22 days in South Island Itinerary

22 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island trip planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Christchurch
Drive
2
Akaroa
— 1 night
Drive
3
Lake Tekapo
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Queenstown
— 1 night
Bus
5
Te Anau
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Wanaka
— 2 nights
Bus
7
Fox Glacier
— 1 night
Drive
8
Hokitika
— 2 nights
Drive
9
Greymouth
— 2 nights
Drive
10
Abel Tasman National Park
— 2 nights
Drive
11
Nelson
Drive
12
Picton
— 1 night
Drive
13
Blenheim
— 1 night
Drive
14
Kaikoura
— 3 nights
Drive
15
Hanmer Springs
Drive
16
Christchurch
Fly

S M T W T F S
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18
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25
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27
28
29
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31
1
2
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4
5
6
7
8

Christchurch

Garden City

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
For maps, traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Christchurch trip itinerary website.

Perth, Australia to Christchurch is an approximately 11.5-hour flight. Traveling from Perth to Christchurch, you'll lose 4 hours due to the time zone difference. Plan for a bit cooler temperatures traveling from Perth in December, with highs in Christchurch at 24°C and lows at 12°C. On the 17th (Fri), you're off to Akaroa.

Things to do in Christchurch

Tours · Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife

Akaroa

— 1 night

Long Harbour

The French heritage and colonial architecture of Akaroa has broad appeal to anthropologists, historians, architects--and just about anyone with an eye for beautiful, historical buildings and a palate for fine dining.
To find other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Akaroa road trip app.

Traveling by car from Christchurch to Akaroa takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In December in Akaroa, expect temperatures between 24°C during the day and 12°C at night. On the 18th (Sat), you're off to Lake Tekapo.

Things to do in Akaroa

Tours · Outdoors · Adventure · Parks

Lake Tekapo

— 2 nights
Located in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo offers evenings of stargazing and days of long walks.
On the 18th (Sat), enjoy breathtaking views from Mount John University Observatory, then get outside with Aoraki/Mt. Cook, and then explore the activities along Lake Pukaki. Keep things going the next day: take in the architecture and atmosphere at The Church of the Good Shepherd, see the world from above with a helicopter tour, then explore the activities along Lake Tekapo, and finally stop by Aotea Gifts Tekapo.

To see ratings, other places to visit, reviews, and other tourist information, read our Lake Tekapo online trip planner.

Traveling by car from Akaroa to Lake Tekapo takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Mon) so you can go by car to Queenstown.

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Nature · Parks · Historic Sites · Outdoors

Side Trips

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 20th (Mon): shop like a local with Outside Sports Queenstown, then have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, and then push the limits with an extreme tour.

To see other places to visit, ratings, traveler tips, and more tourist information, refer to the Queenstown route maker tool.

Getting from Lake Tekapo to Queenstown by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Tue) so you can take a bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Fun & Games · Outdoors · Tours · Shopping

Te Anau

— 2 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.
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Tue): take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports and then contemplate the waterfront views at Milford Sound. Keep things going the next day: explore the activities along Doubtful Sound.

To see ratings, other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Te Anau trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by bus from Queenstown to Te Anau takes 4 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Thu) to allow time to travel to Wanaka.

Things to do in Te Anau

Nature · Parks · Wildlife · Tours

Side Trip

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.
Kick off your visit on the 23rd (Thu): take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback and then contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Wanaka. On the 24th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: hit the slopes at Wanaka and then skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour.

For photos, where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Wanaka travel route builder site.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Te Anau to Wanaka. Cap off your sightseeing on the 25th (Sat) early enough to catch the bus to Fox Glacier.

Things to do in Wanaka

Outdoors · Tours · Nature · Parks

Fox Glacier

— 1 night
A trip to Fox Glacier brings you close to one of New Zealand's most easily accessible natural wonders.
Kick off your visit on the 25th (Sat): take in the dramatic natural features at Franz Josef Glacier, then hike along Fox Glacier South Side Walk, and then take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour.

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

Traveling by bus from Wanaka to Fox Glacier takes 5.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Sun) early enough to drive to Hokitika.

Things to do in Fox Glacier

Trails · Parks · Outdoors · Nature

Side Trip

Hokitika

— 2 nights
Hokitika is a township in the West Coast region of New Zealand's South Island, 40km south of Greymouth, and close to the mouth of the Hokitika River. Kick off your visit on the 26th (Sun): identify plant and animal life at Lake Kaniere, look for all kinds of wild species at Hokitika Gorge Walk, stroll through Tunnel Terrace Walk, then identify plant and animal life at Westcoast Treetop Walk & Cafe, and finally kick back and relax at Hokitika Beach. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 27th (Mon): view the masterpieces at Hokitika Craft Gallery, view the masterpieces at Wilderness Gallery, don't miss a visit to Pioneers of the Frontier Statue, meet the residents at National Kiwi Centre, then head outdoors with Glow Worm Dell, and finally look for gifts at Mountain Jade.

For where to stay, traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Hokitika online journey builder.

Getting from Fox Glacier to Hokitika by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Greymouth.

Things to do in Hokitika

Parks · Outdoors · Wildlife · Zoos & Aquariums

Greymouth

— 2 nights
Greymouth is the largest town in the West Coast region in the South Island of New Zealand, and the seat of the Grey District Council. Change things up with these side-trips from Greymouth: Punakaiki (Pororari River Track, Truman Track, &more). Next up on the itinerary: contemplate the long history of Shantytown Heritage Park, make a trip to Brunner Mine Site Walk, trek along Coal Creek Track, and stop by Garth Wilson Jade.

For other places to visit, ratings, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Greymouth trip maker tool.

You can drive from Hokitika to Greymouth in an hour. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 30th (Thu) to allow time for travel to Abel Tasman National Park.

Things to do in Greymouth

Parks · Trails · Outdoors · Nature

Side Trips

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.
Start off your visit on the 31st (Fri): tour the pleasant surroundings at Abel Tasman Coast Track. Keep things going the next day: enjoy the sand and surf at Kaiteriteri Beach, take in the local highlights with Walking tours, and then admire the sheer force of Wainui Falls Track.

For maps, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Abel Tasman National Park tour itinerary planning app.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Greymouth to Abel Tasman National Park. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Sat) to allow time to travel to Nelson.

Things to do in Abel Tasman National Park

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Tours

Side Trip

Nelson

Top of the South

Put on your shades to enjoy the sights of Nelson, one of the sunniest cities in New Zealand.
To find ratings, reviews, other places to visit, and more tourist information, use the Nelson trip planner.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Abel Tasman National Park to Nelson. You will leave for Picton on the 1st (Sat).

Things to do in Nelson

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Wineries

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 (Sun): take a memorable tour with Tours, then admire all the interesting features of Karaka Point Walk, and then explore the activities along Marlborough Sounds.

To find more things to do, photos, and tourist information, refer to the Picton trip planner.

Drive from Nelson to Picton in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In January in Picton, expect temperatures between 24°C during the day and 17°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Mon) so you can drive to Blenheim.

Things to do in Picton

Parks · Outdoors · Tours · Trails

Blenheim

— 1 night
Enjoy a heady holiday in Blenheim, the most populous town in the wine-growing region of Marlborough.
Start off your visit on the 3rd (Mon): awaken your taste buds at some of the top wineries in the area. Keep things going the next day: see the interesting displays at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, then do a tasting at Cloudy Bay, then take a memorable tour with Tours, and finally look for all kinds of wild species at Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve.

For ratings, reviews, where to stay, and other tourist information, go to the Blenheim trip maker website.

Blenheim is very close to Picton. In January, plan for daily highs up to 24°C, and evening lows to 17°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 4th (Tue) so you can go by car to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Blenheim

Tours · Wineries · Outdoors · Museums

Side Trips

Kaikoura

— 3 nights
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
Start off your visit on the 5th (Wed): get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour and then trek along Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take an in-depth tour of Kaikoura Museum, make a trip to Ohau Point Seal Colony, then look for all kinds of wild species at Peninsula Seal Colony, and finally get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour.

For where to stay, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Kaikoura day trip planning app.

Getting from Blenheim to Kaikoura by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a train. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Hanmer Springs.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors · Wildlife · Parks · Tours

Hanmer Springs

Springs

Action and relaxation are the reasons that most people head to Hanmer Springs, where natural thermal pools bubble among dramatic alpine surroundings.
To find other places to visit, more things to do, photos, and tourist information, refer to the Hanmer Springs trip itinerary planning app.

Drive from Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and shuttle; or do a combination of train and bus. You'll set off for Christchurch on the 7th (Fri).

Things to do in Hanmer Springs

Outdoors · Parks · Nature · Wildlife

Christchurch

Garden City

Start off your visit on the 7th (Fri): appreciate the history behind Chalice Sculpture and then walk around Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Start your trip to Christchurch by creating a personalized itinerary on Inspirock.

Getting from Hanmer Springs to Christchurch by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Fri) to allow enough time to fly back home.

Things to do in Christchurch

Parks

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.