Discover the best of the South Island
We are biased but we think that the South Island of New Zealand offers more extraordinary landscapes and experiences than any other place on the planet. It really is a spellbinding place to visit, easy to travel around and somewhere you wish, oh so wish, you could have spent longer in.
Having travelled throughout the South Island, all the New Zealand Sky team have the perfect itinerary waiting for just you. It largely depends on how much time you have.
There are so many things to see and do that trying to achieve them all is nigh impossible. We actively encourage you all to take your time, stop as often as you can and stay in fewer place and explore your surrounds. You will see a lot more.
Our best escorted tours allow plenty of time for you to see all the iconic sights plus more. Our self drive tours offer potentially more options as you can take as long as you wish travelling around.
There are some must see’s. We are fans of Mount Cook, New Zealand’s tallest Mountain with inspiring views on the drive towards it. Many people will want to go whale watching in Kaikoura, a small, perfectly formed village that is the gateway to seeing these majestic mammals. A word of caution however, the boat ride can be choppy. If you suffer, like many of us do being in a small boat then help is at hand and there are great opportunities for dolphin and Killer Whale viewing in Picton, a quaint town and the main entrance gateway to the South Island.
The 2 majestic fiords that grace this island are at the top of anyone’s highlights, Milford Sound, the most popular is gorgeous, we recommend a cruise for the day at least. If you are feeling more adventurous then try and make it to Doubtful Sound, slightly further south but quieter and equally as majestic. An overnight cruise at Doubtful is a wonderful experience.
If you like hiking, this is heaven. From the famous Milford and Routeburn Tracks to the Abel Tasman, Queen Charlotte Track and many many more. We love the hiking opportunities on the South Island, and are well placed to help you choose the best places based on your interests and itinerary.
The gateway to adventure is Queenstown, be it jumping off a great height with elastic bands around your ankles or zipping through narrow gorges of the Shotover or Haast Rivers on a jetboat. Add in hiking, biking, Downhill karting, boat trips and more, you could easily spend a week here. Don’t forget the oh so scenic drive to Glenorchy, a great side trip.
For many Wanaka, just over the Lindis Pass, is the Queenstown of old, quieter and smaller but equally as pretty with great lakes and mountain scenery on your doorstep. Often overlooked and is a must stay place for us.
The end of the holiday for most is also the highlight, the train journey on the famous TranzApline train, regarded as one of the most scenic in the world.
Lastly, we have a pocket of the South Island that many miss and we encourage everyone to spend some time on the Northern Coast of this beautiful island. It is full of scenic drives, great walks and wonderful boat trips.
We look forward to helping you put your South Island together. It is truly a very special place.
Let us plan your trip of a lifetime:
We hope that we have inspired you to call us and discuss your holiday to the South Island, remember, we tailor make every trip so that you get exactly the experiences you are looking for.
South Island Travel Guides
- Discover the best of the South Island
- Explore New Zealand's South Island
- A beginner’s guide to self-drive holidays in New Zealand
- Explore South Island NZ's West Coast glaciers
- Head out on one of these day trips from Christchurch
- Top 10 things to do in Christchurch
- Planning for an incredible New Zealand adventure
- Top 10 things to do in Queenstown
- Head out on one of these day trips from Queenstown
- Head out on one of these day trips from Wellington
- Road tripping New Zealand's South Island
- Tailor-make the ultimate New Zealand holiday experience
- Exploring Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
- New Zealand holiday options: From self-drive, motorhome camping to escorted tours
- Exploring New Zealand's South Island regions
- Exploring New Zealand's Maori culture
- From north to south - an unexpected journey in New Zealand