15 days in South Island Itinerary

15 days in South Island Itinerary

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Route & dates

15 days in South Island Itinerary

Start: Christchurch
1
Christchurch
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h
2
Lake Tekapo
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h
3
Mt. Cook Village
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
4
Wanaka
— 1 night
Bus:  3​h
5
Te Anau
— 3 nights
Bus:  3​h
6
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h
7
Fox Glacier
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h
8
Arthur's Pass National Park
— Few hours
Drive:  2​h 30​min
End: Christchurch

1
night
Christchurch

Christchurch ©
Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Sun): make a trip to Diminish and Ascend, pause for some serene contemplation at Cardboard Cathedral, and then get engrossed in the history at Canterbury Museum.

To find photos, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Christchurch itinerary maker tool .

If you are flying in from Brazil, the closest major airport is Christchurch International Airport. In December, daytime highs in Christchurch are 24°C, while nighttime lows are 12°C. You'll set off for Lake Tekapo on the 23rd (Mon).

Things to do in Christchurch

Museums Historic Sites
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Canterbury Museum ©
Canterbury Museum
Cardboard Cathedral ©
Cardboard Cathedral

1
night
Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo
Located in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo offers evenings of stargazing and days of long walks.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Tekapo Springs as well as Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. On the 23rd (Mon), take in the architecture and atmosphere at The Church of the Good Shepherd, make a trip to Mackenzie Sheep Dog Statue, view the masterpieces at Burkes Pass Gallery, then boost your wellbeing at Tekapo Springs, and finally identify plant and animal life at Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve.

To find reviews, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Lake Tekapo attractions planning app .

You can drive from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Mt. Cook Village.

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Parks Spas Outdoors

Side Trip

Burkes Pass Gallery
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo
The Church of the Good Shepherd ©
The Church of the Good Shepherd
Mount John University Observatory ©
Mount John University Observatory

2
nights
Mt. Cook Village

Mt. Cook Village ©
Siting under towering peaks of New Zealand's highest mountain, Mt.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier walks as well as Kea Point Track. On the 24th (Tue), contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Pukaki.

To find more things to do, reviews, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Mt. Cook Village road trip app .

Drive from Lake Tekapo to Mt. Cook Village in an hour. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 26th (Thu) so you can travel to Wanaka.

Things to do in Mt. Cook Village

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu), Lake Pukaki
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Hooker Valley Track ©
Hooker Valley Track
Kea Point Track ©
Kea Point Track
Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre ©
Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre

1
night
Wanaka

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.
You've added Paradiso Cinema, That Wanaka Tree, Puzzling World, and other attractions to your itinerary. Kick off your visit on the 26th (Thu): make a trip to That Wanaka Tree, have some family-friendly fun at Puzzling World, then skim along the rocks with Wildwire Wanaka, and finally catch a movie at Paradiso Cinema.

To find ratings, maps, and other tourist information, read our Wanaka road trip planning website .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Mt. Cook Village to Wanaka. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 27th (Fri) to allow time for the bus ride to Te Anau.

Things to do in Wanaka

Outdoors Fun & Games Trails
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Roys Peak Track ©
Roys Peak Track
Wildwire Wanaka ©
Wildwire Wanaka
Puzzling World ©
Puzzling World

3
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.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Lake Te Anau, Milford Sound and Te Anau Glowworm Caves. On your second day here, Head underground at Te Anau Glowworm Caves and then identify plant and animal life at Milford sound Hwy.

For reviews, ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Te Anau travel route app .

You can take a bus from Wanaka to Te Anau in 6.5 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) early enough to catcht the bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trip

Milford sound Hwy
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Milford Sound ©
Milford Sound
Te Anau Glowworm Caves ©
Te Anau Glowworm Caves
Lake Te Anau ©
Lake Te Anau

3
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.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Shotover Jet. There's lots more to do: get your game on at Skyline Queenstown, take in nature's colorful creations at Queenstown Garden, learn about winemaking at Mt Rosa Wines, and identify plant and animal life at Kiwi Birdlife Park.

For maps, more things to do, reviews, and other tourist information, read Queenstown trip planner .

Traveling by bus from Te Anau to Queenstown takes 3.5 hours. You'll have a few hours on the 2nd (Thu) to wrap things up before traveling to Fox Glacier.

Things to do in Queenstown

Parks Adventure Fun & Games
Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 2:
Highlights from your plan
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Shotover Jet ©
Shotover Jet
Kiwi Birdlife Park ©
Kiwi Birdlife Park

3
nights
Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier ©
A trip to Fox Glacier brings you close to one of New Zealand's most easily accessible natural wonders.
On the 3rd (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in the awesome beauty at Fox Glacier, contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Matheson Walk, and then look for all kinds of wild species at West Coast Wildlife Centre.

For where to stay, traveler tips, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Fox Glacier journey site .

Getting from Queenstown to Fox Glacier by car takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. On the 5th (Sun), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off to Arthur's Pass National Park.

Things to do in Fox Glacier

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trip

Franz Josef
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Franz Josef Glacier ©
Franz Josef Glacier
Lake Matheson Walk ©
Lake Matheson Walk
West Coast Wildlife Centre ©
West Coast Wildlife Centre

few
hours
Arthur's Pass National Park

Arthur's Pass National Park
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Sun): tour the pleasant surroundings at Devils Punchbowl Walking Track.

To find traveler tips, where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Arthur's Pass National Park trip tool .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Fox Glacier to Arthur's Pass National Park. On the 5th (Sun), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Arthur's Pass National Park

Outdoors Trails Parks
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 6:

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