I have only ever been on a super short trip of the North Island but I want to know more about the South Island. I have seen some pictures of glaciers and bright blue rivers but I don't know anything about where all of these are. Anyone have a good set of things to see within a month of travelling there? (for next time)
Stay in Queenstown, NZ most of the time. That's a great "hub" - its a tourist town, but absolutely beautiful. Surrounded by a lake and mountains.
- Take the gondola up the hill and do the bungey jump and luging. That's the smallest bungey jump, but still satisfying. For more intense ones, you have to book it ahead of time @ an agent.
- Do wine-tasting in the town - theres this wine place where you can get a card, and then taste wine kinda vending machine style. It's cool.
- Wander around the beach in the afternoon and watch street magicians/artists.
- Go tandem hang-gliding. Wicked fun, tho expensive-ish. Book it ahead of time @ an agent.
- Go hiking in Routeburn Trek (rent a car to get there, beautiful scenery on the way).
- Take the bus through Mt Cook to Christchurch, or the bus to Fox Glacier. I did the former, as I needed transportation to Christchurch. You could also drive either places.
That's what I did last week! :) over 10 years ago
I spent a week in Nelson, an area on the north of the south island. I drove there from Christchurch and it was very scenic, winding drive through the beautiful NZ countryside. Nelson has great beaches and beach towns, and from here I took a scenic flight along the coast which was amazing. It wasn't party central though - for that I would go to Quuenstown and head south! over 10 years ago
It is a bit of a drive down south from Queenstown but the Fjords at Milford Sound are just amazing!!
The glaciers are also fantastic, I went to Franz Josef glacier, which is a drive north of Queenstown.
But I would certainly agree with Queenstown being the ideal centre and to take trips out from there, as it has so much to offer.
Most of the bungy places operate from Queenstown too. over 10 years ago
When luging in Queenstown check the prices, much cheaper to buy a second or third ride ahead of time than figure out you'd like to go again and get dinged full price a second time. (and you can only go on the slow route your first time down.)
The Catlins along the southern end of the island have heaps of beautiful spots to check out. http://www.catlins.org.nz/
If you can get to the centre of the South Island go gliding at Omarama http://www.glideomarama.com/ over 10 years ago
I spent 2 weeks around the South island starting in Christchurch and heading north by the coast.
Kaikoura is a good place to see some wildlife like seal colonies, penguins and if you book a special trip and you're lucky, dolphins and whales.
The north around Picton and Blenheim is the best for a wine tour, beautiful landscape with vines and a wonderful coast.
Nelson on the north coast is a bigger town and a lot more touristy with some nice beaches for surf.
The west coast is absolutely amazing, really green and scenic, so i recommend a drive along it, with a stop in Punakaiki to see the Pancake Rocks!
Franz-Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier are spectacular, so don't miss them.
Queenstown is the tourist center, beautiful town and great atmosphere. I recommend to take the gondola and see the sights. There's a big range of different sports and activities in the area. Check the bungy jump on the road between Queenstown and Cromwell: the first commercial bungy jump ever over an amazing scenario.
The road between Te Anau and Milford sounds is a must go as well, beautiful forests, lakes, mountains with snow and water falls.
Spend one day in Mount Cook and the glaciers around, and drive along the blue Lakes Pukaki and Tekapo, amazing!
Two other places that you can visit on the east coast are Moeraki where you can see the beach with the strange but beautiful boulders and Akaroa, 1,5 hours from Christchurch, a really nice little town with an european look.
There are a lot of rent-a-car companies and all sorts of accommodation - top ten holliday parks around the whole country are a good option.
;) over 10 years ago
If you want to save big $$$$ and you have the time to spare ..... buy a cheap car outright on www.trademe.co.nz then resell it on the same site before you leave for home. Lots of cheap good roadworthy safe cars for sale on the site that will see you through your trip. Make sure you join your local road service club before you travel. Take a trip down scenic Route 72 out of Christchurch all the way down to Bluff in the south before heading north via inland route to Queenstown, Wanaka, Tekapo and Mt Cook. If that is not enough for you then head to the west coast through Springfield to Greymouth for a 'wee look' as the kiwi's say! During spring and summer lots of nice blue/green glacier fed lakes and rivers will be seen during your roadtrip ..... Enjoy!!! over 10 years ago
Queenstown is beautiful but is pretty expensive and seems to have almost no NZers -- it's become a town run by foreigners for foreigners. Very touristy.
The glaciers are down the south end of the West Coast, also known as the wet coast for the predominant weather conditions. The glaciers are spectacular; take a (guided, unless you're very familiar with mountain travel) walk on them. You can also get flights that land on the top ends of the glaciers, which is spectacular experience.
The startling blue rivers are glacier-fed; the pulverised rock suspended in them gives them that colour. Head to the MacKenzie Basin (Twizel, Tekapo, Pukaki) to see the them and the (beautiful) lakes they feed. It's one of my favourite parts of the country. about 10 years agoAnswered by Roy Britten via Travellr.com
Kaikora is gorgeous but not a lot to do. Also not sure if the deal pup area has been totally demolished after the Dec 2016 earthquake. And yes as everyone mentioned above, also Queenstown. It is pricey though and keep in mind that it's not right on the ski slope like we were expecting. So we were bummed out but those two areas area great but PLEASE stay away from Christchurch! Such a depressing boring, suck the life out of you town! almost 2 years ago