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Home Experience New Zealand's South Island    
Why you should go?
A palette of dramatic scenes, New Zealand's South Island hosts the purest natural landscapes you'll ever experience. Lofty mountains, fiords and glaciers. The landscapes here are famous the world over.
Where to rest your head | All Things to do  
Explore the Other Side of the World

The wild and wonderful South Island of New Zealand offers everything from remote trekking to whale-watching. Within an area the same size as England and Wales, you can float over tranquil meadows in a hot-air balloon, get up close to a glacier, enjoy the fruits of the southernmost wine-making region in the world, and even get a glimpse into Antarctica.

Visit the Abel Tasman National Park

A coastal paradise that you can walk through or explore by cruise boat, sailing catamaran, water taxi or sea kayak, visitors love the way the Abel Tasman National Park mixes physical exertion with beach life. Bursts of hiking or paddling are punctuated by sun bathing, swimming and sedate snorkeling. Here, inviting sandy beaches fill the spaces between trees and tide line. Crystal clear streams tumble down mossy valleys to join the ocean. Granite and marble formations fringe the headlands, which are cloaked in regenerating native forest. 

Kayaking in Nelson

Known for its sunshine and calm waters, Nelson's Abel Tasman is blessed with some of New Zealand's most spectacular coastline. Paddle your kayak through sheltered waters and stop off on perfect, deserted beaches to explore. Watch the antics of fur seals and sea birds, and, if you are lucky, you might spot a pod of playful dolphins or a shy Little Blue Penguin.

Wine Tasting in Marlborough

There are over 40 cellar doors in Marlborough, why not take advantage of a pre-arranged wine tour with a local operator and visit a selection of the region’s top wine producers. You can map out your own route: self-drive, travel in style in a chauffeur- driven car or mix your daily exercise with your tasting in a cycle tour.

Whichever mode of transport you choose be sure to stop at a winery restaurant along the way. Hike the length of the Queen Charlotte Track as it winds its way through native forest, along view filled ridges and beside idyllic coves. 

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

The valley was formed by the glacier thousands of years ago and as it has retreated features have been carved into the valley. The spectacular Franz Josef glacier valley walk is a moderate 5 hr return walk up the glacier valley. The walk is not a track but a route that follows the riverbeds uneven surface, which is made up of rock and shingle, the river level can rise suddenly in heavy rain, extra care is required as you may get wet feet.

Star Gazing

Recently, 4,300 square kilometers of New Zealand’s South Island was recognized as an International Dark Sky Reserve, the largest reserve of this type worldwide. Covering much of the Aoraki/Mount Cook Mackenzie region, the Dark Sky Reserve has been labeled as ‘one of the best stargazing sites on earth’. Here, the heavens appear closer to earth. See constellations and shooting stars in glittering dark skies; much of the country has no light pollution and is home to some of the most accessible observatories in the world.

Go Backpacking and Making New Friends

First things first, there are no rules when it comes to backpacking in New Zealand because with so many incredible activities and experiences in one small country, you’ll never find yourself far from something fun to tick off your bucket list. In fact, you could easily find yourself on the beach in the morning and on a glacier in the afternoon via a short two to four-hour drive – and you would probably make new friends at some point along the way.

Jump the Bungy Way

Around the country you can leap from bridges, climbs, rail viaducts, specially made platforms perched on the edge of cliffs, and stadium roofs. For many visitors on a holiday to New Zealand, bungy jumping has almost become a rite of passage, that they take that heart-stopping leap of faith while they're here.

In the 1980’s, a couple of young kiwis, AJ Hackett and Henry van Asch, set up New Zealand's first commercial bungy operation, with a jump from the historic Kawarau Bridge near Queenstown. Since then, New Zealand has become the home of bungy.

Spot Some Whales

Kaikoura, on the east coast of the South Island, is one of the only places in the world where you can easily see sperm whales.

Sperm whales, the largest of the toothed whales, grow to over 15 metres in length. They dive deep into the ocean to feed. The resident population of sperm whales at Kaikoura can be seen all year round. Orca (killer whales) may be seen from December to March, and humpback whales in June and July. Several dolphin species are seen almost daily in the area.

Quintessential Wine Trail

The Trail serves up unforgettable wine and food experiences along the sign posted 380km (240 mile) route. The drive links three of New Zealand’s leading wine regions that account for more than 75% of the country’s wine production and has a reputation as one of the world’s best food and wine touring experiences. With more than 300 eateries in Wellington and 100 cellar doors along the journey, the Trail offers New Zealand's most memorable wine and food experiences.

Pamper Yourself in a Hot Pool or a Health Spa

The country's natural hot pools include picturesque springs in forests only accessible by walking tracks and isolated roads. These pools are truly magical – here, you can enjoy a soak amongst lush native bush serenaded by birdsong.

New Zealand is located where two tectonic plates of the earth’s crust meet. This causes a large amount of geothermal activity, allowing warm water to bubble up through the earth’s crust to form hot pools. These pools often contain minerals dissolved from the rocks they seeped through.

There are regional variations in weather in New Zealand but overall the climate here is temperate i.e. without extremes of heat or cold. February is the best month of the year to visit when it is warmest and less busy.
Adventure, Relaxation
Witness a magnificent night sky at the Mount John observatory at Lake Tekapo, an area hoping to be the first UNESCO "Starlight Reserve" in the world.
Great Drive Getaways
Wildlife Watch
Beach Treats
City Escapes
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