New Zealand's clean, green and serene South Island is an ideal destination for independent travel, with spectacular drives and access to dramatic wilderness areas containing giant glaciers, lakes, rivers, rugged peaks and a stunning coastline. It's a place of action and adventure, where days are spent hiking and racing along rushing rivers on everything from rafts to jet boats. Cross its Alpine landscapes by train, or take the car to link spectacular cities with creaking glaciers and sun-dappled fjords. Speak to our destination specialists, who'll use their expert knowledge of the country to plan your perfect New Zealand holiday.
Adventures in the great outdoors
In particular New Zealand's South Island is known for its walks, including the Milford, Routeburn and Abel Tasman tracks, and tramping – as the locals call it – along these trails is a great way to get a feel for the region’s unspoiled natural attractions. There are also opportunities for jet boating, fishing, heli-skiing, sea kayaking, scenic flights and that other famous Kiwi caper, bungee jumping. And, on the west coast, the chance to hike onto a glacier, or take a helicopter to its summit, are opportunities not to be missed.
Jet boating on the Dart River, Queenstown
The roads on the South Island are some of the most scenic on Earth, and a self-drive circuit is, without question, among the best ways to explore. Indeed, on a two week trip, you can take in many of the major highlights, from the golden shores of the Abel Tasman National Park, the wines of Marlborough and whales of Kaikoura to adrenaline adventures in Queenstown, kiwi spotting on Stewart Island and scenic routes that run right through Mt Cook National Park and the stunning Southern Alps, skirting giant glaciers and turquoise lakes.
Mt Cook, South Island
Journeys by rail & sea
Let others take the strain as you relax on one of the world’s great railway journeys, the TranzAlpine between Christchurch and Greymouth across the Southern Alps, or perhaps take a spectacular Fiordland cruise on the mirrored waters of the majestic Milford and Doubtful sounds. And, if you’ve time, you can easily combine the delights of the south with the contrasting sights of the North Island.