Things to Do in South Island, New Zealand

From glaciers, and mountains to lakes, New Zealand’s South Island has a lot to offer as a holiday destination. Being a gem in New Zealand’s crown for outdoor travellers, South Island welcomes more than a million visitors annually. It offers one of the most unique and diverse natural landscapes in the world, making it the ideal destination for outdoor lovers. It also has an amazing wine scene.

Did you know another name for South Island is “Te Waipounamu”?, which means “water and greenstone”, offers top tourist destinations like Hokitika Gorge or Milford Sound and a castle from Victorian times (and the only castle in the country) or an active tour of New Zealand’s South Island. Not only that, you’ll be able to do a ton of activities like hiking nature trails or one full of street art in Christchurch, or just visiting a national park and enjoying the landscape. There’s something to do for everyone.

By being so close to Australia, it’s a top choice for Aussies looking for a holiday spot with Australia TravelEssence. If you’re looking for ideas about the things to do on the South Island, don’t worry, I got you covered.

Things to Do in South Island

Stroll Around Queenstown

If Queenstown will be your base, where you will be staying, I highly recommend spending a whole day in town. It’s a picturesque riverside town with colourful streets with a lot to do and see. Usually labelled as the adventure hub of the world, you can find any kind of activity, from water to inland.

It’s true that each different season has something to offer. But fortunately, you can have access to most of the things to do all year round. For example, you can do jet boating, white water rafting, bungee jumping, or skydiving, just to name a few. If you want to ski, head over to Queenstown in winter, where you can find a whole range of activities, with four different ski areas.

Visit the Only Castle in the Country

New Zealand has only one castle, and it’s located on the South Island. It was built in 1871 by W. Larnach, offering an interesting dive into the history of Dunedin. The area of the castle is stunning, with incredible gardens to walk and relax in. It also has a ballroom which is more than 2,900 square feet and if you want to take a good look at the surroundings, head to the tower and will get to view the Otago Peninsula and the gardens.

Each day, the castle hosts a tea party at 3 pm. Don’t miss it!

Do a Wine Tour at Marlborough

If you want to get a sip of wine, don’t worry, South Island boasts a ton of wineries, each of them offering something different. Chances are you have already got a taste of sauvignon blanc, it’s an incredible wine, and the biggest draw of it is the fact you can get it here from its birthplace.

Situated on the north side, Marlborough is the birthplace of most of the sauvignon blanc creations in the country. Perhaps, this is the best place to get some wine, you can find restaurants, farmer markets, and wine-tasting trips in the area, with a huge selection of wineries to choose from. 

We hope these tips on things to do in South Island, New Zealand help you when planning your trip.

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