20 days in South Island Itinerary

20 days in South Island Itinerary

Created using Inspirock South Island trip itinerary maker

Make it your trip
Drive
1
Waimate
— 2 nights
Drive
2
Christchurch
— 3 nights
Drive
3
Kaikoura
— 4 nights
Drive
4
Havelock
— 4 nights
Drive
5
Punakaiki
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Ross
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Rakaia
— 2 nights
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Waimate

— 2 nights
Waimate is a town in Canterbury, New Zealand. On the 28th (Tue), tour the pleasant surroundings at EnkleDooVery Korna. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: learn about winemaking at Point Bush Estates Vineyard & Winery and then don't miss a visit to Silo Art.

To see ratings, photos, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Waimate route planner.

Dunedin to Waimate is an approximately 2.5-hour car ride. On the 30th (Thu), you're off to Christchurch.

Things to do in Waimate

Parks · Wildlife · Wineries
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 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.
To find reviews, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Christchurch trip itinerary maker app.

You can drive from Waimate to Christchurch in 3 hours. In December, daytime highs in Christchurch are 24°C, while nighttime lows are 12°C. On the 2nd (Sun), you're off to Kaikoura.

Things to do in Christchurch

Tours · Outdoors · Parks · Shopping
Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 2:

Kaikoura

— 4 nights
Head to the small town of Kaikoura, a humble setting from which to witness some of nature's grandest designs.
Kaikoura is known for wildlife, trails, and adventure. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour, steep yourself in history at Fyffe House, trek along Ohau Stream Walk, and sample some tasty brews at Beer School.

To see other places to visit, reviews, maps, and other tourist information, use the Kaikoura holiday builder.

Traveling by car from Christchurch to Kaikoura takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. You will leave for Havelock on the 6th (Thu).

Things to do in Kaikoura

Tours · Outdoors · Wildlife · Parks
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 6:

Havelock

— 4 nights
Havelock is a coastal village in the Marlborough region of New Zealand. Havelock is known for adventure, museums, and wildlife. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: do a tasting at Framingham Wines, take an in-depth tour of Havelock Museum, and take in the exciting artwork at The Gallery.

To find maps, reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, use the Havelock day trip planner.

Getting from Kaikoura to Havelock by car takes about 2.5 hours. In January in Havelock, expect temperatures between 23°C during the day and 16°C at night. On the 10th (Mon), you're off to Punakaiki.

Things to do in Havelock

Wineries · Museums · Shopping

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 6 — 10:

Punakaiki

— 2 nights
Punakaiki is a small community on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, between Westport and Greymouth. Start off your visit on the 10th (Mon): tour the pleasant surroundings at Truman Track. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 11th (Tue): hike along Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk.

To find ratings, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Punakaiki trip itinerary maker.

Getting from Havelock to Punakaiki by car takes about 4.5 hours. You'll set off for Ross on the 12th (Wed).

Things to do in Punakaiki

Parks · Trails · Outdoors · Nature
Find places to stay Jan 10 — 12:

Ross

— 2 nights
Ross is a small town located in the Westland District on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. Kick off your visit on the 12th (Wed): stroll through Ross Water Race Walkway. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 13th (Thu): see the interesting displays at The Bushmans Centre and then trek along Harihari Coastal Walkway.

For reviews, more things to do, photos, and tourist information, use the Ross online vacation planner.

You can drive from Punakaiki to Ross in 1.5 hours. You'll set off for Rakaia on the 14th (Fri).

Things to do in Ross

Parks · Trails · Outdoors · Museums

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jan 12 — 14:

Rakaia

— 2 nights
Rakaia is a town seated close to the southern banks of the Rakaia River on the Canterbury Plains in New Zealand's South Island, approximately 57 km south of Christchurch on State Highway 1 and the Main South Line. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: trek along Rakaia Gorge Walkway.

For other places to visit, photos, maps, and tourist information, use the Rakaia trip planner.

Traveling by car from Ross to Rakaia takes 3.5 hours. January in Rakaia sees daily highs of 25°C and lows of 13°C at night. You'll set off for home on the 16th (Sun).

Things to do in Rakaia

Parks · Trails · Outdoors
Find places to stay Jan 14 — 16:
Highlights from your trip

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.