18 days in South Island Itinerary

18 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island journey maker

This plan was created by another user. Make it your plan

Route & dates

Start: Christchurch
1
Christchurch
— Few hours
Drive:  3 h
2
Lake Tekapo
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h
3
Moeraki
— Few hours
Drive:  1 h 30 min
4
Dunedin
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h
5
Invercargill
— 1 night
drive:  4 h
6
Te Anau
— 2 nights
drive:  3 h 30 min
7
Queenstown
— 2 nights
drive:  5 h 30 min
8
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
— 2 nights
Drive:  3 h 30 min
9
Greymouth
— 1 night
Drive:  4 h
10
Motueka
— 1 night
Drive:  1 h 30 min
11
Nelson
— 2 nights
Drive:  2 h
12
Blenheim
— 1 night
Drive:  2 h
13
Kaikoura
— 1 night
Drive:  2 h
14
Hanmer Springs
— 1 night
Drive:  2 h
15
Christchurch
— 1 night
End: Christchurch

few
hours
Christchurch

Christchurch
Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
To see maps, photos, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Christchurch attractions planner.

The Route module shows you travel options from your home to Christchurch. In August, daily temperatures in Christchurch can reach 14°C, while at night they dip to 2°C. You'll set off for Lake Tekapo on the 28th (Fri).

Things to do in Christchurch

Tours Outdoors Wildlife
Find places to stay Aug 28 — 29:

1
night
Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo
Located in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo offers evenings of stargazing and days of long walks.
On the 28th (Fri), explore the activities along Lake Tekapo and then pause for some serene contemplation at The Church of the Good Shepherd.

For ratings, reviews, photos, and other tourist information, use the Lake Tekapo trip itinerary maker.

You can drive from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. On the 29th (Sat), you're off to Moeraki.

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Nature Parks Historic Sites
Find places to stay Aug 28 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo
The Church of the Good Shepherd ©
The Church of the Good Shepherd

few
hours
Moeraki

Moeraki ©
Moeraki is a small fishing village on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. On the 29th (Sat), enjoy the sea views from Katiki Point Lighthouse.

To find more things to do, maps, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Moeraki route planning site.

You can drive from Lake Tekapo to Moeraki in 3 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 29th (Sat) to allow time for the car ride to Dunedin.

Things to do in Moeraki

Historic Sites
Find places to stay Aug 29 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Katiki Point Lighthouse ©
Katiki Point Lighthouse

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 29th (Sat): don't miss a visit to The World's Steepest Street.

To find more things to do, reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Dunedin day trip planning app.

Traveling by car from Moeraki to Dunedin takes 1.5 hours. On the 30th (Sun), you're off to Invercargill.
Find places to stay Aug 29 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
The World's Steepest Street ©
The World's Steepest Street

1
night
Invercargill

Invercargill ©
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 30th (Sun): take a memorable drive along Southern Scenic Route.

For reviews, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our Invercargill road trip planner.

Drive from Dunedin to Invercargill in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 31st (Mon) to allow time for the bus ride to Te Anau.

Things to do in Invercargill

Outdoors Scenic Drive Museums

Side Trip

Bluff Hill
Find places to stay Aug 30 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Dig This Invercargill ©
Dig This Invercargill
Southland Museum and Art Gallery ©
Southland Museum and Art Gallery
Bill Richardson Transport World ©
Bill Richardson Transport World

2
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.
For photos, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Te Anau online sightseeing planner.

Traveling by bus from Invercargill to Te Anau takes 4 hours. You will leave for Queenstown on the 2nd (Wed).

Things to do in Te Anau

Nature Parks
Find places to stay Aug 31 — Sep 2:
Highlights from your plan
Milford Sound ©
Milford Sound

2
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.
On the 2nd (Wed), appreciate the history behind Moa Statue and then contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Wakatipu. Keep things going the next day: stroll around Village Green, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at The Remarkables Ski Area, tour the pleasant surroundings at Lake Alta Track, then do a tasting at Peregrine Wines, then learn about winemaking at Chard Farm Winery, and finally hit the slopes at PowderPak Parks.

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

You can take a bus from Te Anau to Queenstown in 3.5 hours. You'll set off for Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) on the 4th (Fri).

Things to do in Queenstown

Parks Nature Outdoors
Find places to stay Sep 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
The Remarkables Ski Area ©
The Remarkables Ski Area
Peregrine Wines ©
Peregrine Wines
Lake Wakatipu
Lake Wakatipu

2
nights
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) ©
Kick off your visit on the 4th (Fri): head outdoors with Great Alpine Highway, take in the dramatic natural features at Franz Josef Glacier, and then hike along Sentinel Rock Walk. Keep things going the next day: see the world from above with a helicopter tour, trek along Mueller Hut Route, hike along Red Tarns Track, then see the sky in a new way at Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Glencoe Walk, and finally stroll through Moraine Walk.

