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CURATED EXPERIENCE: Inspirational Itineraries

10 Days South Island Self Drive Itinerary

Day 1 | Arrival at Marlborough Sounds

Today you will arrive at Blenheim Airport.

You will be transferred to Picton where the concierge will assist with your water taxi to Bay of Many Coves.

This afternoon is at your leisure to relax and enjoy your surroundings.

Day 2  | Boat cruise in Marlborough Sound

Today you will be collected from Bay of Many Coves for a day exploring the beautiful Marlborough Sounds.

Imagine yourself cruising your way around 4000 square kms of idyllic scenery that make up the beautiful Sounds – pristine waters and bush clad hills provide a serenity rarely found these days.

Dolphins can regularly been seen playing within the waters of the Marlborough Sounds. The area is home to a resident pod of about 20–30 Hector’s dolphin, ‘thought to be the rarest marine dolphin in the world’.

Day 3 | Onsite activities

Spend the day exploring this resort and the surroundings. There are kayaks and SUPs available for your use.

Take one of several tracks from the Resort that lead you through hectares of private bush, alive with native birds. Venture to the Queen Charlotte Track, or arrange a boat pick up from any of the entry and exit points along this magnificent walkway.

The Resort is built around the beach with easy access to the water and a number of places to spend a pleasant few hours stretched out under the sun.

Day 4 | Arrival at Kaikoura

Today you will collect your rental vehicle from Picton and make your way to Kaikoura.

Travelling the scenic route from Picton to Kaikoura is easily one of the most beautiful drives in the South Island with the Kaikoura Ranges providing drama and beauty. Perhaps stop at one of the many wineries in Marlborough for a long lunch along the way.

This afternoon is at your leisure to spend at Hapuka Lodge & Tree Houses.

Day 5 | Kaikoura Whale Watching & Arrival into Christchurch

Before making your way southbound, experience the magic of whale watching in Kaikoura, one of the few places in the world where Sperm Whales can be seen year-round.

The trip south takes you along the edge of the rugged coastal ranges. The landscape becomes gentler as you approach Waipara - a region known for its vineyards and olive groves.

The last leg of your journey takes you past some popular surf beaches and rural Canterbury farms before reaching your villa.

Day 6  | Akaroa Discovery Tour and Cruise

A journey to the beautiful Banks Peninsula will reward you with picturesque vistas at every turn, a thriving artisan culture and a marine environment teaming with wildlife.

Immerse yourself in the alluring French character of Akaroa township – a seaside retreat just 90 minutes from Christchurch.

Swim with the dolphins or enjoy a scenic harbour cruise with the opportunity to spot the rare Hectors Dolphins, blue penguins and New Zealand Fur Seals.

Day 7 | Arrival into Wanaka

Driving south from Christchurch, you are treated to panoramic views of the Southern Alps to the west. As you turn off inland, witness the landscape change to rugged hill-country with the road bending and twisting to negotiate the river valleys.

The road then brings you to the high plains of the MacKenzie Country where you can break down the drive at Lake Tekapo and Pukaki with their intense blue glacial waters or at popular Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain.

Climb the winding route over the Lindis Pass and finally reach the privacy of your villa in Wanaka.

Day 8 | Wanaka 4WD Expedition

Explore remote back-country environments from the comfort of a luxurious 4X4.

Choose between contrasting high-country stations, conservation areas or national parks. Your itinerary is mapped out, together with your private guide, to prioritise the environments that interest you most. 

Your journey includes opportunities to hike, learn about the regions’ history, and meet characterful landowners and their farm animals. Your gourmet lunch is served in an authentic and remote back-country hut.

Day 9 | The day is yours

Today is yours at leisure in Wanaka.

You may like to enjoy one of the many activities on offer. We recommend enjoying a leisurely hike, a kayak or SUP on the lake, or simply exploring the towns shops and cafes.

Day 10 | Homeward bound

Time to depart - already planning your return to beautiful New Zealand.

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