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 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
It’s a 2.5 to 3hr drive to Wanaka, where you’ll want to spend a night or two. Top day walks around here are the Rob Roy Track, Diamond Lake & Rocky Mountain Walk, and if you want to get that classic Insta shot, the climb up Roys Peak.
Days 7-9: Wanaka to Queenstown
Not far to Queenstown via Cardrona and the Bra Fence over the Crown Range (only a 1hr-drive). You could spend a week walking around Queenstown, so consider these options: Sawpit Gully Track and Lake Hayes Walkway near Arrowtown, the Ben Lomond Hike above Queenstown itself, and Lake Sylvan Track and Routeburn Daywalk at the head of Lake Wakatipu, past Glenorchy. A trip to Glenorchy comes highly recommended.
Days 10-12: Queenstown to Te Anau & Fiordland NP
It’s only a 2hr drive to Te Anau and from there, another hour into Fiordland NP and a further hour of spectacular driving out to Milford Sound. In the NP, consider the Milford Track Day Hike and the Key Summit Hike options, while closer to Te Anau, various Kepler Track options, including the Shallow Bay Walk.
Days 13-15: Stewart Island/Rakiura
It’s worth giving yourself a few days here to visit NZ’s third largest island. From Te Anau, it will take 2.5 to 3hrs to drive to Bluff, where you’ll hop on the ferry. Predator-free Ulva Island is a joy to walk around, while the Port William to Oban walk is a top dayhike.