Featuring dramatic glaciers, snowy mountains and glorious lakes, the South Island of New Zealand is full of adventure, fun and, of course, incredible food and wine. Here are 5 of the best reasons to include the South Island on your New Zealand itinerary.
The South Island has every activity imaginable to keep the thrill seekers occupied – from skiing and snowboarding on the mountains, to bungee jumping, jet boating, hiking and downhill luging. If outdoor adventure is your thing, you will be spoiled for choice on the South Island. The west coast is wild with rivers and rainforests, as well as glaciers and other amazing attractions to explore. There are plenty of cycling trails to enjoy through the central region, while the southern areas are home to unique rock and boulder formations and rugged coastlines filled with nature walks.
It was a tough choice not to put this first, but if you love amazing wine, this should be your number one reason for visiting the South Island (no judgement from us). Home to the Central Otago and Marlborough wine regions – arguably two of New Zealand’s best – you’ll be filling your glass with world class wines wherever you go on the South Island. Bordering the Marlborough wine region, Nelson is worth a visit to try their Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris varieties.
It just so happens that the South Island is home to some of the best events on New Zealand’s calendar. Along with the big ticket annual events such as the Queenstown Winter Festival, the Christchurch Marathon, and the Audi Quattro Winter Games in Wanaka, there’s also an abundance of smaller arts, theatre, food and wine, film and cultural events held across the South Island all year round that celebrate the best the regions have to offer.
Home to rare birds, reptiles and mammals, New Zealand is full of unique wildlife. While you would be lucky to spot a kiwi – New Zealand’s national animal – in the wild, venture just off the coast of the South Island to Stewart Island, where you can spot around 20,000 of the flightless birds in one small place! Considered to be the number one bucket list item for visiting New Zealand, swimming with Hector’s Dolphins is another experience not to miss – with the rare mammals found only in the inshore waters of the South Island near Akaroa.
The whole of the South Island is full of amazing foodie experiences from incredible seafood to farm fresh produce. Experience the local delicacy, Pāua (the Maori word for abalone), and of course, you can’t leave without trying the South Island’s signature dish – lamb – expertly served up at many of the restaurants around the country. If you love a good burger (let’s face it, who doesn’t?), make time for the taste sensations at Christchurch’s Bacon Brothers or Queenstown’s famous Fergburger. Join the queue that’s often leading out the door and up the main street of town – trust us, it’s worth the wait.
Experience peace and tranquility in the heart of an ancient volcano. Located in the delightful seaside town of Akaroa, on the Banks Peninsula, Club Lavaud is a charming boutique timeshare resort with a distinct Gaelic flavour. Surrounded by picturesque hills covered with lush green vegetation and beautiful blue bays, this former French settlement is just 75 km from Christchurch. The resort is a mix of colonial architecture and modern amenities, and offers a relaxing escape from the daily grind. The fully self-contained apartments feature two bathrooms with spa baths, as well as private balconies. Overlooking Akaroa harbour, one of New Zealand's finest deep-water harbours, Club Lavaud is just a five-minute stroll from the town centre, where you'll find first class restaurants, boutique shops, and art galleries offering works by talented local artists. The resort's location makes it the perfect water sports playground for yachting, power boating, windsurfing, water-skiing, swimming or bobbing around in a rowboat. Discovering the dramatic scenery of the outer bays in a sea kayak is simply spectacular. The best way to experience the breathtaking natural beauty of the peninsula is to take advantage of the fantastic walks and cycle tracks that weave among the many beaches and streams, or catch a boat to get up close to the rare and beautiful Hectors Dolphin, one of the smallest dolphins in the world. While the history buffs are soaking up the area's rich past, everyone else can sample the delicious selection of local wines and exquisite cheeses. Experience a delightful holiday that feeds body, mind and spirit - at Club Lavaud.
With New Zealand's Southern Alps forming the backdrop, Club Pacific Queenstown has the perfect setting for a mountainside getaway. Club Pacific Queenstown is a timeshare resort situated at the head of the Frankton Arm of Queenstown's Lake Wakatipu. From a position just across the road from the lake shore you can look up the length of the lake to the spectacular Thompson Mountains - a view to die for.The resort is at a crossroads leading to the Remarkables Ski Field, Lake Te Anau, the Wanaka basin and Cromwell. Club Pacific Queenstown offers one-bedroom, self-service accommodations that can sleep up to four people and are positioned to take full advantage of the spectacular views. Each of the townhouses is fully self contained. Club Pacific Queenstown is a five-minute drive from the heart of the town centre. The resort offers bicycles to enable you to enjoy some of the fabulous cycle tracks that follow the shore of the lake. You can explore the extensive range of wineries in the famous Gibbston Valley, travel aboard the beautiful steamship the TSS Earnslaw, or drive through to Arrowtown and try your hand at panning for gold at a working gold mine. The resort's stunning mountain scenery has a distinct seasonal beauty. In winter, visitors can ski the nearby ski fields. Summer is popular with the lake and rivers providing a wide variety of water sports. It's a holiday you'll never forget.
