17 days in South Island Itinerary

17 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island vacation planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Picton
— 1 night
Drive
2
Kaikoura
— 1 night
Drive
3
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 3 nights
Drive
4
Wanaka
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Te Anau
— 3 nights
Unknown
6
Stewart Island
— 1 night
Unknown
7
Queenstown
— 5 nights
Fly

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Picton

— 1 night

Gateway to the South Island

Take photo after stunning photo in Picton, the gateway to South Island.
Kick off your visit on the 2nd (Fri): head outdoors with Tirohanga Track and then see the interesting displays at The National Whale Centre. Here are some ideas for day two: tour the pleasant surroundings at Queen Charlotte Track.

To see other places to visit, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Picton trip itinerary planning site.

Melbourne, Australia to Picton is an approximately 9-hour flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 2 hours traveling from Melbourne to Picton. In July, daily temperatures in Picton can reach 14°C, while at night they dip to 8°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Sat) so you can drive to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Picton

Outdoors · Trails · Parks · Museums

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 4th (Sun): look for all kinds of wild species at Peninsula Seal Colony, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, then get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour, and finally get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour.

For ratings, maps, and more tourist information, go to the Kaikoura trip itinerary builder site.

Traveling by car from Picton to Kaikoura takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 4th (Sun) so you can travel to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).

Things to do in Kaikoura

Parks · Outdoors · Wildlife · Trails

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

— 3 nights
Step out of the city life by going to Franz Josef Glacier and Helicopter Tours. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu): Franz Josef (Spas & Tatare Tunnels Walk) and Fox Glacier (Moraine Walk, Fox Glacier Hiking Trails, &more).

For reviews, photos, where to stay, and other tourist information, refer to the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) tour itinerary planning app.

Explore your travel options from Kaikoura to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) with the Route module. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Wed) so you can travel to Wanaka.

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

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature

Side Trips

Wanaka

— 2 nights
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.
Start off your visit on the 8th (Thu): explore the striking landscape of Mount Aspiring National Park. Here are some ideas for day two: contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Wanaka, then ski along the peaceful trails at Snow Farm NZ, then explore the activities along Wanaka, and finally pause for some photo ops at Wanaka War Memorial.

For photos, ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Wanaka day trip planning website.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Wanaka. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Fri) so you can travel to Te Anau.

Things to do in Wanaka

Parks · Nature · Winter Sports · Outdoors

Te Anau

— 3 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.
Escape the urban bustle at Milford Sound and Mitre Peak. Explore Te Anau's surroundings by going to Milford Sound (Bowen Falls & Boat Tours & Water Sports). The adventure continues: trek along Mirror Lakes Walk, explore the activities along Lake Gunn, identify plant and animal life at Te Anau Bird Sanctuary, and Head underground at Te Anau Glowworm Caves.

To find reviews, more things to do, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read our Te Anau trip planner.

Explore your travel options from Wanaka to Te Anau with the Route module. Cap off your sightseeing on the 12th (Mon) early enough to travel to Stewart Island.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Trails

Side Trips

Stewart Island

— 1 night
On the 13th (Tue), take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, then head off the coast to Ulva Island, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas.

Before you visit Stewart Island, use our trip planner to discover what you can do and see there.

Explore your travel options from Te Anau to Stewart Island with the Route module. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Tue) so you can travel to Queenstown.

Things to do in Stewart Island

Tours · Outdoors · Wildlife · Nature

Queenstown

— 5 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.
Visiting Coronet Peak and The Remarkables Ski Area will get you outdoors. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Queenstown: Kawarau Suspension Bridge (in Gibbston) and Cardrona (UnderDog Sled Dog Tours & Cardrona Bra Fence). There's much more to do: get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, look for all kinds of wild species at Kiwi Birdlife Park, fly down the slopes at PowderPak Parks, and see the world from above with a helicopter tour.

To find ratings, traveler tips, other places to visit, and other tourist information, go to the Queenstown online attractions planner.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Stewart Island to Queenstown. Cap off your sightseeing on the 18th (Sun) early enough to catch the flight back home.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Parks · Nature · Winter Sports

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.