16 days in South Island Itinerary

16 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island vacation planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Christchurch
Drive
2
Lake Tekapo
— 2 nights
Bus
3
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 1 night
Bus
4
Queenstown
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Bluff
Drive
6
Mossburn
— 1 night
Drive
7
Milford Sound
— 2 nights
Fly to Christchurch, Bus to Wanaka
8
Wanaka
— 1 night
Bus
9
Franz Josef
— 2 nights
Drive
10
Nelson
— 1 night
Drive
11
Abel Tasman National Park
— 2 nights
Fly to Christchurch, Bus to Hanmer Springs
12
Hanmer Springs
— 1 night
Drive
13
Christchurch
— 1 day
Fly

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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 traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Christchurch day trip tool.

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 January, expect nights in Christchurch to be slightly colder, around 13°C, while days are a bit warmer, around 26°C. On the 9th (Sat), you'll travel to Lake Tekapo.

Things to do in Christchurch

Tours · Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife

Lake Tekapo

— 2 nights
Located in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo offers evenings of stargazing and days of long walks.
Plan a Lake Tekapo trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

Traveling by car from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Mon) early enough to travel to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Nature · Parks · Spas · Historic Sites

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

— 1 night
On the 11th (Mon), explore the activities along Lake Pukaki and then trek along Hooker Valley Track.

For ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) route planning website.

You can take a bus from Lake Tekapo to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Cap off your sightseeing on the 12th (Tue) early enough to travel to Queenstown.

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

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature

Side Trip

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.
You've now added Amisfield Winery to your itinerary. Start off your visit on the 12th (Tue): get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports and then get your game on at Skyline Queenstown. Here are some ideas for day two: take a memorable tour with Tours, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, and then learn about winemaking at Amisfield Winery.

To see maps, ratings, other places to visit, and tourist information, use the Queenstown trip planning website.

Traveling by bus from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Queenstown takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Thu) early enough to travel to Bluff.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Tours · Fun & Games · Wineries

Bluff

Bluff, previously known as Campbelltown, is a town and seaport in the Southland region, on the southern coast of the South Island of New Zealand. On the 14th (Thu), meet some fierce fish with a shark diving experience and then head outdoors with Stirling Point.

Find out how to plan Bluff trip without stress by asking Inspirock to help create an itinerary.

Traveling by car from Queenstown to Bluff takes 3 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Thu) so you can travel to Mossburn.

Things to do in Bluff

Outdoors · Wildlife · Tours

Mossburn

— 1 night
Mossburn is a small town in the northern Southland Region of New Zealand. To see maps, ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Mossburn trip planning site.

You can drive from Bluff to Mossburn in 2 hours. On the 15th (Fri), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to Milford Sound.

Things to do in Mossburn

Nature · Parks

Side Trip

Highlights from your trip

Milford Sound

— 2 nights

Eighth Wonder of the World

Carved by glaciers into a land of sheer cliffs, impressive waterfalls, and lush, meandering fjords, Milford Sound remains one of the most popular holiday destinations in New Zealand.
Your day by day itinerary now includes The Chasm Walk, Key Summit Track and Rosco's Milford Kayaks. Kick off your visit on the 15th (Fri): tour the pleasant surroundings at The Chasm Walk.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Milford Sound route builder app.

Traveling by car from Mossburn to Milford Sound takes 2.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Sun) so you can travel to Wanaka.

Things to do in Milford Sound

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Tours

Side Trips

Wanaka

— 1 night
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.
Your day by day itinerary now includes Rippon Vineyard as well as Blue Pools Track. On the 17th (Sun), do a tasting at Rippon Vineyard and then explore the activities along Lake Wanaka.

Plan trip to Wanaka with our itinerary maker to find out where to go and what to do.

You can do a combination of flight and bus from Milford Sound to Wanaka in 13.5 hours. Another option is to do a combination of flight and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 18th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Franz Josef.

Things to do in Wanaka

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature

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.
You've now added Glacier Hot Pools to your itinerary.

For more things to do, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Franz Josef trip planner.

Traveling by bus from Wanaka to Franz Josef takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Nelson.

Things to do in Franz Josef

Nature · Spas · Parks · Outdoors

Side Trip

Nelson

— 1 night

Top of the South

Put on your shades to enjoy the sights of Nelson, one of the sunniest cities in New Zealand.
For more things to do, ratings, photos, and tourist information, refer to the Nelson online trip itinerary builder.

You can drive from Franz Josef to Nelson in 6 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and flight; or take a bus. You'll set off for Abel Tasman National Park on the 21st (Thu).

Things to do in Nelson

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Wineries

Abel Tasman National Park

— 2 nights
Pristine blue water, immaculate white sand, and a thick, temperate rainforest make Abel Tasman National Park a natural jewel on the northern coast of Tasmania's South Island.
Your day by day itinerary now includes Abel Tasman Kayaks. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: get the lay of the land with Abel Tasman Kayaks.

To see other places to visit, more things to do, traveler tips, and more tourist information, use the Abel Tasman National Park trip planning app.

Explore your travel options from Nelson to Abel Tasman National Park with the Route module. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Sat) so you can travel to Hanmer Springs.

Things to do in Abel Tasman National Park

Wildlife · Outdoors · Tours · Adventure
Highlights from your trip

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 23rd (Sat), witness a stunning natural landmark at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa.

To find other places to visit, maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Hanmer Springs online travel planner.

Do a combination of flight and bus from Abel Tasman National Park to Hanmer Springs in 6 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. You will leave for Christchurch on the 24th (Sun).

Things to do in Hanmer Springs

Nature · Spas · Parks
Highlights from your trip

Christchurch

— 1 day

Garden City

To see traveler tips, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Christchurch trip planner.

Getting from Hanmer Springs to Christchurch by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. You'll set off for home on the 24th (Sun).

Things to do in Christchurch

Tours · Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife

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.