King of the mountains

The 13-day Southern Scenic self drive showcases the incredible diversity that lies on either side of the South Island’s magnificent Southern Alps. Lush rainforests, golden sand beaches and plunging fiords to the west combine with scenic tussock land, alpine meadows and glacial-blue waterways to the east. This journey also includes Milford Sound and culminates in a stay at Mt Cook, where alpine hiking opportunities abound.

Premier Stays
Price per person from
4310
  • NZD
  • USD
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  • EUR
All payment is in NZD. Pricing in other currencies is indicative based on the current exchange rate. Final payment amount is determined by your bank based on the latest conversion.
Classic Stays
Price per person from
3495
  • NZD
  • USD
  • CAD
  • GBP
  • AUD
  • SGD
  • EUR
All payment is in NZD. Pricing in other currencies is indicative based on the current exchange rate. Final payment amount is determined by your bank based on the latest conversion.

Based on 2 ppl, double occupancy. Prices vary depending on season. Request Your Date for exact pricing and a range of activity add-ons.

Summary
Length13 days | 12 nights
DestinationNelson to Christchurch
Lodging

Premier Stays

Classic Stays

Classic Stays
Modern, well-appointed properties that provide a comfortable, convenient base from which to explore. Perfect for the region, they’re typically within easy access to cafes and other amenities.

Premier Stays
Quality lodgings in superb settings, from stylish lakeside lodges to restful alpine retreats. Note that in a few cases, Classic Stays are used on a trip classified overall as Premier to allow access to stunning, remote locations where Premier Stays are not available.

Luxe Stays
Exclusive, indulgent hideaways with exceptional facilities and service. The best in New Zealand (and perhaps the world). Note that in a few cases, Premier Stays are used on a trip classified overall as Luxe to allow access to stunning, remote locations where Luxe Stays are not available.

Special Stays
Some tours feature overnight cruises and multiple-day hikes, with stays in private lodges or Department of Conservation huts, for special wilderness experiences.

FitnessEasygoing

Easygoing
You’re comfortable on tracks with gently undulating terrain and can move comfortably and freely. Suitable for families with young children. Note, activity add-ons may change rating.

Moderate
You enjoy walking/light hiking, can handle a hill or two, and appreciate life-affirming soft adventures that dip a toe outside your comfort zone.

Active
You’ve got a bit of Kiwi in you and are ready to hit the hills and push yourself a little. Some of these trips include multi-day hikes that get you further into the wild. It’s not all Bear Grylls, though. You’re happy to enjoy a rewarding glass of pinot at day’s end.

This is an overall guide. Our trips include a range of activities across the spectrum. Request a Detailed Itinerary for more details on fitness levels needed for individual activities.

StyleSelf Drive

Small Group
Scheduled, guided adventures with just the right number of like-minded travellers to share in the laughs and make new friends.

Private
Guided, professionally crafted trips with your own group and your choice of travel dates.

Self Drive
Self-guided, stress-free road trips with all the elements sorted for you. Our professionally crafted itineraries and booking team, your dates and travel companions.

Bespoke
Guided or self-guided, this is your personal New Zealand dream made manifest. A fully customized experience based on your passions, finessed with our professional planning.

Interests
Soft Adventure,
GO BESPOKE

If you already have a dream in mind, our Travel Shepherds await the challenge of bringing it to fruition. Request a Custom Quote based on your interests.

Daily Brief

Click on the orange icons to read about lodging along the way (not available on mobile). C=Classic, P=Premier, L=Luxe, S=Special Stays. Note accommodation may vary based on departure date. For hotel links and more information, Request a Detailed Itinerary above.
1
P

Welcome to New Zealand! A Black Sheep Touring Co representative will meet you at Nelson Airport, assist you with your rental car collection and take you through your tour documentation. The remainder of the day is free to rest from your journey and to explore the town.

2

Consider a day exploring the Abel Tasman National Park, with its temperate forest, aquamarine waters, and golden sand beaches. We recommend a special hike and sea kayaking experience along its coast, ducking in and out of secluded bays, stopping to stroll along its beaches, and drawing in the tranquil beauty of the sea.

3
P
C

Resume your journey and head for the wild and woolly West Coast. Emerging from the lush Buller Gorge, the road hugs the coast, providing spectacular views of the Tasman Sea. The afternoon allows you time to explore the area's features, including the intriguing Pancake Rocks, and to take in the bounty of talented craftspeople here.

