49 days in South Island Itinerary

49 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island holiday planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Nelson
— 2 nights
Drive
2
Blenheim
— 4 nights
Drive
3
Kaikoura
— 3 nights
Drive
4
Akaroa
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Christchurch
— 5 nights
Fly
6
Hokitika
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Franz Josef
— 5 nights
Bus
8
Wanaka
— 4 nights
Bus
9
Queenstown
— 6 nights
Bus
10
Te Anau
— 7 nights
Bus
11
Invercargill
— 2 nights
Drive
12
Dunedin
— 2 nights
Drive
13
Lake Tekapo
— 1 night
+2
Drive to Christchurch International Airport, Fly to Invercargill Airport, Drive to Stewart Island
14
Stewart Island
— 2 nights
Drive to Invercargill Airport, Fly to Auckland International Airport

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Nelson

— 2 nights

Top of the South

Put on your shades to enjoy the sights of Nelson, one of the sunniest cities in New Zealand.
Get out of town with these interesting Nelson side-trips: Abel Tasman Canyons (in Motueka), Abel Tasman National Park (Abel Tasman Charters - Day Tours & Abel Tasman Coast Track) and Neudorf Vineyards (in Upper Moutere).

You can plan Nelson trip in no time by asking Inspirock to help create your itinerary.

Auckland to Nelson is an approximately 3.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of train, ferry, and bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 11th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Blenheim.

Things to do in Nelson

Outdoors · Tours · Trails · Parks

Side Trips

Find places to stay Nov 9 — 11:

Blenheim

— 4 nights
Enjoy a heady holiday in Blenheim, the most populous town in the wine-growing region of Marlborough.
Get out of town with these interesting Blenheim side-trips: Marlborough Sounds (in Picton) and Pelorus Eco Adventures (in Havelock). Dedicate the 12th (Thu) to wine at some of the top wineries in the area. There's still lots to do: see the interesting displays at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, learn about winemaking at Dog Point Vineyard, enjoy the views from Blenheim Riverside Railway, and head outdoors with Marlborough Aero Club.

Planning Blenheim trip won't be overwhelming when you use Inspirock's itinerary maker.

Getting from Nelson to Blenheim by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. In November, plan for daily highs up to 20°C, and evening lows to 13°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 15th (Sun) so you can go by car to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Blenheim

Wineries · Tours · Outdoors · Adventure

Side Trips

Find places to stay Nov 11 — 15:

Kaikoura

— 3 nights
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
Kaikoura is known for wildlife, trails, and adventure. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour, learn the secrets of beer at Beer School, don't miss a visit to Ohau Point Seal Colony, and look for all kinds of wild species at Peninsula Seal Colony.

To see traveler tips, more things to do, ratings, and tourist information, read Kaikoura trip itinerary builder app.

You can drive from Blenheim to Kaikoura in 2 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus; or take a train. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Akaroa.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Parks
Find places to stay Nov 15 — 18:

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.
Kick off your visit on the 19th (Thu): identify plant and animal life at Hinewai Reserve, appreciate the history behind Banks Peninsula War Memorial and Grounds, pause for some serene contemplation at Saint Peter's Anglican Church, then take in the exciting artwork at Lava, and finally see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 20th (Fri): enjoy the sea views from Akaroa Lighthouse, take in nature's colorful creations at The Giants House, then take an in-depth tour of Akaroa Museum, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Catholic St. Patrick's Akaroa.

To see photos, traveler tips, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Akaroa trip itinerary maker.

Traveling by car from Kaikoura to Akaroa takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and taxi; or take a bus. November in Akaroa sees daily highs of 21°C and lows of 8°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Fri) early enough to drive to Christchurch.

Things to do in Akaroa

Museums · Historic Sites · Wildlife · Parks
Find places to stay Nov 18 — 20:

Christchurch

— 5 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 22nd (Sun), spend the day riding on TranzAlpine Train. There's still lots to do: take in nature's colorful creations at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, see the interesting displays at International Antarctic Centre, walk around Hagley Park, and admire nature's wide array of creatures at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the Christchurch trip itinerary builder site.

Drive from Akaroa to Christchurch in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In November, daytime highs in Christchurch are 22°C, while nighttime lows are 9°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Wed) so you can travel to Hokitika.

Things to do in Christchurch

Transportation · Parks · Tours · Museums

Side Trip

Find places to stay Nov 20 — 25:

Hokitika

— 2 nights
Hokitika is a township in the West Coast region of New Zealand's South Island, 40km south of Greymouth, and close to the mouth of the Hokitika River. Start off your visit on the 26th (Thu): contemplate the long history of Shantytown Heritage Park, sample the tasty concoctions at Monteith's Brewing Company, see On yer bike! Adventures, then stop by Shades Of Jade, and finally take in the views from Taramakau Road-Rail Bridge. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 27th (Fri): explore the galleries of Wilderness Gallery, enjoy the sand and surf at Hokitika Beach, then get outside with Glow Worm Dell, then identify plant and animal life at Hokitika Gorge Walk, and finally get interesting insight from Precision Helicopters Hokitika.

