New Zealand

The Best of New Zealand’s South Island

NewZealand’s South Island is a place of incredible natural beauty. You could spend a lifetime exploring every corner of this natural wonderland. For those with limited time, here’s our top picks for the South Island.

Abel Tasman National Park

The Abel Tasman National Park is a coastal paradise waiting to be explored. Visitors can choose to see the park by land, water, or air, with the plethora of tour operators offering cruises, water taxi services, kayaking, helicopter tours and sailing adventures.

Summer is undoubtedly the most popular time to visit. For those who enjoy a bit more peace and quiet, winter is also a fantastic time, when the crisp mornings, calm water and quiet beaches can make for an altogether more enjoyable experience.

Regardless of when you choose to visit, the Abel Tasman National Park will not disappoint. The scenery here is truly spectacular, with sandy beaches, crystal clear streams tumbling down mossy valleys, and headlands cloaked in verdant native forest. There’s also an abundance of native wildlife, with birdsong filling the air in the peaceful mornings.

Accommodation options range from luxurious lodges to bare-bones camping. For the best way to experience it all, sleeping out under the stars is highly recommended.

Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park

When visiting the South Island, as a visit to Fiordland National Park is an absolute must-do. This is New Zealand’s picture-perfect beauty at its most potent and impressive. There is lots to see in the park, with Te Anau and Milford Sound the undeniable highlights.

Te Anau

Te Anau is home to New Zealand’s second-largest lake, as well as a 12,000-year-old cave system that is home to a network of limestone passages and grottos filled with thousands of glow-worms. It’s an experience not to be missed.

Milford Sound

Milford Sound is quite possibly one of New Zealand’s most dramatic and beautiful sights. Upon arriving at the sound, visitors are greeted by views of Mitre Peak, which is a mesmerising experience in itself, and one that will live on in the memory long after you depart this beautiful part of the world.

As the weather changes, so too do the spectacular colours and skies surrounding the sound. Book one of the many tours on offer, and cruise the length of the fiord on a tour that takes approximately two hours to complete.

Marlborough Sounds

On the northern tip of the South Island lies the effortlessly picturesque Marlborough Sounds, with 1,500km of stunning coastline. Here you’ll find secluded bays, historic sites, marine reserves and island sanctuaries home to native birds. You can choose to cruise or kayak your way through the sounds. Whatever way you choose to explore, you’ll be treated to an experience of a lifetime.


Christchurch is the South Island’s largest city, with a vibrant, charming, and defiant spirit. After suffering great misfortune, the city is in a period of transition, rebuilding, reimagining and rediscovering itself. Despite its bad luck, the city has refused to lie down. Instead, it’s bouncing back with a renewed vigour, vitality and creative energy.

Spend time exploring the streets and you’ll find world-class street art alongside a thriving hospitality scene, with great bars, eateries and an eclectic mix of boutiques and shops that rival any city in the world. Explore Christchurch today and let the locals welcome you with open arms.

Hokitika Gorge

The beautiful Hokitika Gorge lies 33kms from the town of Hokitika on the west coast. Here you’ll find an otherworldly landscape where a steep-sided gorge drops down to a glacial river with perfectly turquoise-blue-green water and incredible rock formations make for postcard-worthy scenes. It’s well worth a visit.