Wishing to self-drive through New Zealand, one must narrow the adventure just a bit to one or the other island and to specific goals on that island; otherwise, it is just too daunting. For example, the South Island beckons with fiords, rain forests, mountains and beaches, all with niches to please the most discriminating wandering hedonist. Whether beginning at Picton arriving from the North Island by ferry or at Christchurch, for those wishing to create their own dream vacation and do the driving themselves, Self Drive Holidays New Zealand offers outlines to help the traveller to create his or her own holiday fantasy.
Starting at Christchurch, dubbed the Garden City of New Zealand, State Highway 1 crosses the Canterbury plains to Ashburton and Timaru gently wending its way through hill country close to the coast finally turning slightly inland to Oamaru sighting historic sandstone buildings as well as a colony of blue penguins that swim ashore just at twilight. Following this highway down the coast to Dunedin for visit to New Zealand’s earliest botanical garden, inspect the Cadbury Chocolate Factory and tour the breeding colony of the Royal Albatross on Otago Peninsula or take a train ride up the Taieri Gorge. All of this can be accomplished by the fourth day of the self-drive called the Wondrous South.
Included are views of Catlins Coast, Invercargil and Halfmoon Bay, but the goal of so many first-time tourists to New Zealand is the famous Fjordland National Park and Milford Sound. In this glacier-carved wilderness one finds mountains, ice and beech forests and scenic Milford Sound which attracts myriad cruise ships to view towering mountains and waterfalls. Here the hiker can trek Milford Track, supposedly the “finest in the world.”
On to Queenstown, set in another glacial valley on the brink of Lake Wakatipu, where the adventurous can parasail, shoot rapids in jet boats, or bungy jump off Skippers Canyon Bridge. For those less inclined to the extreme sport, there is golf, gourmet food and luxurious spa experiences. State Highway 8 and its various aberrations will ultimately get the driver to Twizel and finally back to Christchurch. In Twizel enjoy Lake Pukaki enroute to Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain and home of Sir Edmund Hillary.
This has been just a quick overview of Self Drive Holidays New Zealand’s tour package called the Wondrous South. It can be enjoyed as is or modified to suit the traveller’s wishes. The tour operator provides consultation and a well-planned package, so enjoy!