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South Island

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

Highlights of New Zealand

19-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,190 pp incl. flights

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.

Best of the South Island

13-day tailor-made self-drive & rail journey from £3,185 pp incl. flights

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.

Australia and New Zealand Discoverer

21-day tailor-made journey from £4,380 pp incl. flights

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.

Cultural Highlights of New Zealand

19-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,345 pp incl. flights

A tip-to-toe tour of New Zealand, taking in the best of its landscapes and culture, and calling into filming locations from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

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Top places to stay in South Island

Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown

Small & intimate lodge

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.

Otahuna Lodge, Christchurch

Small & intimate lodge

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.

Stonefly Lodge, Nelson, New Zealand

Small & intimate lodge

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…

Fletcher Lodge


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…

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Where to go in South Island

Queenstown & Wanaka

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.

Milford Sound & Fiordland

The Fiordland region is one of New Zealand's most iconic landscapes, yet remains largely undeveloped despite its fame.

Stewart Island

Stewart Island, New Zealand's often-overlooked third island lies 30 kilometres from Bluff across the Foveaux Strait.


Wind-swept Invercargill is a good base from which to explore Southland. It's a small town, situated at the head of the New River Estuary, and has some fine stone buildings ornately carved from white Oamuru stone.

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When to go to South Island

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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.

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South Island articles

  • New Zealand’s Top 7 Wilderness Highlights

    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.

  • Discovering New World Wine on Holiday

    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.

  • Top 10 things to do in New Zealand

    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.

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Meet our South Island experts

Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0614

Meet the team

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0614 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

Expert advice & support

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Every step of the way

Every step of the way

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