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Southern Lakes & Fiordland

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From world-renowned adventure to an abundance of New Zealand icons and world-class food and wine, Queenstown, Wanaka, and Te Anau make for a spectacular South Island adventure. With a collection of iconic Kiwi landmarks and experiences for all ages, tastes, and budgets, these regions cater incredibly to campervan holidaymakers.

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Queenstown, Wanaka, and Te Anau are located towards the southwest of the South Island. Packed with a range of both relaxing and adrenaline-pumping activities, these destinations make for the perfect holiday and are all within a short driving distance of each other. These regions are home to an abundance of epic outdoor activities which will allow you to truly embrace the New Zealand landscape.

To truly embrace all the incredible things on offer in these regions, as well as make the most of the world-class scenery they are surrounded in – the perfect way to see and do more is in a Britz Campervan. Enjoy the peaceful alpine views with breakfast at one of the many Queenstown dining hotspots, before hitting the road and driving an iconic stretch before relaxing in front of some incredible national landmarks.

Campervan travel enables you with the freedom to stop wherever you please, follow wherever the road takes you, and uncover hidden gems along the way. Campervan travel is a great budget-friendly way to travel, with costs saved even more when you freedom camp.

Pack your walking shoes and consider adding a bike rack to your hire so you can make the most of this destination!

Popular Queenstown, Wanaka, Te Anau and Fiordland Road Trips & Itineraries

Because of its location, Queenstown is the perfect location to kick off your South Island explorations. Pick up a campervan from the Britz Queenstown branch and head north to explore Wanaka or south towards Te Anau and Fiordland. To help you plan, we've put together a collection of our top itineraries to make sure you get to visit all the must-see sights during your travels.


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Things To Do in Queenstown

Queenstown is an epic hiking destination. Home to world-class scenery, from jagged mountain ranges, wild rivers, glassy lakes, and beech forests. Spend some time getting off the beaten track on your choice of one of three of New Zealand's Great Walks and take in untouched nature and stunning views. Whether you're hitting the tracks with your family, looking for the next peak to tick off your list, or after a multi-day hike, Queenstown has a range of accessible trails for all ages and fitness abilities.

Queenstown is a destination that is celebrated around the world for its great food and even better wine. With over 150 bars, restaurants, and cafes pumping out award-winning cuisine, you are bound to find something to satisfy your cravings. Whether you are looking for farm-to-table dining, a world-famous burger, or a classic brunch, sample some of Queenstown's iconic hospitality venues and enjoy the local flavours prepared by talented chefs.

It wouldn't be a complete trip to Queenstown without sampling some of the world's best Pinot Noir on a wine tasting of the region's cellar doors. With tours leaving from central Queenstown to Arrowtown, Queenstown, and Gibbston wineries, you are spoilt for choice. Book a guided tour or jump on a bike and ride through the Gibbston vines for a true wine experience.

Explore the adventure capital of New Zealand with the kids in tow and discover all the incredible family-friendly experiences on offer. Each season in Queenstown offers unique experiences. In spring, explore the seasonal blooms and interact with newborn animals at a farm. Summer brings action-packed adventures with jet boating, kayaking, or family rafting adventures. The cooler seasons come with the perfect climate for a skiing adventure, with slopes for everyone from beginners to seasoned pros.

In Māori mythology, Lake Whakatipu was formed when the indentation left by a sleeping giant was flooded. People belonging to South Island tribes ventured into the Basin of the lake searching for food and precious pounamu a long time before European settlers arrived. Discover more of this heritage with a cultural show or by visiting one of the many stores that sell pounamu in Queenstown.

Things To Do in Wanaka

Take this short walk to a viewpoint above the native beech forest and enjoy the panoramic views of Mt Aspiring National Park. An easy 2km walk, around an hour return, this track will take you through a stunning mixture of remote wilderness, high mountains, and scenic river valleys. It is a walker's paradise and perfect for all fitness capabilities. Wanaka is home to an abundance of walks, with options for shorter tracks as well as half-day and full-day hikes.

This iconic hike has one of the most famous viewpoints in New Zealand. Roy's Peak track plays host to spectacular views of the Southern Alps. Not for the faint-hearted, this is a 16km track that takes around 7 hours to complete. Most of the hike is uphill along a well-marked track. If you are looking to tick this hike off your list, be sure to plan accordingly as Roy's Peak is closed between the 1st of October and the 10th of November each year for lambing season.

Spread across 20 acres, a visit to the Wanaka Lavender Farm is a perfect family activity. Enjoy a walk through the stunning purple flowers, meet and feed the friendly farm animals, play a game in the garden, and indulge in lavender ice creams. The best time to visit to see the lavender blooms in all their glory is from November to the beginning of March.

The iconic Wanaka tree with its very own hashtag is one of the most photographed trees in New Zealand. It is one of the best budget-friendly things to do in Wanaka, located just a short walk from the town centre along the lakefront. The best times to enjoy the view are at sunrise or sunset with the glowing backdrop of Lake Wanaka and the iconic Southern Alps.

A unique attraction that embraces the theme of 'weird’, Puzzling World is the perfect place to feel like a child for a few hours. Home to the Great Maze, as well as a collection of other activities – spend a few hours here challenging yourself. Enjoyable and affordable for all ages, Puzzling World is a perfect rainy-day activity.

