New Zealand: My Top 5 Places to Visit in the South Island

Fancy a trip to the South of New Zealand but not sure where to go? Here are some of my favourite places in this part of the country.

5. Franz Josef

Albeit quite a small town, Franz Josef just appeals to me. Many travellers head to this part of the island to view or hike the Franz Josef Glacier. That was my intention upon my arrival however poor weather prevented me from doing that activity so I was forced to see what else the town had to offer. There isn’t a great deal to do here apart from the glaciers but it was a great rest stop to sit in a cafe and mull over a coffee for a while. New Zealand can be quite fast-paced with all the adventure activities on offer and a small town on the west coast of the South Island is perfect to sop for a few moments and recharge. There is a small Kiwi bird sanctuary to check out and also the hot pools where you can relax and soak up the heat after a glacier hike.

4. Kaiteriteri

Located up the very top of the island, Kaiteriteri is a beautiful piece of coast with its golden beaches and an ideal stop for any New Zealand road trip. Nearby is the Abel Tasman National Park which can be admired from boat or foot with many opting to sea kayak the stunning coast line or take one of their many coastal walks.

Coastal Walk in Kaiteriteri

3. The Lake District

Lake Benmore and Avimore are popular spots for boating activities among New Zealand residents. While there isn’t much tourism established in the area in the form of guided activites and hotel accommodation it is perfect if you are travelling the island by camper van. It is a beautiful region to stop in for a night or two and in my opinion the lack of tourism infrastructure makes you feel that much more connected to nature.

Lake Benmore

2. Mt Cook

Not only is Mt Cook the tallest mountain in New Zealand, the surrounding mountains and the stunning turquoise blue of Lake Pukaki make for some truly breathtaking scenery. There are a number of different walking tracks you can explore and they range in difficulty so that the most beginner or the most advanced of hikers can enjoy this scenic location.

Mt Cook Visitor Centre

1. Queenstown & Wanaka

I put both these towns as number one because they both stunning places to visit and if you’re travelling by hire car, Wanaka is just a 1 hour scenic drive from Queenstown.Β You should never be bored in Queenstown with the endless list of adventure activities to choose from. Wanaka by comparison is much more quieter and residential but just as scenic and beautiful. By including a stop atΒ Wanaka on your Queenstown trip ensures a nice balance between adventure and relaxation.

Overcast Day Still Beautiful in Queenstown

Have you got a favourite place to visit in the South Island?


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I love to travel as often as I can and I'm always in the pursuit of a new adventure. I hope to inspire through my passion and show you how small trips can leave big impressions.

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