The Perfect Week on New Zealand's South Island
Collected by Liz Carlson , AFAR Local Expert
Postcards were invented for New Zealand's South island. Blue alpine lakes, snow-capped mountains, breathtaking fjords, and numerous adventure activities guarantee loads of stories to share with friends back home. From your homebase in Queenstown you can explore Milford Sound, Franz Josef Glacier, Wanaka, skifields, and wineries. Or hire a camper van and make the road and the island's campgrounds your home.
South Island 7183, New Zealand
We were adventuring around the South Island of New Zealand...oooing and ahhing the entire way. During our hike in Abel Tasman we came upon this perfect spot....waterfall flowing, lush vegetation...a bit back off the road...we sat on the higher dry...
63 Cron Street, Franz Josef Glacier 7859, New Zealand
If there is one activity not to be missed in New Zealand, it's getting to explore Franz Josef Glacier in the South Island. One of the only glaciers in the world that drops down into a temperate rainforest, Franz Josef is a wonder to behold. The...
Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand
Lake Tekapo is one of those places in New Zealand that is instantly recognizable but few know its name. Bright blue with clear water surrounded by pink and purple lupines in the summer, it's the perfect background for these blooming flowers. A...
Queenstown, New Zealand
If you visit one place in the South Island of New Zealand, let it be Queenstown. One of the most popular tourist destinations in New Zealand, and for good reason, Queenstown couldn't be in a better location. Surrounded by sweeping mountains...
Spitfire Ln, Wanaka 9343, New Zealand
While there are many ways to experience the incredible landscapes of the South Island, perhaps none is so vast or as exciting as from the skies. With plenty of helicopter and scenic flight companies to chose from, it can be hard to decide which...
Milford Track, Fiordland National Park 9679, New Zealand
One of the greatest walks in New Zealand, the Milford track is just over 50 kilometers and leads into the famous Milford Sound. Considered one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand, the Milford Track is categorized as one of New Zealand's...
Punakaiki, New Zealand
Along the wild west coast of New Zealand, you will find many curious rock formations and interesting coastlines. Near Punakaiki and a rainforest are the famous Pancake Rocks, a limestone formation that has formed lined pillar-like rocks along the...
Queen Charlotte Sound (Totaranui), New Zealand
Queen Charlotte Sound is the gateway to the South Island, an honor that it shares with the other Marlborough Sounds. One of the best and most traditional ways to make the journey from the North to South Islands is by ferry from Wellington into...
Christchurch, New Zealand
Once a thriving, big city in the South Island, after a devastating earthquake that leveled the town and killed a large group of people a few years ago, Christchurch is still on the road to recovery. Many people will tell you to skip it in favor of...
Pigeon Bay 7583, New Zealand
Four private villas, including a historic homestead, are spread across a 4,000-acre coastal farm. The landscape undulates between bays and the Southern Alps an hour and a half from Christchurch on New Zealand’s majestic South Island. Each...
472 Te Anau-Milford Hwy, Te Anau 9679, New Zealand
Kowhai timbers and hundreds of river stones were among the native materials used to construct the 10-room lodge. The hotel’s two cabins were made from New Zealand rimu wood and sun-dried, hand-peeled Oregon logs. The buildings overlook...
216 Okuti Valley Rd, Okuti Valley 7591, New Zealand
Okuti Garden, a bed-and-breakfast with yurt accommodations, features a solar shower and an organic garden. Use the shared semi-outdoor kitchen or dine in the main house, where chefs prepare feasts made from homegrown ingredients. —Kellie...
1431 SH 1, Rd 5h 9493, New Zealand
A short drive north of the South Island town of Oamaru, Riverstone Kitchen is often lauded as one of New Zealand's best regional restaurants. The stylish dining room is anchored by a robust fireplace crafted from local river stones, and much of...
554 Frankton Rd, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand
Welcome to one of Queenstown's most versatile venues. Formerly a 1980s motel—check out the quirky Tudor-style exterior—Sherwood's now been reborn as a stylish destination in a hilltop location around two miles from the center...
Te Nuku, 43 Ballarat St, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand
Combining fine-dining flair with the relaxed ambience of a mountain resort town, Rata in Queenstown is one of the New Zealand eateries operated by well-known Kiwi chef Josh Emett. With a CV that includes cooking stints in the United States and...
8 London St, Lyttelton 8082, New Zealand
Venture to the slightly rough harbor town of Lyttelton near Christchurch for some of the country's most innovative and inspirational degustation menus. The intensely seasonal options constantly evolve—often on a daily basis—and tasting...
16 Kahu Rd, Fendalton, Christchurch 8041, New Zealand
Across New Zealand you'll find weekend farmers' markets packed with vendors of artisanal products and organic fruit and vegetables, as well as innovative food trucks providing tasty options for breakfast or lunch. Held in the leafy surrounds of...
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