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South Island, New ZealandSouth Island Activity Highlights

South Island | Regional Information | Activity Highlights | Scenic Highlights | History

No matter what kind of entertainment you are looking for, whether adrenaline activities, adventure activities, or relaxing activities, you will find it in the South Island.

South Island Activity Highlights Overview

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Biking a wine trail in Marlborough, New Zealand
Biking Wine Trail, Marlborough
Photographer: Ian Trafford
(www.iantraffordphotos.com)

No matter what your particular idea of fun is, you will find more than your share of activities and attractions in the South Island of New Zealand.

If you are looking for a more relaxing choice of activities, try wine tasting, visit a museum or real-life castle, or take a beautiful scenic cruise on one of the sounds.

If you would like a more adventurous choice of activities, take a week and hike one of the many incredible tracks or take a hot air balloon ride over Christchurch City.

For some scare-raising adventure, bungy jump 132 metres from the Nevis Highwire Bungy in Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital. Or go white water rafting or glacial hiking.

Marlborough Wine Country

The Marlborough region is known for its fine wine, beautiful scenery and a year-round sunny climate that regularly records the highest sunshine hours in New Zealand.

Marlborough is also New Zealand's largest grape growing and wine making region with 65 wineries, 290 grape growers and 4,054 hectares in grape production. Nearly all of the wineries welcome visitors for tasting sessions and many have a cafe or restaurant on site. Sauvignon Blanc is the region's specialty, but wines made with Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are also highly acclaimed.

Christchurch - The Garden City

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Avon River, Christchurch, New Zealand
Avon River, Christchurch
Photographer: Hiroshi Nameda
(hnamechan@hotmail.com)

Visit the beautiful tree-lined city of Christchurch and get close to nature.

  • International Antarctic Centre - Features a real snow and ice experience and a 45 minute behind the scenes tour of the Antarctic Campus on the Hagglund Ride
  • Southern Encounter Aquarium - An interactive aquarium in the city centre
  • Willowbank Wildlife Reserve - A kiwi breeding programme and native New Zealand bird life
  • Orana Wildlife Park - Experience the diverse splendour of the animal kingdom in tranquil, spacious surroundings
  • Parks - Saunter through Hagley Park, then admire Christchurch Botanic Gardens
  • Mona Vale Homestead - Five hectares of gardens and fabulous views of the Avon River

Queenstown - Premier Four Season Retreat

Queenstown is the Southern Hemisphere's premiere four season alpine and lake resort. Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and overlooked by the majestic Remarkables Range, Queenstown is the perfect destination all year round.

Take a trip to Skippers Canyon to enjoy a mix of history and high adventure including bungy jumping, rafting, flying fox and jet boating. Go jet boating on the Shotover, Kawarau or Dart Rivers. Experience white-water rafting on the Shotover or Kawarau Rivers. Drift over Queenstown at dawn in a hot air balloon. Or test how brave you really are and bungy jump the Southern Hemisphere's highest land based bungy jump—The Nevis Highwire Bungy.

For some slightly tamer entertainment, ride the gondola 450 metres above Queenstown to Bob's Peak to enjoy views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains. While there jump on the luge (a short raised toboggan for one person seated) and enjoy some great fun with your kids or friends.

Wings Over Wanaka

Wanaka is an all-year holiday destination with a passion for aviation. Every second year Wanaka hosts the 'Warbirds Over Wanaka' show. It is classed as one of the best Warbird shows in the world and features historic aircraft, RNZAF jets, aerobatic formations and helicopters. If you can't wait for this, take a visit to the New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum and see a collection of flyable World War II fighter aircraft.

For some light humour and quirky amusement, take a visit to Stewart Landsborough's Puzzling World, a world unique attraction specialising in puzzling eccentricity. Puzzling World offers the world's first "modern-styled" great maze, incredible illusion rooms, a puzzle centre/cafe, large gift shop and eccentric architecture and installations.

Mystical Beauty of Fiordland

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Doubtful Sound, Fiordland National Park, Fiordland, New Zealand
Doubtful Sound
Fiordland National Park
Photographer: Bob McCree
(www.bobmccreephotos.co.nz)

As one of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand, Fiordland has achieved World Heritage status and is often called the Sightseeing and Walking Capital of the world.

Take a spectacular scenic flight over Fiordland National Park—either fixed wing or floatplane. View crystal clear lakes, glacier carved fiords and endless snow clad mountains. Cruise around Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Dusky or Breaksea Sounds and be awed by the pristine forest, sheer rock walls and tumbling waterfalls. Local inhabitants include bottlenose dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and Fiordland crested penguins. Or spend a day or a week on one of the many spectacular tracks, such as the Milford, Kepler, Routeburn, Hollyford or Dusky Tracks.

South Island Accommodation

South Island is a popular tourist destination and offers a wide range of accommodation options:

View more South Island Accommodation options.

Useful South Island Links

To help plan your South Island holiday choose from the main categories below:

South Island Region Information

South Island Tourism Operators

Featured

 
Mainstay New Zealand Hotels

Mainstay NZ Hotels

Large collection of independent hotels.

Choice Hotels

Choice Hotels

Holiday packages for any occasion.

Distinction Hotels

Distinction Hotels

Great hotels in great NZ wide locations.

Featured

 
Mainstay New Zealand Hotels

Mainstay NZ Hotels

Large collection of independent hotels.

Choice Hotels

Choice Hotels

Holiday packages for any occasion.

Distinction Hotels

Distinction Hotels

Great hotels in great NZ wide locations.