40 days in South Island Itinerary

40 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island sightseeing planner

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Route & dates

40 days in South Island Itinerary

Start: Brisbane
Fly:  6​h 30​min
1
Queenstown
— 6 nights
bus:  3​h 15​min
2
Te Anau
— 6 nights
bus:  5​h 15​min
3
Dunedin
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
4
Mt. Cook Village
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
5
Wanaka
— 4 nights
bus:  4​h 45​min
6
Fox Glacier
— 4 nights
Drive:  7​h 30​min
7
Abel Tasman National Park
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 30​min
8
Blenheim
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
9
Kaikoura
— 1 night
bus:  3​h
10
Christchurch
— 5 nights
Fly:  6​h 45​min
End: Brisbane

6
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.
Queenstown is known for fun & games, adventure, wildlife, nature, and spas. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: have some family-friendly fun at Skyline Queenstown, push the limits with an extreme tour, identify plant and animal life at Kiwi Birdlife Park, and kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

To see photos, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Queenstown trip maker app .

Brisbane, Australia to Queenstown is an approximately 6.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight. The time zone difference when traveling from Brisbane to Queenstown is 2 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Wed) early enough to take a bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Tours Parks
Find places to stay Dec 26 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Speed Boats Tours

6
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.
Step out of Te Anau to go to Milford Sound and see Bowen Falls, which is approximately 1h 05 min away. On the 4th (Sat), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. There's lots more to do: explore the activities along Milford Sound, hike along Kepler Track, tour the pleasant surroundings at Lake Gunn, and look for all kinds of wild species at Doubtful Sound.

For photos, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Te Anau online trip planner .

You can take a bus from Queenstown to Te Anau in 3.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Tue) to allow time to take a bus to Dunedin.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Fiordland National Park, Routeburn Track, Bowen Falls
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Milford Sound ©
Milford Sound
Doubtful Sound ©
Doubtful Sound
Hollyford Track ©
Hollyford Track

4
nights
Dunedin

Dunedin ©
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.
Step out of Dunedin to go to Balclutha and see Nugget Point/Tokata Walks, which is approximately 1h 50 min away. And it doesn't end there: examine the collection at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, look for all kinds of wild species at The Royal Albatross Centre, take in nature's colorful creations at Dunedin Botanic Garden, and don't miss a visit to The World's Steepest Street.

Plan my Dunedin trip by asking Inpirock to come up with tips and suggestions.

Take a bus from Te Anau to Dunedin in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sat) so you can travel to Mt. Cook Village.

Things to do in Dunedin

Parks Wildlife Museums

Side Trip

Nugget Point/Tokata Walks
Find places to stay Jan 7 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
The Royal Albatross Centre ©
The Royal Albatross Centre
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum ©
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum
Larnach Castle & Gardens ©
Larnach Castle & Gardens

4
nights
Mt. Cook Village

Mt. Cook Village ©
Siting under towering peaks of New Zealand's highest mountain, Mt.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Mt. Cook Village: Lake Tekapo (Lake Tekapo & The Church of the Good Shepherd). There's lots more to do: get outside with Aoraki/Mt. Cook, hit the slopes at Ski The Tasman, hike along Hooker Valley Track, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Sealy Tarns Track.

To see where to stay, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, go to the Mt. Cook Village sightseeing planner.

You can drive from Dunedin to Mt. Cook Village in 4 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Wanaka.

Things to do in Mt. Cook Village

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu), Lake Tekapo
Find places to stay Jan 11 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Hooker Valley Track ©
Hooker Valley Track
Aoraki/Mt. Cook ©
Aoraki/Mt. Cook
Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo

4
nights
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.
Wanaka is known for nature, fun & games, trails, winter sports, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Wanaka, trek along Roys Peak Track, explore the wealth of natural beauty at Mount Aspiring National Park, and skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour.

To see where to stay, ratings, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Wanaka trip itinerary maker app .

Explore your travel options from Mt. Cook Village to Wanaka with the Route module. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Sun) so you can take a bus to Fox Glacier.

