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Dayhikers' South Island Itinerary

Daywalks Trip in the South (2 weeks)

The South Island, and particularly the southern half of it, provides an almost limitless list of dayhikes for the keen walker through spectacular mountains and lakes country.

Don’t forget to visit the DoC Visitor Centres in Mt Cook, Wanaka, Queenstown, Te Anau and on Stewart Island for track updates and weather forecasts.

Days 1-3: Christchurch to Mt Cook

The drive from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo takes around 3hrs and from there to Mt Cook, around 1.5hrs. If time permits at Lake Tekapo, either walk up Mt John or around its summit track before heading to Mt Cook Village. The Hooker Valley Track is a must here, while the Mueller Hut Hike is a big mission. Head over to the Tasman Valley for the 1hr return Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier walk.

Days 4-6: Mt Cook to Wanaka

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Ben Lomond Track

Big climb to the peak (6-8hrs)

Diamond Lake & Rocky Mountain Walk

Hill climb for glorious views near Wanaka (3hrs)

Hooker Valley Track

Valley track to glacier lake below Mt Cook (3-4hrs)

Kepler Track

Walk 60km or a few hours

Key Summit Hike

Enjoyable 3hr hike for views

Lake Hayes Walkway

Gorgeous walk near Queenstown (3hrs)

Lake Sylvan Track

Beech forest walk in Routeburn Valley (2hrs)

Milford Track

Walk the legendary Fiordland track

Mt John

Stars & views

Mueller Hut Hike

Vigorous climb up to altitude (7-8hrs)

Port William to Oban Walk

Rakiura NP daywalk (4-5hrs)

Rob Roy Track

Walk to foot of the glacier (4-5hrs return)

Routeburn Track

A 1hr nature walk or a 3-day mission

Roys Peak Hike

Big climb near Wanaka for 'that selfie' (6hrs)

Sawpit Gully Track

Scenic hike behind Arrowtown (3hrs)

Shallow Bay Walk

Enjoyable flat walk; good for families (3hrs)

Ulva Island (Te Wharawhara)

Predator-free paradise for birds

Text © Craig McLachlan

Image by craig