4

This part of the South Island is known for its limestone landscape and is honeycombed with intricate cave systems. The morning gives you the opportunity to explore one of these systems in a choice of ways, or enjoy walking, kayaking, horse trekking or other optional activities.

5
P
C

This morning, it's a spectacular drive down to New Zealand's glacier region, with optional detours along the way. This is home to the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers, which dramatically tumble from the Alps to sea level, sharing real estate with thick stands of rainforest. Settle into the alpine charm of Fox or Franz Josef village for your two-night stay.

6

Walk along glacial riverbed to a viewing point near the impressive terminal face of the glacier. Additional walks in the area allow you to explore neighbouring old-growth rainforest. Optional activities include viewing the region with a thrilling scenic helicopter flight or heli-hike combination.

7
P
C

This morning, is a stunning drive to Queenstown via the dramatic scenery of Mt Aspiring National Park. Your notes will advise on hidden waterfall and rainforest tracks along the way. Pause in the resort town of Wanaka before crossing the Crown Range to Queenstown and your lodging overlooking beautiful Lake Wakatipu.

8

Queenstown is New Zealand’s adrenalin center. There is a huge range of optional activities available, from all-out adventures like jetboating, whitewater rafting, sky diving and four-wheel-drive adventures; or more leisurely pursuits such as walking, cycling, golf, and wine trails. Talk to one of our Travel Shepherds about options.

9

Today, we have included a coach excursion into Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. The scenery as you journey to the fiord is spectacular, and there are short stops to explore some of nature's wonders along the way. In Milford, board your vessel and cruise the length of the fiord to the Tasman Sea, passing alongside thundering waterfalls and fur seals basking on the rocks. Return by coach to Queenstown this evening.

10
P
C

This morning, head north along the eastern slopes of the Southern Alps to Aoraki Mt Cook. On route, pass through the beautiful tussock-land of the Lindis Pass and past the aquamarine, glacial waterways leading from the ranges. The alpine setting is spectacular and once settled into your lodging in Mt Cook village, head out to investigate your surroundings.

11

Hiking opportunities abound here and we recommend spending time exploring on foot, watching for unique alpine flora and fauna such as the mischievous mountain parrot, the kea. Far from the city lights, this area has some of the darkest skies in New Zealand, perfect for stargazing later tonight.

12
P
C

Take a leisurely drive to Christchurch with scenic stops along the way, including startlingly blue Lake Tekapo. The remainder of the day is free to explore the Garden City. Art installations that mask repair work around the city provide a fascinating exhibition of hope and ingenuity as the city rebuilds from the earthquake that altered it in 2011. Settle into your hotel in the central city.

13

Depending on your flight schedule, take time to stroll through the Botanical Gardens, hire a punt on the Avon River, visit the excellent Canterbury Museum or fulfill your gift list before dropping your rental car off at the airport and awaiting your flight home.

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Trip Inclusions

Of course, a successful road trip is more than just your hands on the wheel and the wind in your hair. See below for the inclusions in your Self Drive journey—inclusions that take the stress out of your trip, so all you have to do is worry about that hairdo.

Accomodation

All accommodation during your tour

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Activities

Milford Sound Nature Cruise including coach tour from Queenstown

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Meals

Included meals as outlined in your itinerary. Meal inclusions may change based on hotel availability.

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Transport

Compact automatic rental car (Toyota Corolla or similar) with no-excess insurance and unlimited kilometers

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Support

Professional office staff to help plan every aspect of your trip
Detailed pre-trip information
Meet and greet by a Black Sheep team member upon arrival (Auckland, Christchurch, Nelson and Queenstown only)
Detailed Self Drive touring pack delivered on arrival
Background support from Black Sheep HQ
Flight assistance available

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Gear & Amenities

Stainless steel water bottle & holder
NZ road atlas
Trip notes with detailed itinerary, directions, insider tips, dining and activity recommendations, and more

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Southern Scenic
Self Guided
Self Drive

THIS WAS ONE OF THE MOST REMARKABLE TRIPS WE’VE TAKEN AND WE WERE VERY PLEASED WITH ALL THE PREPARATIONS DONE BY BLACK SHEEP.

CHARLIE SCHNELL, ROSEBURG, OR, USA