Hire a car and drive round South Island, NEW ZEALAND.
Picking up a hire car in Picton where the ferry arrives from Wellington head west round the coast road on the edge of Pelorus Sound with views of turquoise waters and native bush covered hills touching the water. At stop at the Mussel Boys restaurant is a must to sample the local green mussels. Drive on to the fertile flood plain land around Nelson and Motueka where the famous honey comes from. The landscape is covered with vineyards, olive groves and orchards. Take a trip to the Abel Tasman National Park and try your hand at kayaking or walking.
Head southwards towards the west coast through the Buller Gorge, stopping to fish on the lake at Gowanbridge. Meet the coast at Greymouth and drive along the coast stopping for a night at Fox Glacier. If the weather is good a helicopter flight over the glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef and round Mount Cook is a must, or a walk round Lake Matheson to see the reflection of Mt. Cook before heading south. Drive through the rainforest landscape of Haast Pass through to the desert landscape of Lake Wanaka and to the stonefruit region of the Central Otago. If in season the stonefruit are a must, they are second to none. A trip to Mt. Difficulty Winery gives you a taste of some superb local wine and a 180 view of the lake and surrounding hills.
From here keep southwards to Queenstown, the sports centre of South Island. Try you hand at river rafting, jet boating on the Shotover River, a bungy jump or a tandem parachute jump. The town of Queenstown is a buzzing, youthful holiday town on the edge of a lake. South westwards now to Te Anau and Manapouri for a trip either to dramatic Milford Sound or the more peaceful Doubtful Sound to the south. Take a boat and guide out onto Lake Manapouri to fish with its many native bush covered islands. An overnight trip by boat on Doubtful Sound is a real treat and worth the expense.
From here head back to Queenstown, Cromwell and eastwards over the barren landscape to Lake Pukaki to see Mt Cook and its ski resort. Then to Tekapo and through Burkes Pass through sheep country to Timaru. Turn northwards to Christchurch and its neat grid system of streets with an English feel and its Botanic Gardens.
Northwards once again to Kaikora which is famous for its whale watching trips. Keep to the coast at the foot of the Kaikora mountain range up to Blenheim and more wine country, the most important wine region of South Island. Take a trip to the much sought after Cloudy Bay Winery before heading back to Picton and the ferry.
A long drive but the diverse and awe inspiring landscape and lack of traffic make it an unmissable trip.
Car hire branches in New Zealand at;
Auckland Blenheim Cambridge, New Zealand Christchurch Whakatane Whangarei Greymouth. Car hire Hamilton Turangi Waihi
Hokitika Invercargill, Kaitaia Pukekohe Queenstown car hire Rotorua City Matamata.
Napier Nelson New Plymouth North Shore, Otahuhu Paihai Pakuranga. Hire a car in Palmerston Paraparaumu
Picton Dargaville, Dunedin Gisborne Taupo Tauranga Te Anau. Te Puke Thames Kawerau Kerikeri Lower Hutt Manukau
Tokoroa Wanganui Wellington.
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