16 days in South Island Itinerary

16 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island journey planner

Plan created by another user. Make it yours

Route & dates

1
Picton
— 1 day
2
Westport
— 1 night
3
Hanmer Springs
— 1 night
4
Christchurch
— 1 night
5
Franz Josef
— 2 nights
6
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 2 nights
7
Geraldine
— 1 night
8
Dunedin
— 1 night
9
Queenstown
— 2 nights
10
Te Anau
— 3 nights
11
Stewart Island
— 1 night

1
day
Picton

Picton ©
Take photo after stunning photo in Picton, the gateway to South Island.
Kick off your visit on the 25th (Fri): hike along Queen Charlotte Track.

To find other places to visit, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Picton online tour planner.

Auckland to Picton is an approximately 5.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and ferry; or do a combination of train and ferry. Traveling from Auckland in December, plan for slightly colder nights in Picton, with lows around 15°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 25th (Fri) so you can travel to Westport.

Things to do in Picton

Outdoors · Parks · Trails
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Queen Charlotte Track ©
Queen Charlotte Track

1
night
Westport

Westport ©
Westport is a town in the West Coast region of the South Island of New Zealand. Start off your visit on the 26th (Sat): tour the pleasant surroundings at Cape Foulwind Walkway, then sample the tasty concoctions at West Coast Brewery, and then go for a walk through The Old Ghost Road.

To see reviews, photos, and more tourist information, use the Westport planning website.

You can drive from Picton to Westport in 4 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sat) so you can travel to Hanmer Springs.

Things to do in Westport

Outdoors · Parks · Trails
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
The Old Ghost Road ©
The Old Ghost Road
Cape Foulwind Walkway ©
Cape Foulwind Walkway
West Coast Brewery ©
West Coast Brewery

1
night
Hanmer Springs

Hanmer Springs ©
Action and relaxation are the reasons that most people head to Hanmer Springs, where natural thermal pools bubble among dramatic alpine surroundings.
Kick off your visit on the 27th (Sun): look for gifts at The Decadent Fudge Company, get outside with Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre, browse the exhibits of Majuba Gallery, then take a pleasant ride with Hanmer Horse Trekking, and finally relax and rejuvenate at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, read our Hanmer Springs attractions planning tool.

You can drive from Westport to Hanmer Springs in 3 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Sun) early enough to drive to Christchurch.

Things to do in Hanmer Springs

Outdoors · Nature · Parks
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre ©
Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa ©
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa
Hanmer Horse Trekking ©
Hanmer Horse Trekking

1
night
Christchurch

Christchurch ©
Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
On the 28th (Mon), take a memorable ride with Christchurch Gondola, then get engrossed in the history at Canterbury Museum, then take in nature's colorful creations at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, and finally let the kids burn off some steam at Margaret Mahy Family Playground.

For traveler tips, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, read Christchurch road trip planning site.

You can drive from Hanmer Springs to Christchurch in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 24°C, and evening lows to 12°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 28th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Franz Josef.

Things to do in Christchurch

Parks · Transportation · Museums
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Christchurch Botanic Gardens ©
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Christchurch Gondola ©
Christchurch Gondola
Canterbury Museum ©
Canterbury Museum

2
nights
Franz Josef

Franz Josef ©
Located in the World Heritage Site that is home to its eponymous glacier, the town of Franz Josef provides a comfortable and welcoming rest spot for adventurers after a long day out on the ice.
Kick off your visit on the 29th (Tue): take in the exciting artwork at ReflectioNZ Gifts & Gallery, then take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour, then get interesting insight from Skydive Fox Glacier, and finally take in the dramatic natural features at Franz Josef Glacier. On the 30th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: tour the pleasant surroundings at Gillespies Beach, then hike along Moraine Walk, and then hike along Fox Glacier South Side Walk.

Ask Inspirock to suggest an itinerary and make planning a trip to Franz Josef fast, fun, and easy.

