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Location: Picton

Day 1 - 6 Sep 2021

Picton

Picton, Picton

Content: If like me you start your road trip from Auckland or the North Island, you have to get the ferry at Wellington and cross Cook Strait to reach the South Island at Picton. Two ferry companies are available: Bluebridge or Interislander. Bluebridge being the cheapest ($258 one way), we chose this company and took the morning ferry at 8 am. The crossing is about 3:30 hrs. The last hour’s crossing to Picton is AMAZING, as you cross the Marlborough Sounds and the scenery is just breathtaking. Photos often have more impact than words so see for yourself.

Location: Havelock

Day 1 - 6 Sep 2021

Havelock lookout

Havelock, Havelock lookout

Content: We started the road to Whararariki Beach through Nelson and stopped a few time in some local viewpoints such as Havelock Lookout.

Location: Abel Tasman

Day 1 - 6 Sep 2021

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman , Abel Tasman National Park

Content: We only passed through Abel Tasman National Park due to the length of our holidays. As it’s early September, it is a bit too cold for me to swim and fully enjoy the area. So we didn’t stop. However, if you have more time, this place is worth spending a few days. This park is famous for its stunning beaches, its superb walks and the possibility to kayak between the different bays.

Location: Wharariki Beach

Day 1 - 6 Sep 2021

Wharariki Beach

Wharariki Beach, Wharariki Beach
Wharariki Beach, Wharariki Beach
Wharariki Beach, Wharariki Beach
Wharariki Beach, Wharariki Beach

Content: We made it just in time for the sunset on the emblematic beach of Wharariki! A short walk of about 20 minutes will make you reach it. And the locals are always there to show you the way 🐑🐑 We decided to sleep not far from the beach on a free campsite (Taupata Gravel Reserve) to return and enjoy the beach a wee longer in the morning.

Location: Pūponga

Day 2 - 7 Sep 2021

Wharariki Beach

Pūponga, Wharariki Beach

Content: We spent our early morning at the beach, enjoying this peaceful place with a cup of coffee. We feel alone in the world on this huge beach. The perfect occasion to take our time, recharge our batteries and relax with this fresh breeze on our face. The rocks are stunning and impressive to see.

Location: Tākaka

Day 2 - 7 Sep 2021

Te Waikoropupu Springs

Tākaka, Te Waikoropupu Springs

Content: After Wharariki Beach, we set off to reach the west coast, towards Westport. We are looking forward to it because the west coast = surfing spot 🏄‍♀️🌊 On our way to Westport, we stopped in this fantastic place , Te Waikoropupu Springs. Te Waikoropupū Springs are the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand, the largest cold water springs in the Southern Hemisphere and contain some of the clearest water ever measured. The walk is a loop and takes around 40min. Definitely worth the stop.

Location: Nelson

Day 2 - 7 Sep 2021

Centre of New Zealand Monument

Nelson, Centre of New Zealand Monument

Content: Nelson is the biggest town in the region. Stop there for grocery shopping before heading to the remote part of the west coast. Also check out the Centre of New Zealand Monument. On Botanical Hill at the start of the Maitai Valley, it is an iconic walk in Nelson Tasman.

Location: Westport

Day 2 - 7 Sep 2021

Westport

Westport, Westport
Westport, Westport

Content: We continue to Westport, known for its rich coal mining history. Animal lover, head to Cape Foulwind to see the seal colony. And if you in need of adrenaline, stop at Buller Gorge Swing-bridge (New Zealand’s longest swing bridge)or on the Buller Canyon Jet. Westport is also know for its surf break. Surf is available along all the west coast.

Location: Punakaiki

Day 2 - 7 Sep 2021

Punakaiki

Punakaiki, Punakaiki
Punakaiki, Punakaiki
Punakaiki, Punakaiki
Punakaiki, Punakaiki
Punakaiki, Punakaiki

Content: I was amazed by the wild west coast. Its landscapes are stunning and different from the rest of New Zealand: palm trees on the edge of cliffs, tropical rainforests and raging waves. A little bit of Jurassic Park vibe can be felt here in Punaikaki. A stop in this emblematic town is due to discover the pancake rocks.