Things To Do in Te Anau & Fiordland

Be transported to a mysterious underground world with a guided cave tour through an underground stream. Then drift in silent darkness beneath a glowing ceiling made up of hundreds of glowworms. The trip begins with a cruise on the western shores of Lake Te Anau before heading underground into a subterranean wonderland.

Located in Fiordland National Park, the newest Great Walk, the Kepler Track starts and finishes in Te Anau. The full loop is 60km long, although there are options to do a guided day walk on the track, suited to a range of fitness levels. A true wilderness adventure, take in views of giant beech trees, and fern forests as you listen to the call of New Zealand's cheeky alpine parrot, the kea.

The unofficial 8th wonder of the world is an absolute must-see when visiting Te Anau. As well as its picture-perfect scenery, there are many ways to explore this iconic destination. The most popular way is by boat, floating along the dark waters of the fiord. To stretch your legs after the cruise, take the easy 400m Milford Foreshore Loop track for more incredible scenery. For a more bucket-list-worthy experience, consider a kayak tour through Milford Sound to get up close to waterfalls and the local sea life – a sunrise tour is an ultimate way to catch Milford Sound in all its stillness and glory.

Located near the River Waiau, a popular Lord of the Rings filming spot, the Rainbow Beach Swing Bridge is a great way to explore more of the outdoor in this epic region. Embark on a 3-hour walk from Rainbow Beach to Shallow Bay hut or the beachside Moturau hut. This walk is a great option to get a taste of the Kepler Track if you are travelling with the kids in tow.

New Zealand is famous for its pies – head to Te Anau town center to try the incredible Miles Better Pies. If you're after something more adventurous, sample some local kaimoana from the fiords such as blue cod and hapuka, or try some local Fiordland crayfish and lobster. Another must-try food spot is Bao Now – passionate about sourcing fresh and local ingredients, serving up incredible food from baos, sushi bowls, and dumplings to the best fries in town.

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Britz Campervan Branches

Queenstown

The Britz Queenstown branch lies at the bottom half of the South Island and is the perfect place to kick off your trip. Grab a camber and hit the road to explore the stunning scenery.

Christchurch

The drive from Britz Christchurch on the east coast of the South Island, to the west is between 6-7 hours, depending on whether you travel inland past Lake Tekapo, or along the east coast through Timaru and Oamaru.

Auckland

An Auckland to Queenstown road trip takes around 22 hours. This is an incredibly lengthy drive, but perfect if you are after a long holiday and want to cover as much of New Zealand as possible on your road trip. Make plenty of stops along the way and enjoy the ever-changing scenery as you head from the North Island to the alpine-rich South Island.

Helpful Tips For Visiting Queenstown, Wanaka, Te Anau & Fiordland

Climate and seasons in Queenstown, Wanaka, Te Anau & Fiordland

Fiordland's weather contributes to the unique character of the region. With the weather system coming from the west, the weather here is very wet, with rainfall being a common occurrence. Although there is a lot of rainfall, there are also periods of settled, warm weather, especially in the summertime. Summer in Fiordland brings the warmest months of the year when temperatures can reach up to 30 degrees. Although rain and wind are still common, there are periods of long-settled weather. Winter in Fiordland is the most settled time of the year. The daylight hours are much shorter than the rest of the year, but the skies are often blue with very few clouds. The South Island, in particular, the Queenstown, Wanaka, and Great South regions can be as cold as –10 degrees in the winter months because of the alpine environment. Rainfall is moderate and sunshine hours are long.

Where to stay in Queenstown

Where to stay in Wanaka 

Where to Stay in Te Anau

Nearby Day Trips and Attractions

  • Arrowtown. Only 20 minutes away from Queenstown, Arrowtown is well known for its spectacular scenery and charming character, making it a must-see for all visitors to the region. This quaint town's rich heritage and historic buildings add to its vibrant energy, as well as world-class dining destinations, boutique shopping, and attractions.
  • Gibbston. The Valley of the Vines aka Gibbston is home to some of the oldest vineyards in the region. Located only a 25-minute drive from Queenstown, Gibbston plays host to a collection of wineries, pubs, restaurants, and the historic Kawarau Suspension Bridge. Producing award-winning pinot noir, spend your time here exploring the collection of cellar doors against the backdrop of ruggedly beautiful schist mountains.
  • Glenorchy. Glenorchy is an incredible slice of New Zealand paradise. Surrounded by spectacular snow-capped mountains with panoramic views of pristine lakes and beech forests, Glenorchy is a dreamy destination for all kinds of outdoor activities. Home to incredible hikes, the scenery has formed the backdrop for films such as Narnia, The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings. You'll never be bored with an abundance of activities on offer to truly explore the incredible nature here.

What to Pack

  • Layers. A safe way to prepare for the climate in New Zealand's South Island is to bring various layers of clothing. Two or three layers of thin clothing, rather than one heavy layer means you can be comfortable no matter what the weather brings. Fabrics such as merino wool are good insulators and great for layering. Be sure to pack wet weather gear if you are heading outdoors, as well as good walking shoes! In the winter months, the temperature drops a lot. Although the snow usually stays in the mountains, it will pay to have at least a few winter layers such as a warm jacket, gloves, and a hat. If you plan to hit the slopes, equipment is easy to hire in Queenstown.
  • Campervan add-ons. If you are bringing a bike, all three of our branches offer bike rack hire which you can add to your campervan hire.
  • Sun protection. Be sure to pack a bottle of sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses – especially if you are visiting in summer and planning to make the most of the region's epic outdoors.