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South Island

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Discover South Island

Natural landscapes to take your breath away

The South Island of New Zealand hosts simply pure natural landscapes that take your breath away. Queenstown is the heart, and expect plenty of adventure-packed things to do. As you journey beyond, expect wildlife and wineries, glacial valleys and star-filled skies, breathtaking drives and majestic National parks.

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Queenstown is not-to-be-missed. A very pretty city based on the shores of Lake Wakatipu with the Southern Alps in the backdrop. This is your adventure capital, has great food & wine, and is in close proximity to Wanaka, Glenorchy, Arrowtown, and of course, the World Heritage area of Fiordland National Park with Milford & Doubtful Sounds as its star attractions.

Beyond Queenstown and its close neighbours there are many stunning destinations to choose from. Heading north on the west coast are the Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers. These are accessible glaciers that you can ice hike, valley walk or take a flight to enjoy the grandeur. You can then head further north up the wild west coast, and consider catching the world famous Tranzalpine train journey which traverses the Southern Alps through to Christchurch. Other locations to consider are: Abel Tasman National Park, Marlborough Sounds, Kaikoura, Hanmer Springs, Akaroa and of course the night sky journey to be had in Lake Tekapo.

Explore South Island destinations & experiences

Queenstown

In the heart of the South Island, Queenstown sits on the banks of Lake Wakatipu in a beautiful alpine setting. Well known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown boasts endless activities on offer, as well as a huge range of excellent restaurants, cafes and a lively nightlife.

Our top 4 highlights:

  • Have some fun with the myriad of adventure activities including bungy jumping
  • Visit nearby towns such as: Wanaka, Glenorchy, Arrowtown or Milford Sound
  • Explore one of the many walking or bike trails
  • Get amongst the Queenstown food & wine scene

Christchurch & Canterbury Region

Following the 2010/11 earthquakes, Christchurch has re-emerged as a vibrant, ever-changing city. Gateway to the famous Tranzalpine Train Journey that traverses the Southern Alps from East to West Coasts, Christchurch is also a short drive to Kaikoura, Lake Tekapo & Akaroa. Plus, don’t forget to watch the whales with Whale Watch Kaikōura.

Our top 4 highlights:

  • Catch the famous Tranzalpine Train
  • Explore the International Antarctic Centre
  • Don’t miss nearby towns Kaikoura and Akaroa
  • Wander around the Botanic Gardens

Marlborough & Marlborough Sounds

The Marlborough region provides perfect conditions for walking, mountain biking, sea kayaking and vineyard explorations. This is New Zealand’s largest wine growing region and famous for Sauvignon Blanc. The Marlborough Sounds are a picturesque collection of bays, inlets, islands and peninsulas. Picton is the gateway town and the main ferry port connecting the North and South Islands.

Our top 4 highlights:

  • Discover the local wineries by bike
  • Cruise the remote Sounds on the Pelorus Mail Boat
  • Tramp part or all of the famous Queen Charlotte Track
  • Catch the scenic Interislander Ferry to Wellington

Nelson Region

The Abel Tasman region is a pocket of paradise in the top north-west corner of the South Island. Nelson has blue skies and wide open spaces. The area has a wealth of golden beaches and lakes, the Abel Tasman National Park and plenty of gourmet cafes, artists, galleries and boutique shopping experiences.

Our top 4 highlights:

  • Explore the coastal paradise of the Abel Tasman National Park
  • Discover the many marine activities
  • Hit the beach at Tahunanui and Kaiteriteri
  • Take a splash in the Motueka Saltwater Baths

Glaciers, The West Coast

One of only two places in the world where you can view glaciers descending into temperate rainforest and close to the sea. The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are unique relics of the last ice age. Rivers of solid white, tumbling down ice-hewn rock valleys, they are beautiful and mighty. There is a wide range of adventure activities around the Glaciers.

Our top 4 highlights:

  • Don’t miss the Franz Josef Heli Hike
  • Take the family on the Glacier Valley Walk
  • Visit picturesque Lake Matheson
  • Relax in the Glacier Hot Pools

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