In the heart of Central Otago, at the foot of the Southern Alps, lies beautiful Lake Wanaka, home of Edgewater Club. Surrounded by lush green lawns that appear to flow seamlessly into the crystal waters of the lake itself, this resort offers guests a genuine, all year 'round, Alpine retreat. You'll never forget the first time you see the statuesque mountain peaks mirrored in the still waters of the lake. That's the joy of a simple stroll by the water's edge.<br /><br />Spacious villas in natural wood, paved patios with stunning lake and mountain views, and contemporary decor combine to create a truly amazing place to stay. Whatever the season, you can enjoy the full facilities of the attached hotel, including the spa, squash courts, golf course and the culinary delights of Nathanial's Restaurant.<br /><br />Two of the best ski areas, Treble Cone and Cardrona, are a short drive away, and whether you're an expert or beginner, you'll find the type of ski experience you're looking for. Alternatively, you can soar above the clouds for a breathtakingly beautiful helicopter ride. During the summer, the waters of the lake are perfect for rafting and jet boating, water skiing and trout fishing, Lake Wanaka is one huge aquatic playground all summer long. But if you'd rather be on dry land, strap on your walking boots, as Mount Aspiring National Park offers what is possibly the best collection of half-day walks in the whole of New Zealand.<br /><br />If it's time to start holidaying on the edge. It's time to experience the Edgewater Club.
Mount Hutt Lodge is only an hour from the city of Christchurch. The lodge looks out across the glistening waters of the Rakaia River and the spectacular snow-capped Mount Hutt Mountain Range. Surrounded by tranquillity and natural beauty, this comfortable and modern resort takes full advantage of its hilltop position, and guests will enjoy views that are both stunning and tantalising, in equal measure. Mt Hutt Lodge units are fully self-contained and sleep four. All have spectacular river and mountain views. There is a children's playground, a pool, and beautiful vistas wherever you turn. Waking up to the majestic Southern Alps, Rakaia Gorge and the Pacific Ocean make this an awe-inspiring place to stay. Start the day with a dip in the outdoor pool before heading off to explore. Whether you saddle a horse or take to the skies in a hot air balloon, you'll discover a new appreciation for Mother Nature's craftsmanship. It's something you can reflect on later as you enjoy a delicious meal in the restaurant. Mount Hutt not only has the longest ski season in the Southern Hemisphere, it is also blessed with most reliable snowfall. It's excellent for skiers, snowboarders and aprÃ¨s skiers of all levels. But there's more to the area than fun in the powder. There are hikes through breathtaking scenery, first-class golf courses and, of course, salmon fishing. You're also convenient to Springfield Station, where you can board the Transalpine Express, one of the world's great railway journeys. It's a must do! Combine a breathtaking location with warm hospitality and you have the Mt. Hutt Lodge - vacation perfection!
Queenstown Mews is just a few minutes' walk from the edge of Lake Wakatipu and the centre of Queenstown. With its distinct Alpine feel, the attractive fully self-contained units are the ideal starting point from which to experience the delights of the area. And there are many! During the warmer months, the lake is your base for water-sport action, like the heart-stopping thrills of an extreme jet boating ride. Or you can get on board with canoeing, windsurfing and fishing. For those with brave souls, the area offers walks through truly beautiful scenery. Those with strong hearts can take a leap of faith and try bungee jump. Keen golfers will relish the opportunity to play some of the most scenic courses in the world, including the award-winning Milbrook Resort where you can hire clubs from reception; bicycles too! Skiing is the big thing in winter, and there are four superb international ski fields just 20 minutes away. After a day on the slopes, you can hop in the sauna and steam away the chill or simply relax in the spa and plan tomorrow's adventure. With its top restaurants and cafés, great shopping and exciting nightlife, Queenstown is an all-year-round destination, and Queenstown Mews puts you at the heart of the action.
Set against the breathtaking Remarkables Mountain Range and boasting immediate Lake Wakatipu frontage, Oaks Queenstown Shores Resort - RENTAL offers spacious Queenstown apartment-style accommodation in New Zealand’s most popular ski town.<br /><br />Simply perfect for families, couples and individuals looking for deluxe accommodation to meet their holiday needs, all Oaks Queenstown Shores Resort - RENTAL rooms offer privacy and plenty of space to ensure complete comfort during your stay. There is a communal landscaped courtyard with barbecue facilities, a gymnasium and sauna to enjoy. and a range of guest services including a 24-hour reception, a drying room for your ski equipment, undercover car parking, a complimentary city shuttle bus service and guest laundry service.<br /><br />Oaks Queenstown Shores Resort - RENTAL is ideally located just 15 minutes’ drive from Queenstown International Airport and within easy reach of some of the best ski fields in the world including Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona and Treble Cone. We’re only minutes away from world-class golfing, boating, wineries, shopping, walking trails, a host of high-adrenaline sports and the Queenstown Convention Bureau.<br /><br />For a ski trip or a comfortable getaway, think of Oaks Queenstown Shores Resort - RENTAL. So much to do and an ideal place to be.
Pines Resort is an oasis of tranquility at the foot of New Zealand's Southern Alps. Carved by glaciers and surrounded by statuesque mountains, Lake Wanaka is stunningly beautiful. At times, the reflections on the mirror-like surface of the lake simply take your breath away. Sitting on the southern shores of the lake, the resort boasts incredible views of the snow-capped peaks of the Mount Aspiring range. Relax by the resort's heated indoor pool, play a set or two of tennis, or borrow a bike and head into town. You'll find a number of great restaurants and cafes serving delicious local produce. During the winter, guests can enjoy hiking, mountain sightseeing (by plane) and breathtaking glacier walks. With three world-class ski fields on its doorstep, this small mining town has become a winter sports haven. If you haven't tried it, heli-skiing is a must-do. In summer, the lake becomes an aquatic playground, the air buzzing with the hum of outboard motors as water sports enthusiasts take to the lake. There's everything from jet boating, rafting and trout fishing, to water skiing and windsurfing. If that's not enough to keep you busy, there are also horseback riding and hiking. However, the real hero of your holiday at The Pines Resort will always be the scenery, forming a spectacular tapestry of vivid colours and rich textures into which your holiday adventure is woven.