43 days in South Island Itinerary

43 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island itinerary planner

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Route & dates

43 days in South Island Itinerary

Start: Christchurch
Fly:  3​h
1
Queenstown
— 5 nights
bus:  3​h 15​min
2
Te Anau
— 5 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
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
9
Kaikoura
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
10
Akaroa
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
11
Christchurch
— 6 nights
End: Christchurch

5
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, sample some tasty brews at a beer tour and tasting, stroll through Coronet Peak, and push the limits with an extreme tour.

To find other places to visit, ratings, photos, and other tourist information, use the Queenstown trip itinerary planning site .

Christchurch to Queenstown is an approximately 3-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Sat) early enough to take a bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Tours Parks
Find places to stay Nov 18 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Zipline

5
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.
On the 26th (Tue), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. There's much more to do: contemplate the waterfront views at Milford Sound, take some stellar pictures from Te Anau Lion Lookout Point, look for all kinds of wild species at Ivan Wilson Park, and hike along Lake Gunn.

To find other places to visit, photos, reviews, and tourist information, use the Te Anau trip itinerary planner .

Traveling by bus from Queenstown to Te Anau takes 3.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Thu) early enough to take a bus to Dunedin.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Fiordland National Park
Find places to stay Nov 23 — 28:
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.
Go for a jaunt from Dunedin to Balclutha to see Nugget Point/Tokata Walks about 1h 50 min away. There's lots more to do: examine the collection at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, don't miss a visit to The World's Steepest Street, get curious at Otago Museum, and look for all kinds of wild species at Penguin Place.

To see more things to do, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the Dunedin holiday app .

Take a bus from Te Anau to Dunedin in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Mon) 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 Nov 28 — Dec 2:
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.
Venture out of the city with trips to Lake Tekapo (The Church of the Good Shepherd & Lake Tekapo). There's much more to do: trek along Hooker Valley Track, tour the pleasant surroundings at Kea Point Track, contemplate the waterfront views at Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier walks, and hit the slopes at Ski The Tasman.

For maps, reviews, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Mt. Cook Village road trip app .

Drive from Dunedin to Mt. Cook Village in 4 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Fri) 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 Dec 2 — 6:
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, take a memorable tour with Tours, learn about winemaking at Rippon Vineyard, and explore the galleries of Wanaka Fine Art Gallery.

To find reviews, traveler tips, more things to do, and more tourist information, go to the Wanaka holiday planner.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Mt. Cook Village to Wanaka. Cap off your sightseeing on the 10th (Tue) early enough to catcht the bus to Fox Glacier.

Things to do in Wanaka

Parks Outdoors Nature
Find places to stay Dec 6 — 10:
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: tour the pleasant surroundings at Franz Josef Glacier, hike along Fox Glacier Hiking Trails, take in the awesome beauty at Fox Glacier, and explore the activities along Lake Matheson Walk.

To see maps, other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Fox Glacier trip itinerary planner .

You can take a bus from Wanaka to Fox Glacier in 5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Sat) 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 Dec 10 — 14:
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.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Sun): tour the pleasant surroundings at Wainui Falls Track and then hike along Abel Tasman Coast Track. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 16th (Mon): tour the pleasant surroundings at Kaiteriteri Beach and then take in the local highlights with Walking tours.

For photos, reviews, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read our Abel Tasman National Park trip maker site .

Explore your travel options from Fox Glacier to Abel Tasman National Park with the Route module. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Mon) early enough to travel to Blenheim.

Things to do in Abel Tasman National Park

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trip

Kaiteriteri Beach
Find places to stay Dec 14 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Abel Tasman Coast Track ©
Abel Tasman Coast Track
Wainui Falls Track ©
Wainui Falls Track
Walking tours

4
nights
Blenheim

Enjoy a heady holiday in Blenheim, the most populous town in the wine-growing region of Marlborough.
Explore Blenheim's surroundings by going to Picton (Queen Charlotte Track & Marlborough Sounds) and Nelson (Nelson Provincial Museum, Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith, & more). There's much more to do: indulge your taste buds at Food & Drink, see the interesting displays at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, and do a tasting at Cloudy Bay.

To find ratings, photos, maps, and other tourist information, read Blenheim trip app .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Abel Tasman National Park to Blenheim. In December, daytime highs in Blenheim are 22°C, while nighttime lows are 15°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Fri) so you can drive to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Blenheim

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Nelson, Picton, Framingham Wines
Find places to stay Dec 16 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Wine Tours & Tastings
Queen Charlotte Track ©
Queen Charlotte Track
Marlborough Sounds ©
Marlborough Sounds

2
nights
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 21st (Sat): trek along Ohau Stream Walk, then trek along Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, then see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour, and finally stop by Kaikoura Cheese. Here are some ideas for day two: identify plant and animal life at Peninsula Seal Colony, then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, and then make a trip to Ohau Point Seal Colony.

For maps, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, read our Kaikoura online visit planner .

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 22nd (Sun) so you can go by car to Akaroa.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway ©
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
Ohau Point Seal Colony ©
Ohau Point Seal Colony

2
nights
Akaroa

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 23rd (Mon): add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour, then fulfill a lifelong dream with a swim-with-the-dolphins experience, and then get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports. On the next day, experience rural life at Akaroa Farm Experience, admire the natural beauty at The Giants House, and then look for gifts at Little River Gallery.

To find maps, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Akaroa road trip planner.

Getting from Kaikoura to Akaroa by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of train and taxi; or take a bus. In December, daily temperatures in Akaroa can reach 24°C, while at night they dip to 12°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) early enough to drive to Christchurch.

Things to do in Akaroa

Tours Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trip

Little River Gallery
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Swim with Dolphins
Kayaking & Canoeing

6
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: Geraldine Observatory (in Geraldine) and Hanmer Springs (Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa & Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre). The adventure continues: take in nature's colorful creations at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, examine the collection at International Antarctic Centre, take an in-depth tour of Canterbury Museum, and catch a ride on TranzAlpine Train.

For maps, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Christchurch online trip maker .

You can drive from Akaroa to Christchurch in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 24°C, and evening lows to 12°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 30th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Christchurch

Parks Transportation Museums

Side Trips

Hanmer Springs, Geraldine Observatory, Ohinetahi Garden
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Christchurch Botanic Gardens ©
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
TranzAlpine Train ©
TranzAlpine Train
Canterbury Museum ©
Canterbury Museum

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