Central South Island: Christchurch loop

How Long:

14 days - 1200km (return loop)


Snow-capped mountains in winter, and balmy summer evenings relaxing in the wine regions.

Must do:

  • Explore the majestic landscapes of New Zealand’s South Island
  • Tramp the Great Walk tracks
  • Relax in world-famous vineyards
  • Milford Sound – native birds and sea life galore

Immerse yourself in the heart of the South Island in a 14-day self-contained campervan itinerary: Christchurch to Christchurch loop.

Day 1-2 Christchurch — Hokitika ( 3h 30 min | 250 km via SH73)

This 3-hour drive is incredibly popular, and with good reason. You will travel the famous Arthur’s Pass, which is full of scenic stops along the way. Make sure you stop off for a pie at the Sheffield Pie Shop for a true Kiwi culinary experience. There are plenty of freedom camping spots for self-contained campervans along the way. Check the DOC website for more information and the rules to follow. Porters Pass viewpoint is a must stop.

Day 3-5 Hokitika — Haast & The wild West Coast (3h 25 min | 280 km via SH6)

There are plenty of incredible stops along this wild stretch of coastline on the South Island’s West Coast. Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier both make for reasonable walks and incredible views. If you're willing to head off the beaten track for a few extra days, the Lake Matheson walk is one for the books. Monro beach is one of the best opportunities to see Fiordland crested penguins.

Day 6-9 Haast — Queenstown & Wanaka, (3h | 210 km via SH6)

Stop off at the Blue Pools on SH6 on your way to the action-packed Queenstown. Queenstown has everything to offer, from delightful vineyards to bungee jumping for the more adventurous. Go for a bite to eat at the popular Fergburger or local institution The Cow. A scenic drive along Lake Wakatipu will take you to Glenorchy, a picturesque settlement at the north of the lake. If you have time, head to Wānaka, for lake views, boutique shopping and craft breweries. The honey and lavender farm is a feast for the senses.  

Day 10-12 — Queenstown to Timaru (4h 30 min | 383 km via SH8)

This drive meanders through snow-capped mountains and around ice blue lakes. Stop for the night in one of the freedom camp spots at Lake Pukaki. There is plenty of bike rental to explore off the beaten track, and these can be hired in Twizel. The drive to Aoraki / Mount Cook gives you a real taste of the South Island. Dress up warm.

Day 13-14 Timaru – Christchurch (2h 30 min | 160 km via SH1)

This final stretch as you return to Christchurch can pass you by as the roads are much easier to navigate. Closer to Christchurch, we highly recommend a stop off in Akaroa on Banks Peninsula. Check out Fox Sailing Akaroa, who offer an incredible sailing experience in the extinct volcano. Take the helm and get stuck in with the crew, if you're not too distracted by the rare Hector’s Dolphins or Little Blue Penguins which inhabit this area. Freedom camping for self-contained campervans is spectacular in this area. Pigeon Bay is top of our list.

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