Overview

From wildlife to wineries, from glacial valleys to star-filled skies, nature’s best flourishes against a palette of dramatic scenes in New Zealand’s South Island. Towering alps meet peaceful fjords and rugged coastlines merge with sweeping plains. Discover these beautiful landscapes on foot, boat, kayak or bicycle, or enjoy a bird’s eye view from a helicopter.

Highlights

Venture to the South Island and discover lofty mountains, fiords and glaciers – landscapes that are famous all over the world.

Queenstown - perfect for adventure-lovers

Sitting on the shore of the turquoise Lake Wakatipu, among dramatic alpine ranges, visitors to Queenstown are captivated by the majestic beauty of the surrounding mountains and rivers. The town is a mecca for anyone with an adventure bucket list – bungy jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging, jet boating, horse trekking and river rafting are available all year round, plus skiing in the winter.

Beautiful Fiordland

Fiordland is one of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand. Carved by glaciers over 100,000 years, the landscape is one where waterfalls cascade hundreds of metres into deep black fiords, where ancient rainforest untouched by man clings to mountains and where shimmering lakes and granite peaks look as they did thousands of years ago. Milford Sound was described as Rudyard Kipling as the Eighth Wonder of the World – enjoy a scenic flight or boat trip through the region to find out why.

Kayaking, hiking and stunning scenery

Perched at the top of the South Island, Nelson’s diverse geography captures everything from the long golden beaches to untouched forests and rugged mountains. One of the highlights, Abel Tasman National Park is a paradise of white-sand beaches. Home to native seals, dolphins and sea birds, it’s the perfect place for a kayaking trip, although hiking tracks run parallel with the coast and climb above cliffs to reveal beautiful panoramic views.

When to visit

There isn't a bad time to visit the South Island. The summer months (December to February) boast the best weather, while the cooler spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) seasons are the ideal time to enjoy lots of the activities on offer. In the winter (June to August), head south to Queenstown hills for skiing and snowboarding.