To see where to stay, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Hokitika day trip app.

Getting from Christchurch to Hokitika by flight takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Fri) so you can drive to Franz Josef.

Things to do in Hokitika

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Historic Sites

Side Trip

Find places to stay Nov 25 — 27:

Franz Josef

— 5 nights
Located in the World Heritage Site that is home to its eponymous glacier, the town of Franz Josef provides a comfortable and welcoming rest spot for adventurers after a long day out on the ice.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Franz Josef: Fox Glacier (Minnehaha Walk & Gillespies Beach) and Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) (Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier walks & Hooker Valley Track). There's much more to do: make a trip to Franz Josef Glacier, tour the pleasant surroundings at Fox Glacier Hiking Trails, cross one thing off your bucket list with Skydive Franz Josef & Fox Glacier, and indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas.

To find photos, ratings, maps, and more tourist information, read Franz Josef tour itinerary builder app.

Traveling by car from Hokitika to Franz Josef takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Wed) to allow time to take a bus to Wanaka.

Things to do in Franz Josef

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Tours

Side Trips

Find places to stay Nov 27 — Dec 2:

Wanaka

— 4 nights
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, hike along Mount Iron Track, experience rural life at Wanaka Lavender Farm, and learn about winemaking at Rippon Vineyard.

To see traveler tips, where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Wanaka trip itinerary planner.

Take a bus from Franz Josef to Wanaka in 6 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Sun) early enough to take a bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Wanaka

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Tours
Find places to stay Dec 2 — 6:

Queenstown

— 6 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.
When in Queenstown, make a side trip to see Little Paradise Dream Garden in Mount Creighton, approximately Mount Creighton away. And it doesn't end there: get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour, kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, explore and take pictures at QUEENSTOWN EXPEDITIONS, and take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

Plan a trip to Queenstown easily and quickly by telling Inspirock to suggest an itinerary.

You can take a bus from Wanaka to Queenstown in 3 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Sat) to allow time to take a bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Breweries & Distilleries

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 6 — 12:

Te Anau

— 7 nights
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.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Te Anau: Milford Sound (Bowen Falls, Boat Tours & Water Sports, &more). On the 14th (Mon), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. On the 16th (Wed), hike the day away at Routeburn Track. And it doesn't end there: contemplate the waterfront views at Milford Sound, Head underground at Te Anau Glowworm Caves, take an unforgettable tour with Southern Lakes Helicopters, and trek along Mirror Lakes Walk.

To find photos, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Te Anau day trip tool.

Traveling by bus from Queenstown to Te Anau takes 4 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Sat) to allow time to take a bus to Invercargill.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 12 — 19:

Invercargill

— 2 nights
Invercargill is the southernmost and westernmost city in New Zealand, and one of the southernmost cities in the world. Start off your visit on the 20th (Sun): have fun at Dig This Invercargill, then see the interesting displays at Classic Motorcycle Mecca, then get engrossed in the history at E Hayes and Sons - The World's Fastest Indian, and finally explore the world behind art at Southland Museum and Art Gallery. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 21st (Mon): cruise along Southern Scenic Route.

To see where to stay, photos, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Invercargill online travel planner.

You can take a bus from Te Anau to Invercargill in 4 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 21st (Mon) early enough to go by car to Dunedin.

Things to do in Invercargill

Outdoors · Scenic Drive · Museums · Fun & Games
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 21:

Dunedin

— 2 nights

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.
Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Tue): examine the collection at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, then admire the natural beauty at Dunedin Botanic Garden, then make a trip to The World's Steepest Street, and finally tour in style with a train tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 23rd (Wed): indulge in some culinary diversions at Cadbury World Experience, then explore the historical opulence of Larnach Castle & Gardens, and then don't miss a visit to The Royal Albatross Centre.

For where to stay, photos, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the Dunedin road trip planner.

You can drive from Invercargill to Dunedin in 3 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Lake Tekapo.

Things to do in Dunedin

Tours · Parks · Wildlife · Museums
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 23:

Lake Tekapo

— 1 night
Located in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo offers evenings of stargazing and days of long walks.
On the 24th (Thu), pause for some serene contemplation at The Church of the Good Shepherd, race across the water with Tekapo Jet, and then contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Tekapo.

To find traveler tips, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Lake Tekapo sightseeing planner.

You can drive from Dunedin to Lake Tekapo in 4 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of bus and car; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 24th (Thu) early enough to travel to Stewart Island.

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Historic Sites · Nature · Parks · Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 24:

Stewart Island

— 2 nights
On the 26th (Sat), hike the day away at Rakiura Track.

For other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, read our Stewart Island travel route site.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Lake Tekapo to Stewart Island. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 27th (Sun) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Stewart Island

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Tours
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 27:

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.