18 days in South Island Itinerary

18 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island journey maker

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Queenstown
— 2 nights
Drive
2
Dunedin
— 1 night
Drive
3
Invercargill
— 1 night
Drive
4
Te Anau
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Wanaka
— 4 nights
Drive
6
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 1 night
Bus
7
Hokitika
— 1 night
Fly
8
Christchurch
— 2 nights
Fly
9
Picton
— 3 nights
Fly

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Queenstown

— 2 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.
Explore hidden gems such as Ben Lomond Track and Jacks Point Golf Course Queenstown. Visiting Canyoning & Rappelling Tours and Outside Sports Queenstown will get you outdoors. When in Queenstown, make a side trip to see Little Paradise Dream Garden in Mount Creighton, approximately Mount Creighton away. There's much more to do: see what you can catch with a fishing tour, contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Wakatipu, and do a tasting at Chard Farm Winery.

To see more things to do, photos, traveler tips, and more tourist information, refer to the Queenstown driving holiday planner.

Sydney, Australia to Queenstown is an approximately 6-hour flight. The time zone difference moving from Australian Eastern Standard Time to New Zealand Standard Time is 2 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 7th (Sun) so you can go by car to Dunedin.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Parks · Tours · Nature

Side Trip

Find places to stay Nov 5 — 7:

Dunedin

— 1 night

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 8th (Mon): look for all kinds of wild species at Penguin Place, take in the local highlights with Walking tours, and then trek along Tunnel Beach Track.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Dunedin trip maker tool.

Drive from Queenstown to Dunedin in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 8th (Mon) so you can go by car to Invercargill.

Things to do in Dunedin

Tours · Parks · Wildlife · Trails
Find places to stay Nov 7 — 8:

Invercargill

— 1 night
Invercargill is the southernmost and westernmost city in New Zealand, and one of the southernmost cities in the world. Kick off your visit on the 9th (Tue): get engrossed in the history at E Hayes and Sons - The World's Fastest Indian, then stroll around Queens Park, and then see the interesting displays at Bill Richardson Transport World.

To see ratings, reviews, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Invercargill travel route planner.

Traveling by car from Dunedin to Invercargill takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Tue) so you can travel to Te Anau.

Things to do in Invercargill

Museums · Parks
Find places to stay Nov 8 — 9:

Te Anau

— 2 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.
On the 10th (Wed), tour the pleasant surroundings at Mirror Lakes Walk, then hike along The Chasm Walk, and then identify plant and animal life at Milford sound Hwy. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 11th (Thu): trek along Kepler Track.

Start your trip to Te Anau by creating a personalized itinerary on Inspirock.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Invercargill to Te Anau. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Thu) early enough to travel to Wanaka.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Trails · Outdoors · Wildlife

Side Trips

Find places to stay Nov 9 — 11:

Wanaka

— 4 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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Mount Iron Track and Horseback Riding Tours. Do some cultural sightseeing at National Transport and Toy Museum and Rippon Vineyard. There's much more to do: take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, get interesting insight from Tours, take a memorable drive along Haast Pass, and trek along Diamond Lake & Rocky Mountain walks.

For where to stay, traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Wanaka trip website.

Explore your travel options from Te Anau to Wanaka with the Route module. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Mon) so you can travel to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).

Things to do in Wanaka

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Trails

Side Trip

Find places to stay Nov 11 — 15:

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

— 1 night
Kick off your visit on the 16th (Tue): trek along Kea Point Track, then get interesting insight from Glacier Explorers, and then trek along Hooker Valley Track.

To find photos, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) trip planner.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Wanaka to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu). Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Tue) so you can catch the bus to Hokitika.

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

Outdoors · Trails · Parks · Wildlife
Find places to stay Nov 15 — 16:

Hokitika

— 1 night
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 17th (Wed), view the masterpieces at Wilderness Gallery, get outside with Glow Worm Dell, and then stroll through West Coast Wilderness Trail.

For where to stay, reviews, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Hokitika trip itinerary builder.

Traveling by bus from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Hokitika takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 17th (Wed) so you can travel to Christchurch.

Things to do in Hokitika

Outdoors · Trails · Parks · Museums
Find places to stay Nov 16 — 17:

Christchurch

— 2 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 18th (Thu), pause for some photo ops at Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial, examine the collection at Air Force Museum of New Zealand, then contemplate the long history of Riccarton House & Bush, and finally contemplate the long history of Mona Vale. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 19th (Fri): wander the streets of Port Hills, explore the striking landscape at Sumner Beach (Cave Rock), then contemplate the waterfront views at Avon River, and finally let little ones run wild at Margaret Mahy Family Playground.

To see photos, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Christchurch trip planner.

You can fly from Hokitika to Christchurch in 2.5 hours. Other options are to fly; or drive; or take a bus. In November, daily temperatures in Christchurch can reach 22°C, while at night they dip to 9°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Fri) so you can travel to Picton.

Things to do in Christchurch

Parks · Nature · Historic Sites · Museums
Find places to stay Nov 17 — 19:

Picton

— 3 nights

Gateway to the South Island

Take photo after stunning photo in Picton, the gateway to South Island.
Step off the beaten path and head to Boat Tours & Water Sports and Queen Charlotte Sound. Take a break from the city and head to Queen Charlotte Track and Picton Sound. There's lots more to do: contemplate the long history of Edwin Fox Maritime Museum, learn about winemaking at Bladen Wines, and see the interesting displays at The National Whale Centre.

To see photos, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Picton trip planner.

You can fly from Christchurch to Picton in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Expect somewhat warmer evenings in Picton when traveling from Christchurch in November, with lows around 13°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Mon) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Picton

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature

Side Trip

Find places to stay Nov 19 — 22:

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.