16 days in South Island Itinerary

16 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island journey builder

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Christchurch
— 1 night
Drive
2
Punakaiki
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Hokitika
Drive
4
Franz Josef
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Queenstown
— 5 nights
Bus
6
Te Anau
— 1 night
Drive
7
Wanaka
— 1 night
Drive
8
Lake Tekapo
— 2 nights
Drive
9
Christchurch
— 1 night
Fly

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Christchurch

— 1 night

Garden City

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
For more things to do, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Christchurch tour planner.

Darwin, Australia to Christchurch is an approximately 12-hour flight. Traveling from Darwin to Christchurch, you'll lose 2.5 hours due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Darwin in June, things will get colder in Christchurch: highs are around 14°C and lows about 2°C. On the 25th (Fri), you're off to Punakaiki.

Things to do in Christchurch

Tours · Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife
Find places to stay Jun 24 — 25:

Punakaiki

— 2 nights
Punakaiki is a small community on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, between Westport and Greymouth. On the 25th (Fri), stroll through Truman Track, then take in the dramatic natural features at Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk, and then Head underground at Punakaiki Cavern. Here are some ideas for day two: trek along Fox River Cave Walk, then trek along Pororari River Track, then identify plant and animal life at Inland Pack Track, and finally make a trip to Mitchells Gully Gold Mine.

For traveler tips, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Punakaiki trip planner.

Getting from Christchurch to Punakaiki by car takes about 4 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Sun) early enough to go by car to Hokitika.

Things to do in Punakaiki

Parks · Trails · Outdoors · Wildlife

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jun 25 — 27:

Hokitika

Hokitika is a township in the West Coast region of New Zealand's South Island, 40km south of Greymouth, and close to the mouth of the Hokitika River. On the 27th (Sun), identify plant and animal life at Westcoast Treetop Walk & Cafe.

For ratings, more things to do, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Hokitika trip maker tool.

Drive from Punakaiki to Hokitika in 1.5 hours. On the 27th (Sun), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off to Franz Josef.

Things to do in Hokitika

Wildlife · Parks
Find places to stay Jun 27 — 28:
Highlights from your trip

Franz Josef

— 2 nights
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 27th (Sun): don't miss a visit to Franz Josef Glacier. Keep things going the next day: go for a walk through Lake Matheson Walk.

To find maps, where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, use the Franz Josef trip builder.

Drive from Hokitika to Franz Josef in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 29th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Queenstown.

Things to do in Franz Josef

Trails · Parks · Outdoors · Nature

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jun 27 — 29:

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 wildlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, and whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

For more things to do, photos, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Queenstown travel route builder website.

Traveling by car from Franz Josef to Queenstown takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. You will leave for Te Anau on the 4th (Sun).

Things to do in Queenstown

Find places to stay Jun 29 — Jul 4:

Te Anau

— 1 night
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.
You've now added Te Anau Glowworm Caves to your itinerary. Start off your visit on the 4th (Sun): Head underground at Te Anau Glowworm Caves.

Plan my trip to Te Anau with suggested itineraries provided by Inspirock.

Take a bus from Queenstown to Te Anau in 4 hours. On the 5th (Mon), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to Wanaka.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Nature
Find places to stay Jul 4 — 5:
Highlights from your trip

Wanaka

— 1 night
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.
On the 5th (Mon), contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Wanaka.

To see maps, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Wanaka trip planner.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Te Anau to Wanaka. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 6th (Tue) to allow time for travel to Lake Tekapo.

Things to do in Wanaka

Parks · Nature
Find places to stay Jul 5 — 6:
Highlights from your trip

Lake Tekapo

— 2 nights
Located in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo offers evenings of stargazing and days of long walks.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Tue): fly down the slopes at Ski The Tasman, head outdoors with Aoraki/Mt. Cook, and then contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Pukaki. On the next day, pause for some serene contemplation at The Church of the Good Shepherd, then contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Tekapo, and then test the waters at Tekapo Springs.

To see maps, reviews, traveler tips, and more tourist information, refer to the Lake Tekapo travel route builder.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Wanaka to Lake Tekapo. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Christchurch.

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Winter Sports

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jul 6 — 8:

Christchurch

— 1 night

Garden City

For maps, photos, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the Christchurch trip itinerary planning site.

Getting from Lake Tekapo to Christchurch by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a bus. On the 9th (Fri), you'll have the morning to explore before heading back home.
Find places to stay Jul 8 — 9:
Highlights from your trip

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.