New Zealand – South Island in 10 days

1. You can start the trip in Christchurch – 1 day


Christchurch Cathedral before the massive quake in 2010

Till today, Christchurch still very much suffered from the ill effect of the September 2010 earthquake that caused almost 100 000 people leaving for other cities. It is disappointed to know that after two whole years, the master plan to rebuild this beautiful city has not yet even been finalized… We’ve not got a chance to come back to Christchurch since 2007 but have heard from other travellers that the city is very much deserted with areas still prevented from public access. It’s quite sad to realize how slow the recovery process has been.

Fall is probably the best time to visit New Zealand

Christchurch Te Punau Art Gallery

2. Lake Tekapo – 1 day

From Christchurch, you can easily catch a bus to Lake Tekapo which is one of the most stunning lakes.

It is highly recommended to stay at YHA Tekapo because the hostel is facing the beautiful lake directly. It also has a common lounge with an old grand piano and a REAL fireplace with REAL fire log.

The picturesque Lake Tekapo

Cute little church on the bank of Lake Tekapo

3. Mount Cook – 1 day or possibly 2 days if you want to stay over night at the mountain base camp which can promise an amazing star gazing opportunity.

The  trip from Lake Tekapo to Mt Cook also offers some breath-taking scenes. When we took the trip, the bus driver was kind enough to stop at some picture worthy spots for us to get crazy snapping.

Mt Cook from a distance

The hiking track at mount Cook is pretty easy with well laid out walk-ways. Scenery changes frequently, offering you many interesting things to see. Be careful of the strong wind though, it nearly knocked me off.

Swing bridge – Mt Cook trekking


A frozen lake – the reward at the end of the trek

4. Queenstown – capital city of thrill – 1 day or 2 days if you are an adrenalin junkie

In Queenstown, you can do almost everything crazy from bungy jump, wild water rafting to sky diving. You name it, they have it.

From Queenstown, you can also hire a car to explore the surrounding spots. There are quite a few interesting places such as:

Routeburn track – Glenorchy

Cute little Arrow town


Hayes lake with the water so still …

Or just simply driving around, who knows, you might encounter some wild life like this!


5. Milford Sound – 1 day 

Magnificent Milford Sound

From Queenstown, you can book a trip to visit Milford Sound – a MUST SEE in New Zealand. People say, Milford Sound looks even more magnificent during a rainy day! Indeed, Milford Sound looks very mysterious in the rain.


The mysterious Milford Sound … (ruined by the time stamp)

If you are lucky, you can spot some fun loving dolphins swimming and dancing right near by your cruise ship.

6. Wanaka – 1 day

From Milford Sound, you could go to Wanaka via Queenstown.

Kayaking on Wanaka lake is great fun but not so much so when the wind gets strong.

Lake Wanaka – fun for kayaking

 A visit to Puzzling World museum provides a day full of fun.

Too much beautiful sceneries could bore you – why not have some fun at Puzzling World

 Another free activity that you can try is picking apples along roadside. These apples are super crunchy and deliciously sweet. They are great energy source for a day full of hiking.

7. Fox Glacier or an equivalent alternative is Franz Josef – 1 day

We went to Fox Glacier on our trip back in 2007 but it is recommended to go to Franz Josef for a similar glacier walk. The town at Fox Glacier was quite gloomy and some what deserted. Fran Josef was much more civilized. At least that was true in 2007. We are not sure about the situation now so probably you guys can update us.

The tip of the glacier that we ALMOST walked on… too bad

A glacier walk is so much dependent on weather condition. It’s recommended to plan carefully to avoid disappointment.

8. Grey Mouth – Christchurch by TranzAlpine scenic train – 1 day 

From Fox Glacier, you can take a bus to Grey Mouth to catch a TranzAlpine scenic train on the next day. This train journey promises some of the most beautiful scenes that New Zealand could offer. You could see the scenery slowly change from lush green forest to alpine meadows.

Civilization outside the Tranzscenic train

Where to book your scenic train ride?

9. Back to Christchurch for some last minute souvenir shopping – check out the real sheep skin boots

For a downloadable version of this full itinerary, you could get it HERE

Again, write to us at to share interesting experiences that you have in the Kiwi land.


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