Guide to the South Island of New Zealand

Many of you have probably gotten a small taste of the kind of scenery that New Zealand has to offer from movies such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy. That provided you a glimpse of some breathtaking mountains, forests and waterfalls. Having grown up in New Zealand in the biggest city (Auckland), I can tell you very honestly that I could never really understand the appeal of the country until I took a eye-opening road trip down the south island. I landed in Nelson and from there drove to the very tip: Invercargill.

Mount Cook

Mount Cook

The only way to really see the South Island of New Zealand is by car, foot and helicopter. Destinations such as Milford Sound are only really accessible by foot and there is no other way to see it. Cameras and photographs are one way to capture the beauty but nothing compares with being there – the sights, the weather, the smells and the rewarding feeling that you get knowing that only a handful of people around the world are able to see and be where you are.

Bluff

Bluff

Just taking a glance at a map of the South Island, you could spend a couple of weeks snaking your way down the country and always see something new. If you are plotting a trip down south, in order of how you could drive, I would recommend the following places:

• Kaikoura – famous for whale watching
• Hanmer springs
• Ross – you can pan for gold here
• Christchurch – the biggest city in the South Island
• Athurs Pass
• Franz Josef Glacier
• Mount Cook
• Lake Pukaki
• Wanaka – great if you love skiing
• Queenstown – also another great skiing destination
• Milford Sound – bring your hiking boots!

new-zealand-south-island-destinations

If you wish to go even further south to really feel like you’re at the edge of the world then you would need to go to Invercargill. It’s the biggest city that far south and you’d be a bit far-fetched to even call it big. From there it’s worthwhile to get to Bluff, the furthest town south (without going to Stuart Island). Bluff is world famous for their oysters. As a matter of fact, any fresh seafood you can eat when you are there will be delicious.


I took this trip when I was just the young age of 17 and when a teenager can compliment and appreciate the true beauty of a country, it speaks volumes. For anyone who likes any form of outdoor activity or who wants to just see a small untouched piece of what the world has to offer, the South Island of New Zealand is definitely a place to add to your list.

Haast

Haast

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