13 days in South Island Itinerary

13 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island trip planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Christchurch
Drive
2
Rakaia
Drive
3
Geraldine
— 1 night
Drive
4
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 2 nights
Bus
5
Lake Tekapo
Drive
6
Twizel
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Cromwell
— 2 nights
Drive
8
Arrowtown
— 2 nights
Drive
9
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Fly

S M T W T F S
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2
3

Christchurch

Garden City

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
To see maps, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, use the Christchurch road trip planner.

Auckland to Christchurch is an approximately 4.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and ferry; or do a combination of train and ferry. Traveling from Auckland in March, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be little chillier in Christchurch, with lows of 11°C. You'll set off for Rakaia on the 22nd (Mon).

Things to do in Christchurch

Tours · Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife
Find places to stay Mar 22 — 23:

Rakaia

Rakaia is a town seated close to the southern banks of the Rakaia River on the Canterbury Plains in New Zealand's South Island, approximately 57 km south of Christchurch on State Highway 1 and the Main South Line. To find more things to do, photos, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Rakaia trip planning site.

You can drive from Christchurch to Rakaia in an hour. Expect a daytime high around 22°C in March, and nighttime lows around 11°C. On the 22nd (Mon), you're off to Geraldine.

Things to do in Rakaia

Parks · Trails · Outdoors · Zoos & Aquariums
Find places to stay Mar 22 — 23:

Geraldine

— 1 night
Geraldine or Heratini is a town in the Canterbury Region on the South Island of New Zealand. Start off your visit on the 22nd (Mon): examine the collection at Geraldine Vintage Car and Machinery Museum, examine the collection at The Giant Jersey, and then look and learn at Geraldine Observatory.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Geraldine day trip planning site.

Getting from Rakaia to Geraldine by car takes about an hour. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Tue) so you can travel to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).

Things to do in Geraldine

Museums · Childrens Museums
Find places to stay Mar 22 — 23:

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

— 2 nights
Kick off your visit on the 23rd (Tue): hike along Kea Point Track, look and learn at Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, and then trek along Hooker Valley Track. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 24th (Wed): relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, then take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour, then take in the pleasant sights at Lake Matheson Walk, and finally take in the dramatic natural features at Franz Josef Glacier.

To see reviews, maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, use the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) route site.

Explore your travel options from Geraldine to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) with the Route module. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Thu) early enough to take a bus to Lake Tekapo.

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

Parks · Trails · Outdoors · Childrens Museums

Side Trips

Find places to stay Mar 23 — 25:

Lake Tekapo

Located in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo offers evenings of stargazing and days of long walks.
Kick off your visit on the 25th (Thu): take in the exciting artwork at Burkes Pass Gallery, then pause for some serene contemplation at The Church of the Good Shepherd, and then contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Tekapo.

To see where to stay, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Lake Tekapo travel itinerary planner.

Getting from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Lake Tekapo by bus takes about 2.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Thu) so you can drive to Twizel.

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Parks · Historic Sites · Nature · Shopping

Side Trip

Find places to stay Mar 25 — 26:

Twizel

— 2 nights
On the 25th (Thu), look for all kinds of wild species at New Zealand Alpine Lavender and then relax in the rural setting at New Zealand Alpine Lavender Farm. On the 26th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: stop by The Wrinkly Rams, then explore the striking landscape at Clay Cliff, then relax and rejuvenate at Hot Tubs Omarama, and finally take in the exciting artwork at Totara Peak Gallery.

To see photos, where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Twizel journey builder tool.

You can drive from Lake Tekapo to Twizel in an hour. Another option is to take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Sat) early enough to drive to Cromwell.

Things to do in Twizel

Parks · Nature · Shopping · Spas

Side Trips

Find places to stay Mar 25 — 27:

Cromwell

— 2 nights
Cromwell is a town in Central Otago in the Otago region of New Zealand.Cromwell is between State Highway 6 (linking to Wanaka, 50 km north, and Queenstown, 60 km west) and State Highway 8 leading to the Lindis Pass, 75 km northeast, and Alexandra, 33 km south. Start off your visit on the 28th (Sun): contemplate the waterfront views at Wanaka and then explore the landscape on two wheels at Otago Central Rail Trail. Here are some ideas for day two: go deep underground at Goldfields Mining Centre, then bet on your favorite at Highlands - Experience the Exceptional, and then indulge your senses at Roaring Wine Tours.

To find traveler tips, ratings, where to stay, and more tourist information, you can read our Cromwell trip builder site.

Traveling by car from Twizel to Cromwell takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Mon) to allow time to drive to Arrowtown.

Things to do in Cromwell

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Tours

Side Trips

Find places to stay Mar 27 — 29:

Arrowtown

— 2 nights
Start off your visit on the 30th (Tue): contemplate the long history of Kawarau Suspension Bridge, stop by The Arrowtown Jade & Opal Factory, then get outside with Arrowtown Village, and finally get to know the fascinating history of Arrowtown Chinese Settlement. On the 31st (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: play a few rounds at Millbrook Resort Golf Course, then get engrossed in the history at Lakes District Museum & Art Gallery, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at The Sawpit Gully Track.

To find ratings, reviews, traveler tips, and tourist information, use the Arrowtown sightseeing planning tool.

Getting from Cromwell to Arrowtown by car takes about an hour. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Wed) early enough to go by car to Queenstown.

Things to do in Arrowtown

Outdoors · Historic Sites · Golf · Shopping

Side Trip

Find places to stay Mar 29 — 31:

Queenstown

— 3 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.
Kick off your visit on the 1st (Thu): see the world from above with a helicopter tour, then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, then look for all kinds of wild species at Kiwi Birdlife Park, and finally get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports. On the 2nd (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, take a memorable tour with Tours, and then get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour.

To find where to stay, maps, and tourist information, read Queenstown sightseeing planner.

Queenstown is just a stone's throw from Arrowtown. You will have some time to spend on the 3rd (Sat) before leaving for home.

Things to do in Queenstown

Find places to stay Mar 31 — Apr 3:

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.