To see photos, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, use the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) journey planning website.

You can take a bus from Queenstown to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) in 5.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 6th (Sun) to allow time for travel to Greymouth.

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

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trips

Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu), Franz Josef, Fox Glacier
Find places to stay Sep 4 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Aoraki/Mt. Cook ©
Aoraki/Mt. Cook
Mueller Hut Route ©
Mueller Hut Route
Franz Josef Glacier ©
Franz Josef Glacier

1
night
Greymouth

Greymouth ©
Greymouth is the largest town in the West Coast region in the South Island of New Zealand, and the seat of the Grey District Council. Start off your visit on the 6th (Sun): sample the tasty concoctions at Monteith's Brewing Company, take an in-depth tour of History House Museum, and then make a trip to Brunner Mine Site Walk.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Greymouth online road trip planner.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) to Greymouth. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 7th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Motueka.

Things to do in Greymouth

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trips

Coal Creek Track, Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk
Find places to stay Sep 6 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk ©
Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk
Shantytown Heritage Park ©
Shantytown Heritage Park
Monteith's Brewing Company ©
Monteith's Brewing Company

1
night
Motueka

Motueka ©
You've now added Abel Tasman Coast Track to your itinerary.

To find where to stay, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Motueka travel itinerary planner.

Getting from Greymouth to Motueka by car takes about 4 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Nelson.

Things to do in Motueka

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trip

Abel Tasman National Park
Find places to stay Sep 7 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Abel Tasman Coast Track ©
Abel Tasman Coast Track
Tonga Island Marine Reserve ©
Tonga Island Marine Reserve

2
nights
Nelson

Nelson
Put on your shades to enjoy the sights of Nelson, one of the sunniest cities in New Zealand.
To see more things to do and tourist information, read our Nelson trip itinerary planning website.

Traveling by car from Motueka to Nelson takes 1.5 hours. On the 10th (Thu), you'll travel to Blenheim.

Things to do in Nelson

Tours Outdoors Wildlife
Find places to stay Sep 8 — 10:

1
night
Blenheim

Blenheim ©
Enjoy a heady holiday in Blenheim, the most populous town in the wine-growing region of Marlborough.
Start off your visit on the 10th (Thu): see the interesting displays at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, learn about winemaking at Wither Hills Cellar Door, learn about winemaking at Cloudy Bay, then explore the activities along Queen Charlotte Sound, then take in the waterfront activity at Picton Sound, and finally examine the collection at The National Whale Centre.

For reviews, maps, photos, and other tourist information, read Blenheim trip planner.

Traveling by bus from Nelson to Blenheim takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. In September in Blenheim, expect temperatures between 16°C during the day and 10°C at night. You'll set off for Kaikoura on the 11th (Fri).

Things to do in Blenheim

Nature Parks Wineries

Side Trip

Picton
Find places to stay Sep 10 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Queen Charlotte Sound ©
Queen Charlotte Sound
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre ©
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
Picton Sound ©
Picton Sound

1
night
Kaikoura

Kaikoura ©
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
On the 11th (Fri), don't miss a visit to Ohau Point Seal Colony and then hike along Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway.

To find reviews, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Kaikoura trip maker tool.

Traveling by car from Blenheim to Kaikoura takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Sat) so you can drive to Hanmer Springs.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors Parks Trails
Find places to stay Sep 11 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway ©
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
Ohau Point Seal Colony ©
Ohau Point Seal Colony

1
night
Hanmer Springs

Hanmer 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 12th (Sat): get outside with Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre, stop by The Decadent Fudge Company, take in the awesome beauty at Conical Hill, then learn about winemaking at Waiau River Estate, and finally relax and rejuvenate at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa.

To find ratings, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the Hanmer Springs trip maker.

Getting from Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Christchurch.

Things to do in Hanmer Springs

Nature Parks Spas
Find places to stay Sep 12 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre ©
Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa ©
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa
Waiau River Estate ©
Waiau River Estate

1
night
Christchurch

Christchurch ©
Kick off your visit on the 13th (Sun): pause for some serene contemplation at Christchurch Cathedral, contemplate the long history of Mona Vale, examine the collection at International Antarctic Centre, then admire nature's wide array of creatures at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, then get to know the resident critters at Orana Wildlife Park, and finally take in panoramic vistas at Christchurch Gondola.

To find where to stay, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, read Christchurch trip itinerary app.

Drive from Hanmer Springs to Christchurch in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. You will have some time to spend on the 14th (Mon) before leaving for home.

Things to do in Christchurch

Parks Zoos & Aquariums Historic Sites
Find places to stay Sep 13 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Willowbank Wildlife Reserve ©
Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
International Antarctic Centre ©
International Antarctic Centre
Christchurch Gondola ©
Christchurch Gondola

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