Location: Greymouth

Day 2 - 7 Sep 2021

Greymouth

Greymouth, Greymouth
Greymouth, Greymouth

Content: After a big day of road trip along the west coast, stop at Greymouth for the night. You can also go for a swim or surf in the area. Cobden Aromahaba Lagoon free camp, located just before Greymouth, is perfect for sleeping right in front of the local surf spot

Location: Hokitika

Day 3 - 8 Sep 2021

Hokitika Beach Sign

Hokitika, Hokitika Beach Sign

Content: Back on the road in the morning, we headed towards Franz Josef, as a very unique activity awaits us the next morning. On the way, we stopped in the small beachside town of Hokitika. This lovely town has many galleries and art studios where you can even carve your own Poumanu (also known as Greenstone or Jade Stone) and keep it as a souvenir.

Hokitika Gorge

Hokitika, Hokitika Gorge
Hokitika, Hokitika Gorge
Hokitika, Hokitika Gorge
Hokitika, Hokitika Gorge
Hokitika, Hokitika Gorge

Content: You can also explore the Hokitika Gorge, just half an hour from the town. This place is superb. You will surely be, like me, awed by the water’s colour.

Location: Franz Josef / Waiau

Day 3 - 8 Sep 2021

Franz Josef / Waiau

Franz Josef / Waiau, Franz Josef / Waiau
Franz Josef / Waiau, Franz Josef / Waiau
Franz Josef / Waiau, Franz Josef / Waiau

Content: An hour and a half later, you finally arrived in Franz Josef, in the glacier country. Franz Josef Glacier is the steepest glacier in the country. It also moves faster than an average glacier, with the ice fall capturing speeds of up to five metres per day! This creates some incredible features in the glacier such as ice caves, tunnels, seracs and crevasses. But before we can see these features ourself tomorrow, we decided to go for a walk and admire the glacier from the distance. The Franz Josef glacier walk is a short 30 min (1.7km return) walk through the rainforest with a nice view on the glacier.

Orange Sheep Campervan Park

Franz Josef / Waiau, Orange Sheep Campervan Park
Franz Josef / Waiau, Orange Sheep Campervan Park

Content: We decided to stay overnight in a paid campground and get some rest for the big day tomorrow. We stay in the lovely campsite called Orange sheep Campervan Park. And we were not disappointed. For only $12.5 per person, this campsite has everything you need: hot shower, toilets, wifi, kitchen, bbq area, a large pitch with picnic table. And all of this surrounded by a peaceful rainforest and a view of the snowcapped mountains. I advise you to arrive early enough at this campsite to choose your favourite spot and enjoy the sunset over the mountains.

Location: Franz Josef / Waiau

Day 4 - 9 Sep 2021

The Helicopter Line Franz Josef Heli Hike

Franz Josef / Waiau, The Helicopter Line Franz Josef Heli Hike
Franz Josef / Waiau, The Helicopter Line Franz Josef Heli Hike
Franz Josef / Waiau, The Helicopter Line Franz Josef Heli Hike
Franz Josef / Waiau, The Helicopter Line Franz Josef Heli Hike
Franz Josef / Waiau, The Helicopter Line Franz Josef Heli Hike

Content: We were looking forward to this day with excitement. The flagship activity of our road trip in the South Island of New Zealand. A hike of about 3 hours on the Franz Josef glacier. And the only way to get there is by helicopter. Hence the name heli-hike. A first time for us and it was memorable. Our guide was fantastic (we booked through The Helicopter Line company) and give us some great info about the area. Full equipment is also included. The price can be scary ($485 per person) but the experience is well worth it.

Location: Franz Josef

Day 4 - 9 Sep 2021

The Helicopter Line Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef, The Helicopter Line Franz Josef Glacier

Content: If you are not a keen hiker and prefer to enjoy the incredible view on the mountains from the sky, you can quite simply book a helicopter tour that will fly over the area. Prices vary depending on the duration, starting at around $280.

Location: Fox Glacier

Day 4 - 9 Sep 2021

Lake Matheson Walk

Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson Walk

Content: A quick stop to discover the beautiful Lake Matheson and its mirror effect. If you wish to spend the night in the area, Lake Paringa isn’t far. There is a super free camp right on the lake!

Location: West Coast

Day 4 - 9 Sep 2021

Mount Aspiring National Park

West Coast, Mount Aspiring National Park

Content: The advantage of self-driving is that you can stop wherever you want along the way. The road between Franz Josef and Wanaka is beautiful, crossing the famous Mount Aspiring National Park. There are a lot of great stops on the road to discover some stunning lookouts, waterfalls, etc. Many hikes ranging from a few hours to several days are also available in the area. Thunder Creek Falls and Fantail Falls are both easily accessible from the main road. Thunder Creek is an impressive 92-metre waterfall.

