32 days in South Island Itinerary

32 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island vacation planner

Plan created by another user. Make it yours
Drive
1
Kaikoura
— 3 nights
Drive
2
Hanmer Springs
— 1 night
Drive
3
Christchurch
— 5 nights
Bus
4
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 5 nights
Bus
5
Wanaka
— 4 nights
Bus
6
Queenstown
— 6 nights
Bus
7
Te Anau
— 5 nights
Bus
8
Dunedin
— 2 nights
Fly

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3
nights
Kaikoura

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 2nd (Fri): look for gifts at Kaikoura Cheese, don't miss a visit to Ohau Point Seal Colony, and then trek along Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway. Keep things going the next day: sample some tasty brews at Beer School, see Glenstrae Farm 4 Wheel Adventures, then take a tour by water with Seal Kayak Kaikoura, and finally stroll through Ohau Stream Walk.

To see photos, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Kaikoura vacation maker tool.

Nelson to Kaikoura is an approximately 3-hour car ride. You can also take a bus; or do a combination of flight and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Hanmer Springs.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Trails
Find places to stay Oct 1 — 4:

1
night
Hanmer Springs

Springs

Action and relaxation are the reasons that most people head to Hanmer Springs, where natural thermal pools bubble among dramatic alpine surroundings.
Start off your visit on the 4th (Sun): get some thrills on the water with Hanmer Springs Attractions, view the masterpieces at Majuba Gallery, then take a pleasant ride with Hanmer Horse Trekking, then soothe aching muscles at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa, and finally take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Conical Hill.

To find photos, where to stay, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Hanmer Springs trip itinerary planner.

Drive from Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus and shuttle; or do a combination of train and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Mon) so you can drive to Christchurch.

Things to do in Hanmer Springs

Nature · Parks · Outdoors · Tours
Find places to stay Oct 4 — 5:

5
nights
Christchurch

Garden City

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Change things up with these side-trips from Christchurch: Little River Gallery (in Little River) and Akaroa (The Garden at French Farm, Dolphin & Whale Watching, &more). On the 6th (Tue), spend the day riding on TranzAlpine Train. There's lots more to do: take in nature's colorful creations at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, let the kids burn off some steam at Margaret Mahy Family Playground, take in panoramic vistas at Christchurch Gondola, and admire nature's wide array of creatures at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve.

To find ratings, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Christchurch journey planner.

You can drive from Hanmer Springs to Christchurch in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. October in Christchurch sees daily highs of 20°C and lows of 6°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Sat) to allow time to take a bus to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu).

Things to do in Christchurch

Tours · Transportation · Parks · Outdoors

Side Trips

Find places to stay Oct 5 — 10:

5
nights

Explore Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)'s surroundings by going to Fox Glacier (Moraine Walk, Fox Glacier South Side Walk, &more) and Franz Josef (West Coast Wildlife Centre, Helicopter Tours, &more).

To find traveler tips, reviews, photos, and more tourist information, use the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) travel itinerary planner.

You can take a bus from Christchurch to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) in 4.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Thu) to allow enough time to take a bus to Wanaka.

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

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Nature

Side Trips

Find places to stay Oct 10 — 15:

4
nights
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.
Spend the 18th (Sun) exploring nature at Mount Aspiring National Park. The adventure continues: explore the activities along Lake Wanaka, learn about winemaking at Rippon Vineyard, get off the beaten track with The Cardrona, and appreciate the history behind Wanaka War Memorial.

To see ratings, traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Wanaka trip builder app.

Take a bus from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Wanaka in 6 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Mon) to allow enough time to take a bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Wanaka

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours
Find places to stay Oct 15 — 19:

6
nights
Queenstown

Shallow Bay

Sheltered in an inlet of Lake Wakatipu, the resort town of Queenstown enjoys a strong reputation for its adventuring and skiing opportunities.
Go for a jaunt from Queenstown to Cromwell to see Misha's Vineyard Tasting Room about 52 minutes away. On the 23rd (Fri), dedicate a day to the elevated beauty of The Remarkables Ski Area. There's lots more to do: indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, admire the natural beauty at Queenstown Gardens, and see the world from above with a helicopter tour.

To find traveler tips, more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, read our Queenstown travel planner.

Getting from Wanaka to Queenstown by bus takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Sun) to allow time to take a bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Nature

Side Trips

Find places to stay Oct 19 — 25:

5
nights
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.
Change things up with these side-trips from Te Anau: Milford Foreshore Walk (in Milford) and Milford Sound (Bowen Falls & Boat Tours & Water Sports). Spend the 26th (Mon) exploring at Doubtful Sound. On the 28th (Wed), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. There's much more to do: explore the activities along Milford Sound, Head underground at Te Anau Glowworm Caves, trek along The Chasm Walk, and take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mitre Peak.

For other places to visit, ratings, and more tourist information, read Te Anau trip planner.

Take a bus from Queenstown to Te Anau in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 30th (Fri) early enough to catch the bus to Dunedin.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Trails

Side Trips

Find places to stay Oct 25 — 30:

2
nights
Dunedin

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.
Dunedin is known for wildlife, historic sites, and museums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: look for all kinds of wild species at The Royal Albatross Centre, see the interesting displays at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, get some fabulous bargains at Happy Hens, and contemplate the long history of Larnach Castle & Gardens.

To find traveler tips, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Dunedin journey planning app.

Traveling by bus from Te Anau to Dunedin takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Sun) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Dunedin

Wildlife · Parks · Museums · Nature
Find places to stay Oct 30 — Nov 1:

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.