12 days in South Island Itinerary

12 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island vacation planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Bus
2
Te Anau
— 4 nights
Drive
3
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 3 nights
Drive
4
Christchurch
— 1 night
Fly

S M T W T F S
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6

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: get your game on at Skyline Queenstown, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, admire the natural beauty at Queenstown Gardens, and take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Coronet Peak.

To see reviews, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Queenstown online road trip planner.

Auckland to Queenstown is an approximately 4.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of ferry, car, and bus; or do a combination of car, ferry, and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Tue) to allow enough time to take a bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Tours

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.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Te Anau: Milford Sound (Bowen Falls & Boat Tours & Water Sports). Spend the 25th (Thu) exploring at Doubtful Sound. And it doesn't end there: explore the activities along Milford Sound, tour the pleasant surroundings at Gertrude Saddle, identify plant and animal life at Ivan Wilson Park, and hike along The Chasm Walk.

For where to stay, reviews, maps, and tourist information, go to the Te Anau trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Queenstown to Te Anau by bus takes about 4 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Sat) early enough to travel to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Nature · Wildlife · Outdoors

Side Trip

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

— 3 nights
Venture out of the city with trips to Fox Glacier (River Walk, Fox Glacier South Side Walk, &more).

To see other places to visit, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) vacation planner.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Te Anau to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu). Finish up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Tue) so you can travel to Christchurch.

Things to do in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Beaches

Side Trips

Christchurch

— 1 night

Garden City

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Kick off your visit on the 3rd (Wed): see the interesting displays at International Antarctic Centre, then get engrossed in the history at Canterbury Museum, then walk around Christchurch Botanic Gardens, and finally take in the architecture and atmosphere at Cardboard Cathedral.

To see where to stay, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, read Christchurch trip planner.

Explore your travel options from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Christchurch with the Route module. March in Christchurch sees daily highs of 23°C and lows of 11°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Wed) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Christchurch

Museums · Parks · Historic Sites

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.