Things to do in Wanaka

Parks Outdoors Nature
Find places to stay Jan 15 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Lake Wanaka ©
Lake Wanaka
Mount Aspiring National Park ©
Mount Aspiring National Park
Roys Peak Track ©
Roys Peak Track

4
nights
Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier ©
A trip to Fox Glacier brings you close to one of New Zealand's most easily accessible natural wonders.
Fox Glacier is known for nature, trails, beaches, and museums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: explore the striking landscape at Franz Josef Glacier, trek along Fox Glacier Hiking Trails, contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Matheson Walk, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Copland Track.

For ratings, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the Fox Glacier attractions tool .

Take a bus from Wanaka to Fox Glacier in 5 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 23rd (Thu) early enough to travel to Abel Tasman National Park.

Things to do in Fox Glacier

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trip

Franz Josef
Find places to stay Jan 19 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Franz Josef Glacier ©
Franz Josef Glacier
Fox Glacier ©
Fox Glacier
Helicopter Tours

1
night
Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park ©
Pristine blue water, immaculate white sand, and a thick, temperate rainforest make Abel Tasman National Park a natural jewel on the northern coast of Tasmania's South Island.
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Fri): admire the sheer force of Wainui Falls Track and then hike along Abel Tasman Coast Track. Here are some ideas for day two: kick back and relax at Kaiteriteri Beach and then get the lay of the land with Walking tours.

To find ratings, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, read Abel Tasman National Park day trip planning site .

Explore your travel options from Fox Glacier to Abel Tasman National Park with the Route module. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Sat) so you can travel to Blenheim.

Things to do in Abel Tasman National Park

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trip

Kaiteriteri Beach
Find places to stay Jan 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Abel Tasman Coast Track ©
Abel Tasman Coast Track
Walking tours
Wainui Falls Track ©
Wainui Falls Track

3
nights
Blenheim

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: Nelson (Nelson Provincial Museum, Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith, & more). There's much more to do: awaken your taste buds at some of the top wineries in the area, do a tasting at Te Whare Ra, contemplate the long history of Edwin Fox Maritime Museum, and see the interesting displays at The National Whale Centre.

To find traveler tips, maps, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our Blenheim driving holiday planner .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Abel Tasman National Park to Blenheim. In January, daily temperatures in Blenheim can reach 24°C, while at night they dip to 17°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Blenheim

Museums Tours Wineries

Side Trips

Nelson, Renwick, Picton
Find places to stay Jan 25 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Wine Tours & Tastings
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre ©
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
Cloudy Bay ©
Cloudy Bay

1
night
Kaikoura

Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
Start off your visit on the 29th (Wed): stop by Kaikoura Cheese, see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour, then stroll through Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, and finally hike along Ohau Stream Walk.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our Kaikoura attractions tool .

You can drive from Blenheim to Kaikoura in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Wed) so you can catcht the bus to Christchurch.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors Parks Trails
Find places to stay Jan 28 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway ©
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
Ohau Stream Walk ©
Ohau Stream Walk

5
nights
Christchurch

Christchurch ©
Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Christchurch: Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa (in Hanmer Springs), Dolphin & Whale Watching (in Akaroa) and Little River Gallery (in Little River). There's still lots to do: admire the natural beauty at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, examine the collection at International Antarctic Centre, get your game on at Velocity Karts, and make a trip to 185 Empty White Chairs - Earthquake Memorial.

For other places to visit, maps, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Christchurch trip tool .

Traveling by bus from Kaikoura to Christchurch takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. In January, daytime highs in Christchurch are 26°C, while nighttime lows are 13°C. On the 3rd (Mon), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Christchurch

Parks Tours Transportation

Side Trips

Dolphin & Whale Watching, Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa, Little River Gallery
Find places to stay Jan 29 — Feb 3:
Highlights from your plan
Christchurch Botanic Gardens ©
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
TranzAlpine Train ©
TranzAlpine Train
Canterbury Museum ©
Canterbury Museum

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