14-Day Honeymoon and Couples Itinerary for the South Island
New Zealand‘s highest mountains, magnificent glaciers, braided rivers, bright blue lakes, lush pastures, dense rainforests and fantastical fiords are all woven into this South Island honeymoon and romance itinerary for 14 days (two weeks). Plan an unforgettable journey with your loved one thanks to this South Island honeymoon itinerary. It features honeymoon accommodations, activities and transport tips to help you plan your trip with ease.
Before we get started, be sure to bookmark The Honeymoon Guide to New Zealand for even more honeymoon tips.
14-Day South Island Honeymoon Itinerary: Overview
- Day 1 – Christchurch Airport to Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
- Day 2 – Explore Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
- Day 3 – Aoraki Mt Cook to Oamaru
- Day 4 – Oamaru to Dunedin
- Day 5 – Dunedin to The Catlins
- Day 6 – The Catlins to Te Anau
- Day 7 – Te Anau to Milford Sound
- Day 8 – Milford Sound to Queenstown
- Day 9 – Explore Queenstown
- Day 10 – Queenstown to Haast
- Day 11 – Haast to Franz Josef
- Day 12 – Explore Franz Josef
- Day 13 – Franz Josef to Greymouth
- Day 14 – Greymouth to Christchurch Airport
How to Get Around the South Island in Two Weeks
Following the exact route in this two-week honeymoon and romance itinerary for New Zealand requires you to self-drive. We give tips on hiring a vehicle below, as well as additional (and alternative) transport methods to use for travelling 14 days around the South Island on your honeymoon or romantic getaway.
- Rental car or campervan – Other than your hubby, your most important road trip companion is your rental vehicle. Use a rental company that has depots in Christchurch and Auckland, of which there are many. Get started with your research with The Guide to Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand.
- Train – If you get a one-way car rental from Christchurch to Greymouth, instead of returning your vehicle to Christchurch, you have the option to take the TranzAlpine train journey through Arthur’s Pass. Find out more in the Train Network in New Zealand.
- Escorted tours – If you would rather not drive yourselves around the South Island, escorted bus tours provide an effortless alternative. Note, however, that escorted tours follow their own set itineraries rather than the one listed below. Check out a range of tours on The Best 10-12-Day Tours of the South Island.
Day 1 – Christchurch Airport to Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
Travel time: 4 hours
It’s real; your two-week honeymoon in the South Island has begun! Pick up your rental car from the Christchurch Airport then hit the road so you can make the most of the South Island’s stunning landscapes from day one.
Watch the landscapes transform from urban to rural to alpine as you travel between Christchurch and Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. A noteworthy town along the way is Geraldine, where you can stop for some amazing horse trekking in the Peel Forest or adventurous white water rafting on the Rangitata River.
The next stop is Lake Tekapo where you can soak together in the soothing waters of Tekapo Springs whilst admiring the views of blue lake waters and the Southern Alps.
Finally, drive alongside the vibrantly blue Lake Pukaki to Aoraki Mt Cook Village. If you have the energy to stay up late, book a stargazing tour at The Hermitage Hotel to learn more about the vivid constellations seen from an International Dark Sky Reserve.
Romantic Accommodation in Mt Cook
- Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat
- The Hermitage Hotel Mt Cook
- Lakestone Lodge
- Mt Cook Lodge and Motel
- Aoraki Court Motel
Head to the 5 Best Romantic Accommodations in Mt Cook for more details on each recommendation.
Day 2 – Explore Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
It’s taken a lot to get here, not just among New Zealand’s highest mountains but New Zealand itself, so have a lie-in and embrace the epic mountain scenery from your hotel’s restaurant at breakfast. There are various ways to explore the scenery together, from an intimate helicopter flight over Mt Cook (see Viator and Tripadvisor for more details) to hiking the free walking trails.
Romantic Activities in Mt Cook
- Embark on an intimate helicopter flight among the peaks (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Tackle the Mt Cook walks together
- Team up in a kayak for a glacier kayaking tour
- Explore New Zealand’s longest glacier on a heli-hike (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Have a tipple at the Snowline Bar of The Hermitage Hotel Mt Cook.
For more details on each experience, see the 9 Romantic Activities in Mt Cook for Couples.
Day 3 – Aoraki Mt Cook to Oamaru
Travel time: 2h40mins
Travel from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean today as you make your way from Aoraki Mt Cook to Oamaru. Stop by quaint towns like Twizel for its picturesque riverside walk.
