Road Trip New Zealand South Island

Our seven-day journey through the South Island of New Zealand was a crazy road trip, replete with unforgettable natural eye candy. Here’s the lowdown on our daily itinerary:

Day 1: Christchurch to Methven

Our journey began at Christchurch airport, where we snagged a beat-up rental car. The rental car was a death trap on wheels, rattling and shaking with each turn of the wheel. Its paint job was fading, and the interior was a mess of stained upholstery. But it was cheap, so we took our chances and hit the road. From there, we made our way to Methven, where we set up camp in the agricultural showgrounds. Our digs were rustic yet functional – a simple shelter from the harsh elements.


Day 2: Methven to Mount Cook

On day two, we navigated through the rugged terrain of Mount Cook, a stunning alpine region where towering peaks and glaciers abound. Our mission was to tackle the Hooker Valley track, a moderate hike that led us through mesmerizing landscapes of rivers, mountains, and glaciers. The hike was a real test of our tourist-intolerant mettle, but the vistas were worth every arduous step.

Mount Cook

Day 3: Mount Cook to Kingston

We continued our journey on day three, driving through the region’s rolling hills and verdant farmland. The weather was uncooperative, but we soldiered on, forging ahead through the rain and fog of a New Zealand summer.

Milford Road

Day 4: Kingston to Milford Sound

Rising early on day four, we hopped in the car and made our way to Milford Sound fjord. It is a place of mystical allure and enchantment, a testament to nature’s raw, untamed beauty. Its towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls are awe-inspiring, evoking a sense of wonder and reverence that is hard to articulate. As the waters of the fjord reflect the majesty of the surrounding mountains, you can feel the very essence of the earth pulsing around you, filling you with a sense of timeless connection to this bizarro land. We settled into our humble abode at the Cascade Creek Campsite, which was basic, but we were ensconced in a lush rain forest as it rained.

Milford Sound

Day 5: Milford Sound to Haast via Queenstown

On day five, we traversed the gorgeous route from Milford Sound to Haast via the bogan fantasy town of Queenstown. The road was a labyrinth of coastal vistas and snow-capped mountain ranges – a feast for the starved urban-screen senses.

Road to Mount Cook

Day 6: Haast to Otira (Arthurs Pass)

Our journey took us from Haast to Otira, a tiny hamlet in the heart of Arthurs Pass. We had a strange encounter at the Otira Hotel, where the barman took pity on us and let us stay in a nearby house for a hundred bucks. The place was old and spooky, but we revelled in the eerie ambience. There was a big sign at the entrance of the town that said keep off the Class As.

The Otira Pub

Day 7: Otira to Christchurch

On our final day, we embarked on the Bealey Valley walking track in the Arthurs Pass National Park, a fitting end to our wild journey through the unspoiled landscapes of the South Island. The hike was easy and empty of tourists, and they often don’t go together.

Bealey Valley walking track

We emerged from our Jurrasic journey into the Middle Kingdom with a newfound appreciation for New Zealand and its South Island. This will be a long conversation with many more adventures!



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