17 days in South Island Itinerary

17 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island itinerary builder

Make it your trip
1
Christchurch
— 4 nights
Drive
2
Akaroa
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Kaikoura
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Blenheim
— 1 night
Drive
5
Picton
— 3 nights
Drive
6
Nelson
— 4 nights
Drive

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Christchurch

— 4 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 23rd (Sun), spend the day riding on TranzAlpine Train. And it doesn't end there: examine the collection at International Antarctic Centre, stroll around Hagley Park, take in nature's colorful creations at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, and get engrossed in the history at Canterbury Museum.

For ratings, reviews, photos, and tourist information, go to the Christchurch trip itinerary planning site.

In May, daily temperatures in Christchurch can reach 17°C, while at night they dip to 5°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 26th (Wed) so you can go by car to Akaroa.

Things to do in Christchurch

Transportation · Tours · Museums · Parks
Find places to stay May 22 — 26:

Akaroa

— 2 nights

Long Harbour

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.
Start off your visit on the 27th (Thu): pause for some serene contemplation at Saint Peter's Anglican Church, admire the natural beauty at The Giants House, then do a tasting at Meniscus Wines, and finally see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour. On the next day, don't miss a visit to Banks Peninsula War Memorial and Grounds, get engrossed in the history at Akaroa Museum, learn about winemaking at French Peak Wines, admire the natural beauty at The Garden at French Farm, then stop by Little River Gallery, and finally appreciate the history behind Britomart Monument.

To find ratings, reviews, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Akaroa online itinerary planner.

Getting from Christchurch to Akaroa by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. In May, daily temperatures in Akaroa can reach 17°C, while at night they dip to 4°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Akaroa

Museums · Shopping · Tours · Outdoors

Side Trip

Find places to stay May 26 — 28:

Kaikoura

— 2 nights
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
Kick off your visit on the 29th (Sat): sample the tasty concoctions at The Emporium, then get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour, and then don't miss a visit to Ohau Point Seal Colony. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 30th (Sun): trek along Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, trek along Ohau Stream Walk, and then learn the secrets of beer at Beer School.

To find photos, more things to do, maps, and tourist information, refer to the Kaikoura online travel route planner.

You can drive from Akaroa to Kaikoura in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and train; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Sun) so you can drive to Blenheim.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors · Tours · Trails · Parks
Find places to stay May 28 — 30:

Blenheim

— 1 night
Enjoy a heady holiday in Blenheim, the most populous town in the wine-growing region of Marlborough.
Start off your visit on the 31st (Mon): savor the flavors at Food & Drink.

To see photos, other places to visit, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Blenheim attractions planner.

Getting from Kaikoura to Blenheim by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a train. In May, daily temperatures in Blenheim can reach 18°C, while at night they dip to 12°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Mon) early enough to drive to Picton.

Things to do in Blenheim

Tours · Wineries
Find places to stay May 30 — 31:
Highlights from your trip

Picton

— 3 nights

Gateway to the South Island

Take photo after stunning photo in Picton, the gateway to South Island.
On the 1st (Tue), hike the day away at Queen Charlotte Track. There's lots more to do: cast your line with Sounds Connection, contemplate the waterfront views at Queen Charlotte Sound, steep yourself in history at Edwin Fox Maritime Museum, and take in the waterfront at Picton Sound.

For where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Picton trip planner.

Picton is just a stone's throw from Blenheim. In May, plan for daily highs up to 18°C, and evening lows to 12°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Thu) so you can drive to Nelson.

Things to do in Picton

Outdoors · Parks · Tours · Wineries
Find places to stay May 31 — Jun 3:

Nelson

— 4 nights

Top of the South

Put on your shades to enjoy the sights of Nelson, one of the sunniest cities in New Zealand.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Nelson: Kaiteriteri Beach (in Kaiteriteri) and Walking tours (in Abel Tasman National Park). The adventure continues: look for gifts at Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith, don't miss a visit to Centre of New Zealand, take in nature's colorful creations at Botanical Gardens, and examine the collection at World of WearableArt & Classic Car Museum.

Plan a Nelson trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

Traveling by car from Picton to Nelson takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. On the 7th (Mon), you'll have the morning to explore before heading back home.

Things to do in Nelson

Museums · Tours · Parks · Beaches

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jun 3 — 7:

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.