Day 1: Christchurch > Greymouth
The discovery of the city was not part of our itinerary so we headed directly to the West Coast through the Arthur’s Pass. The weather was bad but it added a little mystery to this pretty road between the mountains. Actually it reminded me of the beloved Highlands of Scotland.
Day 2: Greymouth > Okarito
Day 3: Okarito > Wanaka
You can spend the night in the quiet campground of Okarito near a wonderful beach where you can watch the most beautiful sunsets reflecting in the water ponds.
After a short drive along the West coast, discovering great beaches, you will reach Franz Josef glacier & Fox glacier that can be seen from the sky either by helicopter or small planes.
The helicopter option is expensive but totally worth it as the views you have from up there are truly incredible and unforgettable especially as the weather was perfect on that day.
You also get to land on the glacier for a few minutes to take a few pictures.
Day 4: Wanaka > Te Anau
Wanaka is a charming town on the shore of lake Wanaka.
You can rent mountain bikes or kayaks to enjoy its beauties. There are many tracks along the lake and the river which are easy to follow and the views are truly amazing. See below the colour of the river and the leaves starting to change colour as it was the beginning of autumn season.
Day 5: Te Anau > Milford Sound
The tunnel to cross the mountain is really impressive. Especially its entrance on Te Anau’s side. The mountain is so high and vertical!
You will reach Milford sound and board for a 2 hours cruise on the fiord. Our boat from go-orange company was almost empty (6 people) and we got a great tour of the fiord reaching the sea and back. The waterfalls are astonishing, the fiord is so deep that the front of the boat could reach the bottom of one of the falls and we were all wet! What is really impressive is the scale of the mountains! You only realise it when you see another boat.
Day 6: Milford Sound > Dunedin
A one hour cruise at the end of the afternoon will allow you to see many sea birds, fur seals, sea lions and the famous royal albatross.
This cruise can be combined with a visit of the penguin place to watch the rare yellow eyed penguins coming back to their nest for the night hidden in small wooden hides to avoid scaring them.
Day 7: Dunedin & Otago peninsula
The settlers museum of Dunedin is one of the rare free museums and is really worth a stop. The modern presentations make it very enjoyable on a rainy day and is very interesting to learn more about the settlers and their lives.
Day 8: Dunedin > Oamaru
Oemaru > Christchurch
I hope you liked this guided itinerary through North Island of New Zealand and you will have the chance to discover this amazing country for yourself.
If you would like to prepare your travel, I have made this free printable travel planner that will help you preparing your trip but also keep track of what you are doing during your stay day by day.
You may also like my previous Hong Kong getaways guide: