The best way to experience the South is by doing a road trip around the island. Explore the gigantic Franz Josef glacier, marvel at turquoise colour of Lake Tekapo, soak in natural thermal pools of Hamner Springs, watch migrating whales at Kaikoura, count the sheep dotting the green plains across the country or marvel at the wonderful Milford Sound. There is no shortage of beautiful sceneries in South Island.
Christchurch is a vibrant, energetic city where urban regeneration, creativity and innovative thrive. Picture amazing street art, innovative projects, a booming hospitality scene and state-of-the-art architecture that is changing the way the city looks, feels and functions – all the while staying true to its heritage and traditional English feel. The city’s award-winning Christchurch Botanic Gardens offer a relaxing inner-city escape and are found near The Arts Centre, one of the most significant collections of heritage buildings in New Zealand.
At the foot of the mountain sits the village of Mount Cook – a comfortable haven in one of the most unforgiving parts of New Zealand. You don’t have to be a mountaineer to interact with the stunning scenery; there are various alpine walks beginning near the village, all about three hours return. Flightseeing, tours to the Tasman Glacier and stargazing are other ways to optimise your time here.
Arguably one of the most picturesque towns in the South Island, Wanaka is a small township flanked by a magnificent lake and giant mountains an hours drive from Queenstown. During the summer (Nov-April) the area is full of people relaxing and playing around the lake. During the winter (June-Sep) the population doubles and it becomes a ski and snowboard mecca with the local ski resorts Cardrona and Treble Cone only 30 – 45 minutes away.
Dubbed as the “Adventure Capital of the World”, Queenstown has abundance of activities for the fearless. Bungee jumping, paragliding, Zip lining, 4WD driving, kayaking, jet boating, skydiving, river rafting, skiing, golf – there are all kind of activities to test your limits no matter the season. For the less adventurous, there are plenty of great options to suit every age, ability and budget. Popular choices includes steamship of boat cruises on the lake, a trip up the gondola, luging, farm tours or marvel at the wonderful Milford Sound.
Situated an easy five minute walk from central Queenstown, the Gondola carries visitors high above Queenstown to the Skyline complex located on Bob’s Peak. The best views in the region are found here, spread out in a spectacular 220º panorama. Numerous observation decks offer breathtaking views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables mountain range and across Lake Wakatipu to Cecil and Walter Peaks. Truly magnificent and awe-inspiring!
A New Zealand trip wouldn’t be complete without seeing Milford Sound. Located on the southwest of South Island, it is in Fiordland National Park. The 16 kilometre length from the head of the fiord to the open sea is lined with sheer rock faces that soar 1,200 metres high from the water. It is often called one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
There is no better way to take in the stunning sights of Glenorchy than on horseback. Come and take a ride through some of New Zealand’s most pristine countryside, glacial fed rivers with stunning backdrops that were used in “The Lord of the Rings Trilogy”, or showcase some of the rich history of the area all while enjoying this experience on horseback.
Kaikoura is the Whale Watching capital of New Zealand, every Whale Watch tour is a unique experience and the sightings vary. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year-round residents. A typical Whale Watch tour may encounter New Zealand Fur Seals, pods of Dusky Dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross. Depending on the season you may also see migrating Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales. Kaikoura often hosts the worlds largest dolphin the Orca and is home to the worlds smallest and rarest marine dolphin the Hectors.
Aoraki/Mount Cook, without a doubt, is an iconic New Zealand destination. Explore the spectacular landscape from the air and feel the snow-covered glacier beneath your feet. This unique experience is on offer in a helicopter, fixed wing ski plane or both! With a fleet including PC6 Pilatus Porters, Cessna 185 and AS355 Twin Squirrel helicopter all equipped to land on the Glaciers.
Queenstown’s most famous thrill-seeking activity is bungy jumping. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but it’s an experience you’ll never forget. Bungy jumping involves throwing yourself off a platform head first with a strong bungy cord tied around your ankles. Queenstown is home to the world’s first bungy jump – located off Kawerau Bridge– as well as the highest in the Southern Hemisphere, the 134 metre Nevis Bungy Jump.
You will be accompanied by an excellent skipper, as well as a fishing guide whose expertise at detecting great fishing spots will enable you to have the most thrilling and fruitful fishing experience possible. Queenstown is a wonderful location for fishing, filled with incredible alpine scenery and pristine waters teeming with fish. Fish in absolutely stunning surroundings as you dangle your hook in some of the most exciting waters you’ve ever come across.
See the wonders of the southern night sky, and experience the thrill of peering through powerful telescopes. On a clear night guides will introduce you to the objects and constellations visible in the sky to the naked eye, pointing with our bright lasers which almost seem to reach the sky! You will then move on to looking through several of Earth & Sky's telescopes. These are portable yet powerful, and are set up outside under the stars each night. You also get the opportunity to look through the impressive 16" Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector inside a permanent dome. Bring up your DSLR camera and the astrophotographers may be able to capture the night sky.
Take off from Queenstown, and fly above the rugged backcountry of Central Otago, before heading westward to where the glacial-fed rivers empty into Lake Wakatipu. Witness what the power of nature has created over the years, as you journey over two remarkable National Parks; Mt Aspiring and the world heritage listed Fiordland National Park. Upon landing at Milford Sound Airport you are welcomed to a view of Mitre Peak, standing tall at the head of the fiord. Surrounded by some of the most magnificent scenery in the world, you’ll board your Mitre Peak Cruises vessel and begin your voyage cruising the length of the 16km fiord out to the Tasman Sea. Complete your journey with a scenic flight over the Southern Alps back to Queenstown, and be captivated by the breathtaking and awe-inspiring views that can only be experienced from the air.
Take a unique breathtaking ride through dramatic and narrow canyons, and hold on tight for Queenstown’s only exhilarating full 360° spins. Combining the classic New Zealand invention of the jet boat with the Kiwi culture of adventure, Shotover Jet has become part of the fabric of what is quintessentially 'New Zealand' and is for many visitors the highlight of their Queenstown and New Zealand holiday.
Welcome to the rush of skydiving. There is nothing like skydiving for sheer heart-stopping adrenalin and adventure and there is no place like New Zealand to do it.
New Zealand's magnificent landscapes take on an extra dimension when you’re 12,000 feet in the air. Skydive in Queenstown or Wanaka and you will look from the vastness of the Central Otago high country to the snow-capped mountains surrounding the jewel-like lakes.
Queenstown's only dedicated Hot Pool complex located at the bottom of Coronet Peak Ski Field. While Queenstown is generally done at full pace, Onsen Hot Pools takes a step back to let you take in the beauty of the surroundings and simply relax. Our natural setting is matched by the pure water captured on its endless journey between the sky and earth to continually fill and refresh the pools. Imagine your own private spring fed hot pool, located high on a Cliffside; enjoy the tranquility and privacy of your own cedar-enclosed room overlooking breathtaking panoramic views of the Shotover River, Onsen Hot Pools is Relaxation The Natural Way.