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Regions of the South Island

New Zealand's South Island boasts a range of unique experiences that are all within an easy drive of each other; from golden beaches to glacial valleys, thermal springs to thrilling adventure and local wildlife to wineries.

The best way to discover these diverse experiences and landscapes is on a self-drive holiday from Christchurch. To help visitors get the most out of their South Island journey, there are five hero itineraries to choose from, and for those with more time these journeys can be combined.

summer Guided Sea Kayaking2

5 Hours 15 minutes' drive time to Nelson from Christchurch Airport

Nelson & Tasman

There are lots of reasons why you should book your next trip to the Nelson region. Nature at its finest, along with a wealth of activities, artisan products and eateries.

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Photo by Richard Briggs 4

4 hours' drive time to Blenheim from Christchurch Airport

Marlborough

The region offers a multitude of recreational delights from tasting a world-famous Sauvignon Blanc at one of Marlborough's numerous wineries to cruising or swimming with dolphins in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds.

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3 Hours' drive time to Kaikoura from Christchurch Airport

Kaikoura

The seaside settlement is the most northern district in the Canterbury region located on the east coast of the South Island (an ideal location for both north and south bound travellers).

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McLennan Hanmer 2014 058 Large

1 hour 42 minutes drive time from Christchurch Airport

Hanmer Springs & Hurunui

From rugged coastlines and sandy beaches to inland alpine villages and lush green forests – the natural beauty of this area is spectacular.

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Christchurch & Canterbury

The Canterbury region stretches from Kaikoura in the north, to Waimate in the south and as far inland as Mackenzie Country.

Its landscape is diverse, with the Pacific Ocean to the east, Southern Alps to the west, and the patchwork quilt of the Canterbury Plains.

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Lake Tekapo lupins2

3 hours 7 minutes drive time to Tekapo from Christchurch Airport

Aoraki-Mt Cook / Mackenzie

Nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s majestic South Island, you will find Aoraki/Mount Cook and the Mackenzie Region.

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3 hours 20 minutes drive to Greymouth from Christchurch Airport

West Coast

The West Coast is an untamed natural wilderness, with scenery so stunning it takes your breath away and sunsets so impressive even Instagram told us to tone it down.

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Moeraki Boulders2

3 hours 17 minutes to Oamaru from Christchurch Airport

Oamaru & Waitaki

Overflowing with natural beauty, rich in culture and heritage
and brimming with activities for all.

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Winter Sunrise over Lake Wanaka seen from Roys Peak copy copy

5 hours 17 minutes from Christchurch Airport

Lake Wanaka

It begins with the landscape – it breathes, there’s an energy, a feeling, that sets Wanaka apart.

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Shotover Jet 2008

6 hours drive from Christchurch Airport

Queenstown

Queenstown, New Zealand, is the Southern Hemisphere’s premier four season lake and alpine resort.

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4355 Otago Central Rail Trail Miles Holden

5 hour 30 minutes to Alexandra from Christchurch Airport

Central Otago

New Zealand’s most inland region, with a landscape dominated
by rugged mountains, lakes, deep river gorges and tussock-clad
hills, Central Otago is rich in pioneering history.

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University of Otago Clocktower2 Medium

4 hours 45 minutes to Dunedin from Christchurch Airport

Dunedin

This city is full of authentic welcoming characters that tell it like it is. With abundant wildlife on its door step and heritage buildings housing the great cafes and nightlife.

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EXPERIENCE DF Graham Dainty Looking up Milford Sound GD 22

8 hours drive to Te Anau from Christchurch Airport

Fiordland

Home to Mitre Peak, and stunning fiords, Fiordland is known as the sightseeing and walking capital of the world.

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The Catlins coast

7 hours 10 minutes to Invercargill from Christchurch Airport

Southland

Southland’s unmatched beauty provides a natural playground – no matter what your passion.

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Where is...

Click and drag to scroll around the map and discover more about our regions.

Aoraki-Mt Cook

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Christchurch

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Central Otago

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Marlborough

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Queenstown

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Lake Wanaka

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Oamaru & Waitaki

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West Coast

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Hanmer Springs

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