35 days in South Island Itinerary

35 days in South Island Itinerary

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Route & dates

35 days in South Island Itinerary

Start: Queenstown
Bus:  3 h 15 min
1
Te Anau
— 5 nights
Bus:  5 h 15 min
2
Dunedin
— 3 nights
Drive:  3 h 45 min
3
Lake Tekapo
— 2 nights
Bus:  1 h 45 min
4
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 4 nights
Bus:  4 h
5
Christchurch
— 4 nights
Fly:  3 h 45 min
6
Blenheim
— 3 nights
Fly:  5 h 15 min
7
Wanaka
— 3 nights
Bus:  2 h 30 min
8
Queenstown
— 6 nights
Drive:  12 h
9
Takaka
— 2 nights
Drive:  12 h
End: Queenstown

5
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.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Te Anau: Milford Sound (Bowen Falls, Milford sound Hwy, &more). There's much more to do: contemplate the waterfront views at Milford Sound, see the world from above with a helicopter tour, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mitre Peak, and get outside with Bushbash - Day Wilderness Expeditions.

For more things to do, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, read Te Anau trip planner.

Queenstown to Te Anau is an approximately 3.5-hour bus ride. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 6th (Thu) so you can catch the bus to Dunedin.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park
Find places to stay Aug 1 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Milford Sound ©
Milford Sound
Doubtful Sound ©
Doubtful Sound
Boat Tours & Water Sports

3
nights
Dunedin

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.
Dunedin is known for historic sites, wildlife, and museums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: examine the collection at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, take an in-depth tour of Fletcher House, admire the natural beauty at Glenfalloch Woodland Gardens, and get curious at Otago Museum.

For photos, maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, go to the Dunedin trip planner.

You can take a bus from Te Anau to Dunedin in 5.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sun) so you can go by car to Lake Tekapo.

Things to do in Dunedin

Parks Museums Historic Sites
Find places to stay Aug 6 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
The Royal Albatross Centre ©
The Royal Albatross Centre
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum ©
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum
Larnach Castle & Gardens ©
Larnach Castle & Gardens

2
nights
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 10th (Mon): contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Tekapo, then pause for some serene contemplation at The Church of the Good Shepherd, then see Off-Road Tours, and finally view the masterpieces at Burkes Pass Gallery. Keep things going the next day: explore the activities along Lake Pukaki, then take an unforgettable tour with a helicopter tour, and then head outdoors with AquaNorts.

To find ratings and tourist information, use the Lake Tekapo sightseeing tool .

Traveling by car from Dunedin to Lake Tekapo takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train, bus, and car; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 11th (Tue) early enough to catch the bus to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Outdoors Tours Nature

Side Trips

Burkes Pass Gallery, Lake Pukaki
Find places to stay Aug 9 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Off-Road Tours
Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo
The Church of the Good Shepherd ©
The Church of the Good Shepherd

4
nights
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) ©
Change things up with these side-trips from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu): Franz Josef (Terrace Walk & Franz Josef Glacier) and Fox Glacier (Helicopter Tours, Moraine Walk, &more).

To see photos, where to stay, reviews, and more tourist information, read Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) road trip planner .

Traveling by bus from Lake Tekapo to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) takes 2 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sat) to allow time to take a bus to Christchurch.

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

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trips

Fox Glacier, Franz Josef, Hapuka Estuary Walk
Find places to stay Aug 11 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Franz Josef Glacier ©
Franz Josef Glacier
Aoraki/Mt. Cook ©
Aoraki/Mt. Cook
Mount Fox Route ©
Mount Fox Route

4
nights
Christchurch

Christchurch ©
Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Christchurch: Geraldine (Peel Forest Park Scenic Reserve & Geraldine Observatory) and Hanmer Springs (Queen Mary Hospital, Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa, &more). There's still lots to do: catch a ride on TranzAlpine Train, get your game on at Velocity Karts, take an in-depth tour of Canterbury Museum, and walk around Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

For reviews, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, refer to the Christchurch visit planning website .

Take a bus from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Christchurch in 4 hours. In August, daytime highs in Christchurch are 14°C, while nighttime lows are 2°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Blenheim.

Things to do in Christchurch

Transportation Museums Parks

Side Trips

Hanmer Springs, Geraldine
Find places to stay Aug 15 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Christchurch Botanic Gardens ©
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
TranzAlpine Train ©
TranzAlpine Train
Canterbury Museum ©
Canterbury Museum

3
nights
Blenheim

Blenheim ©
Enjoy a heady holiday in Blenheim, the most populous town in the wine-growing region of Marlborough.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Blenheim: Havelock Museum (in Havelock) and Nelson (South Street Gallery, Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith, &more). And it doesn't end there: sample some tasty brews at a beer tour and tasting, experience rural life at Hedgerows Hydroponic Strawberries, do a tasting at Rock Ferry, and take in nature's colorful creations at Upton Oaks Garden.

To see where to stay, other places to visit, reviews, and more tourist information, read Blenheim trip builder website .

You can fly from Christchurch to Blenheim in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. Traveling from Christchurch in August, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be somewhat warmer in Blenheim, with lows of 9°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sat) early enough to travel to Wanaka.

Things to do in Blenheim

Museums Fun & Games Shopping

Side Trips

Nelson, Havelock Museum
Find places to stay Aug 19 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre ©
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith ©
Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith
Centre of New Zealand ©
Centre of New Zealand

3
nights
Wanaka

Wanaka ©
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.
Wanaka is known for nature, trails, and fun & games. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Wanaka, see the world from above with a helicopter tour, have some family-friendly fun at Puzzling World, and do a tasting at Rippon Vineyard.

For other places to visit, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Wanaka vacation builder .

Traveling by flight from Blenheim to Wanaka takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of train and bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 25th (Tue) early enough to catch the bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Wanaka

Parks Nature Outdoors
Find places to stay Aug 22 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Lake Wanaka ©
Lake Wanaka
Mount Aspiring National Park ©
Mount Aspiring National Park
Puzzling World ©
Puzzling World

6
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.
Queenstown is known for fun & games, adventure, and wildlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: stroll through Coronet Peak, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at The Remarkables Ski Area, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, and look for all kinds of wild species at Kiwi Birdlife Park.

For ratings, traveler tips, where to stay, and more tourist information, read Queenstown trip itinerary maker tool .

You can take a bus from Wanaka to Queenstown in 2.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 31st (Mon) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trip

The Stitching Post
Find places to stay Aug 25 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Coronet Peak ©
Coronet Peak
The Remarkables Ski Area ©
The Remarkables Ski Area
Spas

2
nights
Takaka

Takaka ©
Get out of town with these interesting Takaka side-trips: Riwaka Resurgence (in Kahurangi National Park) and Abel Tasman National Park (Abel Tasman Coast Track & Walking tours).

For where to stay, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, use the Takaka vacation planner.

Traveling by car from Queenstown to Takaka takes 12 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Thu) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Takaka

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Abel Tasman National Park, Riwaka Resurgence, Te Waikoropupu Springs (Pupu Springs)
Find places to stay Sep 1 — 3:
Highlights from your plan
Abel Tasman Coast Track ©
Abel Tasman Coast Track
Te Waikoropupu Springs (Pupu Springs) ©
Wainui Falls Track ©
Wainui Falls Track

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