25 days in South Island Itinerary

25 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island trip itinerary planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Blenheim
— 1 night
Drive
2
Kaikoura
— 1 night
Drive
3
Christchurch
— 3 nights
Fly
4
Franz Josef
— 4 nights
Fly
5
Dunedin
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Te Anau
— 6 nights
Unknown
7
Stewart Island
— 2 nights
Unknown
8
Queenstown
— 5 nights
Fly

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Blenheim

— 1 night
Enjoy a heady holiday in Blenheim, the most populous town in the wine-growing region of Marlborough.
Kick off your visit on the 28th (Tue): do a tasting at Cloudy Bay and then do a tasting at Framingham Wines. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 29th (Wed): indulge your senses at some of the top wineries in the area.

For photos, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Blenheim driving holiday tool.

Auckland to Blenheim is an approximately 3-hour flight. You can also do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of bus and ferry. Traveling from Auckland in December, Blenheim is little chillier at night with lows of 15°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Wed) so you can go by car to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Blenheim

Wineries · Tours

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 28 — 29:

Kaikoura

— 1 night
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 30th (Thu): trek along Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway and then see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour.

To find ratings, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Kaikoura trip planner.

You can drive from Blenheim to Kaikoura in 2 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a train. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Christchurch.

Things to do in Kaikoura

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Trails
Find places to stay Dec 29 — 30:

Christchurch

— 3 nights

Garden City

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Your inner history buff will appreciate Cardboard Cathedral and Catholic St. Patrick's Akaroa. Visiting Dolphin & Whale Watching and Port Hills will get you outdoors. The adventure continues: walk around Christchurch Botanic Gardens, get engrossed in the history at Canterbury Museum, and admire all the interesting features of Crater Rim Walkway.

To see traveler tips, reviews, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Christchurch trip itinerary maker website.

Traveling by car from Kaikoura to Christchurch takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. In December, plan for daily highs up to 24°C, and evening lows to 12°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sun) so you can catch the flight to Franz Josef.

Things to do in Christchurch

Historic Sites · Parks · Outdoors · Nature

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 2:

Franz Josef

— 4 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.
Take a break from the city and head to Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier South Side Walk. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Franz Josef: Fox Glacier (Mount Fox Route & Gillespies Beach). There's still lots to do: go for a walk through River Walk, trek along Roberts Point Track, stroll through Tatare Tunnels Walk, and see the world from above with a helicopter tour.

To find more things to do, reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, read Franz Josef visit planner.

Fly from Christchurch to Franz Josef in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Thu) so you can fly to Dunedin.

Things to do in Franz Josef

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Beaches

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 2 — 6:

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.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Fri): stroll through The Royal Albatross Centre and then appreciate the extensive heritage of Waikouaiti Beach. On the 8th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: steep yourself in history at Larnach Castle & Gardens and then explore the striking landscape at Otago Peninsula.

To see other places to visit, ratings, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Dunedin holiday maker.

Traveling by flight from Franz Josef to Dunedin takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to Te Anau.

Things to do in Dunedin

Parks · Historic Sites · Wildlife · Nature

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 6 — 8:

Te Anau

— 6 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.
Escape the urban bustle at Milford Sound and Fishing Charters & Tours. Spend the 11th (Tue) exploring at Doubtful Sound. On the 13th (Thu), hike the day away at Hollyford Track. The adventure continues: trek along Lake Marian Track and tour the pleasant surroundings at The Chasm Walk.

To find reviews, traveler tips, maps, and tourist information, refer to the Te Anau online journey maker.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Dunedin to Te Anau. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 14th (Fri) so you can travel to Stewart Island.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Wildlife

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 8 — 14:

Stewart Island

— 2 nights
Start off your visit on the 15th (Sat): hike along Rakiura Track. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: see what you can catch with a fishing tour and then step off the mainland to explore Ulva Island.

For where to stay, more things to do, maps, and tourist information, read Stewart Island holiday planning website.

Explore your travel options from Te Anau to Stewart Island with the Route module. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Sun) early enough to travel to Queenstown.

Things to do in Stewart Island

Outdoors · Parks · Trails · Tours
Find places to stay Jan 14 — 16:

Queenstown

— 5 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.
Step out of the city life by going to Nature & Wildlife Tours and Coronet Peak. Next up on the itinerary: get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour, tour the pleasant surroundings at Kiwi Birdlife Park, admire the natural beauty at Queenstown Gardens, and get outside with Outdoor Activities.

For reviews, photos, maps, and more tourist information, read Queenstown trip maker website.

Explore your travel options from Stewart Island to Queenstown with the Route module. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 21st (Fri) early enough to fly back home.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Wildlife
Find places to stay Jan 16 — 21:

South Island travel guide

4.6
Bodies of Water · Entertainment Centers · 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.