Kia Ora! Together with 3 other comrades, we took on New Zealand’s South island on a campervan. If you’re new to the word campervan, a campervan is a self-contained vehicle where you drive, cook, eat, sleep, and sometimes poop (if you really must) in the vehicle. Self-contained vehicles are allowed to park in campsites with even the most basic amenities (i.e. only a dump hole that acts as a toilet).
We rented a campervan for 10 days in May 2016 for NZ$500, including insurance. If you break the cost down, that’s $50 a day, and each person only pays $12.50 for the rental per day. This excludes petrol charges, of course, but I don’t think you can find a better deal elsewhere, considering we eat, sleep and move around the South in this vehicle.
Roads in New Zealand are really easy to drive. Take it from me. I’ve only gotten my driving license a month before hitting the roads in New Zealand, so when I say it’s easy, it really is.
The most challenging rides might be the winding ones en route to Queenstown (above), or whilst driving through snow. Otherwise, most of the roads are straight with mild bends. More on driving in New Zealand in another post.
It had been extremely challenging to plan our road trip around the South, as it involved multiple destinations and plenty of research. There was so much to do and see in the South that the only limiting factor was time and weather.
You almost cannot travel around New Zealand’s South without your own vehicle, because bus companies don’t go to all the picturesque locations. While everyone’s travelling pace and priorities might differ, there are certain attractions in the South you simply cannot leave without witnessing, for the sights are simply stunning.
Pictured above is an overview of the entire route which we took in 10 full days. We’ve been there, and done all the background work. Now we bring to you 19 of the best, unmissable spots of the South.
And so our adventure begins…
We went in a North to South route, beginning our journey at Christchurch. After we picked up our car, we dove straight to a supermarket to stock up on food supplies, and raced to beat the dark by heading straight to Castle Hill.
1. Castle Hill/ Arthur’s Pass
Our main intention to come here was to climb. With hundreds of boulders splayed across hectares and hectares of land, the boulder choices were endless!
Only… we didn’t climb much because our fingers weren’t acclimatised to the cold and we were rather amateur at outdoor bouldering.
Watching the pros do it!
2. Lake Pearson
This wasn’t an essential sight to catch, but since we camped here (with and in our campervan) overnight, we were greeted by a magnificent view of the still waters over Lake Pearson.
3. Franz Josef Glacier
A town that is somewhat similar to Fox. We did our glacier hike at Fox Glacier, but went for the terminal face walk (a walk along the base of the glacier and is free) at Franz Josef. More information on how to access the terminal face walk in See New Zealand’s Glacier For Free!
4. Fox Glacier
One of the greatest highlights was hiking this glacier that had us awestruck! My post, Hiking on Ice at Fox Glacier, New Zealand, regales my entire adventure flying and hiking atop this magnificent glacier.