Photos to Inspire You to Self Drive South Island

Daydreaming about where to go for your next overseas adventure? We’ve got the perfect place for you.

On our last 2-week campervan trip around the South Island of New Zealand, we captured some breathtaking views. This part of New Zealand is jam-packed with natural beauty from snow-capped mountains to glacial lakes, endless beaches and wildlife galore.

The best way to see it all? Hire a campervan, stock up on some food and snacks for the drive, hit the road and be prepared to be completely in awe. The scenery this country has to offer is outta this world!

If looking at picturesque mountains and pristine blue lakes ain’t your thing, don’t worry! The South Island of New Zealand has you covered. Did we mention this is wine country?

Award winning wineries are scattered throughout the countryside so if a cheese and wine tour is more your scene, you’re going to love New Zealand.

Maybe you’re an adventurer at heart? If you love pushing your limits, Queenstown is known for being one of the best places in the world to get your adrenaline pumping.

Best part is, if you’ve got your campervan packed there’s really nothing stopping you. The South Island is one of our favorite places in the world and with four wheels and a sense of adventure, you can see it all!

We’ve hand selected our top photos to inspire you to self drive South Island New Zealand!

Freedom to pull over, there’s majestic views everywhere

Lake Tekapo. Great place to stop for photos and a feed. Plus there’s an astronomical observatory nearby where you can view the night sky.

With the crystal blue glacial water it’s the ideal place to take your holiday happy snap… it’ll make all your FB friends jealous!

The South Island of New Zealand has to be the ultimate place in the world to self-drive. Whether you hired a car or a campervan, this is the perfect destination to have your own set of wheels.

With dazzling views wherever you turn, you’ll want to have the freedom to stop every time you see a view like this to take a few happy snaps. Pretty epic, right?

Road trip? But I don’t want to spend hours driving on the freeway?

Everyone has been stuck in the car on a never-ending road trip, right? You know the one… the car is jammed full and you spend countless hours on a straight road with nothing to look at.

The kind of roads you’ll be driving on in the South Island don’t have that problem. It’s single lanes all the way with views galore. Designated drivers need not worry either. There are lots of designated spots on the side of the road to pull over, so you can enjoy the scenery too.

Best restaurant views ever!

From Queenstown take the Glenorchy road and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking scenery and quiet spots like this to enjoy lunch.

I love travelling in a campervan! Victoria and I stayed a few nights in Queenstown and drove to Glenorchy for half a day. We found this beautiful spot and set up our camping chairs and table, whipped up a cheese tasting plate and watched the sunset over the mountains.

This is a really special way of creating spontaneous travel moments that will stay with you forever.

Bonus Money Saving Tip: We saved money too, as the cheese plate would have cost us $25-50 in a café or restaurant!

Weather sucks? Change your itinerary!

Victoria swimming with the world’s smallest dolphins

There’s nothing worse than being on holidays and having crappy weather. Except of course, when you have your own set of wheels, and a flexible travel itinerary!

The morning we were due to set off from Queenstown, we did a quick weather check of where we were heading and to put it bluntly, it sucked. Since we’re The Freedom Travellers and never travel with rigid plans, we brainstormed a new route according to the weather patterns. Instead of having days of heavy downpours, we enjoyed perfect sunny weather. Winning!

Our new itinerary meant we could circle back to Akaroa (about 90 mins from Christchurch) to swim with the worlds smallest dolphins. Hectors Dolphins can only be found in New Zealand so you’ll want to make sure you tick this off your list!

Tourism Radio: Your own personal tour guide

You’ll fall in love with Tourism Radio… guaranteed!!

The ultimate addition to our campervan was Tourism Radio! Lucky this was included with our campervan hire, as I would’ve simply dismissed it as an additional hire cost, not knowing that this humble device would become such an integral part of our trip. Almost like a third passenger!

Tourism Radio is epic. Truly. Based on GPS it’ll guide you to recommended sights, best restaurants, hidden wineries, and it even suggests locations to capture the perfect photo. Plus, (if that isn’t enough!) it plays an extensive music list covering a wide range of genres, with no repeats and very few ads. Great for avoiding the inevitable music choice debate for the entire road trip!

Enjoy spectacular sunsets, wherever you are!

The main road that runs up the west coast of the South Island. Pretty rugged eh! Definitely no sign of any big boring freeways here!

Driving up the West Coast of the South Island we were a bit behind schedule. We had hoped to be in town before sunset, however we’d set off a bit late. The road hugged the coastline and we could see the sun starting to set over the water.

We pulled over, and walked along the beach to enjoy this. Ahhh…complete perfection!

Set your own pace

Fox Glacier, South Island New Zealand

One of my pet peeves when traveling is having strict rigid plans. I’ve found that it doesn’t allow you any freedom if something goes wrong, or if you want to make changes. That’s why I loved having our campervan! Complete freedom!

When we rocked up at Fox Glacier the weather wasn’t great, the clouds had set in, and it looked like it was going to rain any minute. We adjusted our plans and set off up to Fox Glacier the next morning instead. Next morning we were treated to warmer weather and blue skies!

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