Location: Mount Aspiring National Park

Day 4 - 9 Sep 2021

Blue Pools

Mount Aspiring National Park, Blue Pools

Content: A short 3 km round trip walk takes you through the forest of Mt Aspiring National Park to discover the legendary Blue Pools. You will cross two suspension bridges and enjoy the natural spectacle of pure glacial water collected in the mountains.

Location: Wanaka

Day 4 - 9 Sep 2021

Wanaka

Wanaka, Wanaka
Wanaka, Wanaka
Wanaka, Wanaka

Content: I strongly recommend to stay one night in Wanaka to discover this pretty little town and its lake. This lakeside town is also the starting point for one of the most famous hikes in New Zealand: Roy’s Peak. My big regret of this stay: not having been able to do this hike. Unfortunately, the weather is starting to get very fickle so we won’t do it.

#ThatWanakaTree

Wanaka, #ThatWanakaTree

Content: Being here, we had to take a look at the famous #thatwanakatree, making the buzz on Instagram. To be honest, apart from seeing a tree on a lake with a view of the mountains in the background, we didn’t found much interest in it. Not to mention the crowd on the spot trying to get THE perfect picture. But still worth making a stop while you stroll around the lake.

Location: Arrowtown

Day 5 - 10 Sep 2021

Arrowtown

Arrowtown, Arrowtown
Arrowtown, Arrowtown

Content: On the way to Queenstown from Wanaka, make a small detour to explore the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown! This charming town has kept its rich heritage and historic buildings and is now a vibrant destination with amazing food and beverage, shopping and attractions. A stroll through the main streets gives you a glimpse into what life would have been earlier.

Location: Queenstown

Day 5 - 10 Sep 2021

Queenstown

Queenstown, Queenstown
Queenstown, Queenstown

Content: Let’s discover one of the most touristic towns in New Zealand: Queenstown. Situated on the shore of Lake Wakatipu (New Zealand’s largest lake), this town is famous for its many outdoor activities, from the most extreme to the most relaxed. In winter it is an ideal base for skiers. Queenstown is a popular destination all year round. There is many so much activities to do in the area that you could easily spend a week there and be busy everyday.

Fergburger

Queenstown, Fergburger

Content: A stay in Queenstown cannot be successful without a visit to the legendary Fergburger. Whatever the season, at lunchtime you may see an unbelievable queue to order. So try it out and make your own opinion. There is also Ferg’s Bar, Mrs Ferg Gelato and the Fergbaker, Queenstown’s No. 1 bakery. I personally loved their pies and their famous “Boston Cream Donut”. To die for. 😋

Skyline Gondola

Queenstown, Skyline Gondola
Queenstown, Skyline Gondola

Content: Queenstown’s favourite attraction is most certainly Queenstown Gondola. The steepest cable car in the southern hemisphere will take you 450 metres above the city, where you can enjoy this postcard-like panorama. Also did you know that New Zealand, and more specifically Queenstown, is the birthplace of commercial bungee jumping? AJ Hackett was the first company to launch this phenomenon. There are now 3 sites around Queenstown to try the big jump and one is on top of the skyline for a 47m height.

Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa

Queenstown, Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Queenstown, Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Queenstown, Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Queenstown, Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa

Content: The Hilton Queenstown got one of the best view on the lake. You can chose between a good range of rooms from the standard to deluxe suite with spa. sThe restaurant in the hotel is amazing with a lovely fire place outside and the breakfast is really good.

Location: Milford Sound

Day 6 - 11 Sep 2021

Milford Sound Cruise

Milford Sound, Milford Sound Cruise
Milford Sound, Milford Sound Cruise
Milford Sound, Milford Sound Cruise
Milford Sound, Milford Sound Cruise

Content: Hop on a full day trip to Milford Sounds to discover the Fiordland region and its amazing landscapes. Departing from 7am at Queenstown, many companies offers coach services with pick up at your hotel. Allowed a full day for this trip as Milford is at 5hrs drive from Queenstown.

Location: Queenstown

Day 6 - 11 Sep 2021

Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa

Queenstown, Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Queenstown, Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Queenstown, Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Queenstown, Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa

Content: This night, relax at the hotel, enjoy the pool and spa area and then order room service. After this big day on the road and in the cruise, a chill out night sounds amazing !

