New Zealand - South Island

South Island New Zealand - Our top 16 places of where to go in New Zealand South Island - If you are looking for spectacular scenery, some amazing places to visit, with a wide range of attractions, activites and South Island adventure. Dominating the South Island of New Zealand are the Southern Alps, which run the full length of the island. Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand, and a great location to explore Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park. In the south is Dunedin with its Scottish heritage, and diverse wildlife. To the north are sunny Nelson and Marlborough, famous for their wines and food.

1) Queenstown

New Zealand's number one all year round alpine resort, magnificently located besides Lake Wakatipu in the Southern Alps, Queenstown has every adventure activity imaginable. You could try your hand at jetboating, white water rafting or bungy jumping. In winter try skiing at the nearby ski resorts of the Remarkables and Coronet Peak.

2) Fiordland National Park

The largest National Park in New Zealand is Fiordland, home to the magical Milford Sound and Mitre Peak. Less well known, but even larger, is Doubtful Sound. Take a cruise, go sea kayaking or fishing or try one of the many hikes in the park.

3) West Coast Glaciers

The West Coast of New Zealand has the iconic Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Walking to the face of the glacier, taking a guided walk or helihike on the glaciers is a must do New Zealand attraction. Enjoy spectacular mirror like reflections of magnificent Mt Cook in nearby Lake Matheson.

4) Dunedin

An old University town, Dunedin is a unique mix of historic buildings, Scottish and gold mining history, along with natural wild life attractions of Otago Peninsula.

5) Christchurch

Christchurch, New Zealand is the largest city and main gateway to the South Island of New Zealand and is often referred to as the "Garden City", with its picturesque parks and gardens. Take a ride on the Christchurch Tram, go punting on the Avon River as it winds its way through Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens.

6) Nelson Region

An area synonymous with arts and crafts, fine food and wine, and the gateway to the natural wonders of Abel Tasman National Park, Golden Bay and Nelson Lakes National Parks.

7) Marlborough Region

Famous for wine and food, as well as the nearby nature lovers paradise of the Marlborough Sounds. Marlborough is world famous for Sauvignon Blanc wine and visiting one of the wineries is a must. Outdoor pursuits including swimming with the dolphins, fishing, hiking or kayaking in the Marlborough and Queen Charlotte Sounds.

8) Aoraki - Mount Cook

New Zealand's highest mountain is a great place to base yourself for scenic flights over Mt Cook and the glaciers, hiking, excellent fly fishing, 4WD trips or taking a glacier boat trip on the Tasman Glacier lake. You can visit the Sir Edmund Hilary mountaineering centre, or try star gazing in the evening.

9) Hanmer Springs

Here you can stay and relax in the famous Thermal Hot Springs and Spa, have a massage, or spend time browsing the boutique shops in the village. Hanmer Springs is also great for mountain biking, hiking or walking on the forest trails, taking a jetboat ride or even bungy jumping.

10) Kaikoura

The small seaside town of Kaikoura, surrounded by stunning mountain scenery of the Southern Alps, is a mecca for wildlife. Here you can go whale watching, swim with the dolphins or seals, and view pelagic sea birds in their natural environment. At night try the local crayfish (lobster) or other seafood specialities.

11) Wanaka

The idyllic small town of Wanaka, New Zealand is often bypassed by visitors. However Wanaka has a great range of family activities, as well as being an ideal base for adventure enthusiasts interested in hiking, fishing, mountain climbing, skiing or snowboarding. Wanaka has 2 world class ski areas of Cardrona and Treble Cone, as well as cross country skiing at the Snow Farm, and freestyle skiing or snowboarding at the Snow Park.

12) Stewart Island

Stewart Island is strictly speaking not part of the South Island, but is instead New Zealand's third largest island. It is rarely visited by the first time visitor to New Zealand. As a result, it has managed to maintain its unspoilt natural charm. Stewart Island is a haven for nature enthusiasts with opportunities for bird watching, fishing, hiking and kayaking.

13) Greymouth

The West Coast of New Zealand's largest town, Greymouth is the turn around point for the TranzAlpine express from Christchurch, and also a region with a lot of history revolving around the old gold mines. Connect from here with car rental or coach services to the other West Coast attractions.

14) Hokitika

A small vibrant historic town on the West Coast, home to a thriving arts and crafts community. Each year the Hokitika Wild Foods Festival is held in March. Don't miss it, if you are there at this time of year!

15) Akaroa

Just 75kms from Christchurch, Akaroa has a great English and French history. You can easily spend a day seeing the historic buildings, boutique shops, arts & crafts, or taking time out at a local cafe. For nature lovers, a dolphin cruise on Akaroa harbour is not to be missed.

16) Punakaiki

Located on one of the most spectacular scenic coastal drives in the world, Punakaiki is famous for the world-renowned Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.