From the snow-capped mountains to deep blue lakes, New Zealand’s South Island is not short of breathtaking sights to see. If taking a trip down to the South Island is on your bucket list, here are 10 incredible places that will leave you speechless.
1. Fox Glacier
With a drop towards the West Coast of the South Island of 2600 metres, the 12-metre long glacier Fox Glacier is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the South Island. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, check out the heli-hikes – a ride in a chopper onto the ice for a day of exploring.
2. Arthur’s Pass National Park
For avid trampers, Arthur’s Pass National Park has well-mapped day walks for all levels of experience. Ranging from an hour, a full-day, or even a multi-day adventure, hikers have the option to choose from a simple stroll to a challenging treck. Walking through the mountains and the valleys provides the opportunity to enjoy the nature, as well as snapping a scenic picture for your Instagram.
Hands down one of the most beautiful towns in the country, Queenstown is known for visits during the winter. With amazing sights and slopes, Queenstown is the place to ski and snowboard in the South Island. While in Queenstown, you should also check out the Luge for some afternoon fun and the famous Fergburger for a bite to eat. If you are an adrenaline junkie and planning to live in New Zealand, Queenstown is the perfect place for you.
4. Marlborough Sounds
In the middle of a blissful ferry ride from Wellington to Picton lies the beautiful scenery of the Marlborough Sounds. While there you can walk or bike the Queen Charlotte track, go bird watching at the Motuara Island Sanctuary, and if you’re lucky you might even get the chance to swim with dolphins.
5. Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
While the rocks at Punakaiki are something special to see if you are a Geologist or Geophysicist, the blowholes make them extra special for normal tourists.
6. Farewell Spit
At the northern end of Golden Bay lies the Farewell Spit, New Zealand’s longest sand spit. The home to many seabirds, and a beautiful lighthouse located at the very end, Farewell Spit is a destination worth the visit. The chance to horse ride or mountain bike along the sand dunes is a rare and wonderful opportunity in New Zealand.
7. Lake Tekapo
Part of the Mackenzie district in Canterbury, Tekapo is worth stopping at to take in snow-peaked mountains behind the turquoise-blue Lake Tekapo. It’s almost unreal milky blue colour comes from the glacial sediment left behind by a retreating glacier.
8. Mount Cook
New Zealand’s highest peak, and noted as one of the most picturesque views in the entire country, Mount Cook has many fun adventures for you to embark on during your visit. From trecking up the mountain to taking the boat around it, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check out the Mt John Observatory too while you’re there, the starlit night skies are worth the trip.
The Catlins is a major highlight of the Southern Scenic Route. Situated off the beaten track, the Catlins encompasses the area between Kaka Point and Fortrose. You will journey through rural heartland and podocarp forests, past rugged coastlines, hidden lakes and stunning waterfalls. The natural landscapes are enthralling and the wildlife is extraordinary.
Located in Fiordland you will find the majestic sights of Milford and Doubtful Sounds. Both of these are able to be explored by boat or by foot, but be prepared to want to stop every few minutes to take photos of the breathtaking views for your social media. Fiordland National Park is a highly Instagrammed location, and on a beautiful day, can present you with the most picturesque backdrop for a photo.