NZ’s South Island – Places to Visit

1. Marlborough & Picton. Marlborough is the most well-known wine region in New Zealand, and the annual Marlborough Food & Wine Festival held in February attracts thousands of visitors. There are over 40 cellar doors in the region, so take an organised tour, or a private chauffeur-driven car. From Picton, take a kayaking tour of Queen Charlotte to experience the picturesque harbour.

2. Nelson & Abel Tasman. Enjoy the clear waters of New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs and walk the Abel Tasman track. Paddle a kayak along the coastline to spot seal colonies and blue penguins. Indulge in the famous Nelson Bay scallops.

3. Kaikoura & Hanmer Springs. The Hanmer Springs Thermal Reserve offers sulphur pools, family-friendly activities or relaxing Spa treatments. The Kaikoura area has fantastic seafood and year-round whale watching. This is also a good area for jetboating.

4. Christchurch & Akaroa. This is adrenalin central – ski, bungy jump, hike, mountain bike, raft, surf or swim. For more sedate activities you can take a wildlife tour, visit the wineries, explore the gardens or hit the shops.

5. Lake Tekapo & Mt Cook. Mt Cook is an awe-inspiring sight. Take a tour on the lake to see icebergs and glaciers. Lake Tekapo offers a great destination for viewing the Southern Lights.

6. West Coast & Glaciers. Voted by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 coastal drives in the world, the Great Coast Road stretches from Westport to Greymouth. Must visit destinations include Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, Pancake Rocks and the blowholes at Punakaiki.

7. Queenstown. In winter it’s all about skiing. The rest of the year is great for bungy jumping, sky diving, jet boating, canyon swinging and river rafting.

8. Wanaka & Central Otago. Lake Wanaka’s crystal clear waters are a favourite for anglers with Lake Wanaka. Take a vintage Tigermoth scenic flight over the Mt Aspiring National Park and Southern Alps.

9. Te Anau & Fiordland. Milford and Doubtful Sounds are major attractions in this region and taking an overnight cruise is a great way to experience the untouched wilderness. The Milford Track starts in Te Anau and takes you through breathtaking scenery including the tallest waterfall in New Zealand.

10. Dunedin. Dubbed the ‘Edinburgh of the South’, Dunedin is home to the Cadbury factory. Take a drive along the Otago Peninsula to view the rugged, untouched coastline.

11. Stewart Island & Southland. Cross the Foveaux Strait to Steward Island to see the rare kiwi bird in its natural habitat.