South Island, New Zealand

10 day itinerary for South Island, New Zealand

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A road trip through South Island, New Zealand is an incredible way to experience the natural beauty and adventure that this region has to offer. Here's a 10-day itinerary that will take you on a journey through some of the most stunning landscapes in the world:

Day 1: Christchurch

Start your trip in Christchurch, the largest city in South Island. Spend the day exploring the city's vibrant culture, including its street art, museums, and botanical gardens. You can also visit the International Antarctic Centre or take a scenic flight over the Southern Alps.

Day 2: Kaikoura

Drive north to Kaikoura, a coastal town famous for its whale watching tours. Take a boat tour to see sperm whales, dolphins, and seals up close. In the evening, enjoy fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants.

Day 3: Marlborough Sounds

Head west to the Marlborough Sounds, a network of bays, inlets, and islands. Take a scenic drive along the Queen Charlotte Drive, stopping at lookout points and beaches along the way. You can also go kayaking or hiking in the area.

Day 4: Abel Tasman National Park

Drive south to Abel Tasman National Park, known for its golden beaches and turquoise waters. Take a water taxi to one of the park's many trails and spend the day hiking, swimming, and sunbathing.

Day 5: West Coast

Drive through the rugged West Coast, stopping at Punakaiki to see the Pancake Rocks and blowholes. Continue on to Hokitika, a town known for its jade carving and glass blowing.

Day 6: Franz Josef Glacier

Visit Franz Josef Glacier, one of the most accessible glaciers in the world. Take a guided hike or helicopter tour to explore the glacier's ice caves and crevasses.

Day 7: Wanaka

Drive to Wanaka, a picturesque town on the shores of Lake Wanaka. Spend the day hiking or biking in the surrounding mountains, or relax by the lake and enjoy the views.

Day 8: Queenstown

Drive to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand. Take a bungee jump, go skydiving, or take a scenic flight over Milford Sound. In the evening, explore the town's lively nightlife scene.

Day 9: Milford Sound

Take a day trip to Milford Sound, one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world. Cruise through the fjord and see waterfalls, wildlife, and towering cliffs.

Day 10: Mount Cook National Park

Drive to Mount Cook National Park, home to New Zealand's highest peak. Take a hike to see glaciers, alpine lakes, and stunning mountain vistas. In the evening, relax at your accommodation and reflect on your incredible journey through South Island.

I hope this itinerary helps you plan an unforgettable road trip through South Island, New Zealand!

Places of interest

Christchurch South Island, New Zealand


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Kaikoura South Island, New Zealand


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Marlborough Sounds South Island, New Zealand

Marlborough Sounds

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Abel Tasman National Park South Island, New Zealand

Abel Tasman National Park

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West Coast South Island, New Zealand

West Coast

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Punakaiki South Island, New Zealand


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Hokitika South Island, New Zealand


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Franz Josef Glacier South Island, New Zealand

Franz Josef Glacier

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Wanaka South Island, New Zealand


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Queenstown South Island, New Zealand


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Milford Sound South Island, New Zealand

Milford Sound

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Mount Cook National Park South Island, New Zealand

Mount Cook National Park

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