Sunday, October 1, 2023

12 Greatest Issues To Do on New Zealand’s South Island – Bearfoot Principle

The South Island of New Zealand is the last word vacation spot for many vacationers heading to this a part of the world. Regardless of its small package deal, the island is surprisingly packed full of lovely and thrilling experiences. The place the North Island is the proper juxtaposition of pure and concrete with a sprinkling of indigenous tradition, the South Island turns the dial up on the picturesque and distant facet of New Zealand.

Count on to be whisked away to magical fiords, majestic mountain ranges, glowing seashores, and beautiful lakes. Beneath we’ve put collectively an inventory of the very best issues to do within the South Island of New Zealand to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the must-dos!

Essential Reminder: Because it goes in all the locations we share, please apply good path etiquette and keep in mind to Depart No Hint. This implies packing out your entire rubbish (together with rest room paper), being respectful to others on busy trails, and following the established guidelines.

Greatest Issues To Do On the South Island of New Zealand – Mapped!

1. Discover Queenstown

Nestled between snow-capped mountains and the ever-sparkling Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is probably the most lovely little city in New Zealand (and our favourite place on this planet!). There are a ton of nice issues to do in Queenstown and any New Zealand South Island Itinerary ought to revolve round this superior city. The points of interest right here are likely to contain two key themes: nature and journey.

Journey-seekers will discover bungee leaping, canyoning, ziplining, rafting, luging, jet boating, snowboarding, mountaineering, skydiving, and far more.

In winter, the city transforms right into a ski village with 4 epic ski fields close by: Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona, and Treble Cone. These are world-class services with quite a few chairlifts and runs which are positively price trying out in the course of the snowy months.

Conversely, nature lovers will discover Queenstown the proper city to flee civilization and really expertise New Zealand’s magnificence with out having to stray too removed from a superb cafe or restaurant.

There are numerous hikes close by together with Ben Lomond, Queenstown Hill, and Moke Lake in addition to quite a few easily-reachable viewpoints for unbelievable vistas.

Make sure that to permit at the least 3-5 days to actually discover all of the points of interest in Queenstown and take a look at these high Queenstown journey suggestions earlier than you go.

Views out over Lake Wakatipu from viewpoint above Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown is surrounded by mountains and water, making it a terrific place for journey

2. Head to Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers

The dramatic and spectacular Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are positioned partway down the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

Each glaciers neighbor one another intently, so in the event you’re visiting one it often is sensible to go to the opposite as nicely. Nevertheless, if you’re brief on time and should skip one then be certain that to go to Franz Josef Glacier because it’s arguably the extra lovely of the 2.

It’s a terrific thought to goal to spend a day or two right here to permit sufficient time to discover the world totally, although it’s potential to make it a quick stopover. There’s one major hike which takes round 45-minutes which is able to mean you can get a glimpse of the world.

In order for you a really epic expertise, a helicopter experience over the glaciers is one other nice possibility, rewarding you with a perspective that merely can’t be achieved on foot.

>> Learn Subsequent: New Zealand’s West Coast, Franz Josef Glacier, Arthur’s Cross, & Wanaka Itinerary

Two hikers on path walking toward Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand
Make sure to take the two.5-mile stroll to get a greater view of Franz Josef Glacier

3. Cruise Via Milford Sound

Regardless of being one of the well-liked vacationer locations in New Zealand, Milford Sound’s magnificence is solely as surreal because the images make it out to be.

The drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound can take round 5-hours every method with loads of stops to get out and stretch your legs.

As soon as there, guests can select from a handful of epic hikes with commanding views which we’d suggest to avid adventurers. Our favourite brief hikes are Lake Marian and Key Summit, each of which have gorgeous views and neither is just too difficult.

On the opposite finish of the spectrum, there’s the Milford Monitor and Routeburn Monitor that are two of New Zealand’s Nice Hikes taking 4 and three days respectively.

All vacationers within the South Island ought to guarantee they embrace a cruise by the Milford Sound as a part of their itinerary. The tour by Mitre Peak Cruises is our favourite due to the smaller boat measurement and educated guides.

>> Take a look at BFT Founder Kristen’s images from her helicopter flight above Milford Sound

Tall mountains in Milford Sound on New Zealand's South Island rising up from water at sunset
Milford Sound is without doubt one of the most lovely areas on the South Island and positively price a go to | Photograph credit score: Deliliah Hart

4. Hike the Abel Tasman Nationwide Park

Abel Tasman Nationwide Park is a collection of picturesque bays alongside the coast of the highest of the South Island. Right here you could find glowing, turquoise-green waters framed by dense, native bush with a well-maintained observe in between.

The park is often explored by mountaineering the Abel Tasman Coast Monitor which is taken into account one in every of New Zealand’s most lovely multi-day hikes.

The observe takes 4-5 days to finish and there are huts alongside the best way that you will want to e book nicely upfront because it is without doubt one of the hottest tracks within the nation.