Next is Omarama where you can treat yourselves to a soak at Hot Tubs Omarama or check out the pinnacle formations of the Clay Cliffs.
After Omarama, it’s a scenic journey down the Waitaki Valley featuring boutique wineries, unusual rock formations, fossils and historic Maori rock art. We have more details on these attractions in the 7 Bizarre Sights in the Waitaki Valley.
Finally, you’ll reach Oamaru; a town with a healthy Victorian-era, steampunk and penguin obsession. If you have time in the afternoon, treat the senses to the dairy goodness of Whitestone Cheese, which offers factory tours, cheese and wine tastings (more details on Viator or Tripadvisor). We also recommend taking the time to explore the Victorian Precinct adorned with grand whitestone architecture and hiding all sorts of breweries, cafes and book stores. In the late afternoon/evening, try your luck at spotting rare yellow-eyed penguins from the viewing hides of Bushy Beach.
Romantic Activities in Oamaru
- Have a romantic stroll in the Oamaru Public Garden
- Indulge in a wine and cheese factory tour with tastings (more details on Viator or Tripadvisor)
- Explore the historic Victorian Precinct
- Go penguin-spotting at Bushy Beach
- Relieve your old bones with a hot pool session at the Old Bones Lodge.
See the 8 Romantic Activities in Oamaru for Couples for more information.
Romantic Accommodation in Oamaru
See the 9 Best Romantic Accommodations in Oamaru for more details on each of our top picks.
Day 4 – Oamaru to Dunedin
Travel time: 1h30mins
On the agenda today is travelling to Dunedin, but not without a quick stop at the perfectly spherical Moeraki Boulders for some obligatory honeymoon/holiday snaps.
You should arrive with plenty of time to experience Dunedin, whether it’s learning something new together at the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum or hopping on a wildlife tour of the Otago Peninsula (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor). You could even treat your loved one to high tea at New Zealand’s only castle, Larnach Castle (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Romantic Activities in Dunedin
- Melt your hearts with wildlife viewings on the Otago Peninsula (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Treat your loved one to dinner at one of the fine dining restaurants
- Walk to the “Lovers Leap” on the Otago Peninsula
- Learn something new together at the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum
- Enjoy elegant high tea at Larnach Castle (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Learn about each experience, as well as inspiration for a few more activities, in the 8 Romantic Activities in Dunedin for Couples.
Romantic Accommodation in Dunedin
- Scenic Hotel Southern Cross
- Camp Estate by Larnach Castle
- Aurora on George
- Fable Dunedin
- Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin
See 10 Best Romantic Accommodations in Dunedin for more information on each accommodation.
Day 5 – Dunedin to The Catlins
Travel time: 1h10mins to 2h20mins (depending on Catlins accommodation)
Our South Island honeymoon and couples itinerary for 14 days takes you off the beaten path today with a road trip to The Catlins. Tons of free natural attractions scatter the coast, including marine wildlife viewings, lake and estuary walks, caves and lots and lots of waterfalls. See which attractions you’d prefer to visit using the 18 Amazing Attractions You Can’t Miss in The Catlins. What attractions you miss today you’ll be able to pick up tomorrow as you continue along The Catlins.
Romantic Activities in The Catlins
- Watch the sunset from the Tautuku Estuary
- Walk to the pretty Purakaunui Falls
- Do an eco-tour with Catlins Scenic & Wildlife Tours
- Admire sublime coastal scenery from horseback
- Team up on a kayaking adventure to Nugget Point.
See the 8 Romantic Activities in The Catlins for Couples for more details on each experience and others.
Romantic Accommodation in The Catlins
Accommodation in The Catlins is just as scattered as the sights are, so your driving time will depend on where you choose to stay.
- Kaka Point Spa Accommodation – Catlins
- Catlins Mohua Park
- RiverRidge Retreat
- Molyneux House
- Seascape Accommodation
Check out the 7 Best Romantic Accommodations in The Catlins for more details on our top recommendations.
Day 6 – The Catlins to Te Anau
Travel time: 2h40mins to 4 hours (depending on Catlins accommodation)
Take your time travelling to Te Anau today, as there’s sure to be plenty more in The Catlins left for you to discover. Then, you have the town of Te Anau to look forward to, where romantic activities include admiring the twinkling lights and underground waterfalls of the Te Anau Glowworm Caves (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday) and checking out the love birds at the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary.
Romantic Activities in Te Anau
- See glowworms, limestone formations and underground waterfalls at the Te Anau Glowworm Caves (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday)
- Say hello to the love birds of the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary
- Soar over Fiordland National Park on a scenic flight with Southern Lakes Helicopters
- Snuggle up at the Fiordland Cinema
- Challenge yourselves to one of the Great Walks or multi-day hikes.
