The great outdoors
The beaches, coves and forest islets of Queen Charlotte Sounds. The awe-inspiring Southern Alps. The deep river valleys of Fjordland. South Island is New Zealand at its most epic. Home to only 25% of the population, this is somewhere to get outdoors and relish being away from it all.
Even out in the wilderness, you still find some of the best luxury hotels in New Zealand. At Blanket Bay, you’ll have the Humboldt Mountains behind you, Lake Wakatipu in front, and a canopy of stars above.
Backed by the Southern Alps, with their snow-fields and glaciers, it’s no surprise that Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world. Whether it’s bungee jumping, white-water rafting, hiking or heli-skiing you’re interested in, you’ll find it all here.
Cameras at the ready. Base yourself in Christchurch and spend days sailing out to watch whales and dolphins. Or head up to the Marlborough Sounds to explore the Abel Tasman Coast Track. This national park is home to colonies of New Zealand fur seals and the world’s smallest penguins.
Waterfronts and wineries
South Island isn’t all sheer glaciers and snow-capped peaks. The northern coast is known for its sheltered coves and sandy bays – ideal for exploring by yacht or kayak. Further west towards Nelson, you’ll also find plenty of vineyards. If adventure is still calling, Mouteka Marina is close by, with plenty of opportunities to sail, fish and dive.
Transforming towns and cities
The centre of Christchurch was devastated by earthquakes in 2011, which destroyed many of its 19th century buildings including the gothic-revival cathedral. Rather than simply rebuilding what was there, the city is transforming itself with creative new structures and plenty of outdoor art. Watch it blossom from The George, a boutique hotel overlooking Hagley Park.