In case you don’t need to hike the total size, you’ll be able to go for a day hike alongside one of many extra scenic sections of the observe. Simply e book a water taxi from Nelson, Kaiteriteri, or Marahau. The day part of the observe is round 12km (7.5 miles) and is a comparatively leisurely stroll over a number of hours with loads of time to absorb the solar on the seaside.

In case you’re seeking to get out on the water, kayaking within the Abel Tasman sea can be an unbelievable expertise adopted by a go to to the close by city of Nelson.

>> Learn Subsequent: New Zealand Backpacking & Tramping Information

A bay with turquoise-colored water in Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand
Kayak or hike alongside the gorgeous turquoise waters in Abel Tasman Nationwide Park

5. See Wildlife & Discover the Coast in Dunedin

Dunedin is an attention-grabbing and quirky metropolis positioned on the far japanese coast of the South Island, only a 5-hour drive from Christchurch or below 4 hours from Queenstown.

This enjoyable city is famend for its previous, historic buildings, making it a terrific spot to spend an evening or two when you discover the sights the neighboring areas have to supply.

As nice because the city itself is, getting out of city is the goal right here. The coast alongside this a part of the nation is rugged and scenic with moody seashores and intriguing rock formations. Vacationers ought to goal to go for a drive south alongside the shoreline ensuring to cease on the well-known Moeraki Boulders.

Wildlife on this area can be ample, so alongside your drive, you’ll undoubtedly expertise it in some kind. Allans Seashore is an area spot the place it’s usually simple to identify sea lions. Sandfly Bay is residence to seals, sea lions, and yellow-eyed penguins (a cute native to New Zealand). Recognizing the penguins may be troublesome, however you’ll have probably the most luck at nightfall or daybreak.

You may also be fortunate sufficient to identify dolphins off the coast of Dunedin.

>> Learn Subsequent: The Catlins, Dunedin, & Oamaru Itinerary

Large round Moeraki Boulders on a beach in New Zealand
The Moeraki Boulders are a singular cease close to Dunedin

6. Discover Christchurch

After Auckland, Christchurch is New Zealand’s second-largest metropolis and is positioned about midway down the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

Christchurch has skilled a devastating previous few years with the 2011 earthquake and the Christchurch mosque shootings.

The town is proudly resilient, although, and also you’ll discover loads of superior lodging, eating places, bars, and points of interest right here.

Head to the CBD to go to the gorgeous Hagley Park with the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Canterbury Museum, and Riverside Market close by. Then experience the tram to get a full tour of this lovely metropolis.

Tram on tracks in Christchurch, New Zealand
Photograph credit score: Deliliah Hart

7. {Photograph} Nugget Level Lighthouse & The Catlins Waterfalls

Our favourite scenic spot in New Zealand is The Catlins. This often-forgotten area on the southern tip of the South Island is packed filled with so many lovely landscapes that it’s nicely definitely worth the drive out from Queenstown or Dunedin.

There’s quite a bit to discover right here and your entire area is a photographer’s playground, however probably the most famend spot is Nugget Level Lighthouse positioned close to Kaka Level.

The lighthouse itself is extremely scenic with spectacular views out over the lighthouse and the dramatic cliffs round it. The most effective time to go to is simply earlier than dawn when you’ll be able to perch your self on an outcropping to catch the primary gentle of the day rising behind the lighthouse.

The stroll right here is conveniently brief and flat, taking round 10-minutes from the car parking zone. It’s a good suggestion to discover the observe to the lighthouse the place you could find uninterrupted views out to sea. It’s additionally simple to identify seals and sea lions on the backside of the cliffs.

Lighthouse sitting on top of pyramid-shaped rock with sun setting over ocean horizon
Nugget Lighthouse within the Catlins is one in every of our favourite locations to go to in New Zealand | Photograph credit score: Deliliah Hart

8. Take a Scenic Flight or Hike Round Aoraki Mount Prepare dinner

Aoraki Mount Prepare dinner is New Zealand’s highest mountain at 3,724m (12,218 ft). Unsurprisingly, climbing the mountain is just for skilled mountaineers, nevertheless, the encircling space is a nationwide park containing quite a few walks for hikers of all ranges and skills.

The Hooker Valley Monitor is by far the most well-liked brief stroll and is a must-do for anybody visiting. At 10km (6.2 miles) lengthy and simply 3-hours round-trip, there are few walks in New Zealand that may declare to rival the views relative to the trouble of this stroll.

One other wonderful hike is the Mueller Hut Route which takes about 4-hours one technique to attain the Mueller Hut, the place you’ll be able to select to spend the night time.

Profiting from the community of mountaineering trails is admittedly the easiest way to expertise Aoraki Mount Prepare dinner. Vacationers with a bit extra money to spend can take into account reserving a scenic flight or helicopter which is able to supply a contemporary perspective unseen by most guests.

>> Learn Subsequent: Mount Prepare dinner Itinerary

View out over Mount Cook in New Zealand with paved highway crossing in front
Mount Prepare dinner is New Zealand’s tallest mountain and residential to many hikes and out of doors adventures

9. Go to Lake Tekapo

Positioned within the coronary heart of the Mackenzie District roughly midway between Aoraki Mount Prepare dinner and Christchurch, Lake Tekapo is a stunningly blue lake with milky waters. The colour of the water is a pure phenomenon occurring as a result of runoff from melting glaciers. This runoff comprises advantageous rock flour which was floor by the glaciers and is suspended within the water of the lake.

