4 January 2019

10 Unforgettable Must-Do Activities in the South Island, NZ


The South Island of New Zealand is a paradise for adventure travellers, offering magnificent mountains, fiords, wildlife, glaciers and everything in between.

Known for its bucket list activities, there is no shortage of unforgettable must-do things to do. Here are ten of my top picks if you're heading to the South Island.


1. Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike

Heli-hiking in Franz Josef is my favourite activity I've ever done, not just in New Zealand! After landing by helicopter on the countries' steepest and fastest moving glacier, you are guided by an expert for a three-hour hike through the most spectacular ice formations and glacier scenery. It is 100% an #NZMustDo and an experience you will never forget. It is expensive but worth every single penny. Add it to your Bucket List right now!

Read More: Franz Josef Travel Guide


2. Hiking in Mount Cook

When people ask me where they should go when they come to New Zealand, the top place I recommend is Mount Cook (New Zealand's highest mountain). The Hooker Valley Track is an easy three-hour return walk, ending at a glacier lake with incredible views of Mount Cook (if it's a clear day). Don't worry, I've done it on a cloudy, rainy day too and it is still my favourite walk in the country. The scenery is absolutely awe-inspiring.


3. Cruise Milford Sound

Milford Sound is a majestic fiord and commonly known as the '8th Wonder of the World.' It's one of those places that are absolutely breathtaking and leaves an everlasting impression. Boat cruises are the best way to experience the magnificent scenery, even getting right up close to the waterfalls. There are several companies to choose from that run two-hour return cruises throughout the day.


4. Bungy jump in Queenstown

There are bunches of adrenaline-pumping activities on offer in Queenstown but being the birthplace of bungy jumping makes this the place to do it. There is nothing quite like the feeling of looking over the ledge and instantly regretting your decision, and facing your fear and doing it anyway. It is so elating you'll want to do it again and again! (And it makes for a sick pic).


5. Funyak in Glenorchy

This word may be new to you (it was to me), a Funyak is an inflatable kayak/canoe which you get to paddle down in literal Lord of the Rings locations. The Dart River is located near Glenorchy, which is an easy day trip from Queenstown. The scenery is an absolute treat for the eyes and Funyaking is a very unique and fun activity.

Read More: Must-do tour from Queenstown


6. Hokitika Gorge Track

Hokitika Gorge is one of those places where you have to see it to believe it. The turquoise waters are the bluest of blue and the scenic drive from the West Coast is an experience in itself. The Hokitika Gorge Track is an easy 15-minute return walk to capture those postcard-perfect views of the swingbridge. There are many other great hikes in the area and you can even go swimming (if you dare brave the cold).


7. Kayak in Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman National Park is a protected wilderness reserve, known for its golden sandy beaches and world-famous coastal track. It is one of the best hikes in the country and definitely worth doing but an even more fun activity is kayaking through the mesmerising crystal clear waters. If you're experienced you can hire a kayak freestyle otherwise there are plenty of guided kayaking tours that will take you past wildlife and to the most beautiful locations.


8. Experience Stewart Island

Stewart Island is an absolute paradise and not many people know about it. It's New Zealand's third largest island but being located right down the very bottom of the country makes it quite isolated. It's incredibly peaceful and feels as though you've stepped back in time. It's also one of the best places to see a kiwi in the wild.


9. Wine-tasting in Marlborough

New Zealand is blessed with many fantastic wine regions and Marlborough is an absolute must-visit. 75% of wine produced in New Zealand comes from Marlborough, and 85% of New Zealand's sauvignon blanc is from the region. With more than 120 wineries and more than 30 cellar doors to visit, if you are a wine lover you will have a blast! You can take a guided tour from Picton or Blenheim, self-drive or even bike.


10. Whale watch in Kaikoura

Whale watching in Kaikoura is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New Zealand for a good reason. It's a truly magical experience getting close to nature and witnessing these giant creatures in their natural habitat. Sperm whales are residents year-round and there's an extremely high sight success rate. Other common wildlife to spot includes dusky dolphins, fur seals and marine birds.

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I did most of these unforgettable activities just last year on my South Island travels with Stray - New Zealand's award-winning guided hop-on-hop-off bus network for adventurous travellers. You can read more about my travels with them here: Ultimate New Zealand South Island Road Trip.

Do you have any other must-do activities in the South Island? Share them with others in the comments below!

Happy Travels,

Keep up to date with all of my current adventures on Instagram and Facebook.
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3 comments

  1. All on my bucket list. Hope to visit soon!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This blog is very Awesome and mind-blowing. thanks for sharing these attractive pictures and this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for viewing up such wonderful experience. I like this post, keep writing and give the useful post. I really appreciate that.

    ReplyDelete

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