South Island holidays
Classic New Zealand scenery is the main reason that travellers make for the clean, green and serene South Island. It's an ideal destination for independent travel, with spectacular drives and relatively easy access to a number of dramatic wilderness areas. There are giant glaciers, mountain lakes, rivers and rugged peaks, as well as a beautiful coastline.
The island has some of the world's great walks, including the Milford, Routeburn and Abel Tasman tracks and tramping along these trails is a great way to access the island'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.
A circuit of the island takes in most of the major highlights, from the wines of Marlborough and whales of Kaikoura to adrenalin adventures in Queenstown, kiwi spotting on Stewart Island and flights above the stunning Southern Alps.
Top itineraries in South Island
With boutique hotel stays and car hire included throughout, this curated road trip perfectly showcases the unique cultures and natural wonders of New Zealand's North and South islands.
Discover New Zealand's South Island, bringing all to life with an included glacier heli-hike, an overnight Doubtful Sound cruise and a journey on the iconic TranzAlpine train.
This tailor-made holiday combines the best that Australia and New Zealand have to offer. You'll explore New Zealand's world-famous glaciers and remote fjords with a self-drive before discovering Australia's sacred Ayers Rock, stunning beaches and delightful waterside cities.
Top places to stay in South Island
Located just seven minutes from the lively centre of Queenstown, Matakauri Lodge sits on the shores of stunning Lake Wakatipu. With breathtaking views over the jagged peaks of the Remarkables mountain range, this lodge is a world away from the hustle and bustle of New Zealand's adventure capital.
Built in 1895 for Sir Heaton Rhodes, Otahuna Lodge is a stylish and elegant Victorian mansion set with beautiful manicured gardens on the outskirts of Christchurch on New Zealand's stunning South Island.
Set within 150 acres of pristine private forest in the heart of the Moteuka Valley, just 50 minutes from the town of Nelson, Stonefly Lodge offers luxury accommodation for guests looking to relax and enjoy fly-fishing in one of New Zealand's most beautiful regions. The lodge is situated between thr…
Located just a few minutes walk from the hub of the city, Fletcher Lodge offers luxury accommodation in an atmosphere of restrained elegance while providing the ultimate in contemporary comfort and modern facilities. Six beautifully appointed rooms are offered, each reflecting Dunedins wealth and h…
Where to go in South Island
Queenstown is regarded as New Zealand's adventure capital. It is the home of the first commercial bungee jump at Kawarau Bridge and over the years has attracted millions of visitors looking for a quick scare on this and other adventurous activities.
The Fiordland region is one of New Zealand's most iconic landscapes, yet remains largely undeveloped despite its fame.
Stewart Island, New Zealand's often-overlooked third island lies 30 kilometres from Bluff across the Foveaux Strait.
When to go to South Island
Summer (November to March), spring and early autumn are fine times to visit the South Island with flowering meadows, mild temperatures and plentiful native wildlife. Nelson and Marlborough, with their sand-fringed islands and idyllic coastal stretches, are two of New Zealand’s sunniest spots. At the height of winter, the ski resorts around Queenstown and Wanaka – the Remarkables, Treble Cone and Coronet Peak – draw big crowds.
South Island articles
From the subtropical Bay of Islands to the glaciers and mountains of the south, here we look at New Zealand's most spellbinding landscapes and how to explore them.
Wine is big business. We take a look at how the wines of Australia, Canada, Slovenia, New Zealand and more fare against Old World wine.
The land of mountains, Maori and winelands offers possibilities on an endless scale. That's why we've collated this list of the top 10 things to do in New Zealand, curated by our specialists, to help you get the most out of your trip.
Meet our South Island experts
Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0614Meet the team