Viewing the lake is without doubt one of the finest issues to do on the South Island and our favourite spot is from the Church of the Good Shepherd which conveniently seems nice in images.

The realm is positioned in the midst of a darkish sky reserve which implies stargazing right here is especially spectacular (one of many few darkish sky reserves in New Zealand). There are guided excursions that may be booked from the observatory on the town, or simply head exterior at night time and benefit from the view.

Stone Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo in New Zealand
The picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd on Lake Tekapo | Photograph credit score: Deliliah Hart

10. Cruise the Marlborough Sounds & Hike the Queen Charlotte Monitor

The Marlborough Sounds are a bunch of 4 extremely scenic sounds positioned on the high of the South Island close to Nelson. Essentially the most generally explored Sound is the Queen Charlotte Sound which extends out from Picton township.

A bit much less well-liked than the close by Abel Tasman Coastal Monitor, many locals have battled to have the Queen Charlotte Monitor acknowledged as one in every of New Zealand’s Nice Walks. In our opinion, the observe intently rivals its neighbor in magnificence.

The Queen Charlotte Monitor is a 71km observe that takes 3 – 5 days with lodging dotted alongside the best way. In comparison with the Abel Tasman Coastal Monitor, the lodging right here is non-public and affords the next stage of luxurious, nevertheless, tenting continues to be an possibility for budget-oriented vacationers.

We’d suggest any traveler to New Zealand do at the least a piece of the hike. This tour by Beachcomber Cruises is ideal. The guides take you on a scenic cruise by the Sound earlier than dropping you off on the observe and selecting you up once more additional alongside.

View of Marlborough Sound fjord with turquoise-colored water on South Island of New Zealand surrounded by lush mountains
Discover Marlborough Sounds by boat and on foot for an unforgettable expertise | Photograph credit score: Deliliah Hart

11. Go Wine Tasting in Marlborough or Central Otago

New Zealand is without doubt one of the most distinguished new world wine areas and the areas of Otago and Marlborough within the South Island are two of one of the best. Whether or not you get pleasure from an occasional glass or are a wine aficionado, be certain that to cease off at a number of the wineries in both (or each) of those areas.

The Central Otago wine area is positioned proper subsequent to Queenstown and is world-renowned for its pinot noir varietals. Our favourite wineries listed below are Rippon, Amisfield, and Akarua. Regardless of being well-known for pinot noir, the area additionally grows an array of different grapes so don’t miss out on these.

The Marlborough wine area lends itself to white wine varietals, specifically sauvignon blanc. Once more, it’s a good suggestion to discover the opposite varieties – our favourite vineyard right here is Framingham which is most well-known for its rieslings.

Landscape view out over vineyard at winery in New Zealand with bay and mountains as backdrop
Go to the South Island’s Marlborough and Otago areas for lovely wines and surroundings | Photograph credit score: Deliliah Hart

12. Discover Wanaka

Lake Wanaka is positioned within the spectacular southern alps of the South Island, only a 1-hour drive from Queenstown. It’s far sufficient to flee a number of the hustle of the bigger city however nonetheless be surrounded by numerous hikes and points of interest.

Our two must-dos whereas in Wanaka are mountaineering in summer time and snowboarding/snowboarding in winter.

Roy’s Peak Hike is a well-known hike that takes round 8 hours from begin to end and entails 1,258m (4127 ft) of elevation acquire to succeed in spectacular views. The equally gorgeous Isthmus Stroll is a much less well-liked various with an identical stage of issue.

As a consequence of icy situations, these hikes are considerably tougher in winter so we like to go to Cardrona or Treble Cone ski resorts that are two of one of the best in New Zealand and supply wonderful alpine situations for skiers and boarders.

>> Learn Subsequent: Wakana, Rob Roy Glacier, & Mt. Aspiring New Zealand Itinerary

Tree in the middle of Lake Wanaka in New Zealand with mountains in background
The Wanaka Willow is without doubt one of the most well-known bushes in New Zealand as a result of it’s surrounded by the pristine waters of Lake Wanaka | Photograph Credit score: Delilah Hart

Associated Weblog Posts:

In 2015, BFT Founder Kristen spend three months exploring the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Take a look at her New Zealand South Island Highway Journey Recaps for assist planning your journey:

Have you ever visited the South Island of New Zealand? What locations did we miss? Which of them are in your bucket listing? Depart a remark under!

Plan an unforgettable road trip to the South Island of New Zealand with this guide featuring incredible outdoor adventures.

Written by
Delilah Hart

Delilah Hart is a New Zealand-born journey author. She is enthusiastic about journey and loves exploring the world, having visited Southeast Asia and Australasia extensively. Her favourite place to go to is Queenstown in her lovely residence nation, New Zealand.

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