Traveling by car from Christchurch to Franz Josef takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).

Things to do in Franz Josef

Outdoors · Parks · Trails

Side Trip

Fox Glacier
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Skydive Fox Glacier ©
Skydive Fox Glacier
Franz Josef Glacier ©
Franz Josef Glacier
Fox Glacier South Side Walk ©
Fox Glacier South Side Walk

2
nights
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) ©
Kick off your visit on the 31st (Thu): hike along Hooker Valley Track, head outdoors with Aoraki/Mt. Cook, and then trek along Kea Point Track. On the next day, surround yourself with nature on Glacier Explorers, hike along Sealy Tarns Track, and then trek along Red Tarns Track.

To see reviews, maps, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) road trip planner.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Franz Josef to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu). Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Fri) to allow enough time to travel to Geraldine.

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

Outdoors · Parks · Trails
Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Aoraki/Mt. Cook ©
Aoraki/Mt. Cook
Sealy Tarns Track ©
Sealy Tarns Track
Hooker Valley Track ©
Hooker Valley Track

1
night
Geraldine

Geraldine ©
Geraldine or Heratini is a town in the Canterbury Region on the South Island of New Zealand. On the 2nd (Sat), trot along with Peel Forest Horse Trekking, look for all kinds of wild species at Peel Forest Park Scenic Reserve, and then see the sky in a new way at Geraldine Observatory.

For maps, more things to do, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Geraldine online trip itinerary planner.

Explore your travel options from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Geraldine with the Route module. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sat) so you can travel to Dunedin.

Things to do in Geraldine

Childrens Museums · Museums · Outdoors

Side Trip

Peel Forest Horse Trekking
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
Peel Forest Horse Trekking ©
Peel Forest Horse Trekking
Geraldine Observatory ©
Geraldine Observatory

1
night
Dunedin

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 3rd (Sun): examine the collection at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, explore the historical opulence of Larnach Castle & Gardens, and then tour in style with a train tour.

Before you visit Dunedin, use our trip planner to discover what you can do and see there.

You can drive from Geraldine to Dunedin in 3.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Queenstown.

Things to do in Dunedin

Tours · Historic Sites · Museums
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 3:
Highlights from your plan
Rail Tours
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum ©
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum
Larnach Castle & Gardens ©
Larnach Castle & Gardens

2
nights
Queenstown

Queenstown ©
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 4th (Mon): have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, then take in nature's colorful creations at Queenstown Gardens, then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, and finally walk around Village Green. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: get interesting insight from Tours, then view the masterpieces at Central Art Gallery, then get some thrills on the water with a speed boat tour, and finally take a memorable tour with Tours.

To find photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, read Queenstown travel itinerary planner.

Drive from Dunedin to Queenstown in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Tue) to allow time to take a bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Tours · Parks
Find places to stay Jan 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Zipline

3
nights
Te Anau

Te Anau ©
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.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Wed): get interesting insight from Tours and then contemplate the waterfront views at Milford Sound. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: stroll through Hollyford Track.

To see more things to do, maps, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Te Anau trip itinerary builder tool.

Getting from Queenstown to Te Anau by bus takes about 4 hours. On the 8th (Fri), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to Stewart Island.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Outdoors · Nature

Side Trips

Boat Tours & Water Sports, Hollyford Track
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Milford Sound ©
Milford Sound
Hollyford Track ©
Hollyford Track
Boat Tours & Water Sports

1
night
Stewart Island

Start off your visit on the 9th (Sat): see what you can catch with a fishing tour and then head off the coast to Ulva Island.

For ratings, traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Stewart Island road trip planning app.

Explore your travel options from Te Anau to Stewart Island with the Route module. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Sat) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Stewart Island

Outdoors · Wildlife · Tours
Find places to stay Jan 8 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Fishing Charters & Tours
Ulva Island ©
Ulva Island

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