9 days in South Island Itinerary

9 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island sightseeing planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Bus
2
Wanaka
— 1 night
Drive
3
Lake Tekapo
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Christchurch
— 2 nights
Fly

S M T W T F S
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Queenstown

— 3 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.
Change things up with these side-trips from Queenstown: Te Anau (The Chasm Walk & Milford Sound). On the 4th (Fri), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. The adventure continues: indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, get your game on at Skyline Queenstown, take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and stroll around Village Green.

To find where to stay, reviews, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Queenstown road trip planning site.

Sydney, Australia to Queenstown is an approximately 6-hour flight. The time zone changes from Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) to New Zealand Standard Time (NZST), which is usually a 2 hour difference. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sat) so you can catch the bus to Wanaka.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Tours

Side Trips

Find places to stay Mar 2 — 5:
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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.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Sun): pause for some photo ops at Wanaka War Memorial, fly like a bird with a parasailing or paragliding tour, and then explore the activities along Lake Wanaka.

To see more things to do, ratings, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Wanaka trip itinerary site.

You can take a bus from Queenstown to Wanaka in 3 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 6th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Lake Tekapo.

Things to do in Wanaka

Nature · Parks · Tours · Outdoors
Find places to stay Mar 5 — 6:
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Lake Tekapo

— 2 nights
Located in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo offers evenings of stargazing and days of long walks.
Kick off your visit on the 6th (Sun): shop like a local with Burkes Pass Gallery. Here are some ideas for day two: look and learn at Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, hike along Kea Point Track, then trek along Glencoe Walk, and finally explore the activities along Lake Tekapo.

Discover how to plan a Lake Tekapo trip in just a few steps with Inspirock's itinerary builder.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Wanaka to Lake Tekapo. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Tue) early enough to drive to Christchurch.

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Museums

Side Trips

Find places to stay Mar 6 — 8:
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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.
Start off your visit on the 9th (Wed): pause for some serene contemplation at Cardboard Cathedral, see the interesting displays at International Antarctic Centre, then get engrossed in the history at Canterbury Museum, and finally walk around Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take a memorable ride with TranzAlpine Train.

To see ratings, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Christchurch journey builder app.

Drive from Lake Tekapo to Christchurch in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In March, daytime highs in Christchurch are 23°C, while nighttime lows are 11°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Thu) so you can catch the flight back home.

Things to do in Christchurch

Tours · Transportation · Museums · Historic Sites
Find places to stay Mar 8 — 10:
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South Island travel guide

4.5
Bodies of Water · Entertainment Centers · 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.