Traverse the alpine landscape of New Zealand’s South Island to catch an eyeful of dramatic natural beauty in this area known for its glaciers, glow worm caves, art and wineries.
Fly into Christchurch and take some time to get to know its multifaceted nature before heading through Arthur’s Pass to the wild West Coast, with its rainforests, glaciers and dramatic coastlines. Next, head south through Haast to the alpine resorts of Wanaka and Queenstown. This journey alone will take you through dramatically changing landscapes from the plains and east coast’s fairly calm sea, then through the mountains to rainforests, glaciers, raging rivers and waterfalls that’ll all take your breath away.
Read on to start planning and creating your own customised journey with our itinerary builder below.
This is a loaded question. The South Island is renowned for its winter wonderland attractions and yet there is a great deal to savour all year round. Autumn — which runs March through to May — is particularly sensational. The days are warm, full of sunshine, and conducive to getting out and about. But, really, the rich landscape and myriad activities can be enjoyed at any time.
Christchurch is the gateway to the South Island and a charming experience in itself. There are 13 daily non-stop flights to Christchurch from Australia’s main airports. After taking some time to explore the city, venture east then north to experience the wild West Coast.
Allow $100–$150 a day for petrol, worthy entertainment and cheap and cheerful eats, and if you tend to enjoy the finer things in life, give yourself upwards of $250 a day to take some bigger adventures, find some luxe ways to relax and eat some truly sensational food.
Lyttelton, Christchurch’s little bohemian harbourside sister formed from an extinct volcano. Hike up the back of town for views out over the turquoise water, then head down for a drink at the Wunderbar, which prides itself on its quirkiness. Think velvet walls, doll’s head light shades, hidden toilets and a killer view across the water to Quail Island and Diamond Harbour.
Plan Your Journey Through the TranzAlpine Region
Track down the must-visit local haunts.
Venture Through the TranzAlpine Region
Do as the locals do.
From fresh salmon to stacks of pancakes, here's how to eat your way through the TranzAlpine region.
1. Fox River Markets
2. Punakaiki Tavern
3. Pancake Rocks Cafe
4. Alice May
5. Salmon Farm Cafe
Sample the goods at Monteith's Brewery or have a brew with glacial views — wine or beer lover, we've got you covered.
1. Monteith's Brewery
2. Snake Bite Brewery
3. Monsoon Bar
4. The Landing
5. Recreation Hotel
With scenic skydiving, ATV tours and more, get your heart pumping among some stunning nature.
1. Horse Ride through Punakaiki
2. Skydive Franz
3. ATV Tour of Franz Josef
4. Helicopter Flight and See Franz Josef
Spend the day in a hot pool or enjoying ocean views from a private clifftop hut — this list of things will keep you relaxed.
1. Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools
2. Rainforest Retreat
3. Woodpecker Hut
4. Amaia Luxury Spa
5. Jivana Yoga
Walk a tunnel filled with glow worms or hike a historic mine site and get back to nature.
1. Lake Brunner
2. Pancake Rocks
3. Brunner Mine Site
4. Tatare Tunnel
5. Lake Mapourika
There’s an NZ version of 'Westworld' and a gourmet grocer. Get your culture fix with these five activities.