20 day south island new zealand vacation itinerary template

Travel Itinerary: 20 Days South Island of New Zealand

The south island of New Zealand is quite different from the north.  Some locals would say that the south is really the iconic New Zealand that travelers come to see.  It’s much bigger than the north island, far less populated…and the landscapes truly are breathtaking!  After spending weeks driving around the south island of New Zealand in an RV, we have a good idea about the best road trip route to take and what the most popular spots are.  So check out our recommended 20 day trip around the south island of New Zealand.  If you have less time, you can always eliminate some stops and move faster.  You can also make some modifications and combine it with our North Island New Zealand itinerary.

Download the Itinerary Here

South Island of New Zealand Travel Itinerary – 20 Day Trip


PoP Travel Tip:

New Zealand is home to a great camping culture – “freestyle camping” as it is often called, means that you are legally able to camp on land in New Zealand as long as it isn’t private owned, or if there are not signs prohibiting it.  As a result, locals and visitors alike enjoy the freedom of RVs or converted minivans to explore without restrictions or constraints of a hotel.  The only place camping can be an issue is if you are in a city or larger town, because there is a lack of open / non-private land that is convenient to town.  However, holiday / camping parks are also throughout New Zealand – and they offer a good location, lots of amenities, and are an affordable option to many hotels.

Accommodations We Recommend for Your Trip to New Zealand – North Island

Through careful research and our own experience, we’ve put together some quick links to some recommended hotels based on their location, amenities, value-value added services (such as breakfast), and ratings / reviews from other travelers.

Christchurch Orari Bed & Breakfast
  CentrePoint on Colombo Motel
  YHA Christchurch
Kaikoura Fyffe Country Lodge
  Kaikoura Boutique Hotel
  Dolphin Lodge Backpackers Hostel
Blenheim Anglesea House & Garden
  Two Tree Lodge
Picton Harbour View Motel
  Tombstone Backpackers
Punakaiki Te Nikau Retreat
  The Westport Hotel
Franz Josef / Glacier Area Franz Josef Montrose Lodge
Queenstown Larch Hill Bed & Breakfast / Homestay
  Oaks Club Resort
  Blue Peaks Lodge
  Sir Cedrics Tahuna Pod Hostel
Te Anau / Milford area Fiordland National Park Lodge
  Te Anau Lakefront Backpackers
Mt. Cook area Omahau Downs House
** Rent a Campervan! Campervans are popular in New Zealand – and open (free) camping is available nearly everywhere, while also having plenty of nice campgounds with amenities too.  Many companies offer rentals online.


Activities & Tickets During Your trip to New Zealand – North Island

One of the great aspects of visiting New Zealand is all the beautiful outdoor activities.  From hiking, biking, rafting, skiing – and even extreme activities like bungee.  For the south island of New Zealand, it’s really all about the natural landscapes and outdoor activities.  But on the top of the north island, there’s also a magnificent wine tradition – with lots of fabulous wineries to visit.  To assist you with your trip planning, we’ve picked out some of the top things to do in the most popular areas of the North Island of New Zealand and included them below.


Christchurch Punting on the Avon River with Optional Christchurch Gondola and Botanic Gardens Tour
  International Antarctic Center Express Admission Ticket
Kaikoura Seal Swimming Tour from Kaikoura
Top of South Island Marlborough Half-Day Wine Tour
  Full-Day Marlborough Wine Tour Including Wine Tasting
Glacier area 2-Hour Quad Bike Experience from Franz Josef
  Franz Josef Neve Discoverer Helicopter Flight
  Small-Group Franz Josef Glacier Walk & Helicopter
Queenstown Gondola up to Bob’s Peak (if you don’t want to walk) Queenstown
  Kiwi Birdlife Park Admission
  Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Luge
  Shotover River Extreme Jet Boat Ride from Queenstown
  Queenstown Nevis Highwire Bungy Jump
  Queenstown Zipline Tour
  Skydive Queenstown
  Dart River ‘Funyak’ Canoe and Jet Boat Tour from Queenstown
  Bike Hire in Queenstown
  Queenstown Kawarau River White Water Rafting
  Half-Day Kawarau Canyoning Experience from Queenstown
  Coronet Peak Tandem Paragliding 3800ft
  New Zealand’s Biggest Swing: Nevis Swing Queenstown
  Half-Day Walter Peak Horse Trek from Queenstown
  TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise from Queenstown
  Lake Wakatipu Cruise and Mt Nicholas High Country 4WD Tour
Fjordland Cruise & Kayak Milford Sound
  Milford Sound Sightseeing Cruise including Optional Lunch
  Te Anau Glow Worm Caves Tour from Te Anau


Download This 14 Day North Island New Zealand Travel Itinerary:

Use this pre-made itinerary for your own trip, or use it as a base to get started and make your own customizations!

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