South Island driving distances & times

Get driving distances and travel times between cities on the South Island of New Zealand with routes on a map. Choose from a list of 80 cities.

South Island driving distance calculator

The South Island distance calculator and route finder displays the driving distances and driving times between cities on the South Island of New Zealand.

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Select a start location and a destination from the list boxes. The route calculated will be displayed on the map.

There are also scenic driving route videos available for a few selected scenic routes on the South Island of New Zealand.

If you are looking for distances between cities on the North Island, you can use the North Island driving distances page. For information about Kaikoura and driving from Picton to Christchurch, click here.

Please do not abuse this page and only look up the distances and times that you are really interested in knowing. If this page is not working due to overload or too many requests made, please go to this page or Google Maps as an alternative.

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In the meantime, here is a table containing the distances between a few key places on the South Island. All distances are in kilometers.

South Island distances table

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Map 1. Driving route between two South Island New Zealand cities or towns.

Driving times and road conditions

Please remember that driving times depend on road conditions. Things such as rain, snow, or roadworks may slow you down. There are several websites where you can check driving conditions on highways in New Zealand.

Always allow for enough time for you to reach your destination so that you do not have to rush and consequently cause an accident. Adding one hour to the estimated driving time is almost always a good thing to do.

For the South Island, in particular, you should also expect to sometimes come across herds of cows or sheep on the road as they are being moved to or from grazing areas. Please be patient as farmers move their stock via the road.

Alternative driving route from Picton to Christchurch

As you may have heard, the last big earthquake that hit New Zealand, and Kaikoura in particular, damaged State Highway 1 and there are slips preventing direct access from Picton to Christchurch via Kaikoura.

So if you are planning on driving from Picton to Christchurch, you will have to follow an alternative route that goes via State Highways 1, 63, 6, 65, and 7 from Picton to Christchurch.

The NZTA estimates the driving time via this route to take approximately 7 hours and 30 minutes and is about 478 km (297 mi) in length. You can read more about the detour here.

Google estimates the Picton – Blenheim – Murchison – Christchurch route to take approximately 6 hours. I would add half an hour to this time to accommodate for extra traffic on the road.

Note that you will be going through a pass (Lewis Pass) on this route and that traffic might slow down at times due to trucks also using this route. Just be patient and allow for extra travel time. In addition, Lewis Pass may have snow or can be closed in winter.

Distances between popular South Island cities

The amount of kilometers between popular cities/towns on the South Island of New Zealand:

If you are looking for driving ideas, you can check out the Short day trips from Queenstown and Short day trips from Christchurch articles.

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