29 days in South Island Itinerary

29 days in South Island Itinerary

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Route & dates

29 days in South Island Itinerary

Christchurch
Drive:  5​h 30​min
Motueka
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
Hanmer Springs
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h
Christchurch
— 5 nights
Fly:  2​h 30​min
Hokitika
— 2 nights
Fly:  4​h
Queenstown
— 6 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
Lake Tekapo
— 4 nights
Drive:  4​h
Dunedin
— 5 nights
Fly:  4​h 15​min
Christchurch

2
days
Motueka

The town of Motueka in the South Island of New Zealand lies close to the mouth of the Motueka River, on the western shore of Tasman Bay. Kick off your visit on the 1st (Tue): get outside with u-fly extreme and then stroll through Kaiteriteri Beach. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: hike along Riwaka Resurgence, then look for all kinds of wild species at Tonga Island Marine Reserve, and then Head underground at Ngarua Caves.

To see other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, read Motueka travel itinerary planner.

Christchurch to Motueka is an approximately 5.5-hour car ride. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Hanmer Springs.

Things to do in Motueka

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Kaiteriteri Beach, Tonga Island Marine Reserve, Riwaka Resurgence
Accommodations
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Highlights from your plan
Ngarua Caves
Kaiteriteri Beach
u-fly extreme

4
days
Hanmer Springs

Action and relaxation are the reasons that most people head to Hanmer Springs, where natural thermal pools bubble among dramatic alpine surroundings.
Kids will enjoy Peninsula Seal Colony and Hanmer Springs Animal Park. Explore hidden gems such as Hanmer Forest and Spas & Wellness. Change things up with these side-trips from Hanmer Springs: Culverden Gallery (in Culverden) and Southern Paua Shop & Factory (in Kaikoura). There's lots more to do: get outside with Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre, get your game on at Hanmer Pitch & Putt, and have fun at A-Maze-N-Golf.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Hanmer Springs vacation builder.

Traveling by car from Motueka to Hanmer Springs takes 4 hours. In August in Hanmer Springs, expect temperatures between 13°C during the day and 2°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 7th (Mon) so you can go by car to Christchurch.

Things to do in Hanmer Springs

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trips

Kaikoura, Culverden Gallery
Accommodations
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Highlights from your plan
Peninsula Seal Colony
Hanmer Springs Animal Park
A-Maze-N-Golf

5
days
Christchurch

Recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 was no easy task, but Christchurch has faced the challenges with aplomb.
Step off the beaten path and head to Velocity Karts Ltd and Ferrymead Heritage Park. Attractions like Christchurch Botanic Gardens and International Antarctic Centre make great kid-friendly stops. Go for a jaunt from Christchurch to Darfield to see Balloon Rides about 1h 15 min away. There's still lots to do: take an in-depth tour of Canterbury Museum, identify plant and animal life at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, pause for some serene contemplation at Cardboard Cathedral, and see the world from above with a helicopter tour.

For maps, more things to do, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Christchurch trip builder.

Traveling by car from Hanmer Springs to Christchurch takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In August, daily temperatures in Christchurch can reach 13°C, while at night they dip to 2°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to Hokitika.

Things to do in Christchurch

Outdoors Parks Sightseeing

Side Trip

Balloon Rides
Accommodations
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Highlights from your plan
Velocity Karts Ltd
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
International Antarctic Centre

3
days
Hokitika

Hokitika is a township in the West Coast region of New Zealand's South Island, 40km south of Greymouth, and close to the mouth of the Hokitika River. Family-friendly places like Hokitika Beach and The National Kiwi Centre will thrill your kids. Discover out-of-the-way places like Lake Kaniere and Bonz N Stonz. Step out of Hokitika with an excursion to Woods Creek Walk in Greymouth--about 48 minutes away. There's more to do: look for all kinds of wild species at Westcoast Treetop Walk & Cafe and stop by Hokitika Glass Studio.

For photos, where to stay, reviews, and other tourist information, read our Hokitika holiday planner.

Do a combination of bus and flight from Christchurch to Hokitika in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Mon) early enough to travel to Queenstown.

Things to do in Hokitika

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trip

Woods Creek Track
Accommodations
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Highlights from your plan
Lake Kaniere
Hokitika Beach
Westcoast Treetop Walk & Cafe

6
days
Queenstown

Sheltered in an inlet of Lake Wakatipu, the resort town of Queenstown enjoys a strong reputation for its adventuring and skiing opportunities.
You'll visit kid-friendly attractions like Kiwi Birdlife Park and Cheeki Cherries. Discover out-of-the-way places like Cardrona Alpine Resort and Helicopter Tours. On the 20th (Sun), dedicate a day to the elevated beauty of Coronet Peak. And it doesn't end there: enjoy some diversion at Break One Clay Target Shooting, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at The Remarkables Ski Area, look for gifts at Wilson Gallery, and go deep with a submarine tour.

To find ratings, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Queenstown itinerary maker.

Traveling by flight from Hokitika to Queenstown takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Sun) so you can drive to Lake Tekapo.

Things to do in Queenstown

Outdoors Parks Winter Sports

Side Trips

Cromwell, Cardrona Alpine Resort
Accommodations
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Cardrona Alpine Resort
Kiwi Birdlife Park
Queenstown Ice Arena

4
days
Lake Tekapo

Located in a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo offers evenings of stargazing and days of long walks.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre and Geraldine Observatory. Kids will appreciate attractions like Gem Alpaca Stud and EnkleDooVery Korna. Explore Lake Tekapo's surroundings by going to Te Ana Maori Rock Art (in Timaru) and Helicopter Tours (in Mt. Cook Village). Spend the 24th (Thu) wandering through the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. The adventure continues: trek along Kea Point Track and pause for some serene contemplation at Church of the Good Shepherd.

To find more things to do, reviews, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Lake Tekapo trip itinerary builder.

You can drive from Queenstown to Lake Tekapo in 3.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Thu) so you can drive to Dunedin.

Things to do in Lake Tekapo

Wildlife Outdoors Tours

Side Trips

Mt. Cook Village, Geraldine Observatory, EnkleDooVery Korna, Gem Alpaca Stud, Te Ana Maori Rock Art
Accommodations
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Highlights from your plan
Gem Alpaca Stud
Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre
Kea Point Track

5
days
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.
Kids will appreciate attractions like Orokonui Ecosanctuary and Moana Pool. Explore hidden gems such as Aramoana Beach and Signal Hill. Step out of Dunedin with an excursion to Shag Point Nature Reserve in Palmerston--about 46 minutes away. The adventure continues: enjoy the sand and surf at Dunedin Beach, look for all kinds of wild species at Natures Wonders Naturally, pause for some serene contemplation at First Church Of Otago, and examine the collection at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum.

To see more things to do, photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Dunedin sightseeing planner.

You can drive from Lake Tekapo to Dunedin in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Dunedin

Parks Wildlife Beaches

Side Trip

Shag Point Nature Reserve
Accommodations
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Highlights from your plan
Orokonui Ecosanctuary
Moana Pool
Natures Wonders Naturally

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