18 days in South Island Itinerary

18 days in South Island Itinerary

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Route & dates

18 days in South Island Itinerary

Start: Brisbane
Fly:  6​h 45​min
1
Christchurch
— 2 nights
Drive:  5​h
2
Fox Glacier
— 3 nights
bus:  4​h
3
Wanaka
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
4
Mt. Cook Village
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
5
Dunedin
— 2 nights
bus:  5​h 15​min
6
Te Anau
— 3 nights
bus:  3​h 15​min
7
Queenstown
— 3 nights
Fly:  6​h 30​min
End: Brisbane

2
nights
Christchurch

Christchurch ©
Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Start off your visit on the 13th (Mon): have fun at Margaret Mahy Family Playground and then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Cardboard Cathedral. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 14th (Tue): catch a ride on TranzAlpine Train and then go from sight to sight with Christchurch Gondola.

To find photos, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Christchurch online day trip planner .

Brisbane, Australia to Christchurch is an approximately 7-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight. You'll lose 2 hours traveling from Brisbane to Christchurch due to the time zone difference. Expect little chillier temperatures when traveling from Brisbane in April; daily highs in Christchurch reach 20°C and lows reach 8°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 15th (Wed) so you can go by car to Fox Glacier.

Things to do in Christchurch

Transportation Tours Museums
Find places to stay Apr 13 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Christchurch Botanic Gardens ©
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
TranzAlpine Train ©
TranzAlpine Train
Canterbury Museum ©
Canterbury Museum

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.
Fox Glacier is known for nature, trails, beaches, and museums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: take in the dramatic natural features at Franz Josef Glacier, hike along Moraine Walk, tour the pleasant surroundings at Gillespies Beach, and explore the wealth of natural beauty at Fox Glacier.

For other places to visit, reviews, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Fox Glacier tour planner.

Traveling by car from Christchurch to Fox Glacier takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Sat) so you can catcht the bus to Wanaka.

Things to do in Fox Glacier

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Franz Josef Glacier
Find places to stay Apr 15 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Franz Josef Glacier ©
Franz Josef Glacier
Fox Glacier ©
Fox Glacier
Helicopter Tours

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.
Start off your visit on the 19th (Sun): explore the striking landscape of Mount Aspiring National Park and then contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Wanaka.

To find traveler tips, photos, and other tourist information, read our Wanaka itinerary website .

Traveling by bus from Fox Glacier to Wanaka takes 4 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Sun) so you can travel to Mt. Cook Village.

Things to do in Wanaka

Parks Nature
Find places to stay Apr 18 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Lake Wanaka ©
Lake Wanaka

3
nights
Mt. Cook Village

Mt. Cook Village ©
Siting under towering peaks of New Zealand's highest mountain, Mt.
When in Mt. Cook Village, make a side trip to see Lake Tekapo in Lake Tekapo, approximately 58 minutes away. There's still lots to do: head outdoors with Aoraki/Mt. Cook, tour the pleasant surroundings at Hooker Valley Track, hike along Mueller Hut Route, and contemplate the waterfront views at Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier walks.

To find where to stay, photos, ratings, and tourist information, use the Mt. Cook Village online journey planner .

Explore your travel options from Wanaka to Mt. Cook Village with the Route module. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Wed) so you can travel to Dunedin.

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 Apr 19 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Hooker Valley Track ©
Hooker Valley Track
Aoraki/Mt. Cook ©
Aoraki/Mt. Cook
Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo

2
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.
On the 23rd (Thu), see the interesting displays at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, view the masterpieces at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, then contemplate the long history of Olveston Historic Home, then get curious at Otago Museum, and finally don't miss a visit to The World's Steepest Street. Keep things going the next day: stroll through Tunnel Beach Track, identify plant and animal life at The Royal Albatross Centre, then take some stellar pictures from Flagstaff lookout and Hotere Garden, and finally step into the grandiose world of Larnach Castle & Gardens.

To find photos and other tourist information, read Dunedin road trip planner.

Drive from Mt. Cook Village to Dunedin in 4 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Fri) so you can take a bus to Te Anau.

Things to do in Dunedin

Museums Parks Historic Sites
Find places to stay Apr 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum ©
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum
Larnach Castle & Gardens ©
Larnach Castle & Gardens
The Royal Albatross Centre ©
The Royal Albatross Centre

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.
Te Anau is known for nature, trails, nightlife, wildlife, and adventure. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: contemplate the waterfront views at Milford Sound, look for all kinds of wild species at Doubtful Sound, hike along Lake Gunn, and stroll through Kepler Track.

For more things to do, maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Te Anau tour itinerary planning site .

You can take a bus from Dunedin to Te Anau in 5.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Mon) early enough to take a bus to Queenstown.

Things to do in Te Anau

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Lake Gunn
Find places to stay Apr 24 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Milford Sound ©
Milford Sound
Doubtful Sound ©
Doubtful Sound
Kepler Track ©
Kepler Track

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.
Queenstown is known for fun & games, adventure, wildlife, nature, and spas. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: get your game on at Skyline Queenstown, explore the activities along Lake Wakatipu, push the limits with an extreme tour, and kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

To see where to stay, reviews, other places to visit, and more tourist information, use the Queenstown visit planner .

You can take a bus from Te Anau to Queenstown in 3.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Thu) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Parks Tours
Find places to stay Apr 27 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Skyline Queenstown ©
Skyline Queenstown
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Spas

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