For more ideas, head to the 10 Incredible Things to Do in Fiordland National Park.
Romantic Accommodation in Te Anau
- Radfords on the Lake
- The Hollows Luxury Log Cabin
- Fiordland Lodge
- Dunluce Bed and Breakfast
- Distinction Te Anau Hotel
Learn more about each accommodation in the 7 Best Romantic Accommodations in Te Anau.
Day 7 – Te Anau to Milford Sound
Travel time: 1h30mins
Often described as one of the most scenic roads in New Zealand, the Milford Road is best taken slowly (i.e. by taking many stops; not driven at 20km/h). Indeed, there’s an almost overwhelming number of sights, short walks and long hikes on this glorious journey winding through glacier-carved valleys. Recommended walks include the Lake Marian Track, Mirror Lakes and the Key Summit Track. However, you can curate your own pitstop itinerary using the 16 Stops You Can’t Miss on the Road to Milford Sound and 11 Milford Sound Walks You Can’t Miss.
Once you arrive in Milford Sound, you have many options to make the most of the glacier-carved scenery. Tours include scenic flights (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), fiord cruises and short walks. Alternatively, make the night extra special by taking an overnight cruise in the fiord with RealNZ (on Klook, Viator and Tripadvisor).
Romantic Activities in Milford Sound
- Be amazed by the views on an intimate scenic flight (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Get together in a double kayak to explore the fiord (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Sail around the fiord on a scenic day cruise…
- … Or a romantic overnight cruise
- Walk one of the Milford Road walks.
For more Milford Sound ideas, take a look at the 5 Romantic Activities in Milford Sound for Couples.
Romantic Accommodation in Milford Sound
Milford Sound’s accommodation is extremely limited so be sure to book as far in advance as possible. Check out all of your options in the 11 Best Accommodations in Milford Sound.
Day 8 – Milford Sound to Queenstown
Travel time: 3h35mins
You lucky twosome get to experience the Milford Road again today, stopping by any of the sights or short walks you might have missed on the way in.
The final destination today is Queenstown, also known as the “Adventure Capital of New Zealand”! Saying that, it also has its fair share of food, wine and relaxation activities. Some of the shorter activities you might be able to squeeze in at the end of the day include a couples’ spa treatment (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), a tandem canyon swing (on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday) or a cruise on the lake (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook). We’ll get into the bigger tours tomorrow.
Romantic Accommodation in Queenstown
Find out more details about each accommodation in the 10 Best Romantic Accommodations in Queenstown.
Day 9 – Explore Queenstown
Today is your chance to tick off more items from your Queenstown must-dos! Check out the 25 Things to Do in Queenstown for some of the top attractions. Alternatively, we list more couple-friendly experiences below.
Romantic Activities in Queenstown
- Fly to a remote picnic destination (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Sample Otago wines on a wine tour (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Cruise around Queenstown’s gorgeous lake (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Smell the flowers at the Queenstown Gardens
- Go horse trekking at a high country farm (on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday).
Find out more about each activity in our list of 10 Romantic Activities in Queenstown for Couples.
Day 10 – Queenstown to Haast
Travel time: 2h50mins
Today is all about the journey. Set off early with a quick detour to Arrowtown for its cute gold-mining-town buildings, as well as the attractions listed in the 10 Amazing Things to Do in Arrowtown.
Then, it’s over the Crown Range to the Cardrona Valley with glorious views all the way to Wanaka. Stop off in Wanaka to stretch your legs on the lakefront, have lunch or do any of the items we list in the 10 Romantic Activities in Wanaka for Couples.
After driving along the shores of Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka, you’ll venture over the Haast Pass and the pristine Mt Aspiring National Park. Some of the most stunning stops along the Haast Pass include the Blue Pools of Haast, Thundercreek Falls and Fantail Falls.
Finally, you’ll feel the stark difference of the West Coast of the South Island as you reach Haast, a tiny town with a ruggedly beautiful beach scattered with driftwood and a backdrop of mountains. The place feels like a world of its own.
Romantic Accommodation in Haast
For more information on these stays, take a look at the 5 Best Romantic Accommodations in Haast.
Day 11 – Haast to Franz Josef
Travel time: 1h55mins
This morning, you might like to experience one of Haast‘s charming walks or remote jet boat tours taking you from the sea to the mountains, as listed below.
