Traveling across the South Island of New Zealand is something that every visitor should do while in this region of the world. The best way to do it is to spend a couple of weeks making a giant loop around the island. Unfortunately, the reality is that not everybody has the luxury to spend that much time away from daily responsibilities. Luckily, there are plenty of places that you can go for a short visit and return to home base with time to spare.
This destination is ubiquitous with traveling in the South Island. Many visitors become aware of this town shortly after arriving in New Zealand. The allure comes from the vast array of outdoor and indoor activities within the immediate proximity of the city. You can do everything from skydiving and bungy jumping to skiing and biking or even going on a wine tour in Queenstown.
Despite the devastation that Christchurch faced from the 2011 earthquake, it remains a fun city with a great varieties of food and art. One of the main attractions is an outdoor shopping mall that was created solely out of repurposed shipping containers. The city’s botanical gardens are also nice to stroll through on a sunny day. If you have a few hours to spare, the small French-influenced town of Akaroa is just an hour’s drive from the center of the city.
Franz Joseph Glacier
If your home base is on the East Coast of the South Island, it may take some time to get to Franz Joseph Glacier, however it’s a nice road trip through Arthur’s Pass or the more southern mountains near Wanaka. Franz Joseph is the home of one of the most viewed glaciers on the South Island. Although walking right up to the glacier is not permitted due to the risk of falling ice, there are opportunities to take helicopter trips up onto the glacier. The town also features a network of trails that are a short walk from the center of town.
Located about a two hours north of Te Anau, Milford Sound is one of the most famous and photographed fiords in New Zealand. The Milford Sound also offers boat cruises that take visitors around the fiord, out into the Tasman Sea and to the Milford track, which is a tramping trail that goes along the edge of the sound. Although it rains nearly 300 days per year in this region, the showers don’t last too long and you should have plenty of opportunities to go outside and enjoy the views.
If you go to Stewart Island, you can visit the most Southern Point in New Zealand as well as take part in some other intriguing activities. Cage diving with sharks is popular, but be sure to do your research on the ethical companies. You can hike the entire circumference of the island and you may even run into the ever-elusive wild Kiwi bird.
No matter where you end up going, you’re sure to see some truly incredible sights and make memories to last a lifetime!