South Island

Middle Earth come to life

New Zealand's South Island is a place of epic grandeur, with spectacular scenery at every bend in the road, soaring snow-capped peaks, gorgeous glacial lakes, and wild coastlines that are home to unique wildlife. It's a place where the outdoorsy and adventurous will feel right at home.

There's iconic Queenstown, the undisputed adventure capital of New Zealand, the Scottish heritage of Dunedin, the quiet beauty of the Catlins Coast, Kiwi encounters on Stewart Island, whale-watching in Kaikoura, and the splendid landscapes of Fiordland. Active travellers have many scenic Great Walks like the classic Milford or Routeburn Tracks to explore, while those who want to kick back a little more can enjoy the alpine scenery from their car window on a road trip to remember.

Further north there's an entirely different landscape to be explored, with the sunny and temperate Abel Tasman National Park offering golden sandy beaches that have to be seen to be believed. The Marlborough Sounds offer scenic walks and water-based activities, while award-winning wineries await nearby in the Marlborough region. Don't miss the gorgeous parks and gardens of Christchurch, and while you're there make sure you chat to some locals to get a feel for just how resilient its inhabitants are - this is a city that has experienced and suffered much, and has rebounded after each setback stronger than ever.

International visitors rave about the South Island, and we're so lucky to have a place like this right on our doorstep. It's time to get out and explore what we have right here! Ask one of our expert travel consultants for their advice on how best to get around and itinerary options, and they'll be able to tailor a South Island adventure for your budget and interests. 

Things you should know about the South Island

The annual rainfall on Stewart Island, the most southerly part of New Zealand, is less than that in Auckland!

Dunedin is Gaelic for Edinburgh, hence why it is often referred to as "the Edinburgh of the south." 

Approximately 60% of the South Island is made up of mountain ranges. 

Tips and advice from our travel advisors

Stewart Island should be added to every traveller's bucket list. It is visually stunning. It is a surprising mix of white sand beaches, tiny forested islands home to a mass of native birdlife and the friendliest locals around.
Amanda Dudson
World Travellers Christchurch City
Make your way around the Otago Peninsula, stopping off at Larnach Castle, the Royal Albatross Centre and Penguin Place. Drive down the low road and back over the high road into the city for a coffee or wine overlooking St Clair beach.
Sharon Hall
World Travellers Christchurch City
Abel Tasman National Park is a beautiful place. You can kayak on the Motueka River, climb Mt Arthur or Mt Owen, or go to beautiful Golden Bay. You would need a month to see what’s on offer here.
Jeremy Matthews
World Travellers Motueka

Ready to begin your next big adventure?

Give us a call, or head into your nearest World Travellers store. Our experienced travel advisors create unique trips so you can experience the world in new and exciting ways.