For Aussies on the east coast, New Zealand (NZ) is ‘across the ditch’ just a stones throw away across the Tasman.
New Zealand is home to some of the most breathtaking natural backdrops with so much untouched beauty. Having only explored the South Island in winter, I definitely look forward to returning in spring or summer and experiencing some of the beautiful beaches of the North Island. Below is my itinerary and experiences of the South Island.
South Island – New Zealand
New Zealand is best explored by car and particularly the South Island. Heading over in the middle of winter, our primary reason for visiting was skiing. In winter the mountains and high country transform into a snow sport paradise for enthusiast, with an annual average snowfall of around 3-4m and a magnitude of choice and terrain.
Our journey commenced with a direct flight into Christchurch ex Melbourne and then a 5 hour car drive to Wanaka. Wanaka is primarily a resort town in the Otago region and the gateway to the Mount Aspiring National Park. Wanaka is also let touristy than Queenstown and still offers a diverse range of options for eating and skiing, including Treble Cone, Cardrona Alpine Resort, Snow Park and Snow Farm. While in the South Island we chose to ski at Treble Cone and Cardrona and an amazing time, with bluebird days and freshly groomed runs.
During our time in the South Island we managed to squeeze in some sightseeing and ventured into Queenstown to spend a day discovering new eateries and sights. Tourism it Queenstown is driven by sports and adventure activities including jet boating, skiing, snowboarding, white-water rafting, bungy jumping, skydiving and more across summer and winter. Not the dare-devil types we opted to keep our feet on the ground and explore the scenery and beautiful lake views.
A trip to the South Island wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Lake Tekapo, around a 2.5 hour drive north of Wanaka, heading towards Christchurch. The glacial views are nothing short of spectacular and one you want to make sure you have a camera for. Situated on the shores of Lake Tekapo is the Church of the Good Shepherd, built in 1935.
Other worthy visits in the South Island include Te Anau and Arrowtown a historic gold mining town. With so much to see and do in the South Island a week is definitely not sufficient, and things we missed out on included Doubtful and Milford Sounds, Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glaciers and Nelson. There is a wealth of information and advice on what to see and do as well as suggested itineraries depending on what you’re seeking and the time you have available.
Everyone in New Zealand is so friendly and you’re bound to discover and meet great people along your travels if you do manage to get yourself a little lost.
Photo gallery below are all my own,