South Island Loop
Circle the island in 3 weeks
This itinerary loops the South Island (Te Waipounamu) in 3 weeks – if you’ve less time, start in Christchurch or Queenstown with a one-way car rental, pick your South Island hotspots, and return the car in Queenstown or Christchurch. Both cities have airports with international and domestic flights, plus loads of rental cars. One-way rentals are common requests.
There are three ways to go - the east coast, the west coast or through the middle via Mt Cook Village.
To add some context to this itinerary, a lot of people drive the 482km between Christchurch and Queenstown in a single day.
Days 1-9: Christchurch to Queenstown via the east coast & Milford Sound
Drive south from Christchurch on SH1, visiting Oamaru and Moeraki Boulders on the way to Dunedin. There’s top wildlife watching out on Otago Peninsula.