place. All you have to do is ride a little off the main road between Kaikoura and Christchurch. You can reach these interesting cliffs overlooking the ocean.

  • Christchurch

In Christchurch, we were only able to catch the Botanical Gardens, which were in vain and Emmička could be here again and again.

Christchurch is a wonderful city, which in 2011 was struck by a very strong earthquake, which destroyed the centre in particular. This is still being renewed now.

And what places in Christchurch can you visit?

  • 185 185 Empty Chairs-white chairs, which are supposed to symbolize the 185 of the human lives that have been extined by the earthquake in the year 2011
  • Cardboard Cathedral-a cathedral of cardboard, which is supposed to symbolize the new beginning of the city of Christchurch after the earthquake
  • Goldely Head Park-a variety of hiking trails where you will see more breathtaking views and natural phenomena.
  • International Antarctic Center-one of the biggest attractions in Christchurch. You can safely try it out, for example, what the true Antarctic storm looks like. The place is suitable for families with children:)
  • The cable car that will take you to Mt. Cavendish. From here, you'll enjoy Christchurch and its surroundings.

The last night before the flight we spent on AIRBNB here. Price per night was 1.715 CZK.

In Christchurch our journey through New Zealand ended.

And how many of us came out of this trip?

  • Flights from Australia came to us for about 21.000 CZK
  • Accommodation for 15 nights 33.900 CZK
  • Car Rental 8.900 CZK
  • Petrol 10.500 CZK
  • Food 8.000 CZK
  • Sim card SKINNY with data and calling about 600 CZK

A total of us New Zealand came out for about 82.900 CZK

Apps that make it easier to travel in New Zealand:

  • CamperMate-This is one of the best applications that will fit you to travel both in Zealand and Australia (although for Zealand it is more useful to me). You will find a lot of tips to see, comments posts that are worth seeing and which need a little less. And above all, you can see where there are gas stations, toilets, public WiFi, groceries and much more. An application that should not be missing on mobile to anyone who is preparing for Zealand.
  • Met Service-weather in Zealand is not to be underestimated (as you have already read our story) and this app will help you with planning a trip and avoiding any dangers.

Map of our trip on the southern island of New Zealand:

Finally, I give all the photos out of the way: