13 days in South Island Itinerary

13 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island trip planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Christchurch
Drive
2
Rakaia
Drive
3
Geraldine
— 1 night
Drive
4
Lake Tekapo
— 1 night
Drive
5
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 1 night
Drive
6
Twizel
— 1 night
Drive
7
Oamaru
— 1 night
Drive
8
Dunedin
— 1 night
Drive
9
Balclutha
— 1 night
Drive
10
Invercargill
— 2 nights
Unknown
11
Stewart Island
— 1 night
Unknown
12
Te Anau
— 1 night
Bus
13
Queenstown
— 1 night
Fly

S M T W T F S
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2
3

Christchurch

Garden City

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
To see maps, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, use the Christchurch road trip planner.

Auckland to Christchurch is an approximately 3-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and ferry; or do a combination of train and ferry. Traveling from Auckland in March, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be little chillier in Christchurch, with lows of 11°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 22nd (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Rakaia.

Things to do in Christchurch

Tours · Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife

Rakaia

Rakaia is a town seated close to the southern banks of the Rakaia River on the Canterbury Plains in New Zealand's South Island, approximately 57 km south of Christchurch on State Highway 1 and the Main South Line. To find more things to do, photos, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Rakaia trip planning site.

You can drive from Christchurch to Rakaia in an hour. Expect a daytime high around 22°C in March, and nighttime lows around 11°C. On the 22nd (Mon), you're off to Geraldine.

Things to do in Rakaia

Parks · Trails · Outdoors · Zoos & Aquariums

Geraldine

— 1 night
Geraldine or Heratini is a town in the Canterbury Region on the South Island of New Zealand. Start off your visit on the 22nd (Mon): see the sky in a new way at Geraldine Observatory.

To find more things to do, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, go to the Geraldine tour itinerary app.

Drive from Rakaia to Geraldine in an hour. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Tue) so you can go by car to Lake Tekapo.

Things to do in Geraldine

Museums · Childrens Museums
Highlights from your trip

Lake Tekapo

— 1 night
Located in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo offers evenings of stargazing and days of long walks.
On the 23rd (Tue), test the waters at Tekapo Springs, pause for some serene contemplation at The Church of the Good Shepherd, and then explore the activities along Lake Tekapo.

For photos, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the Lake Tekapo online trip builder.

You can drive from Geraldine to Lake Tekapo in 1.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Wed) so you can travel to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Parks · Historic Sites · Spas · Nature

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

— 1 night
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Wed): hike along Kea Point Track, look and learn at Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, and then trek along Hooker Valley Track.

To find photos, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) travel route builder tool.

Explore your travel options from Lake Tekapo to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) with the Route module. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Thu) to allow time to travel to Twizel.

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

Trails · Parks · Outdoors · Museums

Twizel

— 1 night
Kick off your visit on the 25th (Thu): experience rural life at High Country Salmon, then explore the activities along Lake Pukaki, then relax in the rural setting at Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon Shop, and finally indulge in some personalized pampering at Hot Tubs Omarama.

For photos, ratings, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Twizel day trip planning tool.

Explore your travel options from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Twizel with the Route module. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Fri) to allow time to travel to Oamaru.

Things to do in Twizel

Parks · Nature · Spas

Side Trips

Oamaru

— 1 night
On the 26th (Fri), make a trip to Oamaru's Victorian Precinct, then examine the collection at Steampunk HQ, then make a trip to Moeraki Boulders Beach, and finally browse for treasures at Hampden Stores.

To find where to stay, more things to do, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Oamaru trip planning tool.

Drive from Twizel to Oamaru in 2 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 27th (Sat) so you can go by car to Dunedin.

Things to do in Oamaru

Museums · Shopping

Side Trip

Dunedin

— 1 night

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.
Start off your visit on the 27th (Sat): see the interesting displays at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, don't miss a visit to The World's Steepest Street, and then take in the dramatic natural features at Otago Peninsula.

To find where to stay, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Dunedin trip itinerary planning website.

You can drive from Oamaru to Dunedin in 1.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 28th (Sun) so you can go by car to Balclutha.

Things to do in Dunedin

Wildlife · Parks · Nature · Museums

Balclutha

— 1 night
Balclutha is a town in Otago, lying towards the end of the Clutha River, on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Start off your visit on the 28th (Sun): explore the activities along Clutha River, contemplate the long history of Kaka Point Scenic View Point & Picnic Area, then enjoy the sea views from Nugget Point/Tokata Walks, and finally examine the collection at Sod Cottage.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Balclutha journey planner.

Getting from Dunedin to Balclutha by car takes about an hour. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Mon) so you can drive to Invercargill.

Things to do in Balclutha

Parks · Nature · Historic Sites · Museums

Side Trips

Highlights from your trip

Invercargill

— 2 nights
Invercargill is the southernmost and westernmost city in New Zealand, and one of the southernmost cities in the world. Start off your visit on the 29th (Mon): cruise along Southern Scenic Route. On the 30th (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: get engrossed in the history at E Hayes and Sons - The World's Fastest Indian, then delve into the distant past at Invercargill Brewery, then examine the collection at Bill Richardson Transport World, and finally walk around Queens Park.

For ratings, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, read Invercargill online trip itinerary planner.

Drive from Balclutha to Invercargill in 2 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Wed) early enough to travel to Stewart Island.

Things to do in Invercargill

Scenic Drive · Outdoors · Museums · Parks

Stewart Island

— 1 night
Kick off your visit on the 31st (Wed): see the interesting displays at Rakiura Museum, then step off the mainland to explore Ulva Island, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas.

To find reviews, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Stewart Island trip planner.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Invercargill to Stewart Island. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Thu) so you can travel to Te Anau.

Things to do in Stewart Island

Wildlife · Outdoors · Tours · Parks

Te Anau

— 1 night
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.
On the 1st (Thu), contemplate the waterfront views at Doubtful Sound.

To find ratings, reviews, maps, and tourist information, read Te Anau day trip planner.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Stewart Island to Te Anau. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Fri) to allow enough time to take a bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Te Anau

Wildlife · Parks · Nature
Highlights from your trip

Queenstown

— 1 night

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 (Fri): view the masterpieces at Queenstown Arts Centre, then get interesting insight from Tours, then get your game on at Skyline Queenstown, and finally push the limits with an extreme tour.

To find ratings, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Queenstown route builder tool.

You can take a bus from Te Anau to Queenstown in 4 hours. You'll have a few hours on the 3rd (Sat) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Tours · Fun & Games · Spas

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.