10 days in South Island Itinerary

10 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island trip planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Christchurch
— 1 day
Drive
2
Franz Josef
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Bus
4
Te Anau
— 4 nights
Bus to Queenstown, Fly to Auckland

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Christchurch

— 1 day

Garden City

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
On the 2nd (Sat), take an in-depth tour of Canterbury Museum, then admire the natural beauty at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, then let the kids burn off some steam at Margaret Mahy Family Playground, and finally pause for some serene contemplation at Cardboard Cathedral.

To see more things to do, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Christchurch road trip tool.

Auckland to Christchurch is an approximately 4.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and ferry; or do a combination of train and ferry. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Auckland in January: highs in Christchurch hover around 26°C, while lows dip to 13°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Sat) to allow time to drive to Franz Josef.

Things to do in Christchurch

Parks · Museums · Fun & Games · Historic Sites

Franz Josef

— 2 nights
Located in the World Heritage Site that is home to its eponymous glacier, the town of Franz Josef provides a comfortable and welcoming rest spot for adventurers after a long day out on the ice.
Kick off your visit on the 3rd (Sun): stroll through Franz Josef Glacier, stroll through Sentinel Rock Walk, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Moraine Walk, and finally kick back and relax at Gillespies Beach. Here are some ideas for day two: tour the pleasant surroundings at Fox Glacier Hiking Trails, see the world from above with a helicopter tour, hike along Minnehaha Walk, then hike along Fox Glacier South Side Walk, and finally take in the pleasant sights at River Walk.

To find ratings, photos, maps, and more tourist information, read our Franz Josef trip planner.

You can drive from Christchurch to Franz Josef in 5 hours. Other options are to fly; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Mon) early enough to drive to Queenstown.

Things to do in Franz Josef

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Beaches

Side Trip

Queenstown

— 3 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.
Queenstown is known for fun & games, adventure, and wildlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, take in nature's colorful creations at Queenstown Gardens, and whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

To find other places to visit, reviews, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Queenstown itinerary maker site.

Getting from Franz Josef to Queenstown by car takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Thu) to allow time to take a bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Wildlife

Te Anau

— 4 nights
Set among the picturesque peaks and glacially carved fiords of Fiordland National Park, Te Anau offers those wishing to explore the park a great place to stay and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of a small town in an enviable location.
Take a break from Te Anau with a short trip to Bowen Falls in Milford Sound, about 1h 5 min away. On the 10th (Sun), hike the day away at Kepler Track. There's lots more to do: contemplate the waterfront views at Milford Sound, take an unforgettable tour with Southern Lakes Helicopters, stroll through The Chasm Walk, and look for all kinds of wild species at Te Anau Bird Sanctuary.

To find reviews, maps, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Te Anau online visit planner.

You can take a bus from Queenstown to Te Anau in 4 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 11th (Mon) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Trails

Side Trips

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.