Active Travel

How to Do New Zealand’s South Island in 2 Weeks

Here’s what you should see and where you should stay if you’ve only got two weeks to explore New Zealand’s South Island.

New Zealand’s South Island might not seem that big, but it’s actually the 12th largest island in the world. Not only is it the bigger of the country’s two main islands, but it’s punctuated with winding two-lane highways that can slow you down considerably. It’s easy to look at a map and think you can get from one area to another in just an hour or so, but in reality it’s likely to take much longer.

So, unless you’ve got unlimited vacation time (and if you do, I want your job), you’re going to have to narrow down your trip to the highlights. Here’s what to see and where to stay if you have two weeks to explore New Zealand’s South Island.


By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

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