If you travel between the North Island and the South Island via the interisland ferry, you will encounter the truly magnificent Marlborough Sounds – a series of winding waterways that make up 150km of coastline. This region is also known for its vast wine-growing area with plenty of opportunities to visit at cellar doors.
Golden beaches, a world-famous and easily-accessible coastal track and lush native forest make New Zealand’s smallest National Park perfect for relaxation and adventure.
A small city with plenty to enjoy. The Nelson region is known for sunshine, creative arts, fantastic mountain biking, some extensive cave systems and the wonderous World of Wearable Arts Museum. History and aviation buffs will enjoy a visit to the Omaka museum where Peter Jackson’s impressive collection of World War One aircraft and artefacts.
Famed for its whale watching opportunities, this beautiful coast is also home to albatross, seals, penguins, dolphins and more. Choose to kayak with seals, swim with dolphins or photograph whales in a flight-seeing excursion.
The largest city in the South Island is a creative hub and blessed with a large dose of adventure right on its doorstep. The greater Christchurch and Canterbury region offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy mountain biking, cycling, hiking, beaches and winter sports. Fill your days with day trip adventures for all the group: swim with dolphins off the coast of a French settlement, enjoy an alpine spa retreat, or get to know some friendly animals on a wildlife tour.
For phenomenal star-gazing, spend time within the 4,300 square kilometres of the South Island that is recognised as an International Dark Sky Reserve. You will clearly be able to see the Milky Way and perhaps (if you time it right) the aurora australis, or the Southern Lights. The towering peaks of New Zealand’s highest mountain – Aoraki – appears to touch the sky and is where SIr Edmund Hillary trained his body and his psyche for his ascent of Mt Everest. You don’t need to be a mountain climber to enjoy the wilderness as there are plenty of easily accessible walks around this area including near Lake Tekapo which is known for its bright turquoise waters.
Everyone’s favourite South Island adventure playground is blessed with an alpine setting that is nothing short of spectacular. Allow at least two days to enjoy bungy jumping, jet-boating, sky-diving, exploring the breathtaking beauty and perhaps some world-class Pinot Noir. The young and the young at heart will love hurtling down Queenstown hill on a luge.
Pretty as a picture, Wanaka is a small alpine town set beside a lake with an abundance of natural beauty to explore. Families will enjoy a visit to the quirky Puzzling World where illusions, mazes and weird perspectives will entertain and delight.
Discover spectacular scenery shaped by thousands of years of glacial erosion in the World Heritage Area that encompasses Franz Josef Glacier. One of the best ways to get up close to this remarkable glacier is to take a guided heli-hike tour (no experience necessary). Surrounded by rainforest, the nearby Glacier Hot Pools are the perfect way to start or end a day.
The most famous scenic highlight of New Zealand is often described as the eighth wonder of the world. Here you will experience beauty on an epic scale and you’ll be captivated by the grandeur of nature and wildlife (seals and dolphins as well as wonderful birdlife) of this remote location. In wet weather, you may be unable to see the iconic Mitre Peak, but the hundreds of cascading waterfalls created by rain will make up for it. There are many ways to explore Milford Sound, from fly-cruise-fly options, to staying overnight nearby and waking to this breathtaking landscape.
Known for elegant Georgian architecture, Scottish heritage, a unique castle and some incredible nature experiences, Dunedin is a captivating destination located on the lower east coast of the South Island. Visit an albatross colony, take a selfie at the top of the Southern Hemisphere’s steepest street and see blue and yellow-eyed penguins.