17 days in Auckland & South Island Itinerary

17 days in Auckland & South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock New Zealand journey builder

Make it your trip
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Auckland
— 2 nights
Fly
2
Nelson
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Kaikoura
— 1 night
Drive
4
Christchurch
— 3 nights
Drive
5
Lake Tekapo
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Dunedin
— 1 night
Drive
7
Queenstown
— 4 nights
Fly

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Auckland

— 2 nights

City of Sails

The largest and most populous city in New Zealand, Auckland combines a rich history and thriving contemporary culture in an abundance of museums, art galleries, and performance venues.
Butterfly Creek has been added to your itinerary. Start off your visit on the 18th (Sun): take in panoramic vistas at SkyTower and then enjoy the sand and surf at Orewa Beach. On the next day, enjoy the thrill of live dance at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, identify plant and animal life at Butterfly Creek, then snap pictures at Auckland Harbour Bridge, and finally identify plant and animal life at Muriwai Gannet Colony.

To find reviews, photos, and tourist information, use the Auckland online visit planner.

Singapore, Singapore to Auckland is an approximately 10-hour flight. You can also fly. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 4 hours traveling from Singapore to Auckland. While traveling from Singapore, expect cooler days and little chillier nights in Auckland, ranging from highs of 20°C to lows of 20°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 20th (Tue) to allow time for travel to Nelson.

Things to do in Auckland

Parks · Wildlife · Nightlife · Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trips

Nelson

— 2 nights

Top of the South

Put on your shades to enjoy the sights of Nelson, one of the sunniest cities in New Zealand.
You've added Gardens of the World, Tahunanui Beach, Queen's Gardens, and other attractions to your itinerary. Start off your visit on the 20th (Tue): admire the natural beauty at Gardens of the World and then enjoy the sand and surf at Tahunanui Beach. Keep things going the next day: meet the residents at Natureland Zoo, then admire the natural beauty at Queen's Gardens, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Kaiteriteri Beach.

To see other places to visit, maps, reviews, and tourist information, use the Nelson travel planner.

Getting from Auckland to Nelson by flight takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: fly; or do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of train, ferry, and bus. On the 22nd (Thu), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Nelson

Parks · Beaches · Outdoors · Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trip

Kaikoura

— 1 night
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Thu): identify plant and animal life at Peninsula Seal Colony.

For more things to do, traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Kaikoura road trip planning site.

Traveling by car from Nelson to Kaikoura takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus; or do a combination of flight and bus. On the 23rd (Fri), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Christchurch.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Parks · Wildlife

Christchurch

— 3 nights

Garden City

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Your day by day itinerary now includes Christchurch Tramway, Punting on the Avon and Sumner Beach (Cave Rock). Start off your visit on the 23rd (Fri): look for all kinds of wild species at Groynes. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 24th (Sat): squeeze the most out of the city with Christchurch Tramway, then admire the natural beauty at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, and then explore and take pictures at Port Hills.

For reviews, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the Christchurch travel itinerary planner.

You can drive from Kaikoura to Christchurch in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus; or take a train. In November, plan for daily highs up to 22°C, and evening lows to 9°C. You'll have a few hours on the 26th (Mon) to wrap things up before traveling to Lake Tekapo.

Things to do in Christchurch

Parks · Tours · Outdoors · Nature

Lake Tekapo

— 2 nights
Located in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo offers evenings of stargazing and days of long walks.
Kick off your visit on the 26th (Mon): explore the activities along Lake Tekapo and then take in panoramic vistas at Mount John University Observatory. On your second day here, boost your wellbeing at Tekapo Springs, then see the top attractions with Dark Sky Project, and then take in the architecture and atmosphere at The Church of the Good Shepherd.

To find ratings, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, read Lake Tekapo trip itinerary planner.

Drive from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. You'll have a few hours on the 28th (Wed) to wrap things up before traveling to Dunedin.

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Nature · Parks · Nightlife · Spas

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.
Kick off your visit on the 28th (Wed): relax in the rural setting at Natures Wonders Naturally, identify plant and animal life at Orokonui Ecosanctuary, don't miss a visit to Bellamys Gallery, then enjoy the sand and surf at Dunedin Beach, then enjoy the sand and surf at Aramoana Beach, and finally kick back and relax at St Clair Beach.

For photos, reviews, and other tourist information, read our Dunedin trip app.

Traveling by car from Lake Tekapo to Dunedin takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of car and bus; or take a bus. You'll have a few hours on the 29th (Thu) to wrap things up before traveling to Queenstown.

Things to do in Dunedin

Parks · Beaches · Outdoors · Wildlife

Queenstown

— 4 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 added Coronet Peak, Lake Wakatipu, Arrow River, and other attractions to your itinerary. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Arrowtown Chinese Settlement and The Remarkable Sweetshop - Queenstown. Kids will enjoy Adrenaline & Extreme Tours and Kiwi Birdlife Park. Change things up with a short trip to Rippon Vineyard in Wanaka (about 1h 10 min away).

To see more things to do, traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Queenstown trip planner.

Getting from Dunedin to Queenstown by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. You will have some time to spend on the 3rd (Mon) before leaving for home.

Things to do in Queenstown

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours

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.