Suggested 11 night extendable New Zealand South Island Tour itinerary

We wanted to explore South Island in 10-15 days with as much fun and adventure as possible. We reviewed on Internet, brochures and discussed with our friends and prepared below itinerary. We really enjoyed it and would like to share our itinerary.

Christchurch, Franz Joseph, Wanaka, QueensTown, Te Anau, Milford Sound

Day 1:  Morning Auckland-ChristChurch flight. Check-in and freshen up by noon. Stay in city centre. Early evening, Christchurch City Tram Tour. Dinner at nearby Indian restaurant.

Day 2: Visit International Antarctic Centre. Quick Lunch to save time. Post-Lunch to Canterbury Museum. Stroll around garden and city center in the Evening. Tourist with interest of religious places have option to visit ISKCON Krishna Temple, BAPS Swaminarayan Temple, Samadhi Buddhist Vahara, Thai Buddhist Temple, Gurudwara Sahib, Gurudwara Jagat Guru Nanak Sahib, Masjid Al-Noor or nearby local Church. There are many Indian grocery stores at Christchurch from where you can buy snacks or Indian instant food for your journey.

Day 3: Arrive at Christchurch Railway Station for TranzAlpine Train journey. It is an amazing scenic journey from Christchurch ( 8.15am) to GreyMouth ( 2.05pm). Pantry in the train is good but would reccomend travellers with kids to carry own food and water.Take Intercity bus from Greymouth to Franz Joseph. Bus starts about 2.30pm. Relax in the evening. Dinner at Indian/Asian restaurant at Fox Glacier. Although some restaurants do arrange pick up and drop if you book from hotel, it may be wise to rent a car.

Day 4: Stay at motel with cottages and a great view of the glaciers and mountains. A nice walk around the area near  motel and in the afternoon go for most exciting Skydive at Skydive Franz. It is New Zealand’s highest tandem skydive of 19000 feet. The Skydive in Queens Town is very crowded, thus we recommend Skydive in Fox Glacier or Wanaka.

Day 5: After breakfast take Intercity to Wanaka. The Intercity bus in this area are very flexible and may come to your hotel if you inform them in advance.

Day 6: Reach Wanaka, enjoy dinner at Wanaka lake front or go for boat rides. A beautiful scenic lake front with lots of shops and restaurants around.

Day 7: Brunch at the Lakefront, lots of options available.Go for Shotover Jet for which you need to book at their office on the beach and they will drive you to the river for the ride. You can do many other water sports and book at the beach office. Depart in the evening for QueensTown by Intercity Bus.

Day 8: Arrive at QueensTown. Rent a car, we recommend taking car with zero excess insurance. Please read the terms carefully. It is advised to book your car in advance. Check-in  to hotel. Dinner at QueensTown lake front and a pleasant stroll.

Day 9: Day full of adventure. Go for highest Bungy Jump in New Zealand of 134m, it is advisable to book your jump in advance as they also have combos and deals. You need to take a bus from their city office. Remember, visitors also need to buy tickets to enter viewing Deck. In case you have member of your group / family who are not going for Bungy Jumping, they may relax at the city office or walk around or shop at the city lake front.

Day 10: Relax in the morning. Early Afternoon go for QueensTown city tour. Drive to a nearby historic mining town called Arrow town where the bakery is well known.Go for one of the best scenic drive QueensTown – Glenorchy road. PhotoStops at few places . Back to Queenstown city centre and enjoy famous Ferg Burger in the evening. Queue at this burger shop is exceptionally long, be patient :)…Trust me it’s worth it.

Day 11: Checkout and drive to Te Anau, a small beautiful town enroute to Milford Sound tour. You may opt for one day tour to Milford Sound from QueensTown. Recommend to stay at Te Anau as this makes the bus journey to Milford shorter. Visit Milford Sound cruise with lunch on ship. Back to Te Anau in the evening relax at hotel. Many tour operators offer Milford Sound night cruise and Milford Sound flights.

Day 12: Drive back to QueensTown airport and depart. Most of the car rental companies provide car drop at the airport. Touchdown in Auckland with awesome memories.

Additions or Alterations to the itinerary

The above itinerary can be used by Families with kids, elders, newly weds or back packers. Cities remain same, you can change your daily activities.

Wellington, the capital of New Zealand can be easily added to the tour to make it good two week holiday. There are many national parks, ski resorts, lakes and mountains which can be added to your sight seeing.

One can extend the tour from QueensTown by driving towards Dunedin. Either fly to Auckland from Dunedin or continue your travel upto Christchurch and fly back from Christchurch.

You can reduce the number of days by reducing your stop overs.

Advance booking recommended for following activities:

  1. Flight tickets (Popular New Zealand domestic airlines are Air NewZealand and JetStar)
  2. TranzAlpine train
  3. Intercity coach:
    1. Greymouth to Franz Joseph
    2. Franz Joseph to Wanaka
    3. Wanaka to Queens Town
  4. Car rental at Queenstown (and if required at Franz Joseph)
  5. Skydive at FranzJoseph
  6. Bungy jump at QueensTown (Kawarau, Ledge or Nevis bungy by A J Hackett)
  7. Milford Sound day tour including cruise:
    1. RealJourney Cruise
    2. JucyCruise
    3. CruiseMilford
    4. Southern Discoveries
    5. MitrePeak
    6. GoOrange Cruise

Food and Restaurants:

You wont have any problem of food while travelling anywhere in New Zealand. Indian food is available at all the destinations. Vegetarian options are available at all Indian restaurants. However shall recommend to carry food for special dietary requirements.  The King Tiger restaurant at Franz Joseph had vegetarian options in Indian and Thai cuisine. All restaurants would have 1-2 vegetarian dishes like pizzas, pasta, burger etc. Usually all Indian restaurant would have option of Halal.


See also: International Airlines operating their flights to New Zealand