26 days in South Island Itinerary

26 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island route planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Queenstown
— 5 nights
Drive
2
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 4 nights
Drive
3
Wanaka
— 3 nights
Drive
4
Te Anau
— 5 nights
Drive
5
Dunedin
— 2 nights
Fly
6
Christchurch
— 4 nights
Drive
7
Akaroa
— 1 night
Drive
8
Kaikoura
— 1 night
Train to Blenheim, Fly to Auckland

S M T W T F S
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22

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.
Queenstown is known for fun & games, adventure, and parks. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: head outdoors with Outdoor Activities, kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas, and race across the water with a speed boat tour.

To see traveler tips, reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, read Queenstown sightseeing planner.

Auckland to Queenstown is an approximately 3.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of car and ferry. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).

Things to do in Queenstown

Tours · Outdoors · Adventure · Parks
Find places to stay Dec 28 — Jan 2:

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

— 4 nights
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu): Fox Glacier (Moraine Walk, Helicopter Tours, &more).

To find where to stay, ratings, reviews, and other tourist information, read Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) online trip builder.

Explore your travel options from Queenstown to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) with the Route module. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Thu) so you can travel to Wanaka.

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

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Tours

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jan 2 — 6:

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.
Spend the 8th (Sat) exploring nature at Mount Aspiring National Park. And it doesn't end there: skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour, trek along Roys Peak Track, get a bird's-eye view with Air Tours, and contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Wanaka.

To find where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Wanaka road trip planner.

Explore your travel options from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Wanaka with the Route module. Cap off your sightseeing on the 9th (Sun) early enough to travel to Te Anau.

Things to do in Wanaka

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Trails
Find places to stay Jan 6 — 9:

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.
When in Te Anau, make a side trip to see Boat Tours & Water Sports in Milford Sound, approximately Milford Sound away. On the 11th (Tue), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. On the 14th (Fri), hike the day away at Routeburn Track. And it doesn't end there: explore the activities along Milford Sound, stroll through Lake Marian Track, and hike along The Chasm Walk.

To find photos, ratings, maps, and more tourist information, read Te Anau trip planner.

Explore your travel options from Wanaka to Te Anau with the Route module. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Fri) early enough to travel to Dunedin.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jan 9 — 14:

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.
Kick off your visit on the 15th (Sat): examine the collection at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum and then tour the old-fashioned way with a train tour. On the 16th (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: see the interesting displays at The Dunedin Museum of Natural Mystery, then explore the historical opulence of Larnach Castle & Gardens, and then stroll through The Royal Albatross Centre.

To find ratings, where to stay, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Dunedin online tour planner.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Te Anau to Dunedin. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Sun) early enough to catch the flight to Christchurch.

Things to do in Dunedin

Tours · Museums · Historic Sites · Parks
Find places to stay Jan 14 — 16:

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.
On the 19th (Wed), spend the day riding on TranzAlpine Train. The adventure continues: stroll around Christchurch Botanic Gardens, let the kids burn off some steam at Margaret Mahy Family Playground, take an in-depth tour of Canterbury Museum, and see the interesting displays at International Antarctic Centre.

For where to stay, ratings, reviews, and more tourist information, read Christchurch online tour itinerary planner.

Traveling by flight from Dunedin to Christchurch takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In January, plan for daily highs up to 26°C, and evening lows to 13°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 20th (Thu) early enough to go by car to Akaroa.

Things to do in Christchurch

Transportation · Parks · Tours · Museums

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 16 — 20:

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.
Start off your visit on the 21st (Fri): appreciate the history behind Banks Peninsula War Memorial and Grounds, then take in nature's colorful creations at The Giants House, then stop by Fire & Ice - Gemstone Jewellery Specialists, and finally see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour.

To see traveler tips, ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Akaroa day trip planning app.

Drive from Christchurch to Akaroa in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In January, daytime highs in Akaroa are 25°C, while nighttime lows are 13°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Akaroa

Tours · Wildlife · Outdoors · Shopping
Find places to stay Jan 20 — 21:

Kaikoura

— 1 night
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
On the 22nd (Sat), see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour and then trek along Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway.

To find maps, ratings, other places to visit, and tourist information, read Kaikoura trip itinerary website.

Traveling by car from Akaroa to Kaikoura takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and train; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sat) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Trails
Find places to stay Jan 21 — 22:

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.