Romantic Activities in Haast
- Experience the Mt Aspiring National Park scenery via jet boat (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Sample one of Haast’s romantic walks
- Land by alpine lakes via helicopter
- Take a scenic fixed-wing flight over the World Heritage Area
- Enjoy a stroll on Haast Beach.
Check out the 6 Romantic Activities in Haast for Couples for more details on each activity.
When you’re ready to leave Haast, make your way north where you might like to stop at Monro Beach or Ship Creek to admire more of the wild coastal landscapes.
Franz Josef is your final destination. You might want to try your chances at doing a helicopter flight or heli-hike on the glacier if the weather is good (because the weather can change in an instant, causing your tour to be cancelled). Otherwise, we’ll get into more experiences Franz Josef has to offer tomorrow.
Romantic Accommodation in Franz Josef
See the 5 Best Romantic Accommodations in Franz Josef for more details on each activity.
Day 12 – Explore Franz Josef
Franz Josef might be a tiny town, but you are spoiled for choice when it comes to unforgettable honeymoon experiences. For instance, see the famous West Coast glaciers from above on an intimate helicopter flight (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and KKday), team up in a double kayak for a lake tour (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook), tackle glacier-formed terrain on ATVs (on Viator or Tripadvisor) and much more!
Romantic Activities in Franz Josef
- Fly over both the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and land on the snow in a helicopter (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and KKday)
- Paddle in a kayak on the mirror-like waters of Lake Mapourika (on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook)
- Do one of Franz Josef‘s beautiful walks
- Tackle the rugged terrain left by the glacier on an ATV together (on Viator or Tripadvisor)
- Soak in private rainforest hot pools (on Viator or Tripadvisor).
Take a look at the 8 Romantic Activities in Franz Josef for Couples for more details on each experience.
Day 13 – Franz Josef to Greymouth
Travel time: 2h15mins
Your final destination today is Greymouth, but not without stopping by the cool little coastal town of Hokitika. Here, you can carve each other a souvenir greenstone pendant or take a detour to the brilliant blue pools of Hokitika Gorge. Find out more in the 10 Awesome Things to Do in Hokitika.
There’s more to do in Greymouth once you arrive, such as sampling New Zealand beer at the Monteith’s Brewery (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) and watching that famous West Coast sunset from Rapahoe Beach.
Romantic Activities in Greymouth
- Watch the sunset from Rapahoe Beach
- Cycle the West Coast Wilderness Trail together
- Buddy up on a self-drive 4WD tour (more info on Viator or Tripadvisor)
- Sample New Zealand beer on the Monteith’s Brewery tour (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Learn how to find greenstone on a Maori greenstone tour (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
For more details on each experience, see the 10 Romantic Activities in Greymouth for Couples.
Romantic Accommodation in Greymouth
Check out the 6 Best Romantic Accommodations in Greymouth for more about each accommodation.
Day 14 – Greymouth to Christchurch Airport
Travel time: 3h10mins
Enjoy your final morning on the West Coast because it’s time to leave this wild side of the South Island for one last breathtaking alpine road trip. (Or, railway trip if you have chosen a car rental company that does one-way rentals from Christchurch to Greymouth. That way, you can take the TranzAlpine train back to Christchurch. Find out more about the train on our guide to the Train Network in New Zealand.)
Gorge in the gorgeous views of the Arthur’s Pass National Park, stopping in Arthur’s Pass village for walks like the Devils Punchbowl and Arthur’s Pass Walking Track for waterfalls and likely encounters with the world’s only alpine parrot species, keas.
Once you reach the other side of Arthur’s Pass, check out the Kura Tawhiti Conservation Area (Castle Hill) for its bizarre limestone outcrops accessed on a 20-minute walk.
Have a Kiwi savoury pie in Sheffield before the last leg of the journey following the Waimakariri River to Christchurch Airport.
It’s goodbye to the South Island but hello to the rest of your lives together.
More About a South Island Honeymoon and Romance Itinerary for Two Weeks / 14 Days
That’s it for our South Island honeymoon and romance itinerary for 14 days. If that wasn’t the itinerary you were looking for, check out these alternative 14-day itineraries:
- North Island Honeymoon Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days
- New Zealand in Two Weeks: Honeymoon Itinerary
- South Island in Two Weeks: New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary
- South Island Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days
- South Island Luxury Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days
- South Island Foodie Itinerary: Two Weeks / 14 Days
- How to Create the Perfect New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary
Finally, get more advice on planning more of your couples’ trip to New Zealand with The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to New Zealand.