New Zealand’s South Island Holidays

Hiker walking on Mt Cook
Aoraki (Mount Cook)

The best places to visit in the South Island

New Zealand’s South Island: a mountainous landscape peppered with fiords, glaciers and national parks, and home to some of the most breath-taking scenery in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s all about the outdoor adventure here, with trekking, kayaking and wildlife watching all on offer, plus skiing and ice climbing in winter. And when you’ve had enough of the active pursuits there’s wine tasting and hot pool soaking to be had too. With so much to see and do, it can be difficult to narrow it down, so we’ve listed our favourite South Island highlights below:

Ship sailing through Milford Sound Milford Sound

Milford Sound

Milford Sound

Fiordland’s crowning glory
The dramatic cliffs and plunging waterfalls of picturesque Milford Sound are best appreciated from the water. While some choose to take a relaxing cruise, some prefer to explore by kayak, but whichever method you choose, you’ll have nothing but the deafening silence and the lapping waves for company. Keep an eye out for penguins, seals and dolphins.
A view of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown and snow capped mountains from above Queenstown Skyline Gondola



Adventure capital
Rivalling the North Island’s Lake Taupo for the title of New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown offers everything from bungee jumping and jet boating to skiing and river rafting. For something more sedate, you can wander the shores of Lake Wakatipu and admire Queenstown’s mountain setting, or ride the Skyline Gondola for the best views in town.
People standing on top of the Franz Joseph Glacier in New Zealand Franz Joseph Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier

Ice hiking adventures
The 7.5 miles of jagged ice that make up the Franz Josef Glacier are best explored on foot. You’ll need crampons and an ice axe, but that’s all part of the fun. Alternatively we can arrange for you to see the glacier on a scenic helicopter flight. For the less intrepid, gentle walks through the forest to the glacier’s terminal face are possible, followed by a relaxing soak in the nearby hot pools.
The River Avon in Chirstchurch The River Avon, Chirstchurch



The Garden City
Lorded as one of New Zealand’s most picturesque cities, Christchurch is a little slice of England in miniature. It’s peppered with pretty flower gardens and leafy parks, and it even has a River Avon, perfect for an afternoon’s punting. After cycling the pathways, don’t miss a look around the International Antarctic Centre, where you can experience the sub-zero conditions of the South Pole.

Top South Island Journeys

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Round the World Expert Martin Bovingdon

Consider a Milford Sound Overnight Cruise instead of a day trip in order to get that intimate experience after the crowds have gone home.

- Martin Bovingdon, Expert
If you love hiking, you'll love New Zealand. Our favourite is the Hooker Valley Track at Aoraki/Mount Cook, which takes around 4 hours to complete and looks like this #expertfinds #aoraki #mountcook #newzealand #mondaymotivation