South Island

From forest-fringed beaches to soaring mountains, the scenery of the South Island is an unforgettable backdrop to adrenaline-pumping adventure and indulgent relaxation. But did you know that in addition to its famous landscapes, the South Island is also home to rich cultural heritage and fascinating cities?

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Exploring the South

Get ready for the trip of a lifetime – the South Island’s diversity is awe inspiring.

The South Island of New Zealand is renowned for its natural beauty, an untamed paradise dominated by a rugged and unspoilt landscape. No need to forgo the comforts of civilisation though – South Islanders like to balance the wilderness of their surroundings with the best of food, wine and accommodation. Whatever your budget, there is a multitude of accommodation options scattered against the wild backdrop.

Outdoor adventure aficionados will find themselves well served in the South Island. In the north the theme is maritime. Sheltered coves invite exploration by kayak and coastal forest is ideal for a scenic walk. In the northeast, Blenheim is the centre of a wine-producing region, while Kaikoura is a base for wildlife encounters. Christchurch, where modern culture blends with historic atmosphere, is the South Island’s largest city.

Further south, the picture-postcard Mackenzie region is dominated by mountains and lakes. In Queenstown and Wanaka, you can dine in a world-class restaurant amid a panorama of mountains. In winter, the ski areas offer fantastic skiing. Dunedin, the other major city of the South Island, is set on a harbour. This is a city with strong roots in the past: historic buildings, including New Zealand’s only castle, are a must-see.

Take a trip to Stewart Island, the smallest of New Zealand’s three major islands, where you can explore untouched wilderness and see the abundance of wildlife. To truly experience the untamed beauty of nature, any visit must include the West Coast. From Karamea in the north through to Fiordland in South Westland, in this extraordinary region you’ll be spellbound by the lush rainforests and rugged scenery.