20 days in South Island Itinerary

20 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island journey planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Queenstown
— 4 nights
Bus
2
Wanaka
— 3 nights
Drive
3
Te Anau
— 5 nights
Drive
4
Dunedin
— 2 nights
Fly
5
Christchurch
— 4 nights
Drive
6
Kaikoura
— 1 night
Train to Blenheim, Fly to Wellington

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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.
Attractions like Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown Trail make great kid-friendly stops. Get outdoors at Ben Lomond Track and Adrenaline & Extreme Tours. On the 7th (Mon), dedicate a day to the elevated beauty of Coronet Peak. And it doesn't end there: tee off at Jacks Point Golf Course Queenstown, get outside with Outdoor Activities, do a tasting at Chard Farm Winery, and steep yourself in history at Arrowtown Chinese Settlement.

To see other places to visit, photos, traveler tips, and more tourist information, go to the Queenstown online trip itinerary builder.

Wellington to Queenstown is an approximately 3-hour flight. You can also do a combination of ferry and car; or do a combination of ferry and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Fri) early enough to take a bus to Wanaka.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Parks · Tours · Nature

Side Trip

Find places to stay Feb 7 — 11:

Wanaka

— 3 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.
Escape the urban bustle at Roys Peak Track and Diamond Lake & Rocky Mountain walks. Step off the beaten path and head to Mount Iron Track and Horseback Riding Tours. There's more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Blue Pools Track and glide through the air with a parasailing or paragliding tour.

To find more things to do, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, use the Wanaka trip builder site.

Traveling by bus from Queenstown to Wanaka takes 3 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 14th (Mon) so you can travel to Te Anau.

Things to do in Wanaka

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Tours
Find places to stay Feb 11 — 14:

Te Anau

— 5 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.
Bring the kids along to Lake Te Anau and The Chasm Walk. Visiting Kepler Track and Kayaking & Canoeing will get you outdoors. Explore Te Anau's surroundings by going to Milford Sound (Homer Tunnel & Milford sound Hwy). The adventure continues: stroll through Mirror Lakes Walk, explore the activities along Te Anau Glowworm Caves, and hike along Lake Marian Track.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, go to the Te Anau trip planner.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Wanaka to Te Anau. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Sat) early enough to travel to Dunedin.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature

Side Trips

Find places to stay Feb 14 — 19:

Dunedin

— 2 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.
Start off your visit on the 20th (Sun): stroll through Orokonui Ecosanctuary, then examine the collection at The Dunedin Museum of Natural Mystery, and then stroll through Penguin Place. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: tour the pleasant surroundings at Dunedin Beach and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Tunnel Beach Track.

To see maps, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Dunedin trip planner.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Te Anau to Dunedin. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Mon) so you can catch the flight to Christchurch.

Things to do in Dunedin

Parks · Outdoors · Wildlife · Beaches
Find places to stay Feb 19 — 21:

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.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Margaret Mahy Family Playground and Taylors Mistake - Awaroa / Godley Head Walk. Bring the kids along to Sumner Beach (Cave Rock) and Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Step out of Christchurch with an excursion to Dolphin & Whale Watching in Akaroa--about 1h 25 min away. Next up on the itinerary: wander the streets of Port Hills, contemplate the waterfront views at Avon River, examine the collection at International Antarctic Centre, and learn about all things military at Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

For where to stay, photos, and tourist information, refer to the Christchurch online trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Dunedin to Christchurch by flight takes about 3 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 26°C in February, and nighttime lows around 13°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Fri) so you can drive to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Christchurch

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Historic Sites

Side Trip

Find places to stay Feb 21 — 25:

Kaikoura

— 1 night
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 26th (Sat): get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, then see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour, and then stroll through Peninsula Seal Colony.

To find other places to visit, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Kaikoura travel itinerary planner.

You can drive from Christchurch to Kaikoura in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Cap off your sightseeing on the 26th (Sat) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Wildlife · Outdoors · Tours · Parks
Find places to stay Feb 25 — 26:

South Island travel guide

4.6
Bodies of Water · Entertainment Centers · 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.