Location: Glenorchy

Day 7 - 12 Sep 2021

Glenorchy

Glenorchy, Glenorchy
Glenorchy, Glenorchy

Content: This morning, take one of the world’s most beautiful scenic road to explore Glenorchy. Situated less than an hour drive from Queenstown, Glenorchy is best known for the many movies that have been produced there – Lord of the Rings, X-Men, Narnia and many others. When you visit this small village, you will quickly understand why many movie directors have chosen to shoot a few scenes there. The landscapes are breathtaking. I advise you to plan at least half day to enjoy this incredible place. And even when it rains, the place is always majestic.

Location: Queenstown

Day 7 - 12 Sep 2021

Main Town Pier

Queenstown, Main Town Pier
Queenstown, Main Town Pier
Queenstown, Main Town Pier
Queenstown, Main Town Pier

Content: When you come back to Queenstown, stroll around the main Center and the pier. You can stop for a drink in one of the bar along the lake Wakatipu. If you fancy a hot drink, head to Patagonia Chocolates - Ice Creamery and Chocolatery.

Flame Bar & Grill

Queenstown, Flame Bar & Grill

Content: For dinner, book a table at Flame Grill. This restaurant is one of the best South African steak restaurant in Queenstown.

Location: Omarama

Day 8 - 13 Sep 2021

Omarama Clay Cliffs

Omarama, Omarama Clay Cliffs
Omarama, Omarama Clay Cliffs
Omarama, Omarama Clay Cliffs

Content: A very little known yet, I advise you to go and have a look at the clay cliffs of Omarama. Impressive! It looks like we are in another world for a moment.

Location: Lake Pukaki

Day 8 - 13 Sep 2021

Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki, Lake Pukaki
Lake Pukaki, Lake Pukaki
Lake Pukaki, Lake Pukaki
Lake Pukaki, Lake Pukaki

Content: Arriving near Lake Pukaki, you can discover a splendid view of the lake. I promise, there is no filter on these pictures. The lake has just an exceptional blue azur.

Location: Mt Cook National Park

Day 8 - 13 Sep 2021

Hooker Valley track

Mt Cook National Park, Hooker Valley track
Mt Cook National Park, Hooker Valley track
Mt Cook National Park, Hooker Valley track
Mt Cook National Park, Hooker Valley track
Mt Cook National Park, Hooker Valley track
Mt Cook National Park, Hooker Valley track
Mt Cook National Park, Hooker Valley track
Mt Cook National Park, Hooker Valley track
Mt Cook National Park, Hooker Valley track

Content: Drive closer to Mt Cook and reach Mt Cook village. From there, you can walk the Hooker Valley Track to discover the beautiful landscape the national park often. This hike is a easy 10km return (3hrs). It was snowing a lot when we did it. The landscape is so different without snow too.

Location: Lake Tekapo

Day 9 - 14 Sep 2021

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo, Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo, Lake Tekapo

Content: Today, we are heading towards the second well-known lake on the South Island: Lake Tekapo and its Church of the Good Shepherd. If you come between November to February, during you can spot the Lupins flowers.

Location: Akaroa

Day 9 - 14 Sep 2021

Akaroa

Akaroa, Akaroa

Content: On the way to Christchurch, take the road less travelled and visit the Banks peninsula; Especially the charming town of Akaroa. This village has a strong French influence and for a good reason. It was founded in 1840 by French settlers.

Location: Christchurch

Day 9 - 14 Sep 2021

Christchurch

Christchurch, Christchurch
Christchurch, Christchurch
Christchurch, Christchurch
Christchurch, Christchurch

Content: Finally, end your day in one of the world’s most unique destinations:Christchurch. In this city, being the South Island’s largest city, innovation and heritage thrive together. There is always something new to visit: street art, innovative project,… Visit the city and admire the contrast between cutting-edge architecture and some of the oldest buildings in New Zealand. As well as the numerous green spaces. Christchurch is named the “garden city” Go out for the night in one of the many eatery precincts: High Street, Victoria Street, or Stranges Lane.

Location: Kaikōura

Day 10 - 15 Sep 2021

Kaikōura

Kaikōura, Kaikōura
Kaikōura, Kaikōura
Kaikōura, Kaikōura
Kaikōura, Kaikōura
Kaikōura, Kaikōura

Content: Last stop before catching the ferry back in Picton : Kaikoura. This town is known for its seal colonies, but also as the whale watching capital of New Zealand.

Location: Picton

Day 10 - 15 Sep 2021

Picton Interislander Vehicle Check-In

Picton, Picton Interislander Vehicle Check-In
Picton, Picton Interislander Vehicle Check-In

Content: