South Island Itinerary

Here is our exciting South Island 3 week itinerary (part 1) that mostly changed daily. With a campervan you can be fussy and disorganised, which was perfect for us. The below were our overnight stops, there are many sights along the way that keep you incredibly busy. Here are some points that can’t be missed on your journey.

1. Chrstchurch to Lake TekapoYou will want to include 2-3 days in and around Christchurch at one end of your holiday. Saturday Farmers Market (best market ever!) and see their Botanic Gardens, also spend your days going for a trip to Akaroa and the bays around. Lake Tekapo – is in the middle of the MacKenzie country. See the little stone church with the sheep dog monument overlooking the lake and if you are interested in astronomy do the night visit to Mt St John or just a hike there. On the way to Dunedin stop by the Salmon farm and enjoy the views of Lake Pukaki. Twizel is also a funny little town that serves amazing coffee. Moeraki Boulders is a place to stay overnight if you have a bit of time.

  2. Dunedin This is NZ’s biggest ‘Student town’, with the local university being home to thousands of ‘scarfies’ (Otago University Students) – needless to say there’s always some form of craziness happening. Visit the Catburry Chocolate Factory and some of the best breweries around We did a bit of tastings of different beers at Speights.

Take a day tour on the Otago Peninsula to the Albatross Colony and visit Larnach Castle. You can also visit penguin colonies. We explored the Sandfly beach and Tunnel beach.

3. Kaka PointBeautiful farms and countryside all around you. The highlist there is definetly the Nuggent Point light house, the beautiful Cannibal and Surat Bay.

4, Purakanui BayThis spot is incredible! You drive right to the beach park you campervan and watch the beautiful bay from your window. We spent two nights there and our New Year’s Eve.  While you are there visit Cathedral Caves and Purakaunui Falls.

5. Curio BayFor some reason the Catlins region on the south-eastern coast never seems to rate much of a mention in the ‘must see’ lists of New Zealand.  Why?  I have absolutely no idea.  It seems that most visitors make it as far as Dunedin, then hightail it for Queenstown and Milford Sound and miss the Catlins entirely – which is a crying shame.  This place has it all – dense rainforests, windswept beaches, seal and penguin colonies,  caves. waterfalls … there’s even a few people around as well.  Not many, though, and even fewer of them are tourists.  Despite that, there’s enough eating, drinking and sleeping options in the area to allow for a leisurely couple of days spent exploring, though it wouldn’t be a bad idea to book ahead just in case. Curio bay is the spot to see wave surfing dolphins and yellow eyed penguins right next to the camp! Stay tuned for week 2 (part 2)!