This 5 Day South Island Itinerary has you flying in to Queenstown and then out of either Picton or Wellington, depending on domestic and international connections, rental car arrangements, and your time frame and schedule. It’s a fair amount of driving, but you’ll get a good combination of urban and rural, with landscapes ranging from sub-tropical and coastal to inland and mountainous.
This 7 Day South Island Itinerary has you flying in to Queenstown and then out of either Picton or Wellington, depending on domestic and international connections, rental car arrangements, and your time frame and schedule. If you only have 5 days, check out our 5 Day Itinerary from Wellington to Dunedin, flying out of Queenstown.
We’ve planned the best 14 Day New Zealand Itinerary so you don’t have to! Check out each of the days below to put together your own holiday around the South Island and Wellington, or customize a trip if you’ve only got a few days or a week. (Check out our “Itineraries” in the main menu for other, shorter itineraries from New Zealand and other countries, as well).
Check out our New Zealand Top 10 list, including all our favorite road trip stops throughout the South Island and Wellington. We’ve hand-picked our favorite spots, activities, and must-see locations to help you plan your own kiwi adventure itinerary.
For our post on what to do in Queenstown, we picked a few of our favorite spots for our last few days in country, including the Cow Restaurant, the esplanade, walking downtown Queenstown, and the Ben Lomond Scenic Reserve just outside of town.
Our favorite of all Queenstown restaurants is the Cow, a small, dimly lit “pizza and spaghetti house” tucked away in one of the alleys of central Queenstown. Fresh baked bread, delicious dishes, and a warm and inviting location make this one of Queenstown’s best out-of-the-way restaurants.
The Moeraki Boulders are a must-see stop on the coastal route between Dunedin and Christchurch or a drive from Dunedin to Queenstown. If you’re staying close by, it’s worth visiting the Moeraki Boulders and the town of Moeraki as a destination all its own, and there’s plenty to do along this stretch of the South Island’s East Coast.
Any South Island road trip should include a stop in Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula. You’ll find a variety of activities that rivals Christchurch and Wellington. The peninsula juts out into the Pacific, home to yellow-eyed penguin colonies and albatross, enormous sea-going birds that fly to the tip of South America and back to nest.
Wellington has something for everyone. The city boasts numerous green spaces like the sprawling botanical gardens at the top of the famous cable car route and the hiking paths near Matairangi and the Mount Victoria Lookout. Miles of shoreline include sandy beaches, piers, and self-guided tours near downtown. Trendy restaurants serve up fresh takes on classic dishes. Public art fills the streets and the broad, walled canvases of downtown buildings.