Seven-Day Self-Drive Itinerary: Crossing New Zealand’s Alps


Day 1: Arrival in Christchurch

Start your alpine adventure in Christchurch, the gateway to the South Island. Pick up your rental car and check into The George Hotel, known for its luxury and comfort. Explore the city’s rich history and vibrant culture. Visit the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and enjoy a casual dinner at Fiddlesticks, offering contemporary New Zealand cuisine.

Day 2: Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Drive to Lake Tekapo, a journey showcasing the Canterbury Plains and Mackenzie Country. Check into the Lake Tekapo Village Motel for stunning lake views. Visit the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd, and in the evening, experience a stargazing tour at the Mt John Observatory, operated by Earth & Sky.

Day 3: Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

Travel to Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital. Stop at Aoraki/Mount Cook Village en route for a short walk in the Hooker Valley. Once in Queenstown, stay at the Heritage Hotel. Dine at Rātā for a taste of local flavors.

Day 4: Exploring Queenstown

Spend your day exploring Queenstown’s myriad attractions. Consider a thrilling jet boat ride with Shotover Jet or a more leisurely cruise on Lake Wakatipu with TSS Earnslaw. Enjoy dinner at Botswana Butchery, known for its fine cuts and local wines.

Day 5: Queenstown to Wanaka

Drive to Wanaka, a stunning lakeside town. Along the way, stop at the historic Cardrona Hotel for a quick lunch. In Wanaka, check into the Edgewater Hotel. Explore the town and enjoy a relaxed evening meal at Bistro Gentil, offering French-inspired cuisine.

Day 6: Wanaka to Franz Josef Glacier

Head towards the West Coast, stopping at Thunder Creek Falls and the Blue Pools for short walks. Arrive in Franz Josef and check into the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier. Book a guided glacier walk with Franz Josef Glacier Guides for the next day. Dine at The Landing for locally sourced dishes.

Day 7: Exploring Franz Josef Glacier and Return to Christchurch

Experience the majesty of Franz Josef Glacier on your guided walk, an unforgettable encounter with one of New Zealand’s natural wonders. In the afternoon, begin your journey back to Christchurch, enjoying the scenic Haast Pass and Arthur’s Pass. Stay overnight in Christchurch or extend your stay to further explore the city.