31 days in South Island Itinerary

31 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island journey planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Queenstown
— 5 nights
Bus
2
Wanaka
— 4 nights
Drive
3
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 4 nights
Drive
4
Christchurch
— 4 nights
Drive
5
Hanmer Springs
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Kaikoura
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Dunedin
— 3 nights
Drive
8
Te Anau
— 6 nights
Bus to Queenstown, Fly to Perth

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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.
Family-friendly places like Skyline Queenstown and Coronet Peak will thrill your kids. On the 4th (Sun), dedicate a day to the elevated beauty of The Remarkables Ski Area. There's much more to do: indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, take an exotic tour of Nomad Safaris, trek along Queenstown Hill, and admire the natural beauty at Queenstown Gardens.

Plan a Queenstown trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

Perth, Australia to Queenstown is an approximately 11-hour flight. The time zone difference when traveling from Perth to Queenstown is 4 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Tue) to allow enough time to take a bus to Wanaka.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Parks · Nature · Winter Sports

Wanaka

— 4 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.
Bring the kids along to Lake Wanaka and Wanaka. Go for a jaunt from Wanaka to Albert Town to see Lake Hawea Lookout about 36 minutes away. Spend the 9th (Fri) exploring nature at Mount Aspiring National Park. There's still lots to do: trot along with The Cardrona, glide through natural beauty at Snow Farm NZ, hike along Diamond Lake & Rocky Mountain walks, and see the world from above with a helicopter tour.

To see reviews, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Wanaka sightseeing planner.

Traveling by bus from Queenstown to Wanaka takes 3 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Sat) to allow time to travel to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).

Things to do in Wanaka

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours

Side Trip

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

— 4 nights
Bring the kids along to Ski The Tasman and Fox Glacier South Side Walk. Get out of town with these interesting Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) side-trips: Franz Josef (Franz Josef Clay Target Shooting, Franz Josef Wilderness Tours, &more) and Fox Glacier (Moraine Walk, Skydive Franz Josef & Fox Glacier, &more).

For other places to visit, ratings, reviews, and more tourist information, read Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) attractions planner.

Explore your travel options from Wanaka to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) with the Route module. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Wed) so you can travel to Christchurch.

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

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Tours

Side Trips

Christchurch

— 4 nights

Garden City

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Kids will appreciate attractions like Christchurch Botanic Gardens and International Antarctic Centre. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Christchurch: Akaroa (Dolphin & Whale Watching & Hinewai Reserve) and Little River Gallery (in Little River). On the 16th (Fri), spend the day riding on TranzAlpine Train. There's still lots to do: enjoy breathtaking views from Christchurch Gondola, learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, learn about all things military at Air Force Museum of New Zealand, and let the kids burn off some steam at Margaret Mahy Family Playground.

To find where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, use the Christchurch trip builder app.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Christchurch. In October, daily temperatures in Christchurch can reach 20°C, while at night they dip to 6°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Sun) so you can go by car to Hanmer Springs.

Things to do in Christchurch

Transportation · Tours · Museums · Parks

Side Trips

Hanmer Springs

— 2 nights

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 19th (Mon), delve into the lush surroundings at Hanmer Forest, stop by The Decadent Fudge Company, get outside with Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre, then take a pleasant ride with Hanmer Horse Trekking, then take in the exciting artwork at Majuba Gallery, and finally witness a stunning natural landmark at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: identify plant and animal life at Hanmer Springs Animal Park, then take a memorable tour with Hanmer Springs Attractions, and then take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at St James Conservation Area.

To see photos, where to stay, maps, and tourist information, use the Hanmer Springs itinerary maker tool.

Traveling by car from Christchurch to Hanmer Springs takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Tue) so you can go by car to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Hanmer Springs

Parks · Nature · Wildlife · Outdoors

Kaikoura

— 2 nights
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
On the 21st (Wed), don't miss a visit to Ohau Point Seal Colony, tour the pleasant surroundings at Ohau Stream Walk, then look for gifts at Kaikoura Cheese, then add some adventure to your tour with Seal Kayak Kaikoura, and finally see Glenstrae Farm 4 Wheel Adventures. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: relax in the rural setting at The Point Sheep Shearing Show, then hike along Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, and then relax and rejuvenate at Indulge Body & Soul.

To find reviews, photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Kaikoura trip planner.

Getting from Hanmer Springs to Kaikoura by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and shuttle; or do a combination of bus and train. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Thu) so you can go by car to Dunedin.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Trails

Dunedin

— 3 nights

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.
Kids will appreciate attractions like The Royal Albatross Centre and Larnach Castle & Gardens. Next up on the itinerary: look and learn at Otago Museum, pause for some photo ops at Robert Scott Memorial, pause for some serene contemplation at Knox Church, and savor the flavors at Cadbury World Experience.

To see traveler tips, reviews, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Dunedin trip itinerary maker app.

Drive from Kaikoura to Dunedin in 7 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Sun) early enough to travel to Te Anau.

Things to do in Dunedin

Wildlife · Parks · Tours · Outdoors

Te Anau

— 6 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.
Attractions like Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound make great kid-friendly stops. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Te Anau: Milford Sound (Tutoko Suspension Bridge, Boat Tours & Water Sports, &more). Next up on the itinerary: explore the fascinating underground world of Te Anau Glowworm Caves, take in the awesome beauty at Mitre Peak, contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Te Anau, and look for all kinds of wild species at Ivan Wilson Park.

To find reviews, maps, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Te Anau journey maker site.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Dunedin to Te Anau. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 31st (Sat) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Nature · Wildlife · Outdoors

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.