10 days in South Island Itinerary

10 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island journey planner

Make it your trip
Ferry
1
Picton
— 1 day
Drive
2
Kaikoura
— 1 night
Drive
3
Hanmer Springs
— 1 night
Drive
4
Dunedin
— 2 nights
Bus
5
Wanaka
— 3 nights
Bus
6
Queenstown
— 2 nights
Fly

S M T W T F S
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

Picton

— 1 day

Gateway to the South Island

Take photo after stunning photo in Picton, the gateway to South Island.
Kick off your visit on the 25th (Fri): explore the activities along Queen Charlotte Sound, then take in the waterfront activity at Picton Sound, and then get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

Plan a Picton trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

Wellington to Picton is an approximately 4-hour ferry ride. Expect a daytime high around 22°C in December, and nighttime lows around 15°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Fri) so you can drive to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Picton

Nature · Parks · Outdoors · Tours

Kaikoura

— 1 night
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
On the 26th (Sat), get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, take an in-depth tour of Kaikoura Museum, then identify plant and animal life at Peninsula Seal Colony, and finally get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

For other places to visit, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Kaikoura journey app.

You can drive from Picton to Kaikoura in 2 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a train. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sat) so you can go by car to Hanmer Springs.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Wildlife · Outdoors · Tours · Parks

Hanmer Springs

— 1 night

Springs

Action and relaxation are the reasons that most people head to Hanmer Springs, where natural thermal pools bubble among dramatic alpine surroundings.
On the 27th (Sun), take in the awesome beauty at Conical Hill, get some thrills on the water with Hanmer Springs Attractions, and then take a peaceful walk through Hanmer Forest.

To see ratings, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Hanmer Springs trip planner.

Traveling by car from Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and shuttle; or do a combination of train and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Sun) early enough to drive to Dunedin.

Things to do in Hanmer Springs

Nature · Parks · Outdoors · Adventure

Dunedin

— 2 nights

Edinburgh of the South

With its history proudly stemming from the Scottish settlers who came here during the colonial era, Dunedin's streets are lined with well-preserved examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture, while a new culture of nightlife and fine dining takes hold around them.
On the 28th (Mon), enjoy the sand and surf at Aramoana Beach, look for all kinds of wild species at Orokonui Ecosanctuary, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Dunedin Beach. On the next day, identify plant and animal life at Penguin Place, pause for some photo ops at Robert Burns Statue, view the masterpieces at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, then sample the tasty concoctions at Speight’s Brewery, and finally hike along Tunnel Beach Track.

To see reviews, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Dunedin day trip site.

Traveling by car from Hanmer Springs to Dunedin takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Tue) to allow enough time to take a bus to Wanaka.

Things to do in Dunedin

Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Wildlife

Wanaka

— 3 nights
Situated on the shores of Lake Wanaka in the Otago region, Wanaka has become a popular ski and summer resort area, owing to its extensive views of the lake and its proximity to some of the best slopes in the country.
Step out of the city life by going to Mount Iron Track and Blue Pools Track. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Horseback Riding Tours and Wanaka Lavender Farm. The adventure continues: get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, learn about winemaking at Rippon Vineyard, get interesting insight from Tours, and take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour.

For other places to visit, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Wanaka travel route planning tool.

Getting from Dunedin to Wanaka by bus takes about 5.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Fri) to allow enough time to take a bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Wanaka

Tours · Outdoors · Trails · Parks

Queenstown

— 2 nights

Shallow Bay

Sheltered in an inlet of Lake Wakatipu, the resort town of Queenstown enjoys a strong reputation for its adventuring and skiing opportunities.
Start off your visit on the 2nd (Sat): grab your bike and head to Lake Hayes Walkway, then contemplate the waterfront views at Arrow River, and then trek along Ben Lomond Track. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: see what you can catch with a fishing tour and then shake up your sightseeing with a climbing tour.

For photos, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Queenstown tour planner.

Getting from Wanaka to Queenstown by bus takes about 3 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Sun) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Parks · Tours · Trails

Side Trip

South Island travel guide

4.6
Entertainment Centers · Bodies of Water · Hiking Trails
Māui's Canoe
The wilder of New Zealand's two main islands, South Island offers a feast of nature in all its glory. Extensive, untouched plains connect alpine landscapes with rugged shorelines, creating a home for an abundance of animals and vegetation, on land and in the rich surrounding waters. Renowned as a window to the natural world before man (something that scores of film directors have tapped into over the years), South Island folds its cities and townships into the surrounding landscape, their populations adding something singular to the mix. On your trip to South Island, you'll witness the awe-inspiring cultural heritage of the Maori, whose art and architecture complements the developments of the colonial legacy. The result is a land of characterful buildings, rolling vineyards, and free-spirited adventure.