50 days in South Island Itinerary

50 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island sightseeing planner

Plan created by another user. Make it yours

Route & dates

1
Nelson
— 2 nights
2
Kaikoura
— 4 nights
3
Akaroa
— 4 nights
4
Christchurch
— 7 nights
5
Fox Glacier
— 4 nights
6
Queenstown
— 8 nights
7
Te Anau
— 9 nights
8
Invercargill
— 3 nights
9
Balclutha
— 2 nights
10
Dunedin
— 6 nights

2
nights
Nelson

Nelson ©
Put on your shades to enjoy the sights of Nelson, one of the sunniest cities in New Zealand.
Museum-lovers will get to explore Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre and World of WearableArt & Classic Car Museum. Take a break from the city and head to Cable Bay Adventure Park and Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve. Get out of town with these interesting Nelson side-trips: Abel Tasman Coast Track (in Abel Tasman National Park) and Blenheim (Blue Penguin New Zealand Gifts & Marlborough Museum). Next up on the itinerary: take in the exciting artwork at South Street Gallery, browse the exhibits of Wall To Wall Art Nelson, and admire the natural beauty at Queen's Gardens.

Use Inspirock's suggestions to plan your Nelson trip and find the best activities and attractions for your vacation.

Wellington to Nelson is an approximately 2.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of ferry and car; or do a combination of ferry and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Mon) so you can drive to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Nelson

Outdoors · Parks · Museums

Side Trips

Blenheim, Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve, Abel Tasman Coast Track
Find places to stay Oct 24 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Abel Tasman Coast Track ©
Abel Tasman Coast Track
Cable Bay Adventure Park ©
Cable Bay Adventure Park
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre ©
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre

4
nights
Kaikoura

Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
Get in touch with nature at Dolphin & Whale Watching and Peninsula Seal Colony. Museum-lovers will appreciate Art & Design Gallery and Crossroads Gallery. Change things up with a short trip to Hanmer Forest in Hanmer Springs (about 1h 45 min away). The adventure continues: trek along Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, tour the pleasant surroundings at Ohau Stream Walk, take an in-depth tour of Kaikoura Museum, and see Glenstrae Farm 4 Wheel Adventures.

To find traveler tips, photos, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Kaikoura trip itinerary maker website.

You can drive from Nelson to Kaikoura in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of flight and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Akaroa.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife

Side Trips

Hanmer Forest, Crossroads Gallery
Find places to stay Oct 26 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway ©
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
Nature & Wildlife Tours

4
nights
Akaroa

The French heritage and colonial architecture of Akaroa has broad appeal to anthropologists, historians, architects--and just about anyone with an eye for beautiful, historical buildings and a palate for fine dining.
Museum-lovers will get to explore The Giants House and Akaroa Museum. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Catholic St. Patrick's Akaroa and Akaroa Lighthouse. There's still lots to do: get interesting insight from Tours, do a tasting at Meniscus Wines, stop by Lava, and identify plant and animal life at Hinewai Reserve.

To find more things to do, photos, and tourist information, read Akaroa trip planner.

Traveling by car from Kaikoura to Akaroa takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and taxi; or take a bus. In October, plan for daily highs up to 20°C, and evening lows to 6°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Tue) so you can drive to Christchurch.

Things to do in Akaroa

Museums · Parks · Wildlife

Side Trip

Little River Rail Station
Find places to stay Oct 30 — Nov 3:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Hinewai Reserve ©
Hinewai Reserve
The Giants House ©
The Giants House

7
nights
Christchurch

Christchurch ©
Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Museum-lovers will appreciate Canterbury Museum and Geraldine Observatory. Take a break from the city and head to Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa and Port Hills. Explore Christchurch's surroundings by going to Pukeko Junction Regional Wine Centre & Gallery (in Leithfield), Ashburton (The Plains Vintage Railway & Historical Museum & Smithfield Berries) and Susan Badcock Studio (in Geraldine). There's still lots to do: examine the collection at International Antarctic Centre, let the kids burn off some steam at Margaret Mahy Family Playground, take in the exciting artwork at Christchurch Art Gallery (Te Puna o Waiwhetu), and steep yourself in history at Ferrymead Heritage Park.

For where to stay, more things to do, traveler tips, and more tourist information, go to the Christchurch online travel planner.

Drive from Akaroa to Christchurch in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. November in Christchurch sees daily highs of 22°C and lows of 9°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Tue) so you can go by car to Fox Glacier.

Things to do in Christchurch

Museums · Parks · Historic Sites

Side Trips

Ashburton, Geraldine, Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa, Pukeko Junction Regional Wine Centre & Gallery
Find places to stay Nov 3 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Geraldine Observatory ©
Geraldine Observatory
Canterbury Museum ©
Canterbury Museum
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa ©
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa

4
nights
Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier ©
A trip to Fox Glacier brings you close to one of New Zealand's most easily accessible natural wonders.
Visiting ReflectioNZ Gifts & Gallery and River Walk will get you outdoors. Get out of town with these interesting Fox Glacier side-trips: Franz Josef Glacier (in Franz Josef) and White Heron Sanctuary Tours (in Whataroa). There's much more to do: get the adrenaline pumping with Skydive Fox Glacier, look for all kinds of wild species at West Coast Wildlife Centre, hike along Fox Glacier South Side Walk, and stroll through Minnehaha Walk.

To find traveler tips, more things to do, photos, and more tourist information, read Fox Glacier trip planner.

Traveling by car from Christchurch to Fox Glacier takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 14th (Sat) so you can go by car to Queenstown.

Things to do in Fox Glacier

Outdoors · Parks · Trails

Side Trips

Franz Josef, White Heron Sanctuary Tours
Find places to stay Nov 10 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
ReflectioNZ Gifts & Gallery ©
ReflectioNZ Gifts & Gallery
Franz Josef Glacier ©
Franz Josef Glacier
Fox Glacier South Side Walk ©
Fox Glacier South Side Walk

8
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.
You'll explore and learn at Silver Fern Gallery and Ivan Clarke Gallery. Take a break from the city and head to Boat Tours & Water Sports and Zipline. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Queenstown: Kawarau Suspension Bridge (in Gibbston) and Eade Gallery (in Clyde). On the 18th (Wed), dedicate a day to the elevated beauty of The Remarkables Ski Area. The adventure continues: identify plant and animal life at Kiwi Birdlife Park, see exotic creatures in open habitats at Nomad Safaris, tour the pleasant surroundings at Otago Central Rail Trail, and have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown.

For where to stay, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Queenstown tour planner.

Getting from Fox Glacier to Queenstown by car takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sun) so you can catch the bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Parks · Tours

Side Trips

Otago Central Rail Trail, Kawarau Suspension Bridge, Eade Gallery
Find places to stay Nov 14 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Otago Central Rail Trail ©
Otago Central Rail Trail
Zipline
Kiwi Birdlife Park ©
Kiwi Birdlife Park

9
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.
Take a break from the city and head to Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. Museum-lovers will appreciate Southern Discoveries - Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory and Fiordland Vintage Machinery Museum. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Te Anau: Milford Sound (Boat Tours & Water Sports, Bowen Falls, &more). On the 27th (Fri), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. And it doesn't end there: see the world from above with Southern Lakes Helicopters, identify plant and animal life at Te Anau Bird Sanctuary, explore the fascinating underground world of Te Anau Glowworm Caves, and take in the awesome beauty at Mitre Peak.

To find photos, more things to do, reviews, and tourist information, read Te Anau road trip planner.

Traveling by bus from Queenstown to Te Anau takes 4 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Tue) to allow time to take a bus to Invercargill.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Nature · Wildlife

Side Trips

Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound
Find places to stay Nov 22 — Dec 1:
Highlights from your plan
Milford Sound ©
Milford Sound
Doubtful Sound ©
Doubtful Sound
Hollyford Track ©
Hollyford Track

3
nights
Invercargill

Invercargill ©
Invercargill is the southernmost and westernmost city in New Zealand, and one of the southernmost cities in the world. Classic Motorcycle Mecca and E Hayes and Sons - The World's Fastest Indian will appeal to museum buffs. Venture out of the city with trips to Fishing Charters & Tours (in Gore), Te Hikoi Museum and Information Centre (in Riverton) and Otautau Gallery (in Otautau). And it doesn't end there: admire the masterpieces at Southland Museum and Art Gallery, explore the ancient world of Invercargill Brewery, take in the exciting artwork at City Gallery, and examine the collection at Bill Richardson Transport World.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Invercargill online trip itinerary maker.

Traveling by bus from Te Anau to Invercargill takes 4 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Fri) so you can drive to Balclutha.

Things to do in Invercargill

Museums · Wildlife · Outdoors

Side Trips

Fishing Charters & Tours, Te Hikoi Museum and Information Centre, Otautau Gallery
Find places to stay Dec 1 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Classic Motorcycle Mecca ©
Classic Motorcycle Mecca
Bill Richardson Transport World ©
Bill Richardson Transport World
Southland Museum and Art Gallery ©
Southland Museum and Art Gallery

2
nights
Balclutha

Balclutha ©
Balclutha is a town in Otago, lying towards the end of the Clutha River, on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Kick off your visit on the 5th (Sat): hike along Tunnel Hill, then visit a coastal fixture at Nugget Point Lighthouse, then visit a coastal fixture at Nugget Point/Tokata Walks, and finally add some adventure to your tour with Catlins Kayak and Adventure. On the 6th (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: see the interesting displays at Sod Cottage, take in the exciting artwork at The Vat-T-Can - Christine Flannery Glass Painting, then get engrossed in the history at Owaka Museum and Catlins Information Centre, then view the masterpieces at The Lost Gypsy Gallery, and finally admire the sheer force of Purakaunui Falls Walk.

To see maps, where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our Balclutha trip planning site.

Traveling by car from Invercargill to Balclutha takes 2 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Sun) so you can drive to Dunedin.

Things to do in Balclutha

Museums · Outdoors · Shopping

Side Trips

Papatowai, Milton, Owaka, Catlins Kayak and Adventure, Nugget Point Lighthouse
Find places to stay Dec 4 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
The Lost Gypsy Gallery ©
The Lost Gypsy Gallery
Catlins Kayak and Adventure ©
Catlins Kayak and Adventure
Nugget Point Lighthouse ©
Nugget Point Lighthouse

6
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.
Get some historical perspective at Larnach Castle & Gardens and Katiki Point Lighthouse. Step out of the city life by going to Otago Peninsula and The Royal Albatross Centre. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Dunedin: Gemston & Fossil Museum Birdlings Flat (in Millers Flat), Waikouaiti Beach (in Waikouaiti) and Oamaru (Whitestone City & Steampunk HQ). There's much more to do: see the interesting displays at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, take in the exciting artwork at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and browse the exhibits of Milford Galleries.

To find where to stay, photos, maps, and tourist information, you can read our Dunedin trip planner.

You can drive from Balclutha to Dunedin in 1.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Sat) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Dunedin

Museums · Wildlife · Parks

Side Trips

Oamaru, Katiki Point Lighthouse, Gemston & Fossil Museum Birdlings Flat, Waikouaiti Beach, Port Chalmers Maritime Museum
Find places to stay Dec 6 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum ©
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum
The Royal Albatross Centre ©
The Royal Albatross Centre
Otago Peninsula